The TR text reads as shown. The MT and NU texts read have made them. See discussion concerning textual variants in the preceding verse.
kings and priests
The TR and MT texts read as shown. The NU text reads a kingdom of priests. A similar variation attends Revelation Rev. 1:6+ where the TR text reads as shown, but the MT text agrees with the NU text as shown here. See commentary on preceding verse. See commentary on Revelation 1:6. As priests, believers are ministers of the new covenantnot of the letter, but of the Spirit (2Cor. 2Cor. 3:6). They offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1Pe. 1Pe. 2:5) while proclaiming His praises (1Pe. 1Pe. 2:9). They minister to God as priests and share His reign as kings (Dan. Dan. 7:27; Rev. Rev. 2:26-27+; Rev. 3:21+; Rev. Rev. 20:6+). Though believers are currently viewed as a royal priesthood (1Pe. 1Pe. 2:5, 1Pe. 2:9; cf. Ex. Ex. 19:6), this is only preliminary to the fullness of the way they will function alongside Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.1 See commentary on Revelation 2:26, Revelation 3:21, and Revelation 20:6.
we shall reign on the earth
The TR text reads as shown. The MT and NU texts read they shall rule. See discussion concerning textual variants in the preceding verse. This is the same promise made earlier to the overcomer in Thyatira and Laodicea. The saints will be given power over the nations and will co-rule with Christ (Rev. Rev. 2:26-27+). They will sit with Him on His throne (Rev. Rev. 3:21+). They shall reign (future tense) on the earth in fulfillment of the familiar petition within the Lords Prayer: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mtt. Mat. 6:10). The rule will be upon His throne, not upon the throne of the Father where He currently is seated. This occurs at the Millennial Kingdom following His appearing (2Ti. 2Ti. 4:1; Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+). The psalm writer said, those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth [emphasis added] (Ps. Ps. 37:9). Jesus said, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth [emphasis added] (Mtt. Mat. 5:5). There is real, physical land involved in the redemption which pours forth from this book. The taking back of mans dominion over the earth which was lost by Adam (Gen. Gen. 1:26, Gen. 1:28), and the restoration of Israel to the Promised Land (Amos Amos 9:13-15).2 See commentary on Revelation 3:21. Some argue that a future earthly kingdom is out-of-step with the spiritual glories of the gospel. Yet it is completely in keeping with the promises found throughout the OT.
But strangely enough, some of the very men who are so scornful of the alleged materialism of a Millennial Kingdom, are the most insistent that the Church today must make effective in society what they call the social and moral ideals of the present kingdom of God. Thus, it is our duty to vote the right ticket politically, give to the Red Cross, help the Boy Scouts, support the United Nations, endow hospitals, etc. But if a spiritual kingdom can and should produce such effects at the present time through the very imperfect agency of sinful men, why cannot the same thing be true in larger measure in the coming age when the rule of God will be mediated more perfectly and powerfully through the Eternal Son personally present among men as the Mediatorial King? ... The reasoning of such men at times seems very curious. If physicians conquer disease, if scientists eliminate certain physical hazards, if by legislation governments improve the quality of human existence, if wise statesmen succeed in preventing a war, etc.,these things are often cited as evidence of the progress of a present Kingdom of God. But if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself returns to earth in person to accomplish these same things, more perfectly and universally, then we are told that such a kingdom would be carnal.3
Some people tell us that it is quite too low and coarse a thing to think of the earth in connection with the final bliss of the saints. They preach that we do but degrade and pervert the exalted things of holy Scripture, when we hint the declaration of the wise man, that the earth endureth forever, and that over it the glorious and everlasting kingdom of Christ and His saints, is to be established in literal reality. But if the ransomed in heaven, with golden crowns upon their brows, kneeling at the feet of the Lamb, before the very throne of God, and with the prayers of all the saints, and the predictions of all the prophets in their hands, could sing of it as one of the elements of their loftiest hopes and joys, I beg to turn a deaf ear to the surly cry of carnalsensualunspiritualwhich some would turn me from the blessed hope. Shall the saints in glory shout We shall reign on the earth, and we be accounted heretics for believing that they knew what they were saying?4
2 Concerning the land promises made to Israel, see: Gen. Gen. 15:7, Gen. 15:18; Gen. 26:4; Gen. 35:12; Ex. Ex. 3:8, Ex. 3:17; Ex. 6:4; Ex. 12:25; Ex. 13:5, Ex. 13:11; Ex. 32:13; Ex. 33:1; Deu. Deu. 1:8; Deu. 29:1, Deu. 29:9, Deu. 29:12; Deu. 30:1; Deu. 32:52; Jos. Jos. 21:43; Jos. 23:5; 1Chr. 1Chr. 16:18; 1Chr. 17:9; Ps. Ps. 105:11; Isa. Isa. 60:21; Jer. Jer. 11:5; Jer. 16:15; Eze. Eze. 37:14, Eze. 37:25; Amos Amos 9:15; Acts Acts 7:5.
4 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 119.