God never intended for His people to live in defeat. He destined you to rule.
Have you noticed that more and more people today are searching for meaning and purpose in life? This trend provides abundant opportunities for Christians to reach out with the supernatural power of God to influence their culture. Researchers claim that more souls have come into the kingdom of God in the last few decades than in all the centuries combined since Christ's ministry on earth.
However, the battle against darkness is not diminishing. Statistics reveal the probability that only 4 percent of today's youth will embrace evangelical Christianity. If we have the answers to life's questions, why are we ineffective at reaching people?
We are entering what the Bible calls the fullness of time, and much is at stake. God is positioning us to advance His kingdom into every realm held captive by the enemy. To be successful, we must understand our authority in Christ—what some call "kingdom authority" or "dominion rule."
Dominion rule has become a regular confession among many believers. The church's voice is resounding with the desire to see the manifestation of our God-given assignment to rule and reign over the earth (see Gen. 1:26-28).
However, if all we do is confess, this goal will not be realized. Authority does not come through confession. Authority is uncompromisingly tied to responsibility. And it is only one facet of walking in dominion.
You see, God has called us to be His kingdom representatives on earth, to establish a righteous paradigm. We need more than authority to do that. When we identify the areas over which He has given us influence and commit to being agents of change in them, everything we need to transform the culture and cause the lost to be drawn to Him is made available to us—favor, creativity, power, wisdom and so on.
Taking dominion therefore requires more than simply wielding authority in the name of Jesus. It requires knowledge and the understanding and rightful use of our position in Christ. To discover what that position is, we need to look at God's original plan and purpose for mankind.
God's Original Plan
The Bible declares this purpose: "God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.
"And God blessed them, and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it ... and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth'" (Gen. 1:26-28, The Amplified Bible, emphasis added).
Having made man in His image, God provided Adam and Eve, the earth's new stewards, with intellect, creative abilities and an innate gift of leadership to rule and reign. Our Father is always about the business of His kingdom, and He created man with the same calling and design. It was a natural outcome that man be given the responsibility to manage creation, including the earth and all living creatures.
To understand, let's look more closely at this original stewardship appointment. Kabas, the Hebrew word for "subdue," means "to bring into subjection, to dominate." It suggests that the party being subdued is not willing to submit. Genesis 1:28 implies that creation was unwilling to submit to man's leading. Man would have to bring creation into order by exerting his strength.
Radah, the Hebrew word for "dominion," refers not to God's rule and responsibility but to man's. It means "to manage or reign from a position of sovereignty." God fashioned us to share His own authority over His creation.
Adam was to live and move in a kingly manner over the earth as a son of God along with the incredible privileges and weighty responsibilities of this position. Dominion was his birthright and pleasure.
But after Adam succumbed to Satan's deception in the Garden of Eden, the enemy established strongholds in all areas of life to hinder our kingdom mandate.
Thankfully, God made a way for us to regain our kingdom authority. He did not forget His covenant plan. After Adam and Eve sinned, He sent Jesus, the second Adam, to save man from his lost condition and provide a better covenant (see Heb. 8:6).
During Jesus' earthly ministry, the kingdom of God was His focus. His teachings and parables explained the truths of this kingdom and how to secure an inheritance in it. Fully God and fully man, He moved in kingdom authority.
Jesus came to establish His rule and the government of God by warring against and defeating Satan and his stronghold of sin and death. By Jesus' sinless life and sacrificial death, He reclaimed the dominion given to Satan in the fall.
"'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,'" He declared (Matt. 28:18, NIV). Exousia, the Greek word for "authority," means "rightful, actual and unimpeded power to act, possess, control or dispose of someone or something."
Jesus used His authority to disarm the enemy and all his demonic forces and powers. "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Col. 2:15).
"Disarmed" also means "stripped." Christ stripped Satan and all his minions of any power or authority they once had. He restored all that was relinquished at the fall and positioned us to partner with God in releasing His kingdom.
How does this work? At salvation, we are given the profound privilege of being adopted into the family of God and becoming His sons and daughters: "He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ," the Bible tells us, so "that we might receive the full rights of sons" (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:5).
The Greek word for "adoption" is huiothesian, meaning "to position as an adult son." When we are born into God's family through Jesus, we are automatically blessed with the legal rights and privileges of a son. Though at first we are immature spiritually, we are considered adult sons who can enjoy the Father's wealth and exercise all the glorious privileges and responsibilities of adult sonship.
We do not have to wait to enjoy the spiritual riches we have in Christ. The Bible says, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:26-27).
We are also God's heirs. "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir" (Gal. 4:7). Kleronomos, the Greek word for "heir," means "the recipient of divine promises." An heir receives his allotted possession by right of sonship.
The Bible goes on to say, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). Because we are not only heirs but also co-heirs with Christ, all that belongs to Jesus as the firstborn also belongs to us. A co-heir is a fellow receiver, a joint participant in all the Father has.
Keys of the Kingdom
As co-heirs with Christ and His representatives on earth, we have the right to exercise power over the enemy in Jesus' name. We have territorial rights, too.
Legal power usually involves a particular jurisdiction. Jurisdiction implies the ability to administer justice in a specific area.
What is our area? Since we are Christ's ambassadors—His personal representatives of the heavenly kingdom to the earthly kingdom—we have His authority throughout the earth. God partners with us to stand against the works of evil and spread the gospel of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:20).
Jesus revealed the extent of our authority when He told the apostle Peter: "I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:18-19, The Amplified Bible, emphasis added).
The word "kingdom" in this passage refers to royal power and dominion involving the license or authority to rule. Jesus placed the keys of the kingdom in the hands of the church. We not only have access to them but also have the right to use them.
In the Bible and in Jewish teaching the handing over of keys implies promotion to full authority. But what is our actual appointment?
Jesus stated that He would give us the authority to bind and loose. The idea of binding and loosing was a concept commonly used by rabbis to signify the judicial authority to forbid or permit. When executed in partnership with and obedience to the Lord, we have the authority to direct justice in cases held in the heavenly court of law.
Though we do not have the right to tell God what to do, we do have the legal right, authority and power to forbid what the Lord tells us to forbid and to release and welcome what He has designed for us to set free. Therefore, we have permission to forbid on earth what is already found guilty and forbidden in heaven, and we have the right to allow on earth what is found right and permitted in heaven.
Knowing this, the enemy and the powers of darkness—instead of attacking us—should be trembling in fear, thinking:Oh, no! What are they going to do to bring us harm today?
The truth is, the Lord has already declared the final judgment against Satan and his army. The day for their sentencing to eternal imprisonment in the abyss has not yet come, but their defeat was secured at the cross.
They no longer possess keys of authority. Jesus restored the kingdom of God in our personal lives and in creation.
As Jesus, the keeper of the keys, gives direction through the Holy Spirit on a daily or moment-by-moment basis, we have the legal authority to execute His plans—provided we are walking in humility, holiness and obedience. When our kingdom plans are in concert with His and our character lines up with His, the authority to effect change is realized.
However, if we plan our own agendas, hoping God will bless them, there will be no lasting fruit, effect or change. It is not our job to direct Jesus. We look to Him to give us His throne room blueprints.
As we submit and build His kingdom agenda, we will be effective. Change, transformation and revival will come.
Moving From Defense to Offense
Recently, the Lord revealed a simple but encouraging vision. In the vision, I saw a football game. One team wore black uniforms, the other white. The team with white uniforms was the Lord's; the team with black uniforms was Satan's.
At the start of play, the white team had possession of the ball but fumbled. The black team recovered it and began to run successful plays, forcing the white team to remain in defensive mode, trying to push the black team back to prevent their victory.
Suddenly, a new white team member came onto the field. He intercepted the ball and ran a successful play. Then he left the field.
But his teammates seemed unaware that the ball had changed hands and that they had legal possession of it. Expecting to be on defense, the white team focused only on defending its territory, allowing the black team to run offense.
Suddenly, the white team realized the ball was rightfully theirs. The other team had possession only because the white team had voluntarily handed it over. They decided that enough was enough.
On the next play they intercepted the ball. The player with the ball ran swiftly to the end zone, unable to be stopped. Ultimately, the white team left the black team in the dust to win the game.
Mankind is like the white team. We had the ball at the beginning of time, but Adam and Eve fumbled it, and the enemy picked it up. Later in the game, Jesus intercepted it and returned possession of it to us. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten the picture yet.
For too long we have been playing defense instead of running offense. The enemy still has illegal possession of the ball because we allow it. We are so busy defending ourselves that we don't realize we have the right to grab the ball from him and run for a touchdown with confidence, faith and authority.
It is time for us to stop asking ourselves, "What do I have to defend myself from today?" and to start asking God, "What can I do to advance Your kingdom on the earth?" Then when He gives us His game plan, we can step onto the field with the ball, running in the direction He tells us, and expect to see individuals, families, workplaces, cities and nations transformed for His glory.
We cannot allow the enemy to continue to steal the purpose for which we were created—to exert influence, rule, authority and stewardship on the earth. Creation is waiting with eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God and deliverance from the enemy's hand (see Rom. 8:19-21). Souls are awaiting salvation.
Now is the season to run with determination the race set before us, as the writer of Hebrews encourages us to do (see Heb. 12:1). We are destined to rule in life with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Let's move into our rightful position as righteous sons and daughters establishing the dominion standard. "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43, NIV). And all creation will see.
Rebecca Greenwood is the founder and president of Christian Harvest International. She travels throughout the United States and abroad teaching on intercession, spiritual warfare and deliverance. She is also the author of several books, including Destined to Rule (Chosen).