Beyond our Imagination
“…and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5b).”
Images of our eternal existence are often laughable. We will not become angelic beings comfortably reclining on clouds as we play our harps. Yet while we can rightly criticize such descriptions, we have to admit that our own descriptions still fall far short of reality. Indeed, what we are told in the book of Revelation is often communicated by metaphors and images that are meant to tell us of things beyond our ability to comprehend. And this method is needed, since our frame of reference is bound by our sin-broken existence.
One of the most intriguing pictures of our eternal home is found in the passage noted above. What does it mean that we will reign forever and ever? This is not the only hint of our reign. In Daniel 7 we are told, “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever (verse 18)”. In Revelation 2:26-27, overcomers are promised to be given “authority over the nations.” Likewise, in 2 Timothy 2:12 Paul writes: “if we endure, we will also reign with him.” Finally, in Revelation 20:4 there is a more limited reign promised to the victorious saints as they will reign “with Christ for a thousand years.”
With allusions from Eden so common in these closing chapters of Revelation, we likely are right if we imagine that we will exercise authority over the new creation in a similar manner to how Adam was given dominion over the first creation. What exactly this might entail is beyond our imagination.
Richard Phillips creates a memorable difference between our existence now, and what we will be then, when he writes: “Sin made us slaves, but God intends to make us kings.” He then goes on to recall the beautiful ending of the C.S. Lewis book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. There Peter, Lucy, Susan and even Edmund, receive crowns from Aslan (the Christ figure in the story). What does all this mean? I confess I do not know; but surely what is promised to those who belong to Jesus is gloriously beyond our imagination good!