Leaders in God's Kingdom
We know the book of Revelation as a prophetic document. It is! It has been written with the clear purpose to reveal things that will happen shortly, but as in the book of Daniel, there are prophetic parts and also spiritual insights. It is the
revelation of Jesus Christ. In addition to addressing prophetic issues, it also
speaks about mission, the destiny of mankind and the person of Jesus Christ.
topic in this book is human vocation. The book has many verses that deal with
this subject. We will look at some issues related to anthropological and
By creating us in His own image, He is expressing His purpose for us, which is to be like Him.
God’s Radical Calls in Revelation
From the beginning,
God gave a specific call to man. We read in Gen. 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image,
according to Our likeness….” By creating us in His own image, He is expressing
His purpose for us, which is to be like Him. In the same context, He gives man
the responsibility of having “dominion” or governance
over creation by ministering to it and acting as His stewards of
it. In Gen 2:15 we read that God asks Adam and Eve to “keep” or take
care of the garden. This verb “to keep or oversee” is used throughout the Bible
as a sign of our responsibility.
through Moses, God called his people to be a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6). We find the same call in a prophetic messianic
context, in Is. 61:6, “But you shall be named priests of the Lord, they
shall call you ministers.” In the New Testament it appears even more frequently
than it does in the Old Testament. Jesus calls his followers to be His
disciples and apostles—two nouns with similar but not identical meanings. Paul
pens that we are “ambassadors for Christ” (1 Cor. 5:20) and “God’s
administrators” (1 Cor. 4:1). Peter gives emphasis to God’s calling of the
believers, clearly stating that everyone born again in Jesus is a priest in His
kingdom (1 Cor. 2:5, 9).
However, more than
in any other book, Revelation emphasizes specific names for God’s believers. He
uses the term “angels” in Rev 2:18-29 in the message to the church of Thyatira.
John first addresses “the angel” of this church but then continues and writes
“to the rest in Thyatira” (v. 24). He clearly addresses the whole community as
Thus, in the book of Revelation, we have a great list of names for the believers: angels, prophets, servants, saints, priests and kings.
In the same way,
the three angels of Rev. 14 are committed to preach the final message to the
world—to every tribe, tongue, nation and people. We believe that these three
angels represent the “remnant” of God’s people on earth. In Rev. 22:9, we read
the admonition of the angel to John, who, having seen the great vision, is
ready to fall down on his knees and worship the angel. The angel says, “I am a
fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets.” So the angel states
clearly that we are also “prophets” of the Lord. This same call is seen in Rev.
11:18, “The time has comes to give their reward to thy servants, to the
prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name.” Two more names
are identified: “servants” and “saints.”
Finally, we have
the names “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10 and 20:6). The use of these names
is a continuation of their usage in the Old Testament but also as used in 1
Peter 2:4, 5 and 9.
Thus, in the
book of Revelation, we have a great list of names for the believers: angels,
prophets, servants, saints, priests and kings.
Kings and Priests
for a moment on ‟priests and kings.” Revelation continues in the same way and
tells that this is the great call for all believers—from the Trinity itself (Rev. 1:4, 5). Twice we read: “He has made
us priests and kings” (Rev. 1:6 and 5:10). The word “made” in Rev. 14:7
describes the creative power of God. The creation is the result of His
omnipotent power. With the same power, He makes us priests and kings.
Even if Revelation
starts with greetings from the Trinity, Jesus is the one who acts. He saves us by his blood and makes us kings
and priests through His power.
What a message this
is! While giving His life for our salvation, Jesus, also made us priests and
kings. The divine plan doesn’t end with our
forgiveness, salvation, justification and redemption. It continues by Jesus
acting to recreate us in His image
and restoring our identity and mission by making us priests and kings. Jesus
the Creator, the Savior and the Redeemer is the same One who re-creates priests
and kings: i.e. stewards!
The divine plan doesn’t end with our forgiveness, salvation, justification and redemption. It continues by Jesus acting to recreate us in His image and restoring our identity and mission by making us priests and kings. Jesus the Creator, the Savior and the Redeemer is the same One who re-creates priests and kings: i.e. stewards!
Dignity and Responsibility in Revelation
What has been said,
has great and meaningful implications for us. In God’s eyes, every human being
has great value. As He created us in His own image, we are distinct from all
the rest of creation. There is a substantial and existential dissimilarity.
From the beginning, even before creation, His great vision for mankind was for
them to be in His own image, in governance over His creation and partners in
the administration of His creation.
We know that
something happened in human history that destroyed this plan. Someone acted in
evil to erase God’s image in man. We know the devil’s malefic purpose: he
created divisions, (even between God and man), slavery to evil and submission
of one man to another, and male over female. He produced discrimination and
homicide. He killed our identity, dignity and life. Men became arrogant and
proud, believing that they have the right to dominate others. Some elevated
themselves as gods and reserved for themselves the control of people’s bodies
This is not the end
of the story. In God’s original plan, man had the right to have direct access
to God—to be in relationship with Him
without mediation and with no need of propitiation. In time, a priestly
clergy rose to the role of mediation between God and man. A clerical priesthood
was interposed between God and man.
Jesus, we all have free access to God’s Temple (Rev. 7:15), and are able
to re-establish a good relational
connection with Him.
As through Moses,
so it is through Jesus: “… you will be for me a kingdom of priests.” Luke 4
states that, Jesus reaffirmed this divine project by reading Isaiah 61 during
first Sabbath in ministry. God performs a great
deliverance and gives back our dignity, identity and mission.
In the book of
Revelation, we find that Jesus provides salvation and commitment (Rev. 1: 5, 6;
5: 9, 10). Just after reading that He made us to be kings and priests for His
Father (Rev. 1:5, 6), we see Jesus presented as our High Priest (Rev.
1:12-18). We understand this text
in the following way: Through His death and resurrection, He became our High
Priest and King, and through Him, His God and Father has become our God and
Father, and now we can address Him as “Our Father.” Now we can serve Him as His
kings and priests.
God performs a great deliverance and gives back our dignity, identity and mission.
We Are Kings and Priests…
See what great love
the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; … and at present it
is not clear what we are to be. We are certain that at his revelation we will
be like him… (1 Jn. 3:1, 2).
He came to bring
the Kingdom, (Mat. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7), to re-establish the original plan and
recreate us in His own image. As it was at the beginning, (Gen 1:26-28), the
same Creator and Savior wants to give us this renewed (reclaimed) identity.
Paul penned that
through Him we are new creatures (2 Co 5:17), enabling us to become like
God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:20-24). In Jesus we have a new
starting point, a new beginning, a new possibility to be ministers/stewards in
His Kingdom. We become ministers of His
grace, His love, His mission, to His creation!
This is only the
beginning. The growth towards all of this has just begun, and we have the
possibility and the right to grow (Eph. 4:15). Not only this, but “When He
appears, we shall be like Him,” His kings, priests and stewards. We will live
and rule with Christ,” forever! (Rev. 20:4).
We become ministers of His grace, His love, His mission, to His creation!
In the light of
this great truth of the Bible, a theme that starts in Genesis, and moves
through the entire story of salvation, until Revelation, and into eternity, we
see this specific divine call unfolding like a continuous “crescendo.” We see
mankind created in His likeness at the beginning, and who, since since the
fall, are progressively regaining their freedom, their identity, their dignity,
and their responsibility as stewards, in Christ.
states the book of Revelation, will continue until the day the saved will sit
on the throne with God, playing their role as judges of the Universe (Rev. 20:
We must start
now to grow in understanding, and experiencing this identity. It must start by growing in our understanding of God's plan, living out the dimension
of being a steward day by day, i.e. becoming priests and kings of God.