Authority in Christ
We continue our study with Revelation 1:6
To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Throughout this revelation Jesus is referred to as “The Lamb,” implying that this will be His primary title forever. He is the King of kings and above all rule and authority and dominion, but it is understandable that His highest title is “The Lamb of God.” His sacrifice for our redemption is the greatest revelation of God that will ever be. This will be the marvel of creation for eternity.
In connection to the love of God that redeemed us, He made us “kings and priests.”This speaks of His people being called to civil as well as spiritual authority. In Jesus, the authority of the king, the seat of David, merged with the priesthood, just as Jesus is the King of kings and the High Priest. Those in His body on earth are likewise called to both spiritual and administrative authority.
In Christ there is no separation of church and state, but there is a difference between the civil authority of this age and the kingdom. Some translations read that Jesus said that His kingdom was “not of this world,” but He literally said it was not of this “age”— His civil authority is not like the authority being exercised in this age. Christ’s authority is higher than all rule, power, and dominion in this age and the age(s) to come. If we are called to have authority in this age, we should understand how it differs from what is to come and apply the Lord’s higher authority as we are able.
This subject deserves more investigation than we have space for here, but we are called to influence all realms as salt and light. We do this by exercising authority in Jesus’ name, but we do not expect His full authority, His kingdom, to come until the King comes. Until then we prepare the way for Him by “building a highway,” according to Isaiah 40. This highway is God’s higher-way.
Church history has many examples of how the church misused their spiritual and civil authority, but this was predicted in Revelation. By seeing how this was predicted and fulfilled, we can understand how the “man of sin” entered the temple of God, declaring itself as God and usurping Christ’s rightful place. By this we can understand how the antichrist is not just against Christ, but seeks to be His substitute—the ultimate counterfeit. We can see this rooted in the wrong use of authority.
In this way, the “man of sin,” the ultimate revelation of the “sin of man,” is the essence of the maturity of evil in fallen man. This is a revelation of what we would all be without Christ, making this one of the greatest revelations of God’s unfathomable grace. It also reveals how desperately we need that grace only found in Christ.
Every human problem is the result of mankind thinking they could run the world without God. The answer is to acknowledge that we need God and turn back to Him. The man of sin will ultimately work for good as an ultimate manifestation of the evil in all, showing us how desperately we need Christ and His kingdom to come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Of course, we want to apply this revelation to our own lives and churches now. By doing this, we each help prepare the way for the coming King.