Then Jesus says to him, "Return your sword into its place; for all those having taken the sword, will perish by the sword." - Matthew 26:52 Berean Literal Bible
ominionism is a doctrine, and even a movement, which claims that Christians are to take dominion of the earth before the
return of Jesus Christ. And his return is dependent upon the success of the church doing so. But is this ideology biblical, or heretical? Should we take dominion? Well, as always, we need to define what dominion is, and then be good Bereans by searching the scriptures to see if what the dominionists say, is really so.
What is "dominion"?
I'll start with the secular dictionary, and then move onto the Bible definitions.
Dominion /deh'minyehn/ n. 1. Sovereignty; control. 2. The territory of a sovereign, or government. 3. Another word for domination.
Dominion /deh'minyehn/ v. The power to rule over, or control a nation, territory, governemtn, or region.
In the Bible, there are nine Hebrew words for dominion. NINE! Each word has a different nuance of the same English definition. I won't list them all here, as it is tedious and I'm feeling lazy, please forgive me. In that list, I found an inseresting word: ba'al, which has to do with the dominion of a husband over his wife. That is not something many modern western women are keen on. But ba'al is also a reference to false gods. When one studies "the ba'als" one finds that they are the husband of a consort, or female god; so the marital relation is still present. I have no idea why that took my fancy, maybe it will play out later as being important.
World Conquerers For Christ?
In The Beginning
It appears that God intended radah to be used by man in order to subdue the earth, and it's resources, and creatures, but not for use upon other people. Even so, do we really think God wants us to subdue and subject his creation in harshness? I don't think so. The LORD God was, is, and has always been meant to be our "radah" type of king, and he is a very good king. But from the time since the first sin in the garden, whenever a man has taken on radah, either bestowed upon him by God, or taken up by himself, it has never ended well. Nothing has changed much, we still see this happen even now. While the LORD God rules his creation well, in perfect radah; human beings simply cannot rule over others without abusing any kind of dominion, including ba'al, much less radah.
The LORD God also made a covenant with Noah, and the earth that he would never again destroy the earth, or its inhabitants with a world wide flood, ever again. It didn't take long for Ham to reveal his sinful nature, and the first curse after the fresh start was dished out. Ham's linage is credited as siring Nimrod, a mighty hunter, or a rebel, against the LORD. He got the people to do his bidding and disobey God's order to disperse, and they even built a waterproof tower toward heaven in an attempt to make war with the Almighty. How else does a mighty hunter before the LORD make a name for himself? So much for the possibility of a godly theocracy under Noah. God's sentence for such behavior? -- different languages that caused them to disperse and abandon their lofty goal for a much later time.
Dominion In Israel
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee."
As we can see, sin is still a hinderence to the proper use of radah, and as the story goes, we see how foolish Rehoboam went against the wise counsel of his father's old men, and went with the evil counsel of his young men instead; telling the people that his reign would be even more oppressive than his father's. Well, that didn't go over very well, but this was of the LORD's doing, so that some of his prophesies about Israel would come to pass. Here again, radah, in the hands of men, didn't work out very well for those under its heavy yoke. Well, it's pretty clear that men can't handle the radah of kingship, what about ecclesiasticl radah?
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule (radah) by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? Jeremiah 5:31
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds; "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled (radah) them. Ezekiel 34:1-4
He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Zechariah 4:2 NIV
Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left." Zechariah 4:3 NIV
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 NIV
The LORD said in Zechariah, that the temple will be built, but it will not be by human might (chayil H2428) found in armies bearing swords, nor by human power (koach H3581) of wealth and substance, but by his Spirit, whose power far exceeds any and all human capabilities. No man would be able to say that the LORD's temple was built thanks to merely human means, but rather by God's miraculous and spiritual means. But wait a minute, we know that the second temple was built by Israeli men that were funded by the Medeo/Persian kings, and under their protection, and they succeeded in their task despite the attempts of the Samaritan rabble who tried to stop it. Even though the rebuilding of the second temple happened, according to how God worded this verse to Zechariah, there is more to this prophecy than meets the eye. In order to fully meet the critieria in the Zechariah vision, this had to be a future prophecy of the New Testament temple, or the body of Christ, not just the rebuilding of the Old Testament second temple!
“However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest? Acts 7:48-49
The Lord Jesus' Dominion
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; he is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:9-10 NIV
Well, he is the conquering Messiah, just not in the way the Jews wanted. Jesus' primary mission was to conquer the power of sin and death in order to bring us near to God by his shed blood. What accomplishment is greater than that? Those that love this world, and give the LORD their lip service, they are the ones who primarily desire a valiant warrior king, mounted on his fiery steed, with sword flashing, and bloody heads rolling. How many times must we hear that God's ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, before we get it? All that blood and gore will come soon enough, in its appointed time, and not before, thank God!
We should be careful of being desirous of God's justice instead of his mercy, especially since we might unwittingly find ourselves on the receiving end of his terrible and swift sword. The obvious lesson here is that Jesus will set up his kingdom when he comes back at his appointed time, like the prophecy that the Lord read from Isaiah 61 in Capernium, about three years before his triumphant ride into Jerusalem, when they tried to hurl him off of the brow of a hill for claiming to have fulfilled it. The appointed time for the fulfilling of the second part of that prophecy is not dependent upon us; whether or not we evangelize the world, or conquer it for Christ. It is already set, just as the times of his birth, death, and resurrection were already set.
Dominion in the New Testament
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all goodness and dignity. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over G2634 them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Matthew 20:25 - 27
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over ( G2634 ) God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:1-4
strength (1x), mighty (with G2596) (1x).
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power G2904 of death, that is, the devil; Hebrews 2:14
To him be glory and dominion G2904 for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:11
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion G2904 and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude I:25
If history shows us anything, it's that it repeats itself, because few of us ever really learn from it. Abraham's faith in God's promises didn't require militant conquest. God has said many times, and in many places that when Jesus comes back, he will set up his own kingdom, and he will rule with a rod of iron, and his kingdom will never come to an end! Does his plan involve us enforcing the law of Moses on the unsaved so Jesus can come back? No! No! No! No!
After Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and promised to return in all his glory, we see the Catholic Popes that tried to conquer the world by sword for Christ-- they failed. Mohammed tried to conquer the world for his false god, Allah -- he failed. Calvin tried it in Geneva -- he failed! Joel's Army, Manifest Son's of God, and the Salvation Army, they have all tried and failed! The latest repackaged attempt at Christian dominion is the Seven Mountains diatribe being dolled out by one, Lance Wallnau. It too, will ultimately fail, but not in the way we are accustomed regarding this kind of presumptuous teaching. Only in bringing the real Jesus to earth will it fail, but it will actually succeed in fooling millions upon millions of make-believe "Christians" to accept the Anti-Christ's mark of the beast. This is the only militant theocracy that will briefly succeed, according to the New Testament, prior to Jesus' very public second coming in the clouds. Well, I guess in a way, all of those failed theocracies were successful in duping the masses to follow the sword to their eternal doom, too.