Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. You know those names well. They are, of course, the children from C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. In Narnia the wicked witch has made it always winter but never Christmas.
The four of them, as Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, are meant to rule and reign in Narnia, to bring the rule of Aslan back to a cursed land. This quest involves bravery, battle, faithfulness, and, of course, growth in their character.
Who are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy meant to represent? You and me! You and I are meant to bring the rule and reign of the king to a cursed land. Not only are you to pray thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, but you have the privilege of being a small answer to that prayer.
What we find is from Genesis to Revelation, God’s all-encompassing call on men and women is to rule and reign. This is part of being made in God’s image. If you are an image bearer you are a ruler. And if you are ruler, you are to rule well.
Let’s look at the broad biblical evidence for this assertion.
When the Lord made Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden, he set them up as his representatives or governors. They ruled and governed underneath and in place of God. We can see this clearly in the opening verses of the Bible.
- Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
- The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it…Genesis 2:15 ESV
Did you catch the many references to ruling? Adam and Eve were God’s representatives given rule over this new world that God created. For example, God delegated the authority to name the animals to Adam (Genesis 2:19).
We are his representatives and rulers. You and I are servant kings and queens over the earth. As a Christian, you relate to God as a son or daughter and to creation as a servant-ruler. All of us, every man and woman has been given a mandate to cultivate, build, create, and protect while overseeing this realm.
We know, of course, that Adam and Eve did not obey the Lord. It is hard to grasp the magnitude of their disobedience. Adam and Eve, who were God’s son and daughter, betrayed their father. They were the original king and queen and committed cosmic treason. Their disobedience was a painful betrayal, a sin, and a crime. Their realm felt the effect of this betrayal. Paradise was lost. Though the command to rule still remained for them, now it would be over a world filled with conflict, pain, suffering, and death.
The New King
Instead of abandoning us, God sent us a second Adam—Jesus. His own son would enter the world and die an atoning death. When he was raised from the dead, the Suffering-King became the Reigning-King.
Think of it! Jesus is not only our Savior. He is our Lord. The prophetic hope of the Old Testament was a new king from David’s line. This king would govern and “the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
That is what Jesus is doing now! He is reigning from heaven. Scripture tells us, “For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). One day “the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord” (Revelation 11:15). Then Jesus will reign in the New Heavens and New Earth with his people forever and ever. His kingdom will have come. We will have the presence of the King and the rule of the King that bring the blessings of the King. Maranatha!
Ruling with His Bride
If Jesus, as the second Adam, is ruling and reigning from heaven right now, then who is his bride? The answer of course is his church! We are made to rule with him now and for all eternity. We see this idea of believers reigning forever all throughout the New Testament.
- For if we died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him…2 Timothy 2:11
- You made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 5:10
- And the night will be no more. They will need no light or lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:5
Our eternal existence will not involve floating in the clouds with a harp. It will involve a glorified restoration of what it means to be made in God’s image. We will have oversight and ruling. Wayne Grudem observes, “[The] ideal life for human beings is not one of perpetual inactivity and laziness—on a tropical island, for example—but one of meaningful, productive activity filled with some kind of work that is pleasing to God.”
Understanding this eternal trajectory helps us understand what God is doing in us and through us right now. He is training us for that eternal rule with small assignments on earth. Jesus made this clear when he taught of the parable of the minas (Luke 19:11-28). The servants were to rule well over his money until the master returned and were rewarded with the reward of ruling over cities. The reward for faithfulness is greater service unhindered by sin. We, too, are to rule well over the areas God has assigned to us. Part of growing in holiness to be like Jesus includes learning to rule and manage well.
Have you thought of learning to parent as learning to rule? Have you considered that as you create a family and create a home, God is giving you a little realm to rule underneath him? By entrusting you with little disciples, he is giving you the responsibility to disciple them. Are you stewarding that privilege well?
All of us are like Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, meant to rule and reign now and in eternity.