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REIGN - ran: The Hebrew word malekhuth, may be rendered "kinghood," "royal dignity," "kingdom," "government" ("reign"). The verb is malakh, "to be king" ("to reign as king"), "to become king," "to accede to the throne," "to assume royal power publicly" and, generally speaking, "to become powerful." In the New Testament hegemonia, basileia, basileuein. The word is used, either as a noun or as a verb, of Yahweh (God), the Messiah (Christ) and men (kings, etc.); then of such terms as sin, death, grace; of the woman in Revelation and, conditionally, of the Christians; once, ironically, of the Corinthians. "Reign" as a noun referring to the time of reigning occurs in 1 Ki 6:1 (Solomon); 2 Ki 24:12 (Nebuchadnezzar); 1 Ch 4:31 (David; compare 1 Ch 29:30); 2 Ch 36:20 ("until the reign of the kingdom of Persia"); Neh 12:22 (Darius); Est 2:16 (Ahasuerus); Lk 3:1 (Tiberius Caesar). More often occurs the verb "to reign," malakh, basileuein. It is applied to: (1) Yahweh at the close of the song of Moses (Ex 15:18); "Yahweh reigneth" (1 Ch 16:31; compare Ps 93:1; 96:10; 99:1; Rev 19:6); "God reigneth over the nations" (Ps 47:8); "Yahweh of hosts will reign in mount Zion" (Isa 24:23; compare Mic 4:7); "Thy God reigneth" (Isa 52:7); "Thou hast taken thy great power and didst reign" (Rev 11:17, meaning probably "thou didst assume thy might"); (2) the Messiah (Christ) as a just and righteous king (Jer 23:5); an eternal king (Lk 1:33; compare Rev 11:15); punishing and subduing His enemies (Lk 19:14,27; 1 Cor 15:25).

(3) Men (kings, etc.), in regard to the source of their power ("By me (i.e. the wisdom of God), kings reign" (Prov 8:15)); respecting legitimate succession (2 Ch 23:3); meaning "to have power or dominion" (Gen 37:8 and Job 34:30); in regard to an essential characteristic (Isa 32:1); in connection with the covenant of Yahweh with David (Jer 33:21); then the word is used in 1 Sam 12:12, where Samuel reminds the children of Israel of their demanding a king of him (compare verse 14); of Saul (1 Sam 13:1; compare 11:12); of Saul's son Ish-bosheth (2 Sam 2:10); of David (2 Sam 5:4 f; compare 3:21); of Adonijah (1 Ki 1:11,24; compare 2:15); of Solomon (1 Ki 1:13); quite frequently of the kings of Judah and Israel (in the Books of Kings and Chronicles); of the kings of Edom (Gen 36:31); of Jabin, king of Canaan, in Razor (Jdg 4:2); of Abimelech, Jerubbaal's son, in Jotham's fable (Jdg 9:8-15); of Hanun, king of the Ammonites (2 Sam 10:1); of Rezon and his men in Damascus (1 Ki 11:24); of Hazael and Ben-hadad, kings of Syria (2 Ki 8:15 and 13:24); of Esar-haddon, king of Assyria (2 Ki 19:37); of Ahasuerus, king of Persia (Est 1:1); of Archelaus (Mt 2:22).

(4) In the New Testament the term basileuein, "to reign," is used to illustrate and emphasize the power of sin, death and grace (Rom 5:14,17,21 and 6:12). Sin, the vitiating mental factor, is to be looked upon as being constantly and resolutely bent on maintaining or regaining its hold upon man, its power being exercised and reinforced by the lusts of the body. Death, the logical outcome of sin, at once testifies to the power of sin and its inherent corruption, while grace is the restoring spiritual factor following up and combating everywhere and always the pernicious influence of sin. It strives to dethrone sin, and to establish itself in man as the only dominating force. (5) In describing the future glorious state of the believers, the New Testament uses the expression of those who endure (in faith; compare 2 Tim 2:12); of those `purchased unto God with the blood of the Lamb' (Rev 5:10); of those partaking in the first resurrection (Rev 20:6); of the servants of God, "they shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev 22:5); on the other hand, it teaches us not to anticipate the privileges of heaven, while our Christian life is anything but satisfactory (1 Cor 4:8), and Rev 17:18 shows us the terrible fate of the woman, the great city (the corrupt church), "which reigneth over the kings of the earth."

See further KING, KINGDOM.

William Baur

Also see definition of "Reign" in Word Study

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