From the Desk of the Associate: Dominion and Dynasty, a summary of the promises of God

A couple years ago I was at a men’s retreat and I overheard a couple of other pastors talking about a book that they had read for a seminary assignment. The contents of this book intrigued me so I did what any other pastor would do, I bought the book and placed it on my “to read list.” The book was Dominion and Dynasty by Stephen Dempster. Well as I have slowly begun to make my way through this book I was amazed to see some of the main themes of the Bible laid out in the first chapters of Genesis and repeated many times after. Those two themes are these, first, God has prepared and promised a dominion for his people. That is, God has planned to give his people a place to rule. The second theme is this, God has designed his people to have a dynasty through the act of reproduction.

I’ll try to show you from Scripture that this is the case by opening to the book of Genesis. In chapter 1 we see that God creates the world and that He creates it for some very special inhabitants. God says in Genesis 1:26-28 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” We can clearly see that God has created a place for his people to rule over. Where is that place? Initially it was the whole earth. God designed man to have rule over the earth and He designed earth to be ruled over by His image bearers. But what about the second promise? That is only slightly less obvious but if we look close we can see it. God commands His image bearers to reproduce and He has placed within their bodies the ability to reproduce more image bearers.

Any observer of the Bible knows that quickly after God’s initial act of creation and His commands to have dominion over the earth and have a dynasty by reproducing, humanity fell into sin. By rights they should have had their dominion and dynasty revoked because of their rebellion. In fact, something else happened, though they were kicked out of the garden of paradise, God promised to redeem them through their offspring or you could say through their dynasty. That is God promised to send the seed of the woman who would save and fix humanity.

Do we see these promises of Dominion and Dynasty repeated anywhere else? One of the most obvious instances of these promises being repeated is when God calls Abraham out of the pagan land of Ur and calls him to go to a new land that God would show him. This promise is laid out in chapter 12 of Genesis. “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and I you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” God says to Abraham that he will replace his natural land that he would have inherited in his homeland with a different inheritance. God also seems to be saying that He will replace the natural descendants he would have expected in the land of his birth with a different kind of offspring and legacy. His land and offspring would be blessed supernaturally by God.

The rest of Abraham’s life is the playing out of these promises of God and in fact we see these same promises repeatedly in play through the rest of the Old Testament. Would God keep His promise to His people to give them the promised land and the promised offspring. Ultimately these promises, like all the promises of God will find their fulfillment in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God sent the ultimate offspring of Abraham and David to be born in a manger and to be the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He would die on a cross and secure all the blessings of the promised inheritance in the resurrection from the dead. Paul will later say in Galatians 3 that Christ is the ultimate offspring of Abraham. God promised to give the inheritance to the Offspring of Abraham, not to the many “offsprings” but to the singular offspring. So does God win back the inheritance He gave to humans and keep it for Himself? No. God says that in Christ we are inheritors of all the promises of God. In Hebrews 3:6 it says that we (believers in Christ) are God’s house. That is we are God’s offspring and we will inherit along with Christ. John 1 says that to all who believe in His Name we have been given the right to become children of God.

What does all this mean for us. Simply this, God gives his people a spiritual dominion and a spiritual dynasty. That is, we have dynasty through the making of disciples who are being conformed into the image of God or more precisely the image of the Son of God. And we will one day receive a very real and literal dominion in the new heavens and the new earth when we rule alongside our Savior as was always the intent of God in creating a people for Himself. That is our great hope, that one day we will receive that perfect dominion and dynasty.

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