BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26 New King James Version).
A very important phrase in that scripture is “let them have dominion.” God created man to have dominion over the works of His hand. Verse 28 says, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (New King James Version). We see again that word dominion. According to that scripture, God blessed man, and among other things, gave man the mandate to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the earth.
Dominion is for human beings alone
If we compare Genesis 1:26 & 28 with Genesis 1:22, we see, clearly, the difference between how God relates with man and how He relates with the other creatures. “And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’” (Genesis 1:22 New King James Version). God blessed the sea creatures and the birds, too, but they were only to be fruitful and multiply – they were not given dominion; only man was empowered to have dominion.
Again, in Genesis 8:17, we see God permitting other creatures to abound, be fruitful and multiply, but He didn’t give them dominion. “Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth’” (Genesis 8:17 New King James Version).
God has dominion over all things that He created. His dominion is over all the earth and all that is on the earth, under the earth and in heaven. His dominion is everlasting (Psalms 103:22,145:13; Daniel 4:3, 34, 7:13-14; 1Peter 4:11, 5:11; Revelation 1:6). Man is to exercise dominion over all the works of God’s hands. “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6 New King James Version).
Adam exercised dominion
Unlike the other creatures of God, God created man in His own image and delegated His dominion to man so that man can act on His behalf on the earth. Psalm 82:6 says, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High” (New King James Version). In John 10:34, Jesus Christ referred to this scripture when he said, “Is it not written in your law, I said, ‘You are gods?’” (New King James Version)
God made man just a little lower than Himself and put man on the earth to act on His behalf. That was what He put Adam in the Garden of Eden to do. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 New King James Version). That is why Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (New King James Version). God has given man the mandate to exercise dominion on His behalf on the earth.
Adam was exercising dominion together with his wife, Eve, until they sinned. None of the creatures of God refused or resisted Adam. All of them submitted to him because he was living in dominion. Then, God commanded man to be eating only herbs and trees that yielded seeds, and not other creatures. The animals, birds and fish were given to man in addition as food only after the flood (Genesis 1:29, 9:1-3). Therefore, the animals, birds and fish didn’t have to fear Adam then that he would kill them and eat! But declaring them as food for man after the flood, God said, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand” (Genesis 9:2 New King James Version).
Thus, Adam named every creature, and whatever name Adam called each that was what it started bearing. “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field…” (Genesis 2:19-20 New King James Version). He was their master. God didn’t name the animals; He brought them to Adam to name. He did that because He had delegated dominion on the earth to man. It will be wrong to give a man a position and deny him the authority or power to function. Authority goes with responsibility and accountability. God gave the earth to man to exercise dominion on His behalf.
What is Dominion?
God has created you to live in dominion. The word dominion in Genesis 1:26, 28 is radah (raw-daw) in Hebrew, and it means “to rule, to have dominion, to dominate, to tread down.” To have dominion means to be the master. “Then God said, ‘Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life… (Genesis 1:26 New Living Translation). To have dominion means to be “responsible for” (The Message).
In Psalm 8:6, the Hebrew word translated dominion is mashal (maw-shal). “You have made him to have dominion [maw-shal] over the works of Your hands” (Psalm 8:6a New King James Version). Mashal means “to rule, to have dominion, to reign.” There are other Hebrew words translated dominion apart from the two I’ve mentioned.
Considering those two Hebrew words ‘radah’ and ‘mashal’, we can appreciate what God meant when He said, “have dominion.” God wants you to subjugate, prevail against, reign, rule and govern on earth. He wants you to be responsible for the management of His creation – the earth – on His behalf.
God’s idea of dominion is not that of man having dominion over fellow human beings. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28 New King James Version).
Paul says something on dominion in this regard in 2 Corinthians 1:24: “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand” (New King James Version). God’s dominion mandate given to man is not to lord it over fellow human beings though He instituted government for the purpose of maintaining order and peace, and everyone is to obey government and submit to it (Romans 13:1-6; Titus 3:1).
Man’s dominion is over other creatures of God. In Genesis 9, after the flood, God, in blessing Noah and his sons, told them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (verse 1 New King James Version). God didn’t add, “have dominion” But I believe what God did in the verses immediately following that statement was an explanation of the dominion mandate. God said, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man” (Genesis 9:2-5 New King James Version). This is dominion in action! Man’s dominion is to be on all other creatures of God. Man is to be fully in charge and act responsibly.
Unfortunately, man lost dominion in the Garden of Eden because of sin. However, through Jesus, the former dominion has been restored to man. Alleluia! Micah 4:8 (New King James Version) talks about the former dominion being restored to Jerusalem.
The first Adam was a living person but the last Adam (Jesus Christ) is a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). The dominion Adam lost, Jesus has restored to us in greater dimension. Our dominion today is more than dominion over the animals, fish, birds and the whole earth.
Types of Dominion
1. Dominion over other creatures of God. We have already seen in Genesis 1:26, 28 that God gave man dominion over the animals, fish, birds, cattle, all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And as I said previously, the word dominion in Genesis 1:26, 28 is radah (raw-daw) in Hebrew, which means “to rule, to have dominion, to dominate, to tread down.” It also means to be the master.
You’ll recall that I also said that the dominion God gave man at creation which Adam lost has been restored by Jesus in greater dimension. The dominion a Christian has now is much more than the dominion over other creatures of God. These other dimensions of dominion are considered below.
2. Dominion over sin – We have dominion (rule) over sin that made Adam lose the former dominion. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (New King James Version). If sin shall not have dominion over us, it means we shall have dominion over sin by the help of the life-giving Spirit of God. Sin can only rule over a child of God by his permission. Don’t permit the dominion of sin over you.
3. Dominion over death – Jesus had (and still has) dominion (rule) over death. Because of the death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection, death does not have dominion over Jesus, and, invariably, death does not have dominion (rule) over everyone who believes in Jesus.
Every child of God has dominion over death. A child of God does not really die; he transits to glory; he relocates to heaven. That is why we should not mourn like non-believers when a child of God sleeps in Christ. Our loss on earth is heaven’s gain. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (New King James Version).
There is resurrection after death, and we shall live with Jesus forever. “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:8-11 New King James Version).
4. Dominion over every other dominion – In Jesus Christ, every child of God is above every other dominion (ruler or leader) because Jesus is seated at the right hand of God far above all principality and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Ephesians 1:20-23). Verses 22-23 say, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (New King James Version). God has put everything under the feet of Jesus, and invariably under the feet of every child of God. You have nothing to fear. You are in charge by the reason of dominion. Glory to God!
Where Jesus is sitting, that’s where you’re sitting. What Jesus is sitting far above, you are also sitting far above. God has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 New King James Version).There is no reason for any child of God to be afraid of any demonic power because every other power is subject to the power of Jesus, and the name of Jesus is above every other name. Alleluia!
In Luke 9:1-2, Jesus gave to the twelve disciples, power and authority over all demons; and, to cure diseases, to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. Mark 6:7 says, “And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits” (New King James Version). Matthew 10:1 says a similar thing: “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (New King James Version). That is part of the dominion mandate – the power to work signs and wonders; the power to do miracles, heal the sick, deliver the oppressed and set the captives free, the power to undo all the works of the devil.
In Luke 10:17-20, the seventy disciples returned with the testimony that the devils were subject to them through the name of Jesus, and Jesus restated that he had given them power to tread upon scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt them. They were to live in dominion.
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus also gave everyone who will believe in him power to cast out devils in his name and do other things. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18 King James Version). By that, Jesus was talking about empowering those who believe in his name to have dominion over the forces of evil. This mandate is not for some special Christians. Every child of God has the authority to exercise this mandate. God wants all His children to live in or walk in dominion.
How to live in dominion
i. Have a revealed knowledge of who you are in Christ – It takes a revelation knowledge of who you are in Christ to live in dominion. A child of God who does not know what the death and resurrection of Christ have accomplished for him will live a life far from dominion. Satan, though already defeated, will continue to harass him when Satan is supposed to be under his feet. Such Christians will need to pray that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18).
ii. Daily expose your mind to the Word of God – A child of God who will live in dominion must have his mind daily renewed with the Word of God so that he can think like God, see himself exactly the way God sees him in His Word, talk the Word and act in accordance with the Word. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 New King James Version). The exposure of the mind of a Christian to the Word of God will cause the renewal of his mind which will lead to his transformation.
iii. Walk by faith – Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). You must not live by fear if you want to live in dominion. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (NLT).
You cannot live in dominion without acting in faith, and you cannot act in faith without speaking the Word of God out boldly. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Romans 11:3 New King James Version). David confronted Goliath by faith and he spoke what he believed both to Saul (1 Samuel 17:32-37) and particularly to Goliath, and God honoured David’s faith.
Hear David’s confession of his faith in God to deliver Goliath into his hand: “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 New King James Version). God would not have given David victory if he had not declared boldly and publicly his faith in Him to give him victory. Indeed, God is looking for those He will show himself strong on their behalf (2 Chronicles 6:9). Faith in God makes you please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
You need the Word of God in your mouth to frame your own world. Quoting Psalm 116:10, Paul said, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13 New King James Version).
You must act on the Word of God believing that the Word will do what God says it will do. “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11 New King James Version).
You must speak fearlessly the Word of God. You must speak as you are moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). You must say with boldness the Word of God to every contrary situation and bring them under divine control. You must speak the change you desire. Faith speaks what it believes. In Matthew 21:19, Jesus said to the fig tree, a plant created by God and under man’s dominion: “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” And the Bible says, “Immediately the fig tree withered away.” How did this happen? By faith! Jesus spoke in faith. See what Jesus told his disciples who were wondering why the fig tree withered just by speaking to it. “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (verses 21-22 New King James Version).
In Mark 4, Jesus, by faith, exercised dominion over the wind and calmed it. He spoke the Word and it was so. “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” (Mark 4:39-41 New King James Version).
The centurion exercised what Jesus described as a great faith that he had not seen in all Israel (Matthew 8:10). He demonstrated his faith by telling Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (verses 8-9 New King James Version).
Live by faith; don’t live by fear. Have faith in the Word of God. Like silver, His Word is purified in fire seven times (Psalm 12:6). It cannot fail! Declare His Word boldly if you must live a life of dominion. Act in faith. If the apostles did not act in faith, we will not have the book of Acts of the Apostles today. Set aside your ego – the shame you think you would undergo in case the Word doesn’t work. It’s not about you; it’s about God. He must increase and you must decrease (John 3:30). You must die first before you will bear fruits. “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone — a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels — a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24 New Living Translation). Have faith in God.
Conclusion: Beloved, it’s time to live a life of dominion. You have been raised from the dead along with Christ, and you are seated with him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) where he is seated far above all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named, in this world and in the world to come (Ephesians 1:21). Verse 22 says, “And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church” (New Living Translation). As part of the church of Jesus, exercise dominion by the authority given to Jesus for your benefit. Live in dominion.
If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. Please, forgive me my sins. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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