And they [the twenty-four elders] sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”Revelation 5:9-10
Since the Garden of Eden, it has been God’s intent that there would always be a group of people on earth who represent him to the rest of the world.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.”Genesis 1:26-28
The pinnacle of God’s plan was the enactment of his kingdom through Yeshua.
Matthew 4:17- From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
The Ellicott commentary clarifies the unusual language of Matthew 11:12:
The words describe the eager rush of the crowds of Galilee and Judaea, first to the preaching of the Baptist, and then to that of Jesus. It was, as it were, a city attacked on all sides by those who were eager to take possession of it.
Since that time, God’s kingdom has been growing, untiringly spreading throughout the world, as it had been prophesied by Daniel and Yeshua himself.
I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.Daniel 7:13-14
Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is less than all seeds; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.Matthew 13:31-32
The culmination of this eternal kingdom is described in the apocalyptic language of the book of Revelation.
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name [will be] on their foreheads. And there will no longer be [any] night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.Revelation 22:3-5
This corroborates with the vision presented to Daniel, hundreds of years before Messiah fulfilled the establishment of the kingdom.
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole sky, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.Daniel 7:27
The kingdom has been prophesied to be given to the people, and to be everlasting. In antiquity the role of priests was to be the intermediary between the people and God. In that sense, believers today fill this role analogously as they exhibit and demonstrate the patterns of God and share the torah/instruction of God with others.
For believers today, there are no actual priests or priestly sacrifices, because there is no longer a need for physical offerings and sacrifices; there is only one representative High Priest forever, Yeshua.
Though its foundations are well beyond this physical realm, the influence of the Kingdom of God is exerted and demonstrated in the lives of those here who are now submitted to God and his eternal throne. As his representatives, we reign on the earth when we seek first the kingdom and demonstrate righteous actions based on his word. When that happens, “there is no longer any night,” because “the Lord God illumines us.”
Believer, know yourself and your role in this place. When you are faithfully serving your Lord and Master, you are being a light in a dark place, and the kingdom of God can advance through your faithful example.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.