What does Scripture teach us about the reign of God? In times of uncertainty and tumult, this is perhaps one of the most important questions we can ponder. Pause with me for a moment to reflect on the following three truths about the reign of God:
1. God’s reign is perfect
The throne of God is one of holy splendor and majesty. Psalm 47:8 tells us, “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” Revelation 4 depicts “living creatures giv[ing] glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever.” In Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in Isaiah 6, the prophet wrote:
“I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’”
There is no question: God’s reign is perfect. In the new heavens and the new earth, “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal,” will flow “from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city” (Rev. 22:1).
These precious waters provide holistic flourishing. Verse 2 tells us that “on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month,” and that the “leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” The perfect throne of God not only prevents the presence of anything accursed, it issues forth healing and wholeness for the whole earth (v. 3). In this new city filled with life, the Lord’s servants will worship Him.
2. God’s reign is personal
The Mighty God of the universe who sits upon that perfect throne extends this offer of life to us.
But we must acknowledge that the throne depicted in Revelation 22 is the same throne spoken of in Revelation 20: the white throne from which God issues forth his perfect judgment based on what is found in the book of life.
As previously mentioned, no unclean thing may enter the presence of God. Jesus tells the crowds in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” And what does Christ say his response will be to those who will not enter? He tells us his words will be, “Depart from me; I never knew you.”
Rightly worshiping God is only possible through knowing and surrendering to the person of Jesus Christ.
In John 14:6 Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”Adam and Eve were cast from the garden, but God made a way for his elect to enter his holy city. He “shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Those whose robes are washed white by the blood of Jesus “may have the right to the tree of life,” and may “enter the city by the gates” (Rev. 22:14). In Christ alone will we find love, light, and everlasting life. We need to know Jesus. If we know him, he will know us, and “[we] will see his face, and his name will be on [our] foreheads” (v. 4).
3. God’s reign is perpetual
In a constantly changing world, our hearts long for steadiness; for the fulfillment of a promise.
When Christ returns, Satan will be cast down into the lake of fire and all evil will be consumed forever. Corruption will cease. The weeping and anguish of God’s people will be replaced by “the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns’” (Rev. 19:6).
I implore you to submit your attention, your affection, your everything to this King— a King whose reign is perfect, personal, and perpetual. It is for His glory and for your good.