(This article is highly based on a series of 'ministudies' in the old Good News magazine in 1982-1983.) A sermon of related interest is titled Are Christians really supposed to rule?
Why were you born? What is the purpose for human life? Why are we here? Where are we going, and what will we do when we get there?
The Bible reveals that you were born for a tremendous purpose. But few really grasp the magnitude of the awesome future God offers mankind.
Believe it or not, you were born to rule in love!
Just as surely as a crown prince born into a royal family is to be a king, you are destined, when "born again" into the universe-ruling Family of God, to reign as an even greater and eternal king.
Incredible as it may sound, your Bible reveals that you were born to ultimately help rule the universe.
To fully understand God's incredible purpose for humankind, we need to go back to the first chapter of Genesis.
Notice what the very first words of the Bible tell us about God?
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, NKJV throughout unless as otherwise noted)
The original Hebrew word translated God in verse 1 is Elohim. Elohim is a uniplural or collective noun, like the words church, family and kingdom.
In other words, the term Elohim stands for a group composed of two or more individuals. Elohim in Genesis 1:1 means the God Family.
But who are the individuals presently composing Elohim?
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
Was it the "Word" who created all things? Jesus. We know that from verse 14 and from Ephesians:
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
9 ... God who created all things through Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 3:9)
Both the Father and Son are God:
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)
John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 take us back to the same time in prehistory -- to the original creation of the universe. Both verses reveal that the two supreme beings composing the God Family created all things.
The Greek word translated into English as Word in John 1:1 is Logos. It means "spokesman" or "one who speaks" or "something said." It was actually the Logos -- the Spokesman, the Word of the God Family -- who "spake, and it [the creation] was done" by the power of the Spirit of God:
6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalms 33:6-9)
And so everything was created and made by the divine being who later became the human Jesus Christ:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)
Over 2,000 years ago this same divine personage was begotten in the virgin Mary's womb by God who, through this miraculous begettal, became His Father. Yet at that prehistoric time of John 1:1 the Word was not yet the Son of God. He was "made" God's Son later, through being begotten or sired by God and born of Mary as a human being.
The God Family is eternal, ever living:
1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalms 90:1-2)
Both members of the Godhead have always existed, though our finite human minds can't quite understand how (see also Where Did God Come From? and How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient?). Neither can we quite understand what electricity is, yet we know electricity exists.
But what does all of this have to do with your being born to rule?
Everything! For God is even now in the process of expanding His universe-ruling Family. And you can become a member of that eternal, spirit-composed Family:
24 I said, "O my God,
Do not take me away in the midst of my days;
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 They will perish, but You will endure;
Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will change them,
And they will be changed.
27 But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end.
28 The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You. (Psalms 102:24-28)
Humans were created in the "image" and "likeness" of God:
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.(Genesis 1:26-27)
In God's pattern for all life, kind reproduces like kind. And just as each created form of plant or animal life reproduces after its own kind, so humans reproduce humans. But unlike any of the animals God created, man was created in God's own "image" and "likeness." God made man like Himself --same form and shape. And He is now in the process of creating humans after His own kind.
Notice again what God said in Genesis 1:26: "Let us make man in our image." The original Hebrew here indicates far more than merely the outward form and shape of God. "Image" also refers to mind and character. God intended for man, to whom He gave the gift of a thinking, reasoning mind, to develop the very mind and character of God.
The attributes of human mind and character truly make humanity God's unique physical creation. God has shared some of His own qualities with human beings and expects us to develop the "image" of God's perfect mind and holy character.
Simply stated, God is reproducing Himself. All human beings, past, present and future, have the awesome potential to become God's literal children -- members of God's own divine Family.
God is working on you:
8 But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:3-6)
14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait,
Till my change comes.
15 You shall call, and I will answer You;
You shall desire the work of Your hands. (Job 14:14-15)
Notice the latter part of verse 15: "You shall desire the work of Your hands." The "work" was Job. Job knew he was a piece of divine workmanship in the hands of the Master Potter.
Spirit-begotten children of God clearly being fashioned by God for a specific purpose:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
"We" in New Testament language usually refers to God's Spirit-begotten children, as Paul intended in verse 10. God's begotten sons are His "workmanship." They are being "created in Christ Jesus for good works."
God, through the power of the Holy Spirit He has put into His children (after their repentance and baptism), is forming in His people His perfect spiritual character. With their obedient cooperation, God is creating in them His own character-image. He is creating them to be the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation -- individuals who will ultimately be capable of exercising the awesome powers of the God Family.
And so humanity, the material creation, is only the first phase of this creative process. The clay model has to be fashioned by experience, and with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece possessing the very character of God.
An analogy of this process would be a caterpillar going through a metamorphosis and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. Humans must undergo a spiritual metamorphosis or change into perfect, spiritual members of the divine Family of God.
God's word shows that it is His purpose to expand His divine Family:
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:9-11)
7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)
To be conformed to the image of Christ means to become like Him -- to be glorified as He is glorified -- to be part of the divine Family of God as much as Christ now is.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
Jesus is the FIRSTBORN.
But what must happen to flesh -- and blood human beings before they can enter God's Family?
49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:49-53)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8)
Jesus said we must be "born again" --changed into spirit. Yes, born again -- this time born of the Spirit of God as divine Sons in the Family of God!
God is in the process of expanding His Family -- God is actually reproducing Himself through human beings.
Exactly how is God accomplishing this miraculous feat? When can we become literal members of His Family? What is it like to have a spirit body? And what will you be doing forever as a member of the Family of God? This exciting study reveals the surprising answers.
Each human since Adam and Eve started from a tiny ovum, the size of a pinpoint, produced in his or her mother's body. But unless the egg is fertilized by a life-giving sperm cell from the human father, the egg dies within a short time. A human life can begin only when that sperm cell impregnates or enters the ovum.
Spiritually speaking, each human mind is like an egg. Each of us was born incomplete and able to live only a relatively short time. We were made to need the impregnating spiritual life of God's Holy Spirit in our minds so we could begin growing spiritually before being born of the Spirit and living forever.
True Christians already, during this mortal life, are God's begotten children:
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
As begotten children we are heirs of God's Kingdom:
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:14-17)
3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 3:29-4:7)
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)
Notice that although they are now the children of God, Christians are only heirs -- ones who shall, in the future, inherit the glory of God's Family with Jesus Christ. Why only heirs? Because they are now only Spirit-begotten children. It is when they are born of God that they become members of God's Family.
But first we must let God rule over us:
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Currently we are not rulers, per se, but God's ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Consider also the following:
1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
While the above refers to bishops/pastors, there are two principles to consider. The first is that what we experience in our lives should develop usable character. And the second is the ability to rule should be one at least one aspect of character we develop. Lest you think this only applies to men, consider the following:
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates,When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10-31)
The woman above is ruling her business and her parts of the household.
We all are learning lessons in this life which will help us rule in the future.
Now, must the Spirit-begotten child of God grow spiritually before being born of God, much like a newly begotten human must grow physically in its mother's womb until it is born?
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, (1 Peter 2:1-2)
After God the Father begets a person by imparting His spiritual life to that person's mind (upon true repentance of sin and then water baptism), the person must begin to grow in spiritual character. This growth comes about through Bible study, prayer and walking with God through obedience to Him. Thus all Spirit-begotten Christians are now the unborn children of God the Father in the same sense that an unborn human fetus is the child of its human parents.
We are to learn enough to be able to teach:
12 ... by this time you ought to be teachers (Hebrews 5:12)
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15, KJV)
We know that the final spiritual birth take place at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:50-53). The Apostle Paul tells us when that the resurrection will occur:
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
What will those thus resurrected be like?
15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Psalms 17:15)
Of what is God composed?
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
Will Christians be changed to spirit at the resurrection? Yes:
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15:42-49)
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
When Jesus Christ returns to earth, the Spirit-begotten sons of God who have died through the ages will be resurrected, and those still alive will be instantly changed into spirit beings. At that moment, they will be "born again" as members of God's own Family. And God's own offspring will then have eternal life inherent within themselves -- just like Jesus Christ their elder brother.
When you are "born again," born of the Spirit of God, you will be invisible to mortal eyes unless you choose to manifest yourself. Jesus compared it to wind in John 3:8. The effects of the wind are easily discernible, but the wind itself cannot be seen.
Jesus knew He would "glorified" again after His resurrection:
4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:4-5)
And that happened:
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9)
Jesus previously given His disciples a fleeting glimpse of this glorified condition:
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. ...
9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." (Matthew 17:1-2, 9)
That was a vision, a prophecy for the future. And it was fulfilled. Notice how Christ's glorified body appears today:
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. (Revelation 1:12-16)
To be "glorified" includes being given great power and brightness. Jesus Christ had a glorious, powerful spirit body like His Father's before He became a human being. After His resurrection, He was restored to the same power and glory. Christ's face and powerful spirit body now radiate light as the sun in full strength, with eyes blazing like flames of fire.
God will also glorify all of His Spirit-begotten children at the resurrection by giving them this same great power and glory:
17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17)
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:2-3)
The ultimate glory that Spirit-begotten children of God are to receive at the resurrection will be so great it will make them shine like brilliant stars. But that's only a part of what God has in store for those who cooperate with Him in developing God's own character while yet human beings.
What will the sons of God begin to do after becoming part of His spirit Family?
Christians will rule:
26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations --
27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --
as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)
21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21)
9 And they sang a new song, saying:
"You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10)
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The Kingdom of God is a ruling Family. And those who become a part of that Family are destined to rule the earth with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years. They will become kings and priests, ruling and teaching in the world-ruling Kingdom of God!
Billions of people will learn to live God's way' and be born into His ruling Family during this period. Then, after the Millennium, still more billions who died without knowing of God's way of life will be resurrected and given the opportunity to become sons of God. This period of "judgment" (Revelation 20:11-13) will, apparently, last 100 years (Isaiah 65:20).
These additional billions will be added to God's spirit Family at the conclusion of God's plan for physical mankind.
It has been estimated that about 60 billion people may have lived from the time of Adam until now.
But let's suppose that 200,000,000,000 (200 billion) are ultimately born into God's Family. Since God is always busy working, creating and sustaining what He has created (John 5:17), He knows His sons could not be happy unless busy working and producing. And so what could keep this incredibly huge Family of God Beings busy for eternity? This awesome universe!
Just how great is the authority Jesus Christ has already inherited?
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-4)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18)
That is a lot of authority. Yet, those who are born into God's Family will share in that inheritance as co-owners and co-rulers with Christ:
17 if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:17)
7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)
God's government will continue to expand for all eternity?
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The Moffatt translation renders "all things" in Hebrews 1:2 as "the universe." Incredible as it may sound, your ultimate potential and the potential of every human being is co-rulership of the universe with Jesus Christ and God the Father!
But is there really enough "out there" for our estimated number of 200 billion spirit sons of God to rule?
The scientist Koernreich estimated that there were 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Many astronomers estimate that there are less, but most of them believe that there are at least 200 billion galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxay is estimated to have 100 billion stars. So there are probably over 100 billion stars for each human, with the number of planets estimated to be 10 to the 24th power (10 followed by 24 zeros). This figure is virtually impossible to comprehend. If our estimate of 200 billion sons of God is accurate, that means each member of God's Family would be responsible for maintaining and developing 100 billion stars and their attendant planets.
This is ruleship is part of your awesome potential -- the glorious destiny God has in store for those who seek to do His will and follow His way. Yes, you were born to rule!
Perhaps you have thought: "But I don't want to rule in the Kingdom of God. I just want to serve God."
Jesus Christ was God made flesh. Before He became a human being He was the Creator of the universe and of mankind. At His return He will occupy the greatest position of authority under God the Father in His coming Kingdom.
Yet while Jesus was on earth, He became a servant to His fellowman (Luke 22:27; Matthew. 20:27-28). And even now, exalted again at the right hand of the Father, Jesus continues to serve us as our High Priest and Advocate (Hebrews 4:15-16), and is also the Head of His Church (Colossians. 1:18).
Let's understand exactly how and why service to God actually entails rulership.
Consider the following:
2 "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
'He who rules over men must be just,
Ruling in the fear of God. (2 Samuel 23:2-3)
God wants rulers to be just and to be able to rule in the fear of God. Wouldn't those be Christians and other called prior to Jesus' advent?
Notice one way a Spirit-begotten Christian expresses service to God:
31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:31-40)
We serve God when we serve our fellowman. Christ said, "inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (verse 40).
This troubled world is filled with needy, sick and lonely people. Hundreds of millions in today's world would benefit from even basic instruction in how to improve the quality of their physical lives, including their basic nutrition and everyday hygiene. Above all, they need to know the truth of God -- His purpose and plan for mankind, and how to assure their entry into God's Family. This whole world desperately needs to understand the Word of God!
Christ came to serve, not to be served, as He said.:
27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27-28)
The foot-washing ceremony, which He established and commanded to be observed, symbolizes this attitude of service (John 13:12-17). Christians should want to imitate Christ's example (1 Peter 2:21).
A deeply converted Christian will want to help change this world and help others to share in the blessings that come by living God's way of life. That is, in fact, what the return of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom (government) on earth is all about! All Spirit-begotten Christians are, in reality, now in training for a significant role in administering that government of the wonderful world tomorrow under Christ's leadership.
In Revelation 2:26,. 3:21,5:10, 20:4-6, we read of "thrones," "judgment" and "reigning." These scriptures clearly tell us that in the world tomorrow Christians will receive positions of rulership -- opportunities to do great good in this world! All who are converted and overcoming now will become kings and priests, various administrators and administrative assistants in the world-ruling Kingdom of God.
In the course of living their physical lives, are God's children to be learning to rule and judge?
1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:1-4)
Born-again Christians will be able to carry great responsibility with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God because, while growing in spiritual character in this life, they have been learning to rightly apply the laws of God to many different situations.
The Bible reveals that the Christian life is one of overcoming, growing, preparing and developing for service through rulership in the world tomorrow!
By what great principle can a person of ordinary ability and humble opportunity in this life qualify to take on far greater responsibility in the Kingdom of God?
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
Jesus taught the following:
14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' 21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' 23 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 25:14-30)
Notice that all the quantities were not equal. He gave responsibilities according to each servant's natural ability. The 'talent' in the New King James Version is actually a measure of weight, having a certain value. Similarly, not everyone has been given the same ability. God knows some have more education, some have greater innate aptitudes, more personality, or more physical strength than others.
But the important lesson Christ intends to teach us by this parable is that God expects us to increase our talents and abilities! God wants His Spirit-begotten children to grow -- both in spiritual character and in their inherent abilities. He knows that in order for us to fulfill our purpose for living and being called into His ruling Family, we need to be using and developing our aptitudes, talents and abilities now!
Again, notice what will Christ say to those who have been faithful over the little that He entrusted to their care:
21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' (Matthew 25:21)
We learn to rule by being faithful – conscientious -- in whatever we do, putting into practice in our daily lives the principles and laws we learn from God's Word. Even the person who considers himself or herself as having only little ability and natural talent, can qualify to rule -- serve -- in God's Kingdom.
Is specific rulership something that will be related to your actions in this life? Consider something else that Jesus taught related to the Kingdom:
11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'" (Luke 19:11-27)
We learn to rule and successfully carry responsibility for the good of ourselves and others in the world tomorrow by learning to better manage the affairs, responsibilities and powers in our control today, no matter how small they may presently be. Unfortunately though, all too often we overlook or fail to appreciate the opportunities to grow and develop right on the job and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
This human life is the training ground. We learn to rule by performing our responsibilities faithfully, by developing ourselves and by learning to rule ourselves -- our appetites, emotions and even our thoughts -- as we live the Christian way of life with the help of God's Holy Spirit. Thus it is by our overcoming and growing that we will attain an office of responsibility -- an opportunity for greater service, for doing much more good than is humanly possible -- once we are born into the ruling Family of God.
Notice to whom has God promised rulership over the reunited nation of Israel:
21 "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
24 "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. (Ezekiel 37:21-25)
Notice the positions of rulership did Jesus promise to give each of His 12 apostles under David:
28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:28-30)
Christians called in this age have major opportunities to rule as well as other scrptures state, but also consider that many of the first shall be last and last first--meaning that not all called in this age will be on top.
Notice something that the Apostle Paul wrote:
8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
13 If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:8-13)
Others from Old Testament times are also to receive these promises:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:39-40)
But will there really be enough opportunities to serve for all who have overcome down through the ages?
1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know." (John 14:1-4)
By speaking of the temple having many "mansions" ("rooms" in the Revised Standard Version and other translations), Jesus illustrated the concept that there would be places for many assistants in the government of the Kingdom of God on earth, when Jerusalem will be the millennial world capital.
Christ assures us that there will be ample opportunities and challenging, interesting positions of responsibility for all who are born into God's ruling Family!
Notice the following:
27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last." (Luke 13:27-30)
Gentiles will be among the rulers in the Kingdom of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote the following:
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, wrote the following about Romans 11:25:
Now study carefully beginning verse 25: “Blindness in part is happened to Israel [HOW LONG? Forever? No — note it], UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” — the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15:14). And so, says Romans 11:26, “all Israel SHALL BE SAVED [how?]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, is coming again!
When He comes, the gentile times will be over — the BLINDNESS will be removed from the Israelites — and their opportunity — their FIRST chance — of salvation will then come to those whom God had blinded! This is at the time when He comes to REIGN on HIS THRONE — the throne of David, with the saints made immortal reigning and ruling with Him — and the time is DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS!
Notice verse 31. These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that through the mercy of the gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful Work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Tomorrow’s Word magazine, September 1971)
Clearly, we are much closer to the time when all the Gentiles are to come in to later be kings and priests! See also: Christians are to Rule.
More of the Gentiles had to be called–and that is happening.
The end does NOT come until the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God‘ reaches enough nations (Matthew 24:14) and “the full number” (as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CEV, GNT, HCSV, ISV, and NET Bible, put Romans 11:25) of Gentiles God wants in this age come in.
In CCOG we are reaching Gentiles and non-Gentiles.
And that is why we have been the fastest growing xWCG church in the 21st century.
Well, does the Bible give any indications how the world will do under the millenial rule of Jesus and His saints?
First notice the following:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:18-24)
The creation groans with the expectation that God's people will one day be delivered and become firstfruits of the Spirit.
Then notice some specifics that the Earth will experience:
1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; 2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing.The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted,"Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance,With the recompense of God; He will come and save you."
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. 7 The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water;In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road,And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others.Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads.They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:1-10)
11 "On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages;
I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,"
Says the Lord who does this thing.
13 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord,
"When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,"
Says the Lord your God. (Amos 9:11-15)
It will be an abundant time as Christians rule with God's laws:
2 Many nations shall come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths."
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:2-4)
Christians are to rule in love with Jesus. And living as a Christian now (see Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian) helps train us and helps prepare us to properly rule that in the future.
And that glorious rule will benefit the entire universe.
A sermon of related interest is titled Are Christians really supposed to rule?
Thiel B. Christians are to Rule. COGwriter (c) 2016. http://www.cogwriter.com/christians-rule.htm 2016 2018 2019 0113
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