“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”—Genesis 1:28
You have likely read this passage in Genesis hundreds of times, but have you ever stopped to think about what this means for us today?
Simply stated, this was an instruction given to Adam and Eve before the fall—that is, before the brokenness of sin began to take its toll on God’s creation.
This reveals to us that the Lord wants us to work and to find joy in the steps we take to further His Kingdom.
The way we can apply this today is by understanding that in order to subdue the earth, we must claim the dominion we have over it.
How Do We Claim Dominion Over the Earth?
It can be narrowed down to a 2-step process…
- Understand dominion: Accepting our responsibility to take dominion over the earth
- Claim dominion: Taking action to subdue the earth
God created the earth and has ultimate dominion over it all. He invites us to be a part of caring for it and bringing its potential to fruition. Though humanity has a history of falling short with regard to proper dominion and authority, God does not.
The Lord has full control, and for those who accept Christ as their Savior, the Bible says He dwells within them. Therefore, He has given Believers access to His dominion.
But we are always left with a choice—just as Adam and Eve were. We can respond by sowing seeds, both physically and spiritually, or we can sit back and let opportunities pass us by.
When opportunities sweep across our paths unclaimed, so do the blessings of God.
But there is hope! The invitation to be a part of His initiative that subdues the earth always stands.
Our Responsibility to Take Dominion Over the Earth
Understanding the Dominion Mandate
God spoke the words about dominion to Adam and Eve in the garden. We know that when He speaks, it comes to pass. He had a plan beforehand for all of mankind and the land.
In Jewish literature the word for dominion is memshalah, which means to rule, realm, government, or power.
Another word used in these verses is multiply. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the Hebrew word for multiply is radah. Radah means to increase, bring in abundance, be in authority, multiply, and nourish.
Radah can also mean to subdue, rule over, tread upon like a winepress, or to make crumble.
God’s plan was for us to be a part of harnessing the earth’s potential—to plant seeds and reap a multiplied harvest. The harvest would then be enjoyed and shared among the people, with a portion given back to the Lord as way to further His plan and Kingdom.
Our Choice to Be Responsible
This is how the Israelites operated when it came to sowing, reaping, tithing, and offering. They had clear instructions on when to plant to reap the most plentiful harvest. They then shared the crop among themselves and allowed those who were orphaned and widowed to receive a blessing of nourishment.
Then they took moments out of the year, set apart by God, to give back and praise Him for His faithfulness. This was how He envisioned His people taking responsibility. With the heart they were to show mercy and compassion, as well as good stewardship with the land.
- “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”—Leviticus 23:22 (emphasis added)
- “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”—Deuteronomy 24:19 (emphasis added)
But notice the last part of the meaning of radah—to make crumble.
Again, we see God’s patient invitation extended to us. The choice arises… Do we sow seeds, or do we allow the soil to crumble, thus producing no return?
We know that ultimately Adam made a choice that caused crumbling. And we live with the consequences of his decision today.
However, do not forget that what God has spoken will come to pass. Through prophecy He reveals Israel’s restored land.
He is not done yet, and the invitation still stands. That invitation can be seen in Amos’ prophetic words.
“…‘I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the Lord who does this thing. ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.’”—Amos 9:11-13
God spoke these words to Adam generations ago in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given a choice to get involved in God’s plans of creating a thriving earth. Now we have an invitation to get involved in reviving the earth—in particular, God’s Holy Land.
God created Adam and Eve and gave them instruction to take dominion over and subdue the earth. The work of harnessing the earth would bless them as well as further God’s Kingdom. However, they made a choice to disobey, which brought a curse upon the earth.
Because of God’s power and authority alive in Believers today, we have a choice to get involved in His plan of reviving the land and fulfilling prophecy.
We can act on the invitation or take a back seat and miss out on blessings. God promises to bless those who bless Israel, and we are on a mission to sow seeds of hope into the land and the people.
Find out more about Israel’s spiritual journey—past, present, and future—HERE!