The first words God spoke to man after creation were as follows: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Adam was thus given the commission to establish dominion over the whole earth. By implication we understand that the world was not created in such a way that Adam’s dominion was achieved automatically, but rather there was a task for him to accomplish. Along with this dominion mandate, God established a covenant with Adam. Adam was given dominion and the responsibility to obey God and particularly to not eat of the fruit of one tree.
After the covenant was broken and the privilege of dominion lost, the situation in the earth degenerated until God had to destroy the population of the earth through the great flood. Noah and his family emerged as the only survivors. Because of their obedience, God established a covenant with them never again to destroy the earth by a flood (Genesis 8;20-22;9:8-17). God also spoke to Noah and gave him the mandate to be fruitful , to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 9:17).
In the above verses where this mandate is repeated, there is the obvious omission of two words: subdue and rule. Man, as a result of the Fall, had then lost not only the privilege of dominion, but also the ability.
It was only as Jesus was made head over all rule and authority that He could reissue the dominion mandate to the Church. One of the last things Jesus said to those whom He had trained to lead the Church was: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations – teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, for lo I am with you always, even to the end of the ages” (Matthew 18:18-20).
The promised Holy Spirit was poured out forty days later on the Day of Pentecost. The Church was thus born in glorious fashion with people from every corner of the known world. Through the Church’s missionary endeavors the whole Mediterranean region and the Roman Empire heard the gospel and the seeds of revival were planted in Europe.
Through the Dark Ages, the world was dominated by the Antichrist religious system until the light of the gospel began to break forth in Europe. The fullest expression of the concept of dominion was the American experiment. There, Separatists and Puritans who fled for freedom of religious expression felt that through God’s providence they had a prophetic destiny to usher in the dominion of Christ on earth.
Their vision was to see the Bible as the root and foundation of every facet of life, including all traditions, minds, everything had to give glory to God. For almost two hundred years, culture , society, education, and government were founded upon principles reasoned from the scriptures.
A review of the early documents will show that they had a strong sense of covenant with God and providential destiny to establish the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. As America was brought under the dominion of Jesus Christ, from there they would “make disciples of the nations.”
Today many Christians hold to one of two views:
1. “Since Jesus could come back any day, why try to change society?” This “blocked” view reminds us of the tower of Babel where men were looking into the heavens, thus rejecting God’s mandate.
2. Many liberal thinkers have tried to change society through man’s ideas (humanism). Therefore they have rejected God’s Word as the basis of all social change.
If neither of these two views is the mandate given to God’s people, then what is our vision to be? God’s word simply says: BE FRUITFUL, MULTIPLY, FILL THE EARTH, RULE IT, SUBDUE IT! In other words, make disciples of all the nations, and teach them to obey everything that the Lord has commanded.
Immediately some will say, “But how can it be done? The task seems overwhelming.” The answer is again simple … All authority has been given to Jesus Christ and He is in us and will be with us until the end of the age!
It has been said that if you aim at nothing you will surely hit it. But if you set your heart upon the greatest challenge of all times and commit yourself to meet that challenge no matter what the cost, then you find yourself in the center of God’s greatest plan. You can become the channel of His power and authority in the earth!
Certainly God has looked for a generation that will give their hearts and minds totally to Him and accept His dominion mandate. Will you be a part of that generation?