Moshel: Dominion (Strong’s 4915)
Sounds like: mo-SHEL
Today Canadians everywhere celebrate the land of Canada. Most call this Canada Day, but originally it was called Dominion Day. To this day my Dad will correct me when I mention 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, and 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:
…May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth…
This is actually a bit of a translation misnomer. A more appropriate translation would 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 is 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) translate the word as dominion instead of rule.
However, the Hebrew language has a more fitting word for dominion.
The prophet Zechariah uses almost the same phrase as Solomon, but instead of the word rahdah (rule) he uses the root word moshel (dominion):
And His dominion (u’mashel-ow) will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah writes of a future Messiah who comes righteous, victorious and lowly, riding on a donkey (Zech. 9:9), and whose realm will cover the earth from sea to sea. The Hebrew word, moshel, means dominion, empire, realm. It is like a Kingdom, but with a different kind of King.
Daniel, the prophet, loved this word and uses it more than any other Biblical writer. The Book of Daniel is actually written in two different (but similar) languages. In Aramaic the word for dominion is shaltan (Strong’s 7985). In Hebrew it is moshel.
What is fascinating about the use of this word is that it differs significantly from earthly kingship, and Daniel uses the word to make just that point. He uses 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 taken into captivity. It is this king who sends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace, only to be utterly amazed at their survival. Upon witnessing this miracle he actually praises YHWH and offers protection for YHWH’s followers:
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 tells him that he will 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:
“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 relents:
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 fall to the Persians and King Darius was the new ruler over the captive Jewish population. Under his orders a decree is 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.
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 declare YHWH as sovereign over all people, nations and languages, Daniel himself declares ‘One like a Son of Man’ to have an everlasting dominion over every people, nation and language:
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 rule, and 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) refers to himself as the Son of Man sixty-nine times in the synoptic Gospels. In one of those instances He describes the difference between human leadership (kingdom) and the leadership of YHWH through the Messiah (dominion):
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.”
Humility before Glory
This mother wants Yeshua to dictate what goes on in the “Kingdom”, but Yeshua tells her that she doesn’t get it. This not about exercising authority and placing glory on others. The Father has already made the plans. This is 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 sends out Judas, who is about to betray Him, Yeshua knows that He has taken that last step of complete servitude that leads to His sacrificial death:
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 will eventually lead to glory, but not glory first. Humility and everlasting love is the foundation of the Dominion of God.
Is it the foundation of the Dominion of Canada? 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