Pages Navigation Menu

Dominion

Dominion is a very misunderstood word. It involves legitimate ownership and legitimate authority to control. To take dominion is to exercise these prerogatives. It is to take possession of and exercise control over something one legitimately owns and has authority to control. The key questions here are what is legitimate ownership and authority?

Since God created all things, all things belong to God and are His to do with as He wills. Any legitimate human ownership or authority can only come as a dispensation from God and is subject to being rescinded by Him. Back at the beginning of history, God gave man the authority to take dominion over the whole world (Gen. 1:26, 28; Psalm 8:6). We learn later that this was not absolute authority, which belongs to God alone, but was limited by His word. Dominion was to be exercised by all men over all things in accordance with God’s law-word. After Adam sinned, he retained possession and control over much of the earth but he lost true dominion. He violated the conditions God set on his dominion over the earth and it was taken away from him. His dispossession from Eden signified his loss of dominion.

Christ, as the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), is the only possessor of true dominion today (Eph. 1:21; 1 Pet. 4:11, 5:11; Rev. 1:6). The members of His body, all the regenerate, may exercise dominion in His name. All others may exercise control and have possession of things but not dominion. Their possession and control are, in God’s eyes, illegitimate and temporary. They may have writs or receipts of ownership but these are all human documents that do not have God’s stamp of approval. All dominion, that is all authority and ownership of any kind, is only legitimately exercised in obedience to God’s commandments. All legitimate dominion then, belongs to Christians, those that believe and obey God. Jesus, near the end of His time on earth, very explicitly instructed Christians to do what Adam and his descendants failed to do, to take dominion over the earth (Matt. 28:18-20).

Obedience to this Great Commission means that all property and rule must be transferred from the hands of unbelievers to believers. This, of course, cannot be accomplished through ungodly means; obedience to God’s laws is always required. This transfer can take place through conversion, inheritance or other lawful activity. It cannot be through confiscation, force or any unlawful means. The Gospel is the spear point of this task but it is not the totality of it. The cultures and the laws of the nations need to be brought into conformance with God’s law. Christians need to understand that they are responsible to bring this about (Matt. 6:33). It cannot be left to pastors and missionaries; they are the keepers and teachers of the word; lay Christians are the doers and appliers.

The current world situation then, is out of kilter. Very little possession or control is now in the hands of obedient men. Christ gave us the Great Commission 2,000 years ago. Christians should have taken dominion of the earth by now but for a variety of reasons have not done so. Today the opposite is taking place; the past century or two has seen a particularly acute shift of dominion from Christians to unbelievers. This trend needs to be halted and reversed. It is time for Christians to wake up and get busy with the work the Lord gave them to do.

Because dominion must be exercised in terms of God’s law, Christians need to study to acquire a depth of knowledge of God’s laws and just how they apply to society. Only then will they be prepared to take dominion over the earth and fulfil the Lord’s Great Commission.