Dempster’s Dominion and Dynasty

ImageI just finished reading Dominion and Dynasty, a book by biblical scholar Stephen Dempster that comes highly recommended by Dr. Jim Hamilton. Allow me to second that recommendation. In this book, Dempster convincingly outlines the story of the Old Testaement (Tanakh) as one big Story that is centered around the thematic pillars of Dominion and Dynasty—Land and Lineage, Geography and Genealogy, Zion and Scion.

At the end of his book, Dempster shows how these two themes, Dominion and Dynasty, follow a typological narrowing and subsequent broadening throughout the Story. The Dominion begins with Adam’s rule over all creation, moves to Israel’s rule of Canaan, and then narrows to Jerusalem and finally the temple. From there, the New Testament demonstrates how the Dominion progressively broadens back out until it envelops all of creation again. Likewise, the Dynasty begins with Adam, the son of God, representing all of humanity, and then narrows to focus on Israel, who is referred to as God’s son (Ex 4:22), and then focuses more specifically on the tribe of Judah and the family of Jesse, and then finally to the individual David, whose archetypical fulfillment is found in the person of Jesus, the true Son of God. From here, Jesus reconciles Israel and the world to himself, calling them brothers as they are called into God’s eschatological family.

It is through these two themes that Dempster, and arguably the biblical authors, understands the fulfillment of the Davidic house. It was David’s desire to build God a house to dwell in, but God responds to him that it is he who is going to be doing the building, not David (2 Sam 7). God promises to build David a house, which means that God will establish David’s seed, and that his seed will never be cut off from the throne. God will give David an everlasting Dynasty. In addition, David is also promised a Dominion, or a kingdom to rule. This Dominion is finally and ultimately realized in the coming of the new heavens and new earth, which is foretold in Revelation 21. Interestingly, this new creation is described in terms reminiscent of the temple, the very thing David wanted to build for God all along. It is here, at the end of all things, that we see the ultimate marriage of these two themes, Dominion and Dynasty.

The Scion will rule in Zion.

Jesus, of the House of David, will exercise dominion over everything in a way that Adam never could, ruling over the new creation, which is cast as the archetypical fulfillment of the proposed House of David. And we will be his vice-regents. And it will be beautiful.

Is your interest piqued? Then go pick up a copy of Dominion and Dynasty and be further amazed at God’s Story, a Story in which you and I play an intricate role. Or better yet, take up your Bible and read!

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