My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

  God in GloryIn this article, I’ll briefly address the doctrine of Dominionism which goes back at least as far as the 1950’s, but has gained momentum in recent years.

What we know today as Dominionism doctrine is a hybrid of Roman Restorationism, Dominionism, Preterism, liberal A-millennialism, Post-millennial eschatology, and Later Rain doctrines.

The doctrines of Dominionism are rooted in the earth. Their basis is the (false) teaching that man must take dominion of this earth and change it for the better before Jesus can come. The emphasis, therefore, has shifted from ‘looking up’ to ‘looking around’ to see what can be done to patch up the environment and change society into a more godly one. This scheme is unscriptural and should be rejected as heresy. Taking restoration teachings to their logical conclusion, it is clear that nothing less than world Christianisation would work the miracle of planetary salvation. This, say the leaders, would be the ‘Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness’ promised in the Old Testament. However, given the condition of the human heart, and satan’s plans for world dominion, it is actually the universal reign of terror through Antichrist! In the Word of God, not universal obedience but universal wickedness is forecast before the Coming of Christ, and all nations will follow the satanic plans of the ‘Beast’. [Rev 13:3,4] To set about organising and networking for a New Order and for global dominion is to throw huge parts of the Church into the hands of ‘another christ’ and ‘another gospel’. [1]

“Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. “ – C. Peter Wagner [2]

One of the key principles of Dominionist theology, is that believers are to ‘fight’ and ‘struggle’ in order to ‘take over’ the world’s major systems (business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion) and ‘make’ them subservient to Christ and His rule NOW, not later when He returns to earth. Dominionists believe that He can’t come until we do! [3]

Is this what the Scriptures teach? Where’s the proof of that in the Bible? How did Dominionists come to such conclusions?

Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Interestingly, the Greek term for ‘kingdom’ is ‘royal power, kingship, dominion, and rule!

Notice that Jesus said that IF his kingdom were of the world, then his ‘servants would FIGHT’ to get him released. ‘fight’ = G75 agonizomai From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

Where, or on what, do Dominionists base their theology that Christians must take the world and its systems for Christ, even before He returns? Isn’t it written that Christ’s kingdom will be set up when He returns?

Mat 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

This verse is obviously talking about the time of Christ’s second coming to the earth when He arrives with angels, in his glory. At that time, Jesus will invite the ‘blessed’ to inherit the ‘kingdom’ prepared for them. The kingdom being offered to the saints at that time, sounds like a real, physical place.

Luk 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luk 17:21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

‘observation’ From: G3906 paratereo; to inspect alongside, that is, note insidiously or scrupulously: – observe, watch.

What’s meant by Luk 17:20, is that God’s kingdom coming to reside ‘within’ us, cannot be observed or seen with the physical eye. The coming of God’s kingdom IN us, could easily get confused with the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth with signs preceding – Mt 24:5-15.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

‘kingdom’ = G932 basileia
Thayer Definition:
1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom
2) a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king
3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah

What’s meant in Col 1:13, is that Christians are given ‘dominion’ or ‘authority to rule over God’s kingdom,’ having the royal power conferred on them! Hallelujah! (Notice it says, God’s kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world!) Is this likewise what’s meant in Eph 1:3, Phil 3:20, and Eph 2:6? – ‘and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.

The writer of 2Timothy, seems to be suggesting that he hasn’t entered into the ‘heavenly kingdom’ as of yet, but it will be waiting for him at the end. Could he have meant that it’s a progressive kind of entering into His kingdom; little by little as he’s delivered from every evil deed? Or, does he mean that he will enter God’s kingdom at the end of his life, or at the end of the age? While the kingdom of God resides within those who believe, is there still a tangible, physical, kingdom awaiting us at the end of the age, when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom (rule, government) on the Earth, or is it solely a spiritual reality that exists inside of those who believe?

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the….

God’s Kingdom will be established on earth, in His timing, not ours. While I believe all the spiritual gifts are for today, I’m uncertain and uneasy about Apostolic rulership of the Body, since the scripture states that Jesus Christ is the ‘Head of the Body’ and of ‘every man,’ according to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3.

What I see in the Bible is that until Yeshua returns, the whole earth will remain in turmoil and unbelief – Luk 18:8 Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (See also – Lk 18:8, Mt 24:9-12, Mt 24:24, 1 Thess 5:1-3, Luke 17:22-30)  This is not to say however, that there can’t be much more of God’s Kingdom established in us, and on the earth than there is now. I think the Church has lost much of its authority to influence the world through default, and by merging with the world and its systems instead of remaining separate from it.

“Be ye separate!” The Church is supposed to be “called out” (ecclesia) from the world; to be “separate” from it (2 Cor 6:17, Rev 18:4) but instead, has become “one with it” in many ways. Jesus said that his own were not ‘of the world’ so how can we become one with it? Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Another tenet of Dominionism, is that Apostles are now being restored to their initial and proper place in the Body of Christ which is to ‘govern’ the Body. Dominionists believe that Apostles are more than missionaries or ‘sent ones’ sent to build churches in foreign lands, but are to act as the Authority of God over members of Christ’s Body. In other words, individual members come ‘under’ their authority and must ‘answer’ to them, not just to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Is this what the Bible teaches?

According to Eph 1:22, 4:13-16, 5:23; Cols 1:18, 1 Cor 11:3 – Jesus is the HEAD of all things pertaining to the Church, and the HEAD of every man. So how then can it be that Apostles have the ‘headship’ or ‘rulership’ of the Church? Can there be more than ONE head? What body has TWO heads, unless it’s a freak of nature?

Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
‘head’ = G2776 kephalē
Thayer Definition:
2) metaphorically anything supreme, chief, prominent
2a) of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife
2b) of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church

If it be true that Christ is the ‘head of EVERY MAN, where would be the need for an Apostolic ‘headship’ or covering for members of the body?

According to the Bible, apostles and prophets were given for the perfecting and edification of the saints, and for the work of the ministry.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Far as I can see, there’s no scriptural support for Apostolic rulership of the Church. There are however instructions regarding submission to those in authority and for mutual submission to one another –

Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. *(pastors, deacons, elders? civil authorities?)

‘obey’ = G3982 peitho;
Thayer Definition: 2b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with
3) to trust, have confidence, be confident

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort,
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

‘lords over’ = G2634 katakurieuo;
Thayer Definition:
1) to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master
2) to hold in subjection, to be master of, *exercise lordship over*

Elders, deacons, and pastors, aren’t to “lord it over” God’s flock, but lead by “example.” That goes for Apostles and Prophets too. In fact, throughout Church history, an Apostle was also a ‘deacon’ or an ‘elder,’ as well as a ‘sent one,’ sent to preach the gospel or on special missions.

Luk 11:49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’

‘apostle’ = G649 apostello; From G575 and G4724; set apart, that is, (by implication) to send out (properly on a mission) literally or figuratively: – put in, send (away, forth, out), set [at liberty].

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, *all of you* be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

‘submit yourselves’ = G5293 hupotasso;
Thayer Definition:
1) to arrange under, to subordinate
2) to subject, put in subjection
3) to subject one’s self, obey
4) to submit to one’s control
5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice
6) to obey, be subject

Take note that it’s the “younger” or those “new to the faith” (neophytes, newly born) who are being admonished to “submit” to an elder in the church. By making such a distinction, it may be that mature members need not be in submission to an elder, since they are mature in the faith, and are more likely to be elders themselves. An elder was and still is, a member who has reached maturity in the faith, having achieved a level of knowledge and understanding of the faith by which they’re able to instruct others. An elder is someone other members recognize as being worthy of their respect, due to the obvious unction of the Holy Spirit upon them.

From 1 Pet 5:3 and 5, it would seem that elders, deacons, and pastors – are admonished not to “lord it over, or exercise lordship over” other members in the Church. It’s certain that all members of the Body are to submit themselves “to one another” and that any submission to an elder or the like, is done WILLINGLY and not through COERCION or certain members pulling rank on other members.

Dominionists are saying that Apostles receive ‘new’ revelation all the time through the Holy Spirit, and that those revelations are on equal footing, are as authoritative as the written Word of God. Many would disagree. It’s my personal opinion that we must be very careful about receiving ‘new’ revelation if it contradicts what God has already revealed in the written Word, or isn’t supported by it.

That being said, there are some verses in the New Testament, where it’s stated that after Jesus went back to His Father, He spoke to and gave instructions to his Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

Act 1:2 until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Eph 3:3 how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That the calling of the Gentiles was made known by the prophets in different ages of the Jewish Church is exceedingly clear; but it certainly was not made known in that clear and precise manner in which it was now revealed by the Spirit unto the ministers of the New Testament: nor was it made known unto them at all, that the Gentiles should find salvation without coming under the yoke of the Mosaic law, and that the Jews themselves should be freed from that yoke of bondage; these were discoveries totally new, and now revealed for the first time by the Spirit of God.Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Thus, while the revelation of the mystery of Christ was prophesied in a couple Old Testament books, it wasn’t fully made known until it was disclosed to Paul and others in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit. Even so, the revelation wasn’t completely new, it had been previously mentioned in the Old Testament.

In conclusion, I’m all for establishing as much of God’s rule on earth as is possible, but primarily WITHIN individual members of HIS BODY. That’s where His Kingdom should FIRST be established, and where the Body should be focussed. I don’t see anyplace in the Word which states or suggests that we’re going to subdue the world and its systems before Jesus returns, or, that He can’t return until we do. Nor do I see any scriptural mandate to even attempt such a feat. What I do see taught in the Bible is that believers in Christ will SUFFER persecution and deprivation before He comes the second and last time to establish His Kingdom on earth, and that they’re to be waiting patiently for Him. – Mt 10:22, 39; Mark 13:9-13, John 15:18-20, 2 Cor 1:7, 2 Cor 4:10, Phil 3:10, 2 Tim 4:5, Rev 3:10 (for starters).


Endnotes —

[2] This was a transcription of a recording of C. Peter Wagner delivering a speech to the 2008 “Starting The Year Off Right” conference. YouTube location of this recording is. This is also posted at where these words are transcribed. *Apparently these are no longer available, sorry. If I find these sources again, I’ll update with new links.