A handbook for kings and a manual for slaves

The Bible is a book for ruling the world, and thus for serving in the world.

This service and rule involves being evaluated by the King of kings. This evaluation has been misunderstood so that people commonly think the Bible is a book about “salvation” or about “going to heaven.”

But it is not.

The Bible begins and ends with rule:

    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 ESV).

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4 ESV).

The Bible begins in Genesis with Adam grasping at wisdom, realizing he was naked, and losing his kingdom (Genesis 3). And Genesis ends with Joseph, showing true wisdom (41.39), receiving royal clothes (41.42), and being made a father to Pharaoh (45.8).

Of course, Joseph only arrives in his office by serving as a slave, and even unjustly being robbed of his clothing (37.23; 39.12-13).

(This indicates, by the way, that Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness means that they had not yet been fully granted the office promised to them. They were to take dominion in some fashion and wait for God to clothe them with regal glory.)

It is in Jesus that humanity truly serves as he ought and is made true King. This was prophesied in many place, such as Psalm 2:

I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
(Psalm 2:7-9 ESV)

But Jesus does not rule without us.

Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father (Revelation 2:25-27 ESV).

It is even in the heart of Paul’s letter to the Romans:

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ  (Romans 5:17 ESV).

The Bible is about ruling the world. The first King gave his kingdom to Death, and the Last King takes it back and gives it to us with Him.

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