A quick Bible search will immediately reveal how important, and prevalent, the theme of God’s reign is. Dozens and dozens of passages shed light and color onto the reality that “our God reigns” (Ps. 93:1)! With that said, I’ll admit I don’t find myself using the word reign all too often in my everyday life. Every once in a while we might hear a phenomenal athlete boast in how they rule the court or the field, and in Lebron James case, he has been deemed “the King”. But, let’s be honest, it would be weird if any of us walked around talking about how we “reign”, it’s just not a way that we talk about people very often in our modern day. Because of that, it can be helpful to look at what the Biblical authors meant when they said “God reigns”. What reality does the word “reign” actually carry with it?
To put it simply, the word reign is “the effective range of one’s will.” And in the biblical writers day, this was extremely common terminology because nations were ruled like kingdoms, and kings reigned over their kingdoms. So, to speak of a king's reign was to refer to the range of his effective will in that time and place. This is why it’s so powerful to consider passages like Revelation 11:15 which says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” With that definition of reign in mind, we see that Jesus Christ and his kingdom will one day completely overcome the “kingdom of the world” and he will reign forever and ever. This particular passage emphasizes the scope of time included in God’s effective will, which is “forever and ever”, for all of eternity! This passage and others like it remind us that God’s reign is unlike all other kings who have ever or will ever reign on earth, because all of those kings and kingdoms eventually come to an end. But God’s kingdom reign is different, it’s an “everlasting Kingdom” (Ps. 145:13), and it will have no end (Is. 9:7).
But, it’s not just time that God reigns over, His reign also includes all of creation and every living thing that exists. The Psalmist says it this way “... the Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness." The effective range of God’s will extends in time “forever and ever”, and also to all things and places as he “judges the word in righteousness”. To say it another way, there is no time or place that God’s kingdom reign will not cover. The effective range of God’s will covers the cosmos through all eternity. This is why the Prophets, the Psalmists, and the Storytellers of the Bible continually proclaim God reigns! It’s a beacon of good news in our dark world.
You and I, living in this moment in history, find ourselves in between the inauguration of God’s kingdom reign and it’s consummation. God’s eternal kingdom is here, it was established by Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection, but we also await its fullness. This means we can boldly proclaim God’s reign just like the biblical authors did, while we await its final coming. There is stability for each of us in the darkest nights of our soul as we trust God in the “now”, and hope in Him for our “future”. We can find our rest knowing that our King reigns “over the universe and every living heart” as this song declares. We can walk toward eternity knowing that our King, reigns now and forevermore, and to His kingdom alone there will be no end.