“They were all amazed, and so they began to ask each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’” (Mark 1:27)
“The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!’” (Matthew 8:27)
“He sent messengers ahead of himself, and on the way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for him. But they did not welcome him, because he determined to journey to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” (Luke 9:52-55)
I’ll never forget the day. I was around eleven years old and had just sat on the creaky piano bench at my piano teacher’s home. It was time to start learning a new piece for the annual Minnesota Music Teacher’s Association piano assessment. The multi-day event was a time for us piano students to perform before a judge in a private room and demonstrate that we had learned the year’s technical skills with scales and arpeggios in various keys, advanced fingerings, and finally present three piano pieces by memory.
Yeah, it was a little stressful.
As I sat there, my teacher placed a piano composition book in front of me and opened it to my next challenge – Für Elise by Ludwig Van Beethoven. Ah! The staple of every piano student. As I plunked through sight-reading the work, it was pretty – well – awful. When I finished, my teacher asked me to step aside and she would show me how Beethoven’s piece was supposed to be performed.
It was beautiful.
And then something clicked inside of me. The notes came more naturally when I sat down again to work through the music, and I began to flow through the copy. Yes, there were big crashes along the way, but nothing like I had crashed before. At that moment, I realized I was a “Show me” learner. That lesson has stuck with me throughout my life.
You can tell me, teach me, and preach to me all you want, but if you want me to learn, I need you to show me. It was that way with math, sports, history, my multitude of jobs, marriage, and raising kids.
Please show me.
Humanity is so far past the Fall and the corruption of our Subdue and Rule Mandate that we don’t have much of a clue, if any, how God wants us to use our God-given dominion and not abuse it in our drive to control the world around us. Let’s face it. Most people don’t even know that we have the Subdue and Rule Mandate, even though it’s part of our base nature, and we deploy our dominion drive constantly.
We all need to be shown how to use it, and that’s where Jesus comes in. We learned from Jesus being the Father’s Prototype that we must first be submitted to God’s will because that’s where everything went wrong. Adam and Eve ignored God’s will in favor of their own, and it was all downhill from there.
However, when Jesus, the 2nd Adam, arrived, our Heavenly Father showed us the prototype of what’s awaiting us when we’re finally fully restored – a person as perfect as God had originally designed us. Jesus is the prototype of what we will be eventually. Forget about the arrogant Great Reset pushed by those who want to rule the world without God. Our Heavenly Father has been working on the Great Restore for the last 2,000 years.
That Great Restore began when our Heavenly Father sent Jesus into the world as a man. That’s when the prototype became the model which we’re to follow. God said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5, italics author).
Jesus is the “show me” model that we’re to use as a template for living as our Father would have us live, and that includes how we’re to use our instinctive Subdue and Rule Mandate.
Over the following two parts, I want to show you two aspects of Jesus as our model for using our dominion drive. First, we’ll look at examples from scripture of how Jesus subdued and ruled creation correctly, that is, creation and the things God created that are here on earth, not people. After that, we’ll unpack examples of how Jesus refused to misuse the Subdue and Rule Mandate, especially in its corrupted Conquer and Dominate form. We’ll look at several instances and explore what Jesus could have done if He were sinful and how He properly managed the Subdue and Rule Mandate.
How Jesus Modeled Subdue and Rule Correctly
Jesus is a unique case. He is both God and human. As a whole, His authority and power to subdue and rule on His Father’s behalf are unique among all humanity. Our call to subdue and rule the whole earth and the creatures on earth (Genesis 1:26, 28) never included other human beings, which Jesus can do as God.
God created people in His image to serve Him side by side as His viceregents, overseeing His Eden Project, bringing the newly created earth and its creatures under control, and managing it entirely. The Garden of Eden was simply the starting point from which the Eden Project launched. But then came that pesky thing called the Fall, and the rebellion started. The Great Rebellion included the viceregents turning on each other and using their God-given authority, power, and natural abilities to take control of not just the earth but other human beings as well.
When Jesus arrived, He came to announce that He was there to end the rebellion and restore as many viceregents as He could who would re-swear their allegiance to His Father’s sovereignty and rejoin His kingdom.
So once a person is saved (which includes being retrained in God’s image), what’s after that for us? We’re called to pick up where we left off – Edenizing the earth.
No, that doesn’t mean trying to build a theocratic geo-political kingdom on earth. It means helping people commit to God and submit their will to His. Eden was God’s kingdom on earth because His viceregents were His subjects and obeyed the King’s will. Where the King’s will is done, there is His kingdom. Our lives should be as “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Jesus began His ministry with “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matthew 3:2). Later, “when he was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘See here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst’” (Luke 17:20-21).
Regarding God’s kingdom “in your midst,” gotquestions.org has an excellent summary of this last verse. “Jesus’ answer was that the kingdom of God was not coming in the manner the Pharisees were expecting. The kingdom would not be inaugurated with spectacle or splendor; there would be no great and magnificent leader who staked out a geographical claim and routed the Romans; rather, the kingdom would come silently and unseen, much as leaven works in a batch of dough (see Matthew 13:33)… Jesus was inaugurating the kingdom as He changed the hearts of men, one at a time. For the time being, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). One day, however, the kingdom of God will be manifest on the earth (Isaiah 35:1), and Jesus Christ will rule a physical kingdom from David’s throne (Isaiah 9:7) with Jerusalem as His capital (Zechariah 8:3)” (gotquestions.org/kingdom-of-God-within-you.html)
So as our model, what did Jesus show us about what it means to exercise dominion as God’s viceregents in His kingdom on earth?
What is Disease? “‘A disease is a condition that deteriorates the normal functioning of the cells, tissues, and organs.’ Diseases are often thought of as medical conditions that are characterized by their signs and symptoms. The disease can also be defined as: ‘Any dangerous divergence from a functional or normal state of an entity’” (byjus.com/biology/diseases).
What causes disease? A variety of things. But mainly pathogens, agents like bacteria and viruses that attack the human body. Symptoms are caused by the pathogen’s work, such as leprosy, or the body’s response, like fever.
So when Jesus healed multiple diseases, He did it only according to His Father’s will and through the Holy Spirit’s power. Jesus did not come to earth to play God in a human suit. Jesus emptied Himself, meaning He refused to function as the God that He also is and chose to serve as a human being who was wholly submitted to His Father to show us how it’s done. Jesus retained His divinity and didn’t operate from the divine platform. Want proof?
“Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Gods don’t die. People do.
So, when Jesus confronted disease, He mastered the agents that caused the diseases (leprosy, Matthew 8:1-4) and healed the body’s response caused by those agents (fever, Matthew 8:14-15). Because Jesus was His Father’s model viceregent over creation, He could subdue and rule disease pathogens and their effects all day long, and He often did (Mark 1:34, 6:56; Luke 4:40, 5:15 ).
Jesus also healed many disabilities. We don’t know the source of those disabilities, but we know life in a fallen world has many hazards. People are disabled through genetics, accidents, diseases, and other causes. Jesus subdued and ruled disabilities as easily as diseases. For example, regardless of what caused the disabilities, Jesus healed a shriveled hand (Mark 3:1-6), paralysis (Matthew 9:1-7), and a back that had been bent for over eighteen years! All I can think of now is how many doctors, nurses, specialists, and chiropractors will have to find other professions when Jesus returns. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not a bad thing. For many healthcare workers, that will be a blessing because these compassionate people will see so many who suffer finally be pain-free and rejoicing!
At this point, though, I hear people ask, “But I thought you said Jesus didn’t come to subdue and rule people, exercising dominion over them.” You are correct. By that, I mean imposing one’s will over another person and infringing, encroaching, and usurping their personal “domain,” the areas of their life for which they are responsible. But if a person were trapped under a fallen tree limb, wouldn’t you marshal all your power and tools to help free them from their situation? Of course, you would, just like Jesus did. By His Father’s authority and the Spirit’s power, Jesus “lifted” diseases, disabilities, and deformities from the sufferers’ lives, often with their permission and at their invitation.
Now comes the curve ball. Jesus didn’t impose healing or restoration on people who refused His help. The people of Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, were offended because Jesus was their hometown boy, and now He was doing mighty works. The proverb “Familiarity breeds contempt” fits very well for the Nazarenes. They refused to accept that Jesus had become a great man of God. Therefore, “he did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58).
Unbelief is a willful, outright refusal to trust and accept Jesus as God’s representative. Therefore, we could say their unbelief stopped Jesus from exercising the Spirit’s power, but that would mean people are more powerful than God. Instead, let the scripture say what it does, “he did not do…”. The Nazarenes didn’t prevent Jesus from doing miracles, and Jesus restrained Himself from doing so because they refused Him and His help. So, as for dominion, Jesus could exercise dominion over another person only as He was not refused to come alongside them to help them.
It’s amazing that as He exercised His God-given Subdue and Rule Mandate, Jesus showed that as long as it was in line with His Father’s will, distance didn’t matter. In the Roman centurion account, the soldier came to Jesus asking the esteemed miracle-working rabbi to heal his servant who was “lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony” (Matthew 8:6). When Jesus agreed to go to his home, the centurion humbly and respectfully refused, saying that he was unworthy to have Jesus enter his house. However, the centurion knew that if Jesus gave His word, his servant would be healed. The Jews recognized Jesus’ authority over sickness and disease (Matthew 9:8), but the soldier understood how authority worked regarding Jesus’ dominion. “For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. 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” (Matthew 8:9).
This incident is remarkable because it was a Gentile who recognized Jesus’ dominion and his ability to command healing with God’s authority and power even over distances. Jesus was amazed at the Gentile’s level of trust (Matthew 8:10). Once again, those under dominion (authority) recognize it in action and are better prepared to exercise dominion. This principle is why I’ve spent so much time emphasizing God’s will as the crucial starting point to exercising our Subdue and Rule Mandate God’s way.
The Bible is clear that demonic entities exist. They are unholy spiritual beings who are subjects of Satan’s kingdom, oppose God’s kingdom, and try to advance their master’s influence and domination within God’s earthly physical realm.
I’m not going to wade into the argument about whether or not a demon can possess a born-again believer. The Bible clarifies that people, even God’s people, can be attacked by demons in many ways (demonization), even to the point of becoming an overwhelming influence in a person’s life. Here are a few key things to understand.
First, demons are not immortal nor all-powerful. They are created beings, making them part of God’s creation. This fact has two significant implications. As God’s creations, they are under His authority and must submit to Him at all times. And as members of God’s supernatural realm, despite being in rebellion and subject to Satan’s rule, they are defacto under God’s higher rule, which also means they must always submit to His authority.
Therefore, when Jesus confronts demons/unclean spirits, they often recognize His divine nature and cower before His authority (Mark 3:11), or they acknowledge the Father’s divine plan and scream for mercy that their punishment not be applied until “the time” (Matthew 8:29). These two reasons are why Jesus was so good at driving the supernatural critters out of people successfully.
When people are demonized, it means these unclean spirits have intruded into the physical realm for whatever reason. Their intrusion often afflicts people mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically and causes a myriad of afflictions. Therefore, like material pathogens that cause diseases and disabilities, demonic forces are spiritual pathogens within the material world and can be treated as such, which Jesus did. He eliminated the pathogen from the patient and healed the harm it had caused. Interestingly, sometimes the demon resisted, and Jesus says it takes special effort like prayer and fasting to drive out the demon. But in every case, once the demon was revealed to Jesus, it had to submit to Jesus’ dominion and leave.
Jesus’ authority was so absolute, He could drive out demons with just a word. I once asked the Lord why Jesus could do this, but many of His followers today take a long time and great effort to get the job done. In response, the Lord impressed on me, “It’s hard to fell a tree with a dull axe.” It takes a robust and intimate relationship with the Lord and a deep awareness of our God-given authority to be a sharp axe that takes down the enemy before us. Years ago, a former witch told me that Christians have no idea how powerful they are against their spiritual enemies. That’s because we’re backed by God’s authority and power against which our spiritual enemies can’t stand. So, arm yourself with this truth. Through Jesus’ dominion working through us, once a demon reveals itself, it must eventually leave. May the Lord release many powerful deliverance servants today!
Yes, they’re remarkable, but not impossible. An impossible miracle is an oxymoron. By definition, if something is impossible, it can’t be done. But Jesus did do miracles. So, miracles are not impossible. They’re just unusual. Miracles such as creating new eyeballs, instantaneously restoring shriveled hands, multiplying food, calming storms, and walking on water are examples of how Jesus used His Father’s authority to deploy His Spirit-given power according to His Father’s will to manipulate physical laws in our material world.
Let’s nuance this a bit. When God gave us the command to subdue and rule the earth, we were to bring the untamed world under control and maintain it. All of that seems pretty normal, right? But we were also created in God’s image, which means we share some of His traits in a limited way. Just as God is the Creator, He calls us to be creators like Him by creating within His world, for example, producing children. And as God shaped His creation, we also shape God’s creation. We take elements of the earth and manipulate them into different forms.
There’s also some crossover between shaping and creating. For example, scientists take existing pure elements and create a new base element with new techniques. Well, new to us. The scientists haven’t actually created something new out of nothing but have “created” in the sense of shaping an element into existence that was unknown to exist before. The funny part is God looks at what we’ve done and says, “Seen it.”
Under the Subdue and Rule Mandate, people create and shape what God has given us. But when the Father gave His human Son the go-ahead, Jesus could use His Father’s power to stretch natural laws to create more out of what was (feeding the multitudes, Matthew 14:19-20), command the flow of weather (calming the storm, Luke 8:24), override the physical laws and nature of what existed to accomplish His Father’s purpose (walking on water, John 6:16-21), and transmute one substance into another (using mud to create functioning eyes, John 9:6). That last example is fun because Jesus seemed to reenact Adam’s creation in front of people who knew the creation story all too well. Only God creates human body parts from the dirt (adamah). It’s as if the man blind from birth had been born with missing pieces that Jesus made and installed. Now, that’s a viceregent who can really create and shape!
Here’s the biggie! Did Jesus subdue and rule death while He was living on the earth as a man? The obvious answer is “Duh.” That is if you’ve read the Book. But I want to present Jesus’ authority over death in a slightly different way,
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us the account of the woman’s unstoppable blood flow, and by that, they refer to the woman’s abnormal menstrual cycle. The Torah regards blood loss as a form of death because blood is essential to life and thus equivalent to life (Leviticus 17:11, 14). Therefore, this woman was in a “state of death” for twelve years. We also need to understand that according to the Torah, touching anything having to do with death, such as a dead creature, a diseased person, mildew, etc., causes the contamination of death to transfer to the “clean” person. The fact that Jesus’ power stopped the woman’s flow of blood shows that He carried His Father’s authority and power to eliminate a “source of death” (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:29; Luke 8:44). Mark and Luke tell us that she was healed apart from Jesus’ direct involvement, but Matthew says it happened as Jesus interacted with her (Matthew 9:22).
While this isn’t an example of Jesus exercising dominion over literal death, Jewish eyes would see the connection with actual death. Furthermore, the woman’s story is linked to Jesus raising a young girl from death in all three Gospels. Therefore, Jesus’ healing the woman in a symbolic state of death foreshadows Him raising a young girl who was truly dead to life.
According to the Torah and Jewish funeral practices, a dead person should be buried as quickly as possible, usually on the day of their death. The young girl that Jesus raised from the dead had just died (Matthew 9:18), making it a “simple” resuscitation (simple, right!). In a different raising-from-the-dead account, Jesus and His disciples meet a young man’s funeral procession as they approach the town of Nain. The funeral procession in progress tells us the young man had been dead longer than the young girl had been. Still, Jesus raises the young man to life (Luke 17:11-15), giving us another example of Jesus’ dominion over death.
But now for the big event! Lazarus. Lazarus was Mary and Martha’s brother who fell ill (John 11). When He was notified of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus purposefully delayed His start toward the trio’s home for two days. Why did Jesus do delay? “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). Jesus knew that Lazarus’ death and resuscitation were for His Father’s and His glory.
Lazarus died before Jesus and His disciples left (John 11:14). Upon His arrival at Mary and Marth’s home, Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb and commanded the stone that blocked the entrance be removed. Martha gently cautioned Jesus that there would be a smell since Lazarus had been dead for four days, and due to decomposition, “he stinketh” (KJV). In this case, Lazarus wasn’t mostly dead; he was all dead (to twist a line from The Princess Bride).
The stone was removed, and Jesus performed the wildest act of dominion over God’s creation, the epitome of exercising dominion over the essence of creation, life, and utterly subduing and ruling creation’s scourge, death. Not only did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, but that also meant reversing decomposition and restoring Lazarus’ body to complete, healthy function before Lazarus’ incorporeal being could be recalled and reinstalled.
By healing the woman’s blood flow and raising the girl, young man, and Lazarus to life, Jesus showed us His absolute dominion over life and death in the creation and that doing so was possible. None of this could have been accomplished without Jesus’ total commitment to His Father’s will, authority, and the Holy Spirit’s power. But with all three elements in place, Jesus shows us how to subdue and rule creation as His Father’s perfect viceregent. By healing disease and disabilities, neutralizing demonization, performing miracles, and overriding death, Jesus correctly exercised dominion over creation as His Father intended from the beginning and for us to do now under the New Covenant.
What? Us? Now?
Don’t forget that while on earth, Jesus twice conveyed His Father’s authority and power to His followers to heal and cast out demons to announce the restoration of God’s kingdom in a new way. Jesus deputized and sent out His 12 disciples first (Matthew 10:1), then the 70 (Luke 10:1, 9) to exercise God-given dominion with authority and power to heal and expel demons.
At the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus likewise commissioned His followers to go under His authority to the nations and invite as many who would come to enter His Father’s kingdom and live His ways (Matthew 28:18-20).
Mark’s Gospel includes signs that will accompany Jesus’ disciples as they reveal God’s kingdom under Jesus’ authority, “In my name (by My authority) they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18), the same exercise of kingdom dominion that Jesus modeled.
So do Jesus’ followers subdue and rule the earth and its creatures today as Jesus did? Throughout church history, numerous documented reports of healed diseases and disabilities have come along with casting out demons, miracles, and multiple witness accounts of Jesus’ disciples raising the dead to life. I can testify that I’ve seen and participated in all of these categories except raising the dead. But hey, if Jesus did it, we can, too. It’s all up to the Father’s will. Jesus is our model. If the Father says so, we can do so.
How can I be so sure about that?
Because I read the Book.
Jesus showed me how it’s done, and something clicked within me.
Christianson, Dr. Jay, Doctoral Dissertation, An Exploration into God’s Subdue and Rule Mandate for Humanity in Genesis 1:28: Its Origin, Corruption, Repercussions, And Eschatological Restoration in the New Covenant.
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts