About Jesus - Steve Sweetman

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Who Rules And When  - Genesis 1:28

I've heard it again.  Christians are to take authority in the name of Jesus and rule the world in this present age.  It's based on Genesis 1:28.  "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground (NIV).'"  Some people see the words "subdue" and "rule" in this verse and jump to a poor hermeneutical conclusion.   


Soon after creation God told Adam and Eve to subdue (kabash in Hebrew - to tread over) the earth (eriers in Hebrew - land).  He also told them to rule (radah in Hebrew - to tread and take dominion) the fish, birds, and animals.  God did not tell Adam, Eve, or Christians in Genesis 1:28 to rule the world, nations, or cultures.  He told Adam and Eve to be stewards of His creation.  


The first record of someone attempting to rule the world is Nimrod as seen in Genesis 11 at Babel.  God was not happy with Nimrod's aspirations of supremacy.  So, He brought Nimrod and Babel down in judgment.  Men and nations have defied God ever since by their systematic attempts to rule the world, and as Daniel 2:21 states, God eventually causes these men and nations to fall in disgrace. 


It's no coincidence that right after God judged Babel , in the very next chapter of Genesis, God chose Abram to be the father of a great nation from which the eventual real world ruler would arise.  This is seen in the Abrahamic Covenant which I have detailed at; http://stevesweetman.com/books2/AbrahamicCov.htm


In Exodus 18:14 and following, which Stephen quoted in Acts 7:37, God told Moses that an Israeli prophet would rise to Messianic supremacy.  God said that all must listen to Him.  This prediction was confirmed by all of the Old Testament prophets.  There's no debate here.  We all believe this Messianic prophet is Jesus. 


John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets.  When Jesus approached John to be baptized John said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)."  John's confession is important because when the Spirit of God rested on Jesus in baptism His job to take away the sins of the world, not rule the world, had begun.  He would rule the world at a later date.   


Jesus made no attempt to rule the world by overthrowing either Judeo or Roman society.  He told Pilate that His kingdom was from another world (John 18:36).  That's why His disciples would not fight to defend Him and His kingdom.  So, when the disciples asked Jesus if He would now restore the kingdom to Israel in Acts 1:6 He told them that it wasn't time for them to know when Israel's restoration would occur, which both Jesus and the disciples would have understood to include Jesus ruling the world.       


A brief reading of the book of Acts shows that the first generation believers had no thought of ruling the world.  For example, God didn't call Paul to Christianize the empire through political or cultural means.  Paul was to proclaim the name of Jesus to Gentile kings and to the people of Israel (Acts 9:15 - 16).  Paul, Peter, James, and all the rest made no attempt to rule the empire by Christianizing it.  Instead, they preached Jesus in the hope of Christianizing individual people.   


The notion that Christians are to rise up and rule the world in this present age is a product of 4th century pagan intrusion into Christianity.  From Constantine 's Christianizing of the empire, to the Holy Roman Empire 's conquests, to Protestant reformers overthrowing cities for Christ, to western cultural Christians colonizing the world, and to present day Dominion Theologians; all have ended and will end in disaster.        


Revelation 17:14 tells us that Jesus; the King of Kings will defeat the nations and establish His kingdom on earth.  Jesus won't Christianize the nations.  He will demolish them and replace them with His kingdom (Revelation 17 and 18).  "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah (Revelation 12:10 NIV)."  "The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15 NIV)."  Jesus is the only ultimate ruler of the world and when He returns to establish His kingdom on earth we as Christians will have a subordinate place of rule under His authority (2 Timothy 2:12).      


I don't discount the notion that God may call some of us to positions in government and culture.  I've had some involvement in the political arena both in America and Canada in the past.  That being said, Biblically and historically speaking, all nations oppose God to one degree or another.  It's our place as Christians to prophetically proclaim the gospel of Christ that includes the message of God's judgment on ungodly nations.  God uses our proclamation as a testimony against the ungodly nation that leads to its fall.  All nations have and will continue to rise and fall by the hand of God (Daniel 2:21) until the day comes when our Messianic King returns to rule the world.    


In Genesis 1:28 God told Adam and Eve to be good stewards of the earth, birds, fish, and animals.  God said nothing about Adam, Eve, or Christians, ruling the world.  Ruling was God's job back in Adam's day and it's His job today and into the future.


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