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Perpetual Sovereignty Of The Kingdom Of God

Perpetual Sovereignty Of The Kingdom Of God

Biblical Theology of Mission Course – 7a

 

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This teaching addresses the huge and often controversial subject of God’s sovereignty. John first tries to clarify how christonaturalism and christoplatonism have influenced the Church’s view of sovereignty. He then seeks to Biblical lay out sovereignty and how it affects the mission of the Church.

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PERPETUAL SOVEREIGNTY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

CHRISTONATURALISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGNTY

CHRISTONATURALISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGNTY

A.    Review: Pure Platonic soteriology assumes complete acquiescence to death and the ultimate destruction of the perceptual/natural realm.  On the other hand, pure Biblical soteriology assumes ardent opposition to death and the ultimate restoration of the heavens and the earth.  These soteriologies, and their eschatological conclusions, produce diametrically different missiologies and sociologies.

1.    Pure Platonic salvation calls for absolute escapism, or “abscondment,” i.e. escape from this evil world ultimately doomed to destruction.[1]  Thus, God has no desire to gain control over this wicked world; rather his desire is simply to pluck souls from the fire, so to say, and take them away to an eternal etherealized “heaven”.

2.    Pure Biblical salvation calls for an ardent standing with creation for its restoration and a declaration to the earth of the coming of its Messiah.  God has complete governmental control and sovereignty over this world and desires all evildoers to repent before he casts them to the Lake of Fire forever.

Diagram2-Messianic-SalvationDiagram1-Christonaturalistic-Salvation

B.    Historically, Christianity generally developed in tandem with various forms of Platonism, producing various degrees of “Christoplatonism”.[2]  Over time however Christoplatonism developed in tandem with Naturalism, culminating with Deism during and after the Enlightenment and finally parting ways with the advent of Darwinism.

C.   Thus, Christonaturalism involves a wide range of worldviews, historically and presently, based a scale of compromise between Judeo-Christianity and Plato-Naturalism.  However, though Christonaturalism involves a multitude of beliefs, it generally assumes a similar metaphysical construct, which thus assumes a common governmental apparatus, cosmogeny, eschatology, etc.

 Diagram1-Christonaturalistic-Spectrum

1.    Since the Natural realm has its own governmental apparatus, i.e. “natural laws,” it functions according to its own sovereignty—“[Natural law] is a theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere.”[3]

2.    With the integration of Judeo-Christianity into Plato-Naturalism, there are two laws vying for authority over existence.  This results in a dualism of sovereignty—the sovereignty of God governing over creation, and the sovereignty of Nature governing over the universe.  The source of the conflict lies in the simple fact that non-materiality cannot govern over materiality in any real existential sense.

Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” … 13 The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.  14 There has been no day like it before or since… (ESV Joshua 10:12-14)

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (NIV Revelation 8:5)

D.   The Christonaturalistic worldview thus has an inherent internal conflict concerning the doctrine of the sovereignty of God because it has something much greater than Satan or humans introduced into the equation, i.e. Nature and her Law.  The degree of this internal conflict is determined by the degree of compromise made with pure Plato-Naturalism.

1.    Since all Christonaturalistic worldviews generally share a common cosmogenical metaphysical construct (natural vs. supernatural) and governing apparatuses (Divine Law vs. Natural Law), they thus generally share a common eschatology (material annihilationism).

2.    However, Christonaturalistic soteriologies are dependant upon the degree to which God’s sovereignty is embraced.  Streams that emphasize Christonaturalistic salvation generally lean toward an escapist missiology.  Streams that emphasize Christonaturalistic sovereignty generally lean toward a dominionistic missiology.

3.    Consequently, the Cross is interpreted within escapism as the means of getting out of the material realm, i.e. “going to heaven”, or within dominionism as the means of conquering the earth and establishing God’s sovereignty.  Though inherently contradictory since God is trying to gain/maintain sovereignty over something that he is ultimately going to destroy, movement between the two positions is often fluid causing great mixture of thought and action.

Diagram2-Christonaturalistic-Sovereignty Diagram5-Messianic-SovereigntyDiagram3-Worldview-Comparison-Chart


[1] I use the term abscondment because it integrates the ideas of escapism and criminality, i.e. “The act of running away secretly (as to avoid arrest).” (HyperDictionary.com, “Abscondment,” available from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=abscondment.)

[2] “Christoplatonism” is a term coined by Randy Alcorn to distinguish Christian Platonism from other forms of secular Platonism (see Randy Alcorn, Heaven, (Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), 459).

[3] “Natural Law,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, edited by David L. Sills and Robert K. Merton (New York: Macmillan/Free Press, 1968), empasis mine.

IMPLICATIONS ON BIBLICAL SOVEREIGNTY

IMPLICATIONS ON BIBLICAL SOVEREIGNTY

A.    The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is one of the most commonly held and most vigorously debated beliefs in both ancient and modern times.  However, what is divine “sovereignty,” and what part does it play in biblical soteriology?

Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign(Hb. shalliyt, “rules” KJV/NKJV/ESV/NLT, “is ruler” NASB, “has sovereignty” NRSV) over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes… 34 His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.  35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth (governmentally). (NIV Daniel 4:32-35)

  • <7990> jyLiv; shalliyt (Aramaic) {shal-leet’}

Meaning:  1) having mastery, domineering, master 1a) having mastery 1a1) ruler (subst) 1b) domineering, imperious

Origin:  corresponding to 07989 [Hb. shalliyt]; TWOT – 3034b; adj

Usage:  AV – rule 6, ruler 2, captain 1, lawful 1; 10

1.            Ironically, throughout theological history the doctrine of God’s sovereignty has been mostly discussed outside the context of government,[1] especially since government is inherent in the very definition of sovereignty: “1. Government free from external control, 2. Royal authority; the dominion of a monarch, 3. The authority of a state to govern another state.”[2]

2.            Since God’s sovereignty and governance have generally been thought of within a mechanistic existential context (cf. Platonism/Naturalism), discussion on the topic has preferred the terms such as “providence.”[3] Use of terms such as this generally relegates the discussion of God’s sovereignty to existential foreknowledge and predestination.[4]

“There is a benevolent and purposeful ordering of all events of history. Nothing happens by chance; though not always perceptible to human understanding, there is a divine or cosmic plan to the universe, a reason for everything.”[5]

3.    In much the same way that the language of “resurrection” and “kingdom” gets overlaid onto a dualistic reality and really means the “eternal existence of the soul” and “etherealized heaven”, so also is “sovereignty” taken out of its biblical context of absolute governance over creation and is overlaid onto dualism to mean “providence” and everything entailed therein.

Diagram4-Messianic-Sovereignty-Vs-Christonaturalistic-Providence

4.    Thus, historically, the means of sovereignty has been classified within the foreknowledge argument, which generally falls within categories:

(1)             Causative Foreknowledge (Calvinism)[6]

(2)             Historical Foreknowledge (Arminianism)[7]

(3)             Rejection of Foreknowledge (Openness)[8]

5.    Though foreknowledge is addressed in the Scriptures (the entire prophetic witness being an example), it is not the primary aspect of God’s sovereignty (though he clearly has power over time itself).  However, when you overlay a material reality (which is dynamic and timely) vs. nonmaterial reality (which is static and non-timely), then foreknowledge and “causation” become the central issues because of the essential inability of a material reality to relate to a nonmaterial reality.

B.    To understand biblical sovereignty rightly, it is critical to frame the argument within the biblical context of government within a unified metaphysical construct.  God has sat enthroned in the heights of the heavens, retaining full dominion and sovereignty over the heavens and the earth since creation.  This helps resolve the inherent paradox between foreknowledge and free will.

1.    The problem of free will is only a problem to the one who seeks to resolve the paradox within the heart of God.  Just because God has foreknowledge of our decisions does not relieve our responsibility to respond or lessen our accountability when we choose to disobey.  God’s foreknowledge of our choices is his problem not ours.

2.            As the functioning of a child in a house is radically affected by the ontology and proximity of his/her father, so also is our relating to the ontology and proximity of our heavenly Father and his sovereignty.  When God is in the same metaphysical “house”, our hearts are set at rest with his intimate, loving sovereignty, and we can come to terms with his foreknowledge, letting him be God.[9]

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man… (NASB Ephesians 3:14-16)



[1] E.g. “Sovereignty – of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure (Dan. 4:25, 35; Rom. 9:15–23; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 4:11).” [M.G. Easton (c.1897), Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).]

[2] HyperDictionary.com, “Sovereignty,” available from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=sovereignty.

[3] “Once we understand that God is the all-powerful Creator (see chapter 15), it seems reasonable to conclude that he also preserves and governs everything in the universe as well.  Though the term providence is not found in Scripture, it has been traditionally used to summarize God’s ongoing relationship to his creation… We may define God’s providence as follows: God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.” [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 315.]

[4] “Providence defined.  The word ‘provide’ (from Latin providere) means etymologically ‘to foresee.’ The corresponding Greek word, Grk: pronoia, means ‘forethought.’ Forethought and foresight imply a future end, a goal and a definite purpose and plan for attaining that end… The most essential attribute of rational beings is that they act with reference to an end; that they act not only with thought but with forethought.  As, therefore, it is characteristic of rational beings to make preparation for every event that is foreseen or anticipated, the word ‘providence’ has come to be used less in its original etymological meaning of foresight than to signify that preparation care and supervision which are necessary to secure a desired future result. While all rational beings exercise a providence proportioned to their powers, yet it is only when the word is used with reference to the Divine Being who is possessed of infinite knowledge and power that it takes on its real and true significance.  The doctrine of divine providence, therefore, has reference to that preservation care and government which God exercises over all things that He has created in order they may accomplish the ends for which they were created.” [“Providence,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1939), edited by James Orr, John Nuelsen, Edgar Mullins, Morris Evans, and Melvin Grove Kyle (Norfork: BibleWorks, LLC, 2003).]

[5] Paul J. Achtemeier, “Providence,” Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 1st ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 832.

[6] “From this follows the fourth decree to save certain particular persons and to damn others, which decree rests upon the foreknowledge of God, but which he has known from eternity which persons should believe according to such an administration of the means serving to repentance and faith through his preceding grace and which should persevere through subsequent grace, and also who should not believe and persevere.” [James Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, Vol. I (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1825-1828), 247-48.]

[7] “We must not think they are because he knows them. No; he knows them because they are. Just as I (if one may he allowed to compare the things of men with the deep things of God) now know the sun shines: Yet the sun does not shine because I know it, but I know it because he shines. My knowledge supposes the sun to shine; but does not in anywise cause it. In like manner, God knows that man sins; for he knows all things: Yet we do not sin because he knows it, but he knows it because we sin; and his knowledge supposes our sin, but does not in anywise cause it. In a word, God, looking on all ages, from the creation to the consummation, as a moment, and seeing at once whatever is in the hearts of all the children of men, knows everyone that does or does not believe, in every age or nation. Yet what he knows, whether faith or unbelief, is in nowise caused by his knowledge. Men are as free in believing or not believing as if he did not know it at all.” [John Wesley, “Sermon LVIII, On Predestination,” in The Works of John Wesley, Vol. 6, Second Series (54-86), (Sage Digital Library Collected Works), 255-6.]

[8] “Obviously God must know all things that can be known and know them truly. To be able to know all that can be known is a dimension of God’s power… omniscience need not mean exhaustive foreknowledge of all future events. If that were its meaning, the future would be fixed and determined, much as is the past. Total knowledge of the future would imply a fixity of events. Nothing in the future would need to be decided. It also would imply that human freedom is an illusion, that we make no difference and are not responsible… It would seriously undermine the reality of our decisions if they were known in advance, spelled out in a heavenly register and absolutely certain to happen. It would make the future fixed and certain and render illusory the sense of our making choices between real options.” [Clark Pinnock, The Openness of God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 121-123; italics mine.]

[9] “The Pauline notion of divine foreknowledge is understood by many interpreters as a knowing in the Semitic sense of acknowledging, inclining toward someone, knowledge which expresses a movement of the will reaching out to personal relationship with someone. This kind of knowing is illustrated by the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘yada’, ‘to know’ in texts such as Amos 3:2; Hosea 13:5; and Jeremiah 1:5. The Hebrew verb can come close in meaning to ‘elect’. The Greek verb ‘ginosko’ can also have the sense of acknowledging someone as in Gal. 4:9 and 1 Cor. 8:3 in which the term is used to refer to God’s ‘knowledge’ of human beings which is the basis for their coming to know or love God …. In Rom. 8:29, foreknowledge denotes the exercise of God’s will to establish a special relationship with those whom God graciously elects before all time … Foreknowledge as divine choice is thus the basis of predestination to glorification with Christ.” [J.M. Gundry-Volf, “Foreknowledge, Divine,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 310-11.]

IMPLICATIONS ON THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

IMPLICATIONS ON THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

A.    Because God’s sovereignty has been traditionally understood outside the context of government and within a dualistic metaphysical construct, biblical soteriology has been assumed to be fundamentally dominionistic rather than amnestic—that is, in the plan of salvation, God is assumed to be presently establishing or regaining dominion over the earth.  Thus, most believers do not truly believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, though they may affirm it doctrinally/theologically.

B.    Since the Church is generally assumed to be the manifestation of the Kingdom of God, it is thus assumed to be the primary agent of God’s establishment of dominion upon the earth.  Moreover, since dominion is based on possession, this is one of the primary reasons why the Church has historically been consumed with the possession of buildings, lands, governments, etc.

C.   Dominionism has thus historically been the Church’s dominant mission and outworking of the sovereignty of God.  Since the “Constantinian shift,” the Church has almost unilaterally sought to gain wealth, resources and political power in the name of “furthering the kingdom of God.”  This has had disastrous consequences as honest Church History has shown.[1]

Theological confusion, especially in matters which have to do with the Church, will inevitably produce consequences which are of grave practical concern.  The identification of the Kingdom with the Church has led historically to ecclesiastical policies and programs which, even when not positively evil, have been far removed from the original simplicity of the New Testament ekklēsia.  It is easy to claim that in the “present kingdom of grace” the rule of the saints is wholly “spiritual,” exerted only through moral principles and influence.  But practically, once the Church becomes the Kingdom in any realistic theological sense, it is impossible to draw any clear line between principles and their implementation through political and social devises.  For the logical implications of a present ecclesiastical kingdom are unmistakable, and historically have always led in only one direction, i.e., political control of the state by the Church.  The distances down this road traveled by various religious movements, and the forms of control which were developed, have been widely different.  The difference is very great between the Roman Catholic system and modern Protestant efforts to control the state; also between the ecclesiastical rule of Calvin in Geneva and the fanaticism of Münster and the English “fifth-monarchy.”  But the basic assumption is always the same: The Church in some sense is the Kingdom, and therefore has a divine right to rule; or it is the business of the Church to “establish” fully the Kingdom of God among men.  Thus the Church loses its “pilgrim” character and the sharp edge of its divinely commissioned “witness” is blunted.[2]



[1] See Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History (Morningstar Books, 1995); Karlheinz Deschner, Abermals krähte der Hahn; Eine kritische Kirchengeschichte von den Anfängen bis zu Pius XII (“The Cock Crowed Once Again: A Critical Church History from the Beginnings to Pius XII”) (Stuttgart: Günther, 1962); Karlheinz Deschner, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (“The Criminal History of Christianity”), 10 Vol. (1986-2008); short overview of the first seven volumes available at Deschner’s site, http://www.deschner.info/index.htm?/en/work/kg/criminalhistory.htm; Gert von Paczensky, Teurer Segen: Christliche Mission und Kolonialismus (“Costly Blessing: Christian Mission and Colonialism”) (München: A. Knaus, 1991).

[2] Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (BMH Books, 1959), 438-439.

GOD'S PERPETUAL FULL OWNERSHIP OF CREATION

GOD’S PERPETUAL FULL OWNERSHIP OF CREATION

A government’s dominion over a region is determined by its authority over that region.[1]  However, authority is based on ownership, which alone determines who ultimately has the right to make decisions concerning the well-being of the whole.[2]  The Kingdom of God has always retained full dominion and sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, because it has always retained full ownership of them.

The LORD had said to Abram… 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you… 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land (implying it is his to give).” (NIV Genesis 12:1-7)

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)  19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor (Hb. qanah, Gk. ktizo LXX, “Creator” NIV/NLT, “maker” NRSV) of heaven and earth20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” (NIV Genesis 14:18-20)

Moses said to him (Pharaoh), “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.” (NIV Exodus 9:29)

The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants24 Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. (NIV Leviticus 25:23-24)

To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today.  16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.  17 For the LORD your God is God of gods (cf. creator) and Lord of lords (cf. dominion), the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. (NIV Deuteronomy 10:14-17)

Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:  2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel (i.e. governance) with words without knowledge (of God’s sovereignty)?  3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  4 Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand (i.e. creation implying ownership)… 40:11 Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low,  12 look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand.  13 Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave (absolute ability implying absolute sovereignty).  14 Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you… 41:10 Who then is able to stand against me?  11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me (implying right to governance).” (NIV Job 38:1-5; 40:8-14; 41:10-11)

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? … 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,  6I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”  7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.  8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance (implying they presently belong to the Father), the ends of the earth your possession. (NIV Psalm 2:1-8)

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.  3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? (NIV Psalm 24:1-3; cf. 89:11)

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth… 4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people… 12 “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” (NIV Psalm 50:1-12)

Tell this to your masters (kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon– v.3):  5 With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals (i.e. creation implying ownership) that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please6 Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon… (NIV Jeremiah 27:2-4)



[1] Authority being defined as: “1) The power or right to give orders or make decisions, 2) (usually plural) persons who exercise (administrative) control over others.” (HyperDictionary.com, “Authority,” available from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=authority.)

[2] Dominion is defined as: “1) A territorial possession controlled by a ruling state, 2) Dominance or power through legal authority.” (HyperDictionary.com, “Dominion,” available from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=dominion.)

The etymology of “dominion” itself reveals its intimate connection with ownership: “c.1430, from M.Fr. dominion, from M.L. dominionem (nom. dominio), from L. dominionem “ownership” (see domination). British sovereign colonies often were called dominions, hence the Dominion of Canada, the formal title after the 1867 union, and Old Dominion, the popular name for the U.S. state of Virginia, first recorded 1778.” (Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper ed., “Dominion,” available from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dominion.)

GOD'S PERPETUAL FULL DOMINION/SOVEREIGNTY OVER CREATION

GOD’S PERPETUAL FULL DOMINION/SOVEREIGNTY OVER CREATION

Though dominion over the earth has been delegated to man (cf. Ps. 8:4-8; 115:16), and though man has abused that authority, God has never lost his sovereignty over the kingdom of man.  He has simply refrained from enforcing His law and executing judgment on the rebellion of man (cf. Rom. 3:26; Acts 17:30).

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it… 8 Day and night they (the four living creatures) never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy (otherness of character unto governance, cf. contextual “throne”) is the Lord God Almighty (Gk. pantokrator), who was (sitting sovereignly on the throne), and is (sitting sovereignly on the throne), and is to come (sitting sovereignly on the throne).”  9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever (in full dominion over creation),  10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne (act of governmental subjection) and say:  11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power (as Governor), for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being (creation implying ownership implying right to rule).” (NIV Revelation 4:2-11)

  • <3841> pantokra,twr pantokrator {pan-tok-rat’-ore}

Meaning:  1) he who holds sway over all things 2) the ruler of all 3) almighty: God

Origin:  from 3956 [Gk. pas, “all, every”] and 2904 [Gk. kratos, “power, force, dominion”]; TDNT – 3:914,466; n m

Usage:  AV – Almighty 9, omnipotent 1; 10

A.    God retained full dominion over the Earth after the Fall.

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (NIV Exodus 19:5-6)

The LORD gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.  7 The LORD makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up.  8 He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor (governmental positions). For all the earth is the LORD’s, and he has set the world in order (governmentally). (NLT 1 Samuel 2:6-8)

And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (NIV 2 Kings 19:15)

David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” (NIV 1 Chronicles 29:10-12)

The LORD reigns forever (with absolute sovereignty); he has established his throne (presently) for judgment (eschatologically).  8 He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice (i.e. enforcement of dominion)… 17 The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God… 19 Arise, O LORD, let not man triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence20 Strike them with terror, O LORD; let the nations know they are but men. (NIV Psalm 9:7-20)

Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account“?  14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand… 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.  16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land (Hb. erets, i.e. He retains full dominion for ever and ever). (NIV Psalm 10:13-16)

But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven (in full dominion). He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.  5 The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked (refraining from enforcing His law). He hates those who love violence.  6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds.  7 For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face. (NLT Psalm 11:4-7)

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him (eschatologically),  28 for dominion belongs to the LORD (presently) and he rules over the nations (restraining from judgment).  29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him… (NIV Psalm 22:27-29)

Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, give (“ascribe” NASB/ESV/NRSV/NIV) unto the LORD glory and strength (i.e. acknowledge His dominion and sovereignty).  2 Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness (“in holy array” NASB).  3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters (i.e. peoples, cf. Is. 8:5; Jer. 47:2; Rev. 17:15)… 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.  5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars (i.e. governments, cf. Dan. 4:20ff; Ps. 37:35; Is. 10:33f; Ez. 31:3ff; Zech. 11:2)… 7 The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire (i.e. angels, cf. Ps. 104:4; Is. 66:15; Ez. 1:13; Heb. 1:7)… And in His temple (in heaven, cf. Heb. 8:5; 9:23; Rev. 7:15; 11:19; 15:5ff) everyone says, “Glory!” (recognizing His full dominion)  10 The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood (in full dominion), and the LORD sits as King forever (in full dominion). (NKJV Psalm 29:1-10)

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  2 How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth (presently)! … 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.  8 God reigns over the nations (presently); God is seated on his holy throne (in full dominion).  9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God (i.e. under His dominion); he is greatly exalted. (NIV Psalm 47:1-9)

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established (under His dominion, cf. Is. 40:21f); it shall never be moved.  2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. (NIV Psalm 93:1-2)

Ascribe to (“recognize” NLT) the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name… 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth (in recognition of His dominion).  10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established (under His dominion), it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. (NIV Psalm 96:7-10)

The LORD reigns (presently), let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.  2 Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations (i.e. full dominion).  3 Let them praise your great and awesome name– he is holy. (NIV Psalm 99:1-3)

But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him… 19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven (in absolute sovereignty), and His kingdom rules over all (presently).  20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.  21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure.  22 Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion (i.e. heavens and earth). Bless the LORD, O my soul! (NKJV Psalm 103:17-22)

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” (as though He has lost dominion)  3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him (because He is absolutely sovereign).  4 But their idols are silver and gold… 16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD (governmentally), but the earth he has given to man (governmentally, implying the giver still retains sovereignty). (NIV Psalm 115:2-16)

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made… 20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (NIV Psalm 145:13-20)

See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants… 20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind… 21 In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. (NIV Isaiah 24:1-23)

See, the Sovereign LORD (Hb. adonay yhvh) comes with power, and his arm rules for him (enforcing His sovereignty). See, his reward (for the righteous) is with him, and his recompense (for the wicked) accompanies him… 15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket (i.e. their sovereignty and dominion); they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust… 17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing… 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded (i.e. from creation to present)?  22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth (retaining sovereignty over it), and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.  23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing (presently).  24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. (NIV Isaiah 40:10-24)

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?  2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” … 15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  16 For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. (NIV Isaiah 66:1-16)

Who would not fear (“revere” NIV) you, O King of the nations (presently)? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you… 10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.  11 Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens (eschatologically).” (ESV Jeremiah 10:7-11)

Daniel praised the God of heaven  20 and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his21 He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. (NIV Daniel 2:19-22)

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth (i.e. all dominions): Peace be multiplied to you!  2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.  3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men (even after the Fall) and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men… 34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;  35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven (i.e. sovereignty over the heavens) and among the inhabitants of the earth (i.e. sovereignty over the earth); and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” … 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (ESV Daniel 4:1-37)

As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat (Hb. yashab, i.e. “sit enthroned” in full dominion)… Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened… 13 In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power (by the Ancient of Days, implying he retained all dominion beforehand); all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away (as inherited from the Ancient of Days), and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed… 23 He (the angel) gave me this explanation… 26 ‘the court will sit, and his (“little horn,” i.e. Antichrist) power will be taken away (by the Most High, implying it was given by the Most High) and completely destroyed forever.  27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over (by the Most High) to the saints, the people of the Most High.'” (NIV Daniel 7:9-27)

B.    God retained full dominion over the Earth after the First Coming.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority (i.e. dominion) in heaven and on earth has been given to me (by the Father who previously possessed it).  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always (in full dominion), to the very end of the age.” (NIV Matthew 28:18-20)

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name (governmentally)!”  18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (by the sovereignty of the Father).  19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven… 22 All things (governmentally) have been handed over to me by my Father (who possessed it previously), and no one knows who the Son is (as Messiah) except the Father…” (ESV Luke 10:17-22)

So Pilate… said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” … 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom (dominion from heaven) is not of this world (i.e. given by man).” … 19:10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”  11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above (implying God retains all dominion). Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (ESV John 18:33-36; 19:10-11)

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism  35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.  36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. (NIV Acts 10:34-36)

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth (presently) and does not live in temples built by hands… 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live… 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance (idolatry), but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice (i.e. enforcement of dominion) by the man he has appointed. (NIV Acts 17:24-31)

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath (eschatologically), for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord… 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established (by the grace given to them, cf. v.6ff). The authorities (dominions) that exist (presently) have been established by God (who retains sovereignty over them).  2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves (eschatologically).  3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.  4 For he is God’s servant (whether believer or unbeliever) to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath (foreshadowing the eschatological wrath) to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience (i.e. because of acknowledgment of God’s present absolute sovereignty).  6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing (cf. 12:8).  7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (NIV Romans 12:19-13:7)

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  10 to be put into effect (i.e. judgment executed) when the times will have reached their fulfillment (after the age of amnesty)– to bring all things (governmentally) in heaven and on earth together under one head (governor), even Christ.  11 In him we were also chosen (to rule), having been predestined… 13 And you also were included in Christ (i.e. in the messianic government) when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation… 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you (Messianic Kingdom), the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe (i.e. the resurrection). That power is like (i.e. equivalent to) the working of his mighty strength,  20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand (position of government/dominion) in the heavenly realms,  21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (i.e. universal sovereignty functioning in amnesty now and recompense in the age to come).  22 And God placed all things under his feet (now and future) and appointed him to be head over everything (“rule and authority, power and dominion,” now and future) for the church (messianic assembly),  23 which is his body (under his head, i.e. governance), the fullness of him who fills everything (“rule and authority, power and dominion”) in every way. (NIV Ephesians 1:9-23)

Therefore God has highly exalted him (governmentally) and bestowed on him the name (i.e. governmental position) that is above every name (presently), 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (acknowledging his full dominion), in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (ultimately eschatologically). (ESV Philippians 2:9-11)

…we have not stopped praying for you… 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn (from the dead, cf. 1 Cor. 15:20) over all creation (cf. governments, v.16).  16 For by him all things (governments) were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities (i.e. governments); all things (governments) were created by him (before and after the Fall) and for him (eschatologically as Messiah).  17 He is before all things (governments), and in him all things (governments) hold together (both now and in the age to come). (NIV Colossians 1:9-17)

I charge you in the presence of God (i.e. God ruling presently in the highest heaven), who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus (who presently co-rules with Him), who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession (cf. Jn. 19:11, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above”),  14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  15 which he will display at the proper time- he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (ESV 1 Timothy 6:13-16)

…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things (as Messiah)… 3 After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand (position of authority/dominion) of the Majesty in heaven.  4 So he became as much superior (governmentally) to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs… 2:5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking… 8 In putting everything (governmentally) under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him (governmentally). Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him (because he restrains from executing judgment upon injustice).  9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor (i.e. full dominion) because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV Hebrews 1:2-4; 2:5-9)

There is also an antitype (Gk. antitupos—of which the Flood was a type) which now saves us — baptism (“by the Spirit” v.18; as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come, cf. 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14) (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through (belief in, cf. Rom. 10:9) the resurrection of Jesus Christ (as a firstfruits),  22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand (position of authority/dominion) of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (as it was previously subject to the Father). (NKJV 1 Peter 3:21-22)

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,  25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority (i.e. full dominion), before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV Jude 1:24-25; cf. 1 Pe. 4:11; 5:10f)

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,  5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth (assuming both are present realities). To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood  6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV Revelation 1:4-6)

They (those victorious over the Beast) held harps given them by God  3 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty (Gk. pantokrator). Just and true are your ways, King of the ages (cf. 16:5).  4 Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you (acknowledging His sovereignty throughout “the ages”), for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (NIV Revelation 15:2-4; cf. 17:14; 19:16)

SATAN AND DEMONS PERPETUALLY UNDER THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

SATAN AND DEMONS PERPETUALLY UNDER THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

After Abimelech had governed Israel three years,  23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.  24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem… (NIV Judges 9:22-24)

Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him… 23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him… 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did… 19:9 But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. (NIV 1 Samuel 16:14-23; 18:10; 19:9)

Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he (the LORD) incited David against them (rebellious Israel), saying (to David, by means of Satan), “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”  2 So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.” (NIV 2 Samuel 24:1-2)

  • Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. (NIV 1 Chronicles 21:1)

Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him (in submission) on his right hand and on his left;  20 and the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another.  21 Then a spirit (Hb. ruwach / Gk. pneuma LXX vs. Hb. mal’ak / Gk. aggelos) came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’  22 And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ (ESV 1 Kings 22:19-22; cf. 2 Chr. 18:18-22)

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD (in submission to His governance), and Satan also came with them (in submission)… 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” … Satan replied… 11 “stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger (on consequence of the Abyss, cf. Mt. 8:29; Lk. 8:31; Jude 1:6; 2 Pe. 2:4).” … 2:1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him… 3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? … he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him (cf. 2 Sam 24:1) to ruin him without any reason.”  4 Satan replied… “stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  6 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”  7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD (in submission to His governance) and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. (NIV Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7)

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.  2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” (NIV Zechariah 3:1-2)

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him… 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time (cf. the messianic age)?” … 31 The demons begged Jesus (in acknowledgment of his dominion), “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”  32 He said (i.e. allowed) to them, “Go!” (NIV Matthew 8:28-32)

When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.  41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. (NIV Luke 4:40-41)

When he (demon) saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”… 31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss (cf. Rev. 20:3). (NIV Luke 8:28-31; cf. Mk. 5:1-17)

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”  18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (NIV Luke 10:17-20)

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked (the Father, who has dominion over him) to sift you as wheat.  32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. (NIV Luke 22:31-32)

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion (by means of demons) so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (NIV 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that– and shudder (at His authority and dominion). (NIV James 2:19)

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority (under the government of heaven), but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day… (ESV Jude 1:6; cf. 2 Pe. 2:4)

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.  2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. (NIV Revelation 20:1-3)

BELIEVERS ARE THEREFORE COMMANDED TO OBEY AUTHORITIES

BELIEVERS ARE THEREFORE COMMANDED TO OBEY AUTHORITIES

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes– from their own sons or from others?”  26 “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him.  27But so that we may not offend them…” (NIV Matthew 17:25-27)

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves… 4 He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. (NIV Romans 13:1-6)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–  2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (NIV 1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,  10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.  11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  13 while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.  3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,  2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. (NIV Titus 2:9-3:2)

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,  14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (ESV 1 Peter 2:12-15)

John John (119 Posts)

John lives in Columbia, SC with his wife, Lydia, and four children. He travels and teaches on the Cross, the return of Jesus, and the Great Commission.


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