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Rule the world is the theme of many a saga, from James Bond to Lord of the Rings, from the Game of Thrones to Harry Potter. It’s the theme of the Bible.
Rule the world is the very first concept evoked by God in Genesis 1:22 when He makes humankind in His image. He blesses them, marries the male and female as we saw last week, and then gives them dominion. This dominion is a license to rule the world.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 2.1)
The vastness of this dominion, this rule is detailed by five concepts that are both positive and negative, literal and figurative, in various respects. These words cover the entirety of what God had in mind for rulership and the reason He created humankind. He made humans individually and then joined them as a couple. The male and female were to rule the world individually, as a couple and as a family.
Each of us, individually, rules our own world. A couple rules their marriage and everything associated with their twosome, including the children when they come along. And rulership expands from there. The world population was to rule this world properly! I believe that from a practical point of view, this is understandable. When you get down to the real basics of any personal, community, or world event fundamentally, we’re analyzing how to manage it, how people handle such and such a situation, how they rule over it, how they rule the world.
The book Audit of the Universe devotes chapter 13 (coming) to how humankind is exercising its rule of the world. In the past and right now. The Bible is a very up-to-date book because it tells humanity all about that rulership. As I wrote, how to rule the world is the very first order of affairs. The Bible immediately addresses rulership. That’s what humankind does.
Rule the world and Biblical Hebrew
The only way to understand the what, the how, and the why of humankind is to put what God says under a word microscope. Each Biblical Hebrew word referring to how to rule the world is a piece of the puzzle, with various contours. The contextual usage of the words reveals those contours and meanings. As we’re going to see, Strong, the author of Strong’s Concordance, described the use of particular Biblical Hebrew vocabulary with literal and figurative as well as positive and negative That is two of the keys to mastering Biblical Hebrew to unlock Bible meaning.
We’re looking at both the literal and figurative aspects of rule the world to unlock its meaning in the context of God creating humans in His image.
- HOW God created humans (we’ll see this in Genesis 2).
- WHAT He expects of humankind (we’re seeing this now: to RULE but we’re going to see this in much more detail).
- WHY God created humankind in His image. WHY He created humankind in the first place, WHY we are 7 billion individuals, WHY He established marriage and many other WHY’s.
This is The Explanation WITH Sam Kneller. It is NOT my explanation. We’re looking INTO the WORDS of the BIBLE. Let the Bible do the talking and explaining. This post and others will contain a certain number of Bible verses to enhance the meaning of Biblical Hebrew words.
The first words in the Bible (Genesis) are the WHAT, HOW, and WHY God created humankind, the last words in the Bible (Revelations) are the accomplishment of this. All the Bible books between the two covers are the plan of God of how He is going to reach the goal for which He created humankind. Genesis 1:26 and verse 28 are that whole story in a nutshell.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion (H7287) over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful (H6509), and multiply (H7235), and replenish (H4390) the earth, and subdue (H3533) it: and have dominion (H7287) over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
1:6 And [Christ] has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
5:10 And [Christ] has made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
The end of Revelations 5:10 is plain English and easy to understand, we shall reign on Earth as Kings. That’s why the title of this post is Rule the World. Do you see the parallel of what humankind is to do NOW, rule the world, and what God does NOW and what we’ll be doing in the future? Do you see this is another aspect of the image of God?
Now we’re going to, very briefly, take a more in-depth look at each of those words in verse 28, fruitful, multiply and replenish. In English, we throw them all together to mean an increase in numbers of the world population. The Biblical Hebrew is much deeper than that, including the figurative dimension of these words as well.
Here’s the figurative meaning. Even is English this term can indicate an increase in prosperity or welfare, their company had a fruitful year.
פָּרָה pârâh paw-raw’; a primitive root; to bear fruit (literally or figuratively):
KJV – bear, bring forth (fruit), (be, cause to be, make) fruitful, grow, increase.
Here’s a verse to illustrate a figurative use of fruitful as well as the personification of earthly elements with which we are so familiar.
Drop down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth (H6509) salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
Being fruitful implies increasing healthfully, something beneficial and advantageous. In the NT (New Testament), we have Greek, so it’s not the same word, but we do have a figurative parallel, 2 Peter 3:18. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The implication is that to rule the world is beneficial and advantageous to Earth. In the context of Audit of the Universe, we could ask the question, is this the case in the 21st Century?
There is much more to this than just multiplication tables and numbers.
רָבָה râbâh raw-baw’; a primitive root; to increase (in whatever respect):
KJV – (bring in) abundance ([idiom] -antly), + archer (by mistake for H7232 (רָבַב)), be in authority, bring up, ⨯ continue, enlarge, excel, exceeding(-ly), be full of, (be, make) great(-er, -ly, ⨯ -ness), grow up, heap, increase, be long, (be, give, have, make, use) many (a time), (any, be, give, give the, have) more (in number), (ask, be, be so, gather, over, take, yield) much (greater, more), (make to) multiply, nourish, plenty(-eous), ⨯ process (of time), sore, store, thoroughly, very.
From the KJV translations like excel and nourish, we can begin to see the figurative meaning. Read the couple of verses below, keeping in mind; we’re applying the principles to the proper way to rule the world.
Figuratively, multiply applied to rulership refers to how we are to rule the world with great wisdom and moral authority. How much of that is present with the present leaders of government and world affairs? These are vital qualities needed for all types of management.
In English, replenish has the notion of refilling a container. The Biblical Hebrew is much broader and more profound in meaning.
מָלֵא mâlêʼ maw-lay’; or מָלָא; (Esther 7:5), a primitive root; to fill or (intransitively) be full of, in a wide application (literally and figuratively):
KJV – accomplish, confirm, + consecrate, be at an end, be expired, be fenced, fill, fulfil, (be, become, ⨯draw, give in, go) full(-ly, -ly set, tale), (over-) flow, fulness, furnish, gather (selves, together), presume, replenish, satisfy, set, space, take a (hand-) full, +have wholly.
As you read the verses below, see the application of replenish in real-life situations, this refers to the proper way to fulfill one’s duties of rulership.
Leviticus 8:33 And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration (H43904) be at an end (H4390): for seven days shall he consecrate (H4390) you.
Isaiah 40:2 Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished (H4390), that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
Jeremiah 44:25 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled (H4390) with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows…
Replenishing associated with management and rulership means we are devoted to a service we wish to accomplish and fulfill with purpose. In Jeremiah, it includes the idea that we’re using our hands, our efforts, to perform what we should for the progress of the dominion we oversee.
כָּבַשׁ kâbash kaw-bash’; a primitive root; to tread down; hence, negatively, to disregard; positively, to conquer, subjugate, violate:
KJV – bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection.
We’ve already seen that dominion means. Subdue is synonymous with this coupled with an additional negative and positive meaning. Just as governors can have helpful and harmful traits. I must say when I read the above translations conquer, subjugate, and violate for כָּבַשׁ kâbash H3533; it’s hard to see the positive! However, look at the verse below.
That’s the kind of positive subjection we want of all our faults and misgivings; this is governance with the right approach and frame of mind.
I grant you, the terms fruitful, multiply, replenish as part of subjection, domination, and conquering are not easy to grasp. This has just been an overview, but let’s begin to see that humankind was placed on Earth to rule the world with justice, equity, decency, and uprightness. Rulership is of the utmost importance to God; it was His first injunction for humankind.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.1 of the book Origin of Humankind
Do you see how the various translations of a single Hebrew word are complementary? How they give a more vibrant and more profound meaning, sometimes very different from the English impression, we have. Not to mention the consideration we must give to the figurative usage of these words. Unlocking Bible meaning, as we’re doing, means unlocking the understanding of why humankind is on Earth.
There are Bible bashers around. There is Bible misrepresentation around. Some think the Bible is an outdated piece of literature. Well, we’ve seen that it give the basis for understanding the gender issue. The Bible provides us with the foundation for marriage and in this post not only rulership but its proper usage. In reality, the Bible is the most up-to-date saga of the human story, and we’ve only just begun.
I suggest you do a study using the tools at UnlockBibleMeaning.com and get a better feel for those words, fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, and dominion. Begin to see their contours and how they assemble whether we take their literal, figurative, negative, or positive meaning. Their overview helps us unlock Bible meaning.
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