DOMINION

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

DOMINION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In the timeless vision of God, man has been crowned with glory and honor. Man is destined to be above the angels in authority. Today man is proud, spiritually weak, self-centered, rebellious, hard of heart. He is under various teachers and rulers. He has been placed below the angels temporarily in order that he may experience suffering, humiliation, and the denial of his desires. To the man who is faithful to carry his cross and endure hardness as a good soldier will come the dominion promised him from the beginning.

DOMINION 

But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:6-8)

In the beginning God issued a four-part decree concerning man:

Man is to be in the image of God.

Man is to be male and female.

Man is to be fruitful—multiplying and filling the earth with people.

Man is to subdue the earth, exercising dominion over all nature.

These four aspects of the Divine decree were begun in Adam and Eve on a crude, natural level. They will be developed until they are fulfilled perfectly on a level both natural and spiritual—a transcendent revelation of what is in the mind of God.

Although our present topic is the fourth aspect, dominion, we will review the first three parts of the Divine purpose concerning man.

Man is to be in the image of God. The image of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the first Man to be in the image of God.

The image of Christ’s personality is in part that which the Apostle Paul terms the fruit of the Spirit: 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)

The image of Satan fills the earth today. Satan’s image is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit: hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, harshness, badness, treachery, arrogance, lack of self control.

We humans reveal in our adamic nature the image of Satan. We can try in our old nature to imitate the image of God, the image of Jesus. It is well that we use the Lord as our example of behavior.

We soon discover, however, that we have set ourselves an impossible task. We have been commanded to be in the image of God but we fail miserably when we are tested.

God’s plan of redemption is successful in converting us from the image of Satan to the image of Christ. God does not reform our adamic nature, He crucifies our adamic nature and gives us a new nature.

The change from the adamic nature to the nature of Christ does not take place in a moment. But the blood of the Lamb, the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God work together with our circumstances (which the Lord orders) to change us from the personality of Adam to the personality of Christ Himself.

The elect have been predestined to be in the image of Christ, to be the brothers of Christ. 

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Adam and Eve were in the image of God in an elementary way. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly in the image of God, although His Divine Glory was concealed in a flesh and blood body.

The glorified Christ who appeared to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos is what God has in mind by pronouncing man in the image of God.

When the Lord appears with His saints they will be glorious to behold. They will shine as the stars of heaven. If they did not conceal their glory the peoples of the earth could not gaze on them. This is just the beginning.

After billions of eons have transpired we shall have developed further in the image of our Father. Then we shall be mountains of Divine fire—galaxies of power and glory. The eternities following will witness our coming to maturity in the image of God.

What is man that You are mindful of him?

Man is to be male and female. Male and female signifies more than biological differences. God has made man like Himself in that man is capable of entering the fiery love of God that requires union for its satisfaction—union that is oneness to the point of the loss of individuality (not loss of identity). Human marriage is but the faintest outline and shadow of what God means by our becoming one with Him.

Man has been made in half (male or female). No human being is complete in himself or herself. Man has the potential for exercising supreme authority, and yet is fragile in the area of relationships. Man is helpless and destroyed if his relationships are impaired.

Man has the capability of loving and entering into union with God and other people. The capacity for union, for oneness, is the essence of man.

Fiery love that can be satisfied only with absolute union is the central motive of the Kingdom of God. The reason the churches often miss the core of Christ’s intent is that their motives are not of Divine love.

Christ was met at the hour of His supreme triumph, not by His Apostles but by Mary. The Apostles would have begun to discuss the business of the Kingdom: "Are you going to restore the Kingdom now?"

Mary clung to Him and would not let Him go. The churches always seek to work the works of God, and this is good. However, those who are close to God’s heart always seek to cling to Jesus, and that is infinitely better.

The central power of the Kingdom of God is Divine love—love so intense, so fiery, its name is Jealous. It can be satisfied only with total union—the perfect oneness of the lover and the loved.

The Divine love is portrayed in the Song of Solomon: 

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6)

Jesus spoke of the perfection of the oneness to which we have been called: 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:.... (John 7:21)

Notice, in the following verse, that this oneness is the product of the love of God: 

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

John 17:21-23 presents a concept that nearly is incredible. It is difficult to grasp the full meaning of these statements.

The idea that we saints are to be one in the Father and the Son as Christ and the Father are One points toward a future of marvelous glory. God is calling us to be one with Himself through Christ.

To what extent are Christ and the Father One? Christ and the Father are One to a degree that results in eternal loss of individuality, not loss of identity or uniqueness but loss of individuality. We cannot conceive of the Father without the Son. We cannot conceive of the Son without the Father. They are One to an extent human marriage cannot attain.

This is the Oneness to which we have been called. The Divine Oneness permits no holding back, no preservation of self-centeredness. It requires total giving and receiving.

It is amazing that the God of Heaven would offer Himself to us after this fashion. It is even more amazing that we turn away from union with God, preferring to make agreements with God in which we do some things for God and expect some favors in return. "Volleyball" religion is advocated in many churches, but God wants us "on the same side of the net" as Himself.

God is seeking a Bride, not people who play their games with Him. God desires those who will give themselves to Him without reservation, receiving in return His Fullness. They will be an eternally inseparable part of God. It no longer will be possible to conceive of them apart from God or God apart from them. They have become one with God through Christ.

God will inscribe His name on them because they have become part of Himself. The creation will bear witness that they are of God, of the holy city of God, of the Lamb of God. Here is the only possible satisfaction of God’s fiery love toward them.

Man is to be fruitful—multiplying and filling the earth with people. Christian fruitfulness is the multiplying of Christ in people. 

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Christ has chosen and ordained us that we should go and bring forth fruit, that is, that we should bring forth His Life in ourselves and in others. We cannot do this by our wisdom or talents just as a human mother cannot bring forth children by her wisdom or talents. It is only through our abiding in Him, our complete union with Him, that we bear fruit.

If a seed falls into the ground and dies it bears fruit. If the seed preserves its life it cannot multiply. Only by dying can it bring forth the life that is in it.

Sometimes when we are in a particularly difficult travail we wonder why God chose for us the way of pain, of death. We have to trust that His wonders in and through us cannot be accomplished in any other manner.

Kingdom fruit comes from the cross. The promise concerning his Seed was confirmed to Abraham when he offered up Isaac. The fruit brought forth by Christ has come from His death. It is His body and blood that reproduce His image in us. Paul, one of the most fruitful saints of all, wrote his life-giving Epistles from a background of suffering and imprisonment. Paul died daily.

The true Vine, Christ, will "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6). The multiplying of Christ will come about through means of the branches that are abiding in the Vine.

In order to abide in the Vine, thus becoming a fruit-bearing saint, we must allow the Holy Spirit to cut us out of the vine of the earth of which we were a part and to graft us into Christ.

This is a painful process. The substituting of the Life of Jesus for our life requires death to all that motivates us. We are crucified with Christ in order that the Life of Jesus may flow in us. When the Life of the Vine flows in us, fruit is borne—the fruit that is the Life of Jesus increasing in us and in those to whom we minister.

We have mentioned three of the four parts of the Divine edict: the image of God; male and female; and fruitfulness. We have said that these aspects of man appeared in Adam and Eve in a primitive form but that they will be developed in the saints until they attain transcendent proportions and perfections.

If an individual goes through life and acquires wealth, power, and fame, but does not make progress in these three aspects of the Divine edict concerning man, his life has been wasted. It does not matter whether we "become something" in the world. It matters supremely whether we make progress in image, in union with Christ, and in fruitfulness.

If we do make progress in the characteristics God has assigned to man, God will view our pilgrimage in the world as having been successful. We have been faithful in the smaller arena and God will entrust us with the greater. In the ages to come we shall have the opportunity to develop into the fullness of the image of God. We shall come into an ever greater union with God through Christ.

An eternity of eternities lies before us. If we please God with our faithfulness in the present life, then during the ages to come we will be given the opportunity to reproduce the Life of Christ in multitudes of persons. We will become the "father" of many nations as was true of Abraham.

There is no limit on the fruitfulness that will proceed from our personality if we give ourselves without reservation to Christ. We will bring forth "much fruit."

In addition to God’s image, union, and fruitfulness, man is called to exercise dominion over all the works of God’s hands.

Man is to subdue the earth, exercising dominion over the entire creation. The Word of God has assigned all rulership to man.

The order of rulership is as follows: God the Father rules over all; Christ is subject to the Father; the saints are subject to Christ; the creation is subject to the saints.

The assigning of dominion began on a limited scale with Adam and Eve: 

. . . and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28)

Then the concept was expanded: 

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (Psalms 8:4-6)

The writer of Hebrews interprets this Psalm to mean man is destined to rule the creation of God: 

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

The Lord Jesus Himself confirmed that it has been assigned to man to rule the works of God’s hands: 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The vision has grown from the subjugation of nature to the rulership of the creation. The throne of Christ, to which we have been called, is the highest throne of all. God the Father has given to His only begotten Son all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth. The Son now has invited us to share with Him His authority and power.

Whoever chooses to give himself or herself to Jesus without reservation will not only be in Christ’s image, be in union with Christ, and bring forth fruit for eternity, but in addition will exercise dominion over all that God has created. 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

Here is the condition: "he that overcometh."

Our Christian life is an exercise in overcoming, in conquering, in exerting dominion over the enemies that seek to prevent us from obeying the Father.

Why is this? It is because we have been called to rule the works of God’s hands. Every day we are required to overcome an area of resistance to the Lord’s will. Every day we are exercised in rulership. Our Christian walk is a series of instructions, practices, and tests in ruling. God sends all kinds of adversaries and obstacles against us. He is determining whether or not we will be able to rule in righteousness.

At issue are the spiritual thrones that govern the creation. In the present hour those thrones are occupied by rebellious angels. We are wrestling against them. The combat is not by force but by righteousness, truth, and faith. We conquer the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.

As soon as the Lord’s victorious saints have overcome the accuser, Michael and his angels will be empowered to cast the ancient dragon out of the heavenlies and into the earth. The thrones then will be given to those who have been victorious in their struggle against the world, against Satan, and against sin and self-will.

We must hold fast what we have so no man can take our crown of authority (Revelation 3:11). We have been baptized into the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God. Now we are in a battle to keep what has been given us freely. The rewards go to the conquerors.

God needs people who are able to rule the works of His hands. The nations of the earth need direction. They need guidance and counsel. They need righteous judges. They need someone to protect them and to provide for their needs. They need someone who will love them and nourish them with Divine Life. These are the tasks of God’s rulers.

The responsibility of God’s rulers is to direct behavior—to direct it lovingly, firmly, and successfully. The Lord Jesus gave us the laws of the Kingdom of God. These laws are found throughout the New Testament. The nations of the earth have been instructed in the laws of the Kingdom but are ignoring them.

It is not God’s intention that moral laws be treated as alternatives people may or may not choose to obey. All the commandments of the New Testament are to be obeyed strictly. None of them is unnecessary or optional.

The government that chooses to enforce the moral laws of God always will be blessed of God. The government that rules against the moral laws of God, or leaves it to its citizens to decide whether or not they wish to keep the moral laws of God, will be cursed of God. God’s moral laws are not optional. They will be enforced during the ages to come.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven. The saints, under the Lord Jesus, are the rulers of the Kingdom of God. They will rule the nations with a rod of iron. The scepter of Christ’s kingdom is a scepter of righteousness. The saints will enforce God’s laws in the earth.

Such is the clear teaching of the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.

But what do we see today? The believers themselves are not obeying the laws of God. The believers are not entering the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will in the earth.

Why is this? There are at least two reasons:

The believers have not been taught about the Kingdom of God. They have been taught fables about how they will live in mansions in Heaven forever, doing nothing of significance and having nothing to do with the nations on the earth. They are ignorant of their intended role as royal priests who will serve God among the nations of the earth.

The believers are not spiritually strong enough to conquer the world, Satan or their own fleshly lusts and self-centeredness. They are not setting aside their lives for the Gospel’s sake. They are seeking to save their lives. They are ignorant of what it means to be crucified with Christ, deriving little meaning from such an idea.

Why do the Christians believe Jesus will carry them off to the spirit Paradise so they can be at ease in beautiful mansions when there is nothing close to such a doctrine found in the Scriptures?

It is because this is what they are being taught from Sunday to Sunday. The tradition of mansions in Heaven is so widespread in the Christian churches it seems impossible that the Gospel of the Kingdom ever will be restored. Yet we know from the Scriptures that the Body of Christ one day will come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13).

Why are the believers not spiritually strong enough to conquer the forces seeking to prevent them from performing God’s will in the earth?

First, the saints have been taught that it is neither necessary nor possible to overcome sin and self-seeking. As long as we are in the world we are obliged to sin, they are told. This is contrary to what Paul taught (Romans 8:12 and other passages). In fact, the Apostle Paul warned us, in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, that if the Christian chooses to walk in unrighteousness he will die. The wages of sin (on the part of the Christian as well as all other people) is death.

Satan’s deadliest weapon is the current overemphasis on "grace" (forgiveness) at the expense of the scriptural exhortation to righteous conduct. The preaching of today is terribly out of balance. The doctrine of salvation by grace is repeated again and again, but the doctrine of the righteousness that always proceeds from true salvation is largely ignored. Yet the emphasis in the writings of the New Testament is on godly conduct.

The stress placed on the "four steps of salvation" seems more like an effort to persuade people to join a club than it does a Divine invitation to pass from the bondages of Satan to eternal union with God. It appears we are making proselytes to our way of thinking rather than sowing the Divine Seed under the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are building churches rather than building godly people.

The issue has become numbers of people in attendance at our services instead of the transformation of human beings from living souls to life-giving spirits. Success in Gospel preaching is measured by the size of the building and the number of people who attend rather than by the extent to which lives are being transformed. This is a faulty emphasis and it must cease if the Bride is to be without spot or wrinkle other than in an imputed (ascribed) sense.

What good is a wife of the Lamb who is holy by assigned righteousness but filthy and self-willed in personality?

So removed from the Scriptures has the current imbalance become that if someone preaches righteous conduct he is considered to be promoting a cult. It is as though he is assaulting the merits of Christ. The idea being presented is that we are saved by the merits of Jesus alone and any talk of righteous conduct is not only in error but an affront to the Lord’s grace!

At first glance the overemphasis on forgiveness through grace seems to be a proper tribute to the perfection of Christ. However, a little reflection reveals what a travesty of God’s Word this is. It appears to be so godly, so sound in concept. But it is horribly frustrating to the Lord Jesus who is far more desirous that we do what He commands than He is that we call Him Lord, Lord. Obedience to God is better than sacrifice to God!

The Kingdom of God is destroyed when we state that righteous conduct has no essential place in God’s plan of salvation. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

Christian doctrine contains much spiritual death. It produces conception by holding forth the blood atonement and then aborts the fetus by declaring that salvation consists of a profession of belief in spiritual truth rather than a new creation.

We are in a dreadful falling away from the truth and it is time for God to reveal the diabolical trap into which the Christian churches have fallen. Because the light of godly living is disappearing from the churches the world is reeling in satanic filth. The handwriting is on the wall. Divine judgment is at the door.

The concept of the "overcomer" has been rendered incomprehensible and useless by an overemphasis on the role of grace in the Christian redemption, by the imbalance produced by the neglect of such verses as the following: 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

Faith without works is dead, and no person ever will be saved by a dead faith.

The believers of today are not being fed a diet nourishing enough to produce conquerors. The wonderful gift of music God has given us is being used in the churches as a substitute for the Presence of God. In fact, music is serving to entertain the saints while the sermons preached are, in many instances, either the dry straw of the traditions of men or the poison of error and deception. None of this will produce the strength required to overcome sin and self-love.

The strength to exercise dominion comes from continual feeding on the Word of God; from the body and blood of the Lord; from the Spirit of God; from our determination to love not our own life to the point of death; from the knowledge that it is possible through Christ to conquer all sin and self-will; from the understanding that apart from overcoming the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-will we will not inherit the promises of God; from the constant exhortation by the elders to forsake all and follow the Lord Jesus; and from all else God has given us through the Lord Jesus. All these are necessary if victorious saints are to be produced.

We do not have the option to choose whether we wish to rule evil. Man has been created to have dominion over the works of God’s hands. If we are willing to be ruled by sin, by self, by the world, by Satan, by people who distract us from complete adherence to Christ, we are failing in the commission given to man.

A "man" is a creature who rules the creation under Christ. He is a son of God. He is the ruler of the works of God’s hands. He is a son of the greatest of all kings and is not allowed to choose to be ruled by lesser creatures.

While we are coming to maturity we are to obey those whom God has placed over us until the Lord emphasizes He is making some kind of change in our life. If we will not obey those whom God has placed over us we are in disobedience to Christ Himself. When we disobey those whom we should obey we are not free at all; we are being governed by our self-will.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth, the obeying of God. Our role in the universe is to obey God ourselves, and then to walk in the Spirit so our environment is brought into the likeness of God’s will. Bringing our environment into the likeness of God’s will may take a long time and sometimes is not accomplished in this present life. We must be patient and keep our trust and hope fixed firmly on the Lord Jesus.

The world is in chaos today. The spirit of Antichrist, which is the spirit of lawlessness, of man making himself a god, is emerging from the "sea" of mankind. As a result, desolation is being produced—moral, financial, intellectual, artistic, social desolation. People are seeking happiness through lawlessness, through self-centeredness, through throwing off all rule. Whatever people want they take. "Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us," they cry (Psalms 2:3).

God is laughing at this rebellion because the rebels succeed only in making fools of themselves. God knows what He is doing and has everything under control.

Soon the world will be a frightful environment in which to live. Satan and his demons will become visible so people can behold the spirits ruling this age, the grotesque goblin-like demons they are serving. The earth is being occupied by monsters from the bottomless pit and the moral horrors at hand scarcely can be imagined at this time.

The reason for the approaching nightmare is there are no righteous rulers—no true, righteous rulers to whom God has given the power necessary for the enforcement of their rule. Such rulers indeed shall come when the Kingdom of God comes to the earth, when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven. Meanwhile God is permitting evil spirits to bring sin and self-will to maturity in the earth. This is the "abomination of desolation" (Matthew 24:15).

When the Kingdom of God is installed on the earth there will be an abundance of righteous rulers. "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isaiah 32:1). These princes are being formed today. They are being tested in all areas of thought, speech, and conduct. They must learn absolute obedience to the Father. They, through Christ’s grace, are gaining dominion over all things, beginning with their own personality.

How wonderful it will be when the earth is ruled by the saints! 

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

All authority in Heaven and on the earth has been assigned to Christ. It is His desire to share His throne with His brothers. If we do not succeed in ruling over God’s enemies in the small area given us now there is no reason to expect to be raised to the throne of Christ after we die physically.

If we are not faithful in the lesser we assuredly will not be entrusted with the greater. If we cannot rule now we will be ruled in the world to come, for there can be no disorder in the Kingdom of God. Also, if we are not faithful in this life we will receive lashes because of our laziness and our disinterest in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

We cannot choose to be weak. We are required to choose to be strong in the Lord. We have no option. We are man, and God has decreed that man shall rule the works of God’s hands.

Man has been placed below the angels temporarily in order that he may experience suffering, humiliation, and the denial of his desires. Through these he learns stern obedience to the Father in Heaven. 

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)

Man is under various teachers and rulers. Man is destined to be above the angels in authority. Only man is the heir of salvation. The angels minister to the heirs of salvation.

In the timeless vision of God, man has been crowned with glory and honor. Today man is proud, spiritually weak, self-centered, rebellious, hard of heart. This is true both of Christians and non-Christians. It is not possible for such creatures to be placed on the highest thrones of the universe.

We are not fit to rule and this is why we have been placed in an animal body. This is why we are required to experience pain and "thirst." The higher the position to which we have been called in the Kingdom of God the lower we will be brought during our lifetime on the earth.

If we refuse to suffer (as is true of so many believers today), to experience denial of our most intense desires, if we will not obey the Father in the death of all we hold dear, then we cannot be assigned the rulership of the creation. It is only those who are willing to suffer in Christ who are eligible to rule.

We do not have the right to choose to gratify our desires in the world and forfeit our opportunity to rule. We are not permitted to make this kind of trade with God. We must attain the position in the Kingdom to which we have been called. If we do not, we will be treated as a stubborn, disobedient creature.

We are being taught stern obedience to the Father. Such obedience can be created only by repeated exposure to suffering and denial; not suffering and denial that we impose on ourselves in an effort to be "spiritual" but suffering and denial that the Spirit of God imposes on us.

Some Christian teachers are suggesting that God loves us too much to allow us to suffer and He has chosen for us only "good," positive, happy experiences. Such teachers have no idea of how poisonous, how spiritually destructive is the concept they are spreading. The doctrine of "the believers must be happy" is not coming from God but from Satan. It was Satan who attempted through Peter to comfort Jesus by suggesting He not go to the cross (Matthew 16:22).

We suffer because God loves us. Obedience can be mastered only through suffering. If we would know the power of Christ’s resurrection we must share in His sufferings, in the cross of pain and thirst.

The Lord Jesus Christ has been raised to an incomprehensible position of glory and authority. What would it be like to possess all authority and all power in Heaven and on the earth? There have been wicked men on the earth who have sought to rule the world. Never in their most exalted imaginations could they have conceived of the glory and power possessed by the Lord Jesus.

God has said to Jesus: 

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)

Also: 

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Hebrews 1:10-12)

Because Jesus was to be entrusted with supreme glory and authority, and because He was to be the ruler over many sons, He had to suffer greatly. 

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

Christ was perfect, from our point of view, before He was born in Bethlehem. However, God had in mind to give Jesus supreme rulership over all the works of God’s hands—the supreme rulership assigned by the Scriptures to man. Therefore Christ had to be perfected in obedience to the Father. 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8)

Christ learned obedience to the Father, and He learned it by suffering.

If Christ Himself learned obedience by suffering, what will we saints experience? If we would reign we must suffer. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: . . ." (II Timothy 2:12).

We must arm ourselves with a mind to suffer. As we seek the high calling of the saints we may be tempted to try to assume our Divine "rights" while we still are self-willed. This is the danger in the current attitude of the Pentecostal movement. Never before in the history of the Church have so many believers been acquainted with, and in possession of, the gifts of the Spirit. Power and revelation are being dispensed among the Lord’s people.

There is danger in this. We can lose sight of the Lord Jesus. We hear teachers of the Scriptures exhorting the believers to seek power from God. The impression is given that we are to use the power of the Spirit to fulfill our ambitions. The Presence of God is not felt in such teaching. The cross is not seen. It is a Pentecost without Jesus, as someone put it. The present emphasis on spiritual power apart from the Presence and rule of Jesus is the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11).

Never before in history has there been so much potential for good among the believers in Christ. Never before in history has there been such potential for evil among the believers in Christ. To receive spiritual power apart from the sufferings of the cross is to invite the worst possible forms of deception and spiritual bondage.

The true saint of today is not seeking power with God, he is seeking the Presence and will of Christ. He is seeking union with Christ—not to "get something from God" but because he loves God. If we have the Presence and will of Jesus, and are in union with Jesus, and He is being exalted in us, we have gained everything of value in the universe.

If we do not have the Presence and will of Jesus, if we are attempting to use the authority of His name and the power of His gifts apart from His Presence and direction, if we are not abiding in union with Him, trusting Him and resting in Him in every circumstance, we are in danger of becoming part of the False Prophet. Divine Glory and satanic exaltation can be confused when we are not living in Christ as we should. The two forms of power and revelation, Christ and Satan, are separated from each other by the personal cross of the believer.

Christ knew He was the Son of God, the Heir of all things. Yet He did not clutch this status to Himself. He offered Himself to the will of God and went as a Lamb to the slaughter. He was mocked, humiliated, beaten, subjected to cold, hunger, weariness. His "trial" was a travesty of justice. Pilate found no fault in Jesus, but handed Him over to be crucified because of the pressure being put on him by high-ranking Israelites.

Jesus fell beneath the weight of His cross, not being able to keep up with the other two prisoners. Then He was hung naked on the cross to suffer humiliation and excruciating physical and spiritual agony. He suffered these things in order to pay the price for our redemption and to learn obedience to the Father.

Jesus suffered in His obedience to God more than any other man. Now He has been exalted above every other man. Since to man has been assigned the rulership of the creation, Jesus, being the fullest expression of what God means by "man," is the supreme Lord over all. Jesus is King over all other kings and Lord over all other lords. 

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Philippians 2:8-11)

The Kingdom of God is the mature expression of the Divine edict that man is to rule the creation. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling and blessing the nations of the earth.

The Kingdom of God shall impose the will of God on all God’s creatures. The way of God, the law of God, is to be obeyed. There is to be no disobedience throughout the universe. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the Wife of the Lamb. The servants of God will go forth from the new Jerusalem to rule the creation. 

. . . and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

God exerts His will, His dominion, through Christ. Christ exerts His will, His dominion, through His saints.

During our life in the flesh we are to learn to perform the will of Christ. A seemingly infinite variety of forces and problems comes against us daily. Our task is to choose to do the will of Christ in each instance. We have to pray constantly for the wisdom and strength to perform the will of Christ.

There are new obstacles each day. Each day we pray, pray, pray until the will of Christ is being performed according to the burden the Lord has given us.

At one time there was a rebellion in Heaven on the part of the angels. The history of the earth reflects the spirit of rebellion. God’s plan has been to permit man to be infected with rebellion and then to heal man by infusing him with Christ—with the One who loves righteousness and hates lawlessness.

The purpose of creating in man an immunity to rebellion and sin is that man may be able to serve as a judge of Satan and his angels, and also to prevent rebellion in the future. Because man has been infected with rebellion, and then has recovered through Christ, man will be able to prevent future rebellion against God.

The wall of the new Jerusalem symbolizes the resistance to rebellion and sin that has been created in Christ-filled man.

As we choose continually to do the will of Christ, our will to govern increases in strength. We understand we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We do not have to serve Satan. We do not have to serve the world. We do not have to serve the lusts of our flesh. We do not have to be bound by our self-love and self-will. We can conquer through Christ. We can achieve victory over every circumstance, climb every wall, break every chain, outgrow every frailty and immaturity. We can be healed of the rebellion and sin with which we have been infected.

We can rule in life by Christ.

The lion is the symbol of man’s commission to rule the works of God’s hands. Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Man is to rule in Christ in God. Man is not to be ruled by nature or demons or angels or cherubs or his relationships or his fears or ambitions. He who commits sin is the slave of sin. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed because he is in slavery only to the Son.

Whoever is the slave of Christ is free. Living in obedience to Christ is the only true freedom there is.

The Church is the Wife of the Lamb, not of the Lion. The Father prefers meekness and love over violence and force, over the rule of a rod of iron. When all the creation has been brought under subjection to Christ through His saints, Christ Himself will be subject to the Father. Now will the Father be All and in all, and love, joy, and peace will prevail throughout the heavens and the earth.

There will be people in whom has been created the inflexible will to rule in God. They will serve eternally as a glorious wall of defense against any spirit that would contemplate behavior contrary to the will of God.

You can join the ranks of the army of those who serve the Lord. Set yourself to do the will of God. Do not accept excuses. Do not accept the unbelief or the fear that devils and men will attempt to put into you.

Man has been created to rule the works of God, not to be ruled by the works of God. Look always and only to the Lord Jesus Christ and He will make you a conqueror.

Man is to be in the image of God. He is to be in union with God and with others of his kind as God directs him. He is to be fruitful—filling the universe with the image of God, which is Christ. He is to govern the creation under Christ who is under God.

If a person goes through this present life and does not become famous or wealthy or accomplish any work of distinction, it is of no consequence.

But if a person goes through life and does not begin to be changed into God’s image, does not enter union with Christ and with others to whom God directs him, does not give of himself in aiding the formation of Christ in other people, and does not learn to rule in Christ, it is of the greatest consequence. He has not made any progress in becoming "man"! 

. . . What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (Hebrews 2:6,7)

In the timeless vision of God, man has been crowned with glory and honor. Man is destined to be above the angels in authority. Today man is proud, spiritually weak, self-centered, rebellious, hard of heart. He is under various teachers and rulers. He has been placed below the angels temporarily in order that he may experience suffering, humiliation, and the denial of his desires. To the man who is faithful to carry his cross and endure hardness as a good soldier will come the dominion promised him from the beginning.