Your Life in Christ: From Shepherd to Monarch

Posted on May 28, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Called to Reign
Do you know that as a Christian you have been called to reign? There are a number of verses that confirm this. However, before you begin shopping for regal robes, remember that your reign will begin when Christ establishes His Millennial (1,000-year) Kingdom. For now, though, it is good to remember what you once were – a lonely, isolated shepherd.

This spiritual nugget is derived from 2 Kings Chapter 7, where God promises David an everlasting kingdom. This chapter is filled with messianic significance, but this is not our focus. Rather, I reference the opening sentence of God’s decree to David: “I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel” (2 Samuel 7:8).

It is as if God is saying, “David, I have made you a ruler of men and nations and have blessed you. However, always remember where you came from.” And it is crucial for you and me – as ones who will reign – to never forget our humble origins.

Shepherds
In biblical times, shepherding underwent various levels of social acceptance. During the days of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – shepherding was honorable. By King David’s day, shepherding had dropped a social notch or two, the “inheritance” of the youngest of the family (as in the case of David). By the time of Christ, the occupation had hit rock bottom, the bastion of the uneducated and untrained; a despised vocation often taken up by society’s dregs.

sheep

But one thing that never changed for shepherds was their difficult way of life. Shepherds were constantly on the move with irregular sleeping hours and always having to adapt to the changing seasons. Shepherds could rarely rest, ever on the lookout for wild animals and thieves. But more than anything, shepherds were lonely and isolated, their flocks their only companions; and they rarely mingled in public. In short, they were society’s outsiders.

You Were a Shepherd
Spiritually, you too were an “outsider.” Ephesians 2 says: “… remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” The phrase “without hope” is apt in describing unbelievers ­– including you before coming to Christ.

However, once accepting Christ, you became a cherished and integral part of God’s family:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

From the moment you received Christ, you became His “special possession” and “received mercy.” Mercy from what? From the penalty of unbelief in Christ – eternal damnation.

Wonderful stuff, and there’s more!

You Will Rule
There is coming a 1,000-year period when Christ will rule the earth. Isaiah 11 and Revelation 21 are the foremost chapters describing this Golden Age, though the Old Testament is rife with Millennial Kingdom passages. These references are crucial in proving that a Golden Age was always in the mind of God. Revelation 20:1-7 identifies the duration of this age (the term “thousand years” is mentioned six times).

The Millennial Kingdom will be populated by believers from the beginning of time who have received their immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53), i.e., those of the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5), and millions of mortals who will be born during this time and will live astonishingly long lives (Isaiah 65:20; Zechariah 8:4). How do we know there will be a multitude of mortals? Revelation 20:7-10 tells us that when the 1,000 years is over, Satan will be released from “the abyss” for a short time to lead the unsaved mortals in one final rebellion against God. These unsaved mortals are described in number as “like the sand on the seashore” (v. 8).

Before that, however, immortal believers will in some way rule over the mortal inhabitants. (Perhaps the saints will be given a town or city to govern.) Revelation 20:6 tells us (italic added): “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

The Apostle Paul also assures you of a future rulership: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:11-12). And Jesus says this: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne” (Revelation 3:21). And again, the “four living creatures” and “twenty-four elders” of Revelation 5:10 proclaim to Christ: “You have made them [believers] to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Lofty stuff indeed!

In the Meantime
It is clear you are not reigning now. However, as noted in 1 Peter 2:9, you are a priest. As such, you are called to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

You were once, spiritually speaking, a lonely, isolated, outcast shepherd. Later, you will reign. In the meantime, you are a priest of the Most High God.

May you – and all “current priests/future monarchs” – be found faithful in proclaiming the praises of a living Savior to a dying world!