Moshel: An Everlasting DOMINION

DOMINION: Moshel, masculine noun, (Strong’s 4915); Mashal, verb (Strong’s 4910); Mimshal, masculine noun (Strong’s 4474); Memshalah, feminine noun (Strong’s 4475).

Root: משל

Sounds like: moh’SHEL, ma’SHAL, meem’SHAL, mem’shaLAH

Today (July 1st) Canadians everywhere celebrate the land of Canada. Most call this Canada Day, but originally it was called Dominion Day.  Still today my Dad will correct me if I say “Canada Day”.

Dad: “You mean ‘Dominion Day’?”

Me: “Yes, right. Dominion Day. What are you doing for Dominion Day?”

The history books tell us that Britain suggested that the term Kingdom of Canada might not foster great relations between Canada and the United States. They encouraged Canada to come up with a new moniker. In 1867 New Brunswick’s Samuel Leonard Tilley suggested we use the term Dominion of Canada when it came to naming ourselves in an official capacity. He allegedly came up with the phrase when he had been reading his Bible and came across this passage attributed to King Solomon:

Psalm 72:8

…May he have dominion from sea to sea,

and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth

Canada is the second largest country on the planet. Technically it spans from sea to sea to sea (Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean). This Bible passage jumped out to Tilley as reflective of Canada’s geographical status. But Psalm 72 actually doesn’t use the Hebrew word for dominion. A more appropriate translation perhaps should read:

…May he rule [w-ye’rahd] from sea to sea,

and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth

In fact the Hebrew word used here was w-ye’rahd, from the Hebrew root rahdah, meaning ‘to rule’ or ‘to reign’. Only a handful of translations (including the King James version, which Samuel Leonard Tilley was probably reading) translated the word as dominion instead of rule. However, the Hebrew language has a different word that is more commonly translated as dominion and it can be found in a passage very similar to Psalm 72.

Zechariah used almost the same phrase as Solomon, but instead of the word rahdah (rule) he used the root word moshel (dominion):

Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

And I will eliminate the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow of war will be eliminated.

And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion (u-mashel’ow) will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

There’s a difference between rule and dominion. To rule is to be the top leader who enforces a of a set of regulations, whether they be legitimate regulations or not. To have dominion means, simply, to have power. Most rulers have dominion (power) over their realm, but some do not. Sometimes there’s a more powerful force behind the figurehead… the real power behind the throne.

YHWH, Creator of all, has complete power. The Bible highlights that His dominion is absolute.

Psalm 22:27-28

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to YHWH, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.

For the kingdom is YHWH’s and He rules has dominion [u-moshel] over the nations.

The Hebrew word, moshel, means dominion, empire, realm and it is connected with the concept of power. Moshel was like a kingdom, but with a different kind of King.

Dominion of the Messiah

Earlier we read, in Psalm 72, a prayer that Solomon’s reign would be from sea to sea.

According to the writings of Zechariah, this future Messiah who would arrive with righteousness. He would be both victorious and humble, riding on a donkey (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12), and His realm would also cover the earth, from sea to sea. 


In fact, the Hebrew word for Dominion was often associated with Messianic prophecy.

Micah prophesied about the early beginnings of YHWH’s Anointed One:

Micah 5:2-5a

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler to have dominion: [moshel] in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labour has given birth. Then the remainder of His kinsmen will return to the sons of Israel.

And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of YHWH, in the majesty of the name of YHWH His God.

And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.

This One will be our peace.

The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and he would have the power (dominion) of YHWH. This one, born of woman, would be our peace.

Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah would be like a Branch who would branch out and build the Temple. He would be a priest-king who would have power (dominion) over the Temple and the Throne:

Zechariah 6:11-13

Also take silver and gold, make an ornate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then say to him, ‘YHWH of armies says this: “Behold, there is a Man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of YHWH. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of YHWH, and He who will bear the majesty and sit and rule have dominion [u-mashal] on His throne. So He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”’

Isaiah prophesied that those who had power over the people had made a covenant with death and the grave, but YHWH had a different plan. His Anointed One (the Messiah) would wield a very different kind of power (dominion). He would be a strong and precious cornerstone on which we could rest our foundation:

Isaiah 28:14-16

Therefore, hear the word of YHWH, you scoffers, who rule [dominate/have dominion over: mosh’leh] this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said,

We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The gushing flood will not reach us when it passes by, because we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.” 

Therefore this is what the Lord YHWH says:

“Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. The one who believes in it will not be disturbed.”

Good dominion (power) was never about death. It was about life in God’s Presence.

Daniel & Dominion

Daniel, the prophet, loved the word dominion and used it more than any other Biblical writer. The Book of Daniel was actually written in two different (but similar) languages. In Aramaic the word for dominion is shaltan (Strong’s 7985); in Hebrew it is moshel (Strong’s 4915).

What is fascinating about the use of this word is that it differs significantly from earthly kingship, and Daniel used the word to make just that point. He used earthly rulers/kings to highlight the dominion of YHWH over all the earth.

Earthly kings bow to the Dominion of God

King Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon from 605-562 BCE. Jerusalem was destroyed under his orders, and the Jewish people were taken into captivity. It was this king who sent Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace, only to be utterly amazed at their survival. Upon witnessing this miracle he praised YHWH and offered protection for YHWH’s followers:

Daniel 3:28-29

[Nebuchadnezzar:] “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

But although Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by this great miracle he, personally, did not change his relationship with God. One night Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream. He called upon Daniel to interpret the dream. Daniel told him that he would go mad and live among the wild beasts.

And that’s exactly what happened. As Nebuchadnezzar was admiring his great kingdom, he proudly bragged of his own power and majesty. At that moment a voice from heaven called out, saying:

Daniel 4:31b-32

“This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High has dominion [shal-it] over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.”

After his time of madness in the wilderness, Nebuchadnezzar finally relented:

Daniel 4:34, 36

But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity was restored to me. Then I praised the Most High, and I honoured and glorified Him who lives forever:

For His dominion [shal-taneh] is an everlasting dominion [shal-tan],

and His kingdom endures from generation to generation…

…At the same time my sanity was restored to me, and my honour and splendour returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all His works are true, and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

About twenty years later the Babylonians fell to the Persians and King Darius was the new ruler over the captive Jewish population. Under his orders a decree was sent out that no one was to petition any god or man above King Darius. Daniel, of course, could not abide by this law and he was detained and thrown into a lion’s den as punishment for his insolence.

But we know how that famous story went. The lions paid no heed to Daniel, and King Darius, in amazement, submitted to Daniel’s God and claimed His dominion over all heaven and earth:

Daniel 6:25-27

Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language throughout the land: “May your prosperity abound. I hereby decree that in every part of my kingdom, men are to tremble in fear before the God of Daniel:

For He is the living God, and He endures forever;

His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion [shal-tan] will never end.

He delivers and rescues;

He performs signs and  wonders in the heavens and on the earth,for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

The Dominion of the Son of Man

After two foreign kings declared YHWH as sovereign over all people, nations and languages, Daniel himself declared ‘One like a Son of Man’ was to have an everlasting dominion over every people, nation and language:

Daniel 7:13-14

In my vision in the night I continued to watch:

And I saw One like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven.

He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence.

And He was given dominion [shal-tan] to ruleand glory, and a kingdom, so that every people, nation, and language should serve Him.

His dominion [shal-taneh] is an everlasting dominion [shal-tan] that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Yeshua (Jesus) referred to himself as the Son of Man sixty-nine times in the synoptic Gospels. In one of those instances He described the difference between human leadership (kingdom) and the dominion (power) of YHWH through the Messiah:

Matthew 20:20-27

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons [James & John] came to Jesus with her sons and knelt down to make a request of Him.

“What do you want?” He asked.

She answered, “Declare that in Your kingdom one of these two sons of mine will sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left.”

“You do not know what you are asking,” Jesus replied. “Are you able to drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We are able,” the brothers answered.

“You will indeed drink My cup,” Jesus said. “But to sit at My right or left is not Mine to grant. These seats belong to those for whom My Father has prepared them.”

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Power was a very different picture in YHWH’s domain. Real power was in humility and sacrifice.

Yeshua, the Messiah, was created not just for the Jews but for every created creature on the earth. In His humility He became a servant to the people who thought they were the supreme power (dominators) on the planet. He came from the womb, as a baby, but He did not come brandishing a sword, ready to take on politics and the military. He came with humility and love, and He changed every corner of the world with His humble, yet all-powerful, Spirit.

Isaiah 49:5-7

And now says YHWH, who formed Me [Anointed One/Messiah] from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (for I am honoured in the sight of YHWH, and My God is My strength), He [YHWH] says,

“It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the protected ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

This is what YHWH, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, says to the despised One, to the One abhorred by the nation, to the Servant of rulers [dominators: mosh’lim]:

Kings will see and arise, princes will also bow down, because of YHWH who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You [the Anointed One].”

The Messiah was a game-changer. YHWH wasn’t just for the people of Israel, He was the God of all creation and the Messiah would be like a light, spreading the message of God throughout the earth. He was a servant to those who thought they were the supreme beings. And in response, those in authority (kings and princes) would rise up and face YHWH, and then bow down in His Presence.

Humility before Glory

As we read earlier, John and James’ mother wanted Yeshua to dictate what went on in the Kingdom, but Yeshua reprimanded her. This was not about exercising authority and placing glory on others. The Father had already made the plans. This was a dominion of servitude and humility and self sacrifice. To be great leaders we musts be humble servants. Humility must come before glory. Yeshua knew this. At the last supper, after He sent out Judas who was about to betray Him, Yeshua knew that He had taken that last step of complete servitude that led to His sacrificial death:

John 13:27b,31-35

Then Jesus said to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify the Son in Himself—and will glorify Him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little while longer. You will look for Me, and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

Servitude and love would eventually lead to glory, but not glory first. Humility and everlasting love was to be the foundation of the Dominion of God, and we were to share in the power of that dominion.

Sharing Dominion

YHWH has dominion over all the earth, but what makes God so unique is that He chose to share dominion with His image bearers:

Psalm 8:3-9

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place; what is man that You think of him, and a son of man that You are concerned about him?

Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!

You let him rule have dominion [ta-m’shilehu] over the works of Your hands; You have put everything under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the animals of the field, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

YHWH, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

We have a great responsibility as YHWH’s Image bearers. We have power over all that YHWH has created. But we are to use the dominion (power) of YHWH to express love and humility.

Today, is the foundation of the Dominion of Canada based on humility and love? Is it the foundation of any of the people, nations and languages within this world? Let’s do our best to make it so.

Next week: Anointed

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