Today within wider Christendom there is a movement that is making headway within many churches, crossing denominational boundaries and is even spreading through many Messianic congregations in Israel. It is called the New Apostolic Reformation but has also taken on a more recent name as “The International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. (ICAL)” The foundational doctrine of this Para-Church movement is Dominion Theology, being the idea that the Lord Jesus comes to the Church in a spiritual sense at the end of this age resulting in the Church taking dominion over the nations and setting up God’s Kingdom on earth. This movement teaches that we will see the nations ‘Christianised’ and ready to be presented to the Lord Jesus when He comes back by a triumphant Church that has taken Kingdom Dominion and established their authority over the nations. In effect they are teaching that the Lord Jesus comes to the Church giving them power to take Kingdom Dominion over the nations before He comes for the Church. Having said this how would they define Kingdom Dominion? Is what they teach Biblical?
This movement is into miracles signs and wonders, manifestations, prophecies and mandates supposedly from the LORD. This movement started to manifest itself in the 1930’s as “the Latter Day Rain, Manifest Sons of God” doctrine based on Joel’s army in the Book of Joel where the prophet speaks about “the former and the latter rain.” In Israel at the start of the winter season there is an abundance of rain and a harvest and then at the end of winter there is another abundance of rain producing another harvest. Biblically the former “rain” refers to the Spirit being poured out at Pentecost and that the latter “rain” of the Spirit will be once again poured out upon Israel and the nations just before the Lord Jesus comes back. This is the context (Joel 2:23)
The harvest Joel saw in the Holy Spirit was to be a spiritual harvest of souls, not a physical kingdom established before the return of the Lord Jesus. On the Day of Pentecost the former rain of the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh and Peter says this is “that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel,” however, in the Greek text it says “this is like that” which was prophesied by Joel. It was a partial fulfilment of the prophecy because there were no wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire and vapours of smoke on a global scale, neither was the sun turned to darkness and the light of the moon blotted out globally. All of these events would come before the great and dreadful Day of the LORD when the Lord Jesus will come back to judge the nations, rescue Israel and rapture and resurrect the saints. (Joel 2:30-31)
The future fulfilment of the prophecy would happen in the latter rain of the Spirit at the end of the age when once again the Spirit will be poured out upon Israel and the nations producing a spiritual harvest, a harvest we see starting to happen today and gaining momentum. As yet Israel as a nation is not saved but many Jews in Israel and around the world are starting to come to salvation through faith in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. The Spirit has been poured out since Pentecost but just before the Lord Jesus comes back there will be a spiritual harvest in Israel and in the nations never seen before in history. In that day whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. (Joel 2:32) (Acts 2: 21) They are being saved now but just before the end of the age there will be a harvest of souls unlike anything in past history but it will be in the midst of fire and blood and vapours of smoke in the world. (Joel 2:28-32) (Acts 2:17-21) The nations will not be Christianised and presented to Jesus when He comes back by a triumphant Church that has taken possession of them for God. In reality the armies of the nations of the world will be surrounding Jerusalem and the nations in rebellion against God. (Joel 3:1-3) (Zechariah 12:1-3; 14:1-2)
As Isaiah the prophet writes; “The earth is utterly broken apart, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken violently. The earth staggers like a drunkard and sways like a shack. Earth’s rebellion weighs it down, and it falls, never to rise again. In that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven above and the kings of the earth below…” (Isaiah 24:19-21)
The Kingdom of God in this age is not a physical kingdom but a spiritual kingdom which is not of this world. The Lord Jesus affirmed this fact. (John 18:36) The Kingdom of God is here now in His people indwelt by His Spirit, but it is not a physical kingdom as such. This will come after the Lord Jesus has come back when He rules the nations with a Rod of iron and his saints co-reign with Him on earth. (Revelation 5:10)
Another doctrine some of the NAR/ICAL people are teaching is that Joel’s army mentioned in the Book of Joel prophetically is the Christian Church taking kingdom dominion over the nations. However, if you actually look at the army described in the Book of the prophet Joel you will see it is the LORD’s army alright but only in the sense that He has raised it up to bring about a judgement on backslidden Israel to turn His people back to Himself. (Joel 1:13-14) In its historical context the army of locusts referred to the Babylonian invasion of the Southern Kingdom of Israel but prophetically it telescopes into the future to see the armies of the Antichrist marching like locusts across the land of Israel stripping everything bare. Locusts in scripture represent demons. It is a demonically empowered army Joel describes. (Revelation 9:3) Prophetically the prophet describes the LORD as driving this Northern army He has raised up for His end-time purposes into the Western Sea (the Mediterranean Sea) and its stench rises up. (Joel 2:18-20) This army has nothing do with a triumphant Church taking kingdom dominion over the nations and presenting them to Jesus when he comes back. Who would want to belong to an army that the LORD drives into the se and that is a stench in the nostrils?
Today this Kingdom Dominion focused movement by and large has what they call a seven mountain mandate that says that before the Lord Jesus comes back the Church will control the seven areas of family, Religion, Education, Business, Government, Media and the Arts and Entertainment world. Over this global ‘possession’ of the nations for God by the churches will be apostles and prophets. Of course the wealth of the nations will also be given to the Church. All of this is supposed to happen before the Lord Jesus comes back.
The main thrust of this movement is what they define as Apostolic Authority based on their miss-interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-13 where we see the five-fold leadership mentioned, being Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Oversight in this movement is provided by their version of Apostles or Apostolic Authority. This movement is trying to restore three things that never existed.
Firstly, they are trying to restore their version of Apostolic Authority which they claim is equal to the authority the 12 apostles had.
While they do not state they are writing scripture as the apostles did they are claiming revelation and spiritual knowledge that they say is from the Spirit and by this revelation knowledge they are empowered to have authority to lead and to provide direction over the local church leaders. To bolster their claims they have to have miracles, signs and wonders amd manifestations of one sort or another. They teach that there needs to be a designated apostle over a geographical area suburb or region where there are local church fellowships. This ‘apostle’ has oversight over the pastors and elders and offers spiritual direction through revelations, prophecies, visions and manifestations. Using their own interpretations of scripture they try to fit them into their view of apostolic authority that facilitates their own purposes in demonstrating supernatural power and spiritual authority.
We know from scripture that genuine supernatural signs accompany apostolic authority. (2 Corinthians 12:12) We see supernatural miracles signs and wonders in the ministry of the apostles but they were unique in that they had been with the Lord Jesus and been directly commissioned by Him. In Paul’s case he had encountered the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus and then in the desert for many years where he had been trained personally by the Lord Jesus for apostolic ministry. (Galatians 1:11-12, 15-17) (2 Corinthians 12: 2-4)
Biblically there is only one source of apostolic authority and that is the completed canon of the New Testament. In that we have apostolic authority and doctrine. Today an apostle would be a church planting missionary. What those in NAR/ICAL are perpetrating is just not Biblically sound. There is no further ‘revelation’ equal to scripture but only a deeper understanding of what is already revealed in scripture. In fact we are warned in the Bible not to add to or to take away from the Word of God. (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32) (Proverbs 30: 5-6) (1 Corinthians 4:6) (Revelation 22:18-19)
Secondly, they are pushing their version of Apostolic Authority.
They are teaching that the apostle, having been assigned an area by other chief ‘apostles,’ has the oversight of doctrine, prophecy and the so called ‘mandate’ from the Lord Jesus to guide and direct the affairs of the local churches over which they preside and this of course involves giving spiritual oversight and direction to the local pastors and elders and it seems being paid for thie ‘apostolic’ ministry. Added to this NAR/ICAL teach that the apostle has the right to receive money from the local assembles they have oversight over to support their ministries. Looking at the ICAL website with its fee structure for membership one cannot but think that they are into power, prestige and money. In reality it is a form of heavy shepherding. Dominion over others is not only in relation to nations but also to local assemblies of believers. This movement also produces ‘a guru mentality’ among those who associate themselves with this ministry.
When you look at other religions they all have their ‘gurus’ their ‘shamans’, their ‘Imams’ and their followers go to them for guidance, and wisdom and to know the future. This mentality is clearly revealed in this whole NAR/ICAL Movement. If you go to their website you will see that you have to actually pay a subscription if you want to be recognised and registered as an apostle or prophet or as a ministry couple.*
The apostles of our Lords Jesus had doctrinal oversight of the local assemblies because they had lived with the Lord Jesus and had been directly commissioned by Him to teach sound doctrine and they had been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven by Him to unlock the deeper spiritual truths of scripture. (Matthew 26:19) In its context the binding and loosing has to do with doctrine and is not related to binding demons or making kingdom dominion proclamations over cities and local neighbourhoods.
Of course there were those among the apostles who wrote the New Testament such as Peter and John and Paul. The Apostle Paul and Barnabas ordained pastors and elders in every assembly and after grounding them in sound doctrine left them to govern the affairs of the local assemblies over which they had spiritual oversight and to teach sound doctrine in their own fellowships. (Acts 14:23) (Titus 1:5) (Acts 20:27-32) The apostles only wrote to them or visited them to encourage them or when there was false doctrine and teachers infiltrating a local assembly of believers. Scripture alone was the final authority as far as Paul and the other apostles were concerned. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Biblical leadership ion the New Testament was foundational in that it supported and held up the Body of the Messiah. Leadership never ruled from the top.
As Paul writes; “Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.…” (Ephesians 2:19-21)
You can have a beautifully constructed building but unless its foundation is solid it will collapse when the real winds of adversity come against it. The only foundation upon which to build any local fellowship is the Word of God.
As our Lord Jesus himself said; “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
The apostles were not into ‘heavy shepherding’ or into “lording it over the flock” which seems to manifest itself with these ‘super apostles’ with their supposed miracles signs and wonders and prophecies, dreams, visions and revelations and it would seem are prophesying out of their own imaginations. They were around in the time of Jeremiah when the Southern kingdom of Judah was ‘going to the wall’ spiritually and its enemies advancing on their march to Jerusalem.
The Eternal Word of God Himself came to the prophet Jeremiah and said to him; “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget My name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has My word speak My word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. Is not My word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?.. “Therefore behold,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from each other words they attribute to Me.” “Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and proclaim, ‘The Lord declares it.” (Jeremiah 23:25-26, 29-31)
Notice what the Lord Himself says. They dream dreams and declare them to God’s people saying they are from the LORD but in reality they are from the spiritual deception within their own hearts and from the delusions of their own imaginations. They tell one another their dreams and steal their dreams from one another. While God acknowledges in His Word that dreams have their place He prefers to have His servants preach His revealed Word. He also likens dreams to straw which lacks no substance and can be easily blown away by “the wind of every unsound doctrine.” However, He says the nutritious grain of the wheat of His Word preached faithfully is what He desires. His Word is like a fire that consumes the dross of spiritual carnality and sanctifies His people and His Word like a hammer that breaks the hard unrepentant hearts of His people to turn back to Him and to the authority of His Word and not men. Spurgeon himself once said; “The Word of God is the anvil upon which the hammers of men’s opinions are smashed.”
False apostle and prophets are past masters at twisting scripture to suit their own brand of apostolic authority which is bolstered by ‘fleecing the sheep’ of their hard earned cash. How many of these ‘super apostles’ are capable of rightly dividing the Word of Truth is very doubtful. In the last days we are warned that false teachers would abound within the wider Body of the Messiah teaching doctrines of demons and by stealth secretly introduce destructive heresies. (1Timothy 4:1-2) (2 Timothy 4:3-4) (2 Peter 21-3) “Destructive heresies” is truth and error laid side by side. “There is always chees in the rat trap!” As we will see from scripture Kingdom Dominion is coming for the saints but not in the way these proponents within NAR/ICAL are teaching it today.
Thirdly, they are trying to restore their own version of Kingdom Dominion.
They are teaching in effect that the Church in the world will be triumphant over the nations and that Christians will have the best positions of influence in the seven spheres of their ‘seven mountain dominion theology.’ They are always talking about taking kingdom dominion and authority over the nations and establishing the kingdom of God on earth to present to the Lord Jesus when He comes back. Of course this is not scriptural which we can be clearly seen from scripture itself.
At its core NAR/ICAL is a form of replacement theology and they are teaching in effect that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus depends on their movement taking authority over the nations and not dependent on God’s prophetic plans and purposes for Israel. I personally spoke to one of their leaders years ago and he told me plainly that the NAR, as it was known back then, had replaced Israel. To acknowledge that Israel is God’s prophetic time clock for the nations would be to do away with their own Kingdom Dominion theological position. They also have to deny that there will be a time of tribulation at the end of the age which will be unequalled in past history and never to be equalled again in which both Israel and the faithful Church will suffer and be persecuted and multitudes martyred by the beast empire of the Antichrist. (Daniel 7:21, 25; 12:1, 7) (Matthew 24:21-22) (Revelation 13:7; 20:4-6)
Today when you look at what is happening to Christians around the globe the NAR/ICAL movement does not seem to be working except in those western countries and places in the world not under persecution. More faithful Christians are dying every day for their faith in the Lord Jesus more than at any other time in history. While this is happening the NAR/ICAL apostles and prophets are, “sitting in the circle of the merrymakers” prophesying blessing, kingdom dominion and that the Body of the Messiah will be triumphant in taking back the nations for the Lord Jesus while in reality their ‘house’ is burning over their heads.
Jeremiah could not sit in the circle of the merrymakers but had to sit alone because of what he saw coming upon God’s people and it grieved him beyond measure and was hard to come to terms with what he had to prophesy from the Lord. He just could not be part of the “happy clappy club!” (Jeremiah 15:17) Those into Kingdom Dominion cannot see or will not see or just do not want to see the tribulation (thlipsis) that is coming to the wider Body of the Messiah in the western democracies because they have been caught up in the euphoria of their self-generated atmosphere of abundance and prosperity and blessing and having the wealth of the world laid up for them in this life.
In the time of Jeremiah this is what the false prophets were doing among the people of God. Repentance and holiness and separation from the lusts, pleasures, the idols and pursuits of the world were absent from their prophesying. Instead of telling God’s people what they needed to hear they were telling them what they wanted to hear and that they “would never see the sword.” (Jeremiah 14:13) ‘Ear tickling’ and ‘scratching itchy ears’ and ‘listening to myths’ is all the rage today within wider Christendom and a mark of the last days’ apostasy. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) While all of this prophesying was going on the Babylonians were closing in for the kill. Today the modern equivalent of the Babylonian empire is the empire of Islam, an empire that President Erdogan of Turkey is seeking to resurrect to conquer the whole world if he can for Islam and to re-establish and resurrect the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate with himself as the Caliph of the whole Islamic world.
While the Spirit of God is on the move today and millions including Muslims are coming to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus persecution and martyrdom are also increasing. You have these two things happening side by side. Only when the Lord Jesus comes back will Kingdom dominion be established on earth. Now let’s look at this. When do the saints inherit the Kingdom of God on earth? If we turn to the prophet Daniel we read what he prophesied.
(Daniel 7:21-22) “As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.”
(Daniel 7:25-27) “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
According to the prophet Daniel when do the saints inherit the Kingdom of God on earth? It will only be after the faithful saints have been persecuted by the beast empire of the antichrist and not before. As for the NAR/ICAL Kingdom Dominion teaching it is way over realised and deceptive form of eschatology for the people of God and a bed-fellow with Post Millennial Eschatology. The world is not going to get progressively better or the nations become Christianised according to scripture. Only after the Lord Jesus has come back will He establish His Messianic kingdom on earth and then the saints who have overcome will co-reign with Him. (Revelation 5:10; 20:6) As Paul writes to Timothy; “if we endure (suffer), we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12) Where does this fit into Kingdom Dominion theology? The Lord Jesus promised that the overcomers would co-rule with Him over the nations but only after He has come back. (Revelation 2:26-27) According to Matthew Chapter 24:29-31 the saints are raptured and resurrected “immediately after the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days” and not before (Vs.29)
Kingdom Now Kingdom Dominion theology was around in the time of the Lord Jesus. When He was riding on a donkey as He entered the City of Jerusalem the people of Israel were laying down palm branches and shouting words from Psalm 118. They were all shouting; “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” “Hosanna in the highest.”(Matthew 21:9) The word “Hosanna” was a Hebrew expression meaning “to save” or a plea “to save us now!” Also we read in the Psalm that attached to this cry to be saved was a cry for prosperity. As we read; “Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.”(Psalm 118:25) The people in Jerusalem had a faith prosperity kingdom dominion theology on their minds. They thought the Messiah was coming to give them kingdom dominion over the Romans and to set up the Kingdom of Israel and to bring them prosperity. However, He did not come to get rid of the Romans; neither did He come the first time to set up an earthly kingdom that had dominion mover the Romans.
Yes the kingdom would come but only after the cross. Many in Jesus time most certainly wanted the signs, the miracles and the wonders but very few understood that before the crown there must be the cross. Many undoubtedly hungered and thirsted after healing and material blessings but very few hungered and thirsted after righteousness. (Matthew 5:6) They had a kingdom now, kingdom dominion theological mentality that included having prosperity and wealth and power but they were sadly and tragically mistaken as they found out around 40 years later in 70AD when the centre of their religious security, the Temple, was burned to the ground by the Romans and Mosaic Judaism was terminated and their house left to them desolate of spiritual liofe and power as it still is today. For the people in Israel in the time of our Lord Jesus the concept of Kingdom Dominion was a spiritual deception for them, a Biblical truth that had been distorted.
There will be a Messianic Kingdom on earth after the Lord Jesus has come back. However, the Kingdom is here now in in a spiritual sense in that Yahweh Himself now dwells in His people individually and corporately through Yahweh the Spirit and faithful believers are now said to be spiritually reigning in the heavenly realms now with Yahweh the Son. (Ephesians 1:18-23; 2:6) Kingdom Dominion for the saints in this age is a spiritual power and authority to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to heal the sick and to drive out demons and to seek to see the lost saved. It is to see men and women, boys and girls brought out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son through repentance and faith in Him and in His blood, to atone and cleanse from sin, that atoning blood that saves from the wrath to come. (Ephesians 1: 7) (Romans 5:9)
If you have repented of sin and believed on Him who shed his blood to atone for your sins and have received Him as your saviour and Lord then you are already a part of His Kingdom on earth and spiritually speaking you have Kingdom Dominion now, but it is not a kingdom of this world. As our Lord Himself Jesus said; “See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19) When He said this He did not have an earthly kingdom as such in His mind but an unshakable spiritual kingdom known to the unseen spiritual realm but hidden from the unsaved on earth.
As believers in our Lord Jesus the messiah we have His authority to preach the gospel of the Kingdom which includes preaching the gospel and His future Second coming to set up His kingdom. The mandate from the Lord Jesus in this age is to seek to save the lost, to make disciples of all nations, to see people saved, baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit, to heal the sick, to drive out demons, to drive off fallen spirit-beings in the unseen spiritual realm and to love the brethren. As it has been said “the Kingdom of God is now, but not yet!” Kingdom Dominion is coming, a new heavens and earth is coming, a Messianic Kingdom is coming but only after Israel, the Church and the nations have passed through the Time of great tribulation (thlipsis) at the end of this age. When the Lord Jesus comes back all Israel will be saved and rescued out of it and the saints raptured and resurrected. (Jeremiah 30:1-10) (Daniel 12:1) (Matthew 24:29-31)
The Lord Jesus Himself spoke about this time at the end of this age when He said; “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21-22) Does this sound like Kingdom Dominion theology or the seven mountain mandate of the NAR/ICAL movement? We have authority from the Lord Jesus to go into all of the nations of the world to preach the gospel of the kingdom and this will be the last great sign indicating that the end of the age is about to occur (Matthew 24:14)
However it will be a time in the midst of blood and fire and vapours of smoke, a time of great tribulation, when the constellations themselves will be shaken and the sun darkened and the moon turned to blood red and when the whole earth totters like a hut in the wind because of the weight of its sin and rebellion. It will be a world on the verge of annihilation and a world where the dear saints of God in Israel and by inclusion and extension the faithful Church will be so hard-pressed that only the return of the Messiah of Israel our Lord Jesus will save the planet and His elect saints. This kingdom that is now and yet is to come will be the great boulder that will smash all together all earthly kingdoms arrayed against God and result in a Kingdom that will only then fill the whole earth and take Kingdom Dominion over the surviving nations. (Daniel 2:34-35; 44-46; 7:22, 27)
Yes trouble is coming for Israel, for the Church, for the nations, yes the man of sin is coming and his beast empire is coming, yes there will be continuous wars, disease, famines, earthquakes, spiritual deception, the apostasy and ecological disasters continuing to the end of this age but also let us keep in mind that the Messianic Kingdom of God on earth is also coming and in that day everything on the planet that God has not established will be shaken. As the author of Hebrews writes; “At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-29)
As our Lord Jesus also said; “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:26-28)