Important Addendum to “And They Will Reign Upon the Earth” (Rev 5:10)Various
In my recent post, titled, “And They Will Reign Upon the Earth” (Rev 5:10), I noted under the “present-reality” view that, since Christ has already made His followers to be a kingdom, there is a very real sense in which Christians reign on this earth right now. What was future when Christ went to the cross as the slain Lamb is no longer future to us after his death and resurrection. We have by his triumph been granted victory already, which we experience right now. The passage in Rom 8:35-37 bears this out. We are – right at this present time – more than conquerors, even in the midst of the difficult circumstances described there that we may face (peril, nakedness, sword, etc.).
Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
I’d like our readers to consider an important addendum to my previous post. Some of the most reliable Greek manuscripts actually have the present tense, “They (now) reign upon the earth,” rather than the future tense, “They will reign upon the earth.” The difference between the two readings is just in the presence or absence of one letter, a sigma, which marks the future tense. So the present tense word is basileuousin, “they reign,” and the future (with the extra sigma) is basileusousin, “they will reign.” The manuscript evidence is rather equally weighted between the two. God’s word is inspired, God-breathed, and without error. The same cannot be said of human copyists!
basileuousin – present tense
basileusousin – future tense
In other words, it is just as likely that the autograph, the original text of Rev 5:10, read, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they reign upon the earth.” Perhaps a copyist mistakenly added the extra sigma and changed the word to future tense. Of course, it could have worked the opposite way instead; the original future tense term may have been altered to the present if that sigma was dropped. However, it’s at least well worth considering that the present-tense verb rather than the future-tense verb was that which God originally inspired.