I was watching a Jimmy Evans sermon the other day and while he was relaying a story about a safari he went on, a thought popped into my head regarding the complicated topic of dominion. No, not the rigged and fraudulent voting machines the Biden Administration relied on to steal the 2020 election, but the dominion Adam lost when he and Eve sinned in the Garden.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
For a brief moment in history, man had total dominion over the earth. This meant animals, fish, birds, plants, and every living and (presumably) non-living thing was subject to man's authority. Man was created to rule over nature benevolently, similar to how King Frank and Queen Helen were meant to benevolently rule over Narnia in C.S. Lewis' book The Magician's Nephew. However, once sin was introduced into the equation that dominion was lost and man has been on the proverbial struggle-bus ever since.
At present, mankind is the most dominant form of living creature on planet earth, yet, we have no dominion. If you think otherwise, walk up to a stray Pitbull or wild animal, and try explaining that to them when you're running for your life. No, life changed after Adam's fall. When reading the Scripture regarding this, I am fascinated at how much is implied in the simple verses that describe this drastic change. At first glance, it doesn't seem too bad. But when you really dig into it, you recognize the gravity of the seriousness it entails. For instance, take just part of the statement God made to Eve for her participation in the fall in Genesis 3:16 (my emphasis).
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;”
Although not spelled out, this verse implies a multitude of things women throughout history have come to hate: monthly menstrual cycles, menopause, the pain and discomfort in nine months of pregnancy, the act of giving birth, the loss of children in birth, and the physical changes (weight gain, stretch marks, etc.) to the body after delivery. Quite a bit more when you really think about the consequences now, isn't it?
The same could be implied in the verse about man's curse. Genesis 3:17-19 (my emphasis)
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,...
...Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
The ground was cursed and would no longer yield its full bounty. But wait, there's more! Man now had to work the ground by the sweat of his brow just to grow the food he would later eat so he could keep working. Thus, the vicious cycle of work began after the fall and man has been toiling away ever since. But this cursed-ness also introduces the idea that nature itself would be at enmity against man.
"Thorns and thistles" are apropos indicators of both pain and suffering. While Adam and Eve probably would not have understood the concept of earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, and all other manners of natural phenomena which would later come, they understood at a basic level that nature now would no longer be under their dominion. Pain and suffering imposed by nature would now become the norm.
Still, man's rebellious nature grow and continued to impose wickedness upon creation. Sin, at its most basic element, is purposely rebelling against God's standards of righteousness. Sin, consequently, leads to wickedness, which, if followed to its natural conclusion, leads to pain and death. Instead of allowing this pain and death to cause man to turn back to God for mercy, man's heart grew cold and hard. Man began to look for workarounds to this pain and death, and this rebellion (in the form of seeking knowledge) ultimately led to the global flood and the destruction of the antediluvian world.
Of course, we are familiar with the rest of that particular story. After 1,656 years, God had had enough. He would wipe out every air-breathing creature that was not placed safely upon the ark with a great deluge. And upon the end of that year-long event, dry land reappeared in a drastically altered world. God had terraformed earth's topography via the flood and introduced things like giant oceans, separated landmasses, mountains, and drastically changing weather systems. Nevertheless, Noah and his family left the ark and sacrificed an animal to God in thanks.
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Gen. 9:1-2 (my emphasis)
This verse tells us that before the flood, animals had no fear of man. Although it is not stated but is presumed due to the context of Genesis 6:12, mankind abused that relationship with animal-kind greatly. So now, after the flood, animals would have the fear and dread of man instilled into their instinct. We (humans) were to be avoided at all costs in order to survive. This must have been very shocking to Noah and his family, as they had just spent a year on the ark with these creatures.
Consequently, that has been the way of things ever since.
Since then, we call an animal that is not domesticated, wild, or feral, and depending on what they are, we either hunt them or limit our exposure to them through all manner of technological advancements. In the past two centuries, the urbanization of the planet has greatly reduced their wild habitats, and where we see these two collide (nature and humanity) we often see tragedy in the form of excessive hunting, roadkill, deforestation, pollution, infestations, nuisances, pests, extinction, animal attacks, and other coexistence issues. Even the reality that animals hunt each other is a sad consequence of man's loss of dominion. Simply watch a nature show and see a lion brutally kill a gazelle, or crocodiles dragging a wildebeest into the river, and tell me if that is how God intended things to be or not? I think not.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Rom. 8:20-23
Romans 8 tells us that creation groans under the burden of sin we have imposed upon it. And as that groaning intensifies, the calamities that befall this world will intensify. Not just earthquakes and hurricanes, but the animal kingdom itself will become increasingly hostile towards mankind. The late Chuck Missler once noted that the wild beasts mentioned in Revelation 6:8 who kill were not just carnivores and other predators, but also microbial viruses. And while that might certainly be true, I believe that after the Restrainer is removed in the Rapture of the Church, ALL animals will fear man and will become increasingly hostile. Just think about it as an expansion upon the fear of man God put on the animals in the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 9:1-2).
When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:7-8 (emphasis mine)
People often wonder what will become of their pets after the Rapture. I believe this is what happens. I believe all animals will revert back to their wild natures and will avoid mankind at all costs, if for nothing else, as an act of self-preservation. That's probably not what people want to hear, but I think when the Restrainer is removed part of that restraint also impacts the natural world. Fluffy and Fido will go feral and flee mankind altogether. Whether God gives them the ability to know how to hunt and live in the wild again, I don't know. I suppose in returning back to their feral states, they will instinctively know what to do.
Since at least the 1970s, there has been a growing segment within Christendom promoting the idea of Christian Dominionism and the reclaiming of dominion over the earth. Those who believe that might want to re-read passages like Luke 4:5-7, 1 Timothy 3, and 1 John 5:19. I am not one of those charismatic, or charismatic-leaning Christians who believe we can walk around and declare this place or that as Christ's territory. I am also not one to subscribe to the Seven Mountain Mandate.
There is no Church Age mandate we can pull from Scripture to support this. Quite the opposite in fact. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John all deal with the tribulations we as a body of believers will face in this life. Needless to say, we have had tribulation for the past two thousand years and will have tribulations (the wrath of Satan and man) until Christ returns and delivers us by way of a 'catching up' before The Tribulation (i.e., Daniel's 70th Week) begins.
This world as it is today is not our home. Part of the reality when you become born again is, you immediately realize you are in enemy territory. We are in a war, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). If you are born again, regardless of your status, your spiritual walk with Christ, your denomination, or what you do for a living; you are an enemy combatant to Satan. He hates you, and he will never stop trying to destroy you, your family, your ministry, or your reputation. And he has a very large army behind him to help him do this. However, we (the Church) are called to be salt and light and are meant to be a restraining force against evil in these last days. We are to plant our roots deep like a tree and stand against the wind and the rain and prevent as best we can, the erosion of the ground around us.
Part and parcel with this idea of dominion are nestled in the purposes behind the Seal, Trumpet, and Bowl Judgments as found in Revelation 6-19. This is the process by which Christ reclaims ownership of the earth. It is Him purging sin out of creation, similar to how it was done against Egypt in the Exodus. Although the Kingdom is proclaimed for Christ long before the end of the 70th Week, when Christ steps foot again on the earth at His Second Coming, He instantly terraforms Jerusalem (and the surrounding area) to the way it will be during His millennial reign. Christ will restore that perfect dominion only He can claim as the Kinsman Redeemer (the God-Man), and the natural order will be restored.
In closing, we can hardly fathom what a world like that will look like because we've never had it nor seen it. But it is coming. Dominion is returning to earth and ending the reign of wickedness and chaos that has been ever-present since the fall. It is in those days that men will beat their swords into plowshares, and those alive then will be content with what they harvest themselves. No longer will men toil in vain, but will enjoy the work of their hands. Long-life will be restored to man and if someone perchance were to die at 100 years of age, they will be thought of as a child (Isaiah 65). But nature itself will be restored back to the way it was always intended to be.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9
Even so, Maranatha!