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The first king of the earth was Adam. We read in Gen. 1:26,
26 The God said, Let us make man [Heb. awdawm, or “Adam”] in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping that creeps upon the earth.
Genesis 1:26 uses the term awdawm without the Hebrew article and particle, making it read “man” (in general), instead of Adam specifically. Genesis 1 gives us a general statement of man's creation in the context of the rest of creation, so that we would know that man's creation came on the sixth day.
Genesis 2 then gives us the specific details of man's creation, beginning with Adam himself. Gen. 2:7 uses the Hebrew term, eth ha-awdawm, which means “this same man Adam.” (See Bullinger's notes on Gen. 2:7.) In other words, Gen. 2:7 was referring to the same man, Adam, as was mentioned in Gen. 1:26.
The first Adam was given the Dominion Mandate, which made him the legitimate king of the earth. God was, of course the highest King by right of creation. He did not relinquish His sovereignty by giving Adam authority over the earth.
Adam ruled under God. In fact, his kingship was conditional upon remaining subject to the Creator and Owner of all things. God had every right to set up or to depose kings in the earth.
And so, when Adam sinned, his nature attempted to rule the earth independently, as if the earth were his. In effect, he usurped the throne of the Creator. His independent will moved him out of the realm of life into the realm of death (mortality), even as God had forewarned in Gen. 2:17, saying,
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.
It is not for us to become bogged down in a discussion about the tree itself and what it may represent. In our brief study, it is enough to know that eating from the “tree” was a matter of disobedience, or sin. The result of Adam’s sin was death.
Adam and Eve later brought forth children after their likeness. If they had begotten children prior to sin, they would have brought forth children in their image, which was in turn the image of God (Gen. 1:26). However, as it turned out, they brought forth children in the likeness of sinful flesh. For this reason, Adam’s sin made him mortal, and this mortality was passed down to all succeeding generations after him. Paul says in Rom. 5:12,
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death [mortality] spread to all men, on which[eph ho] all sinned.
Death is man’s fatal flaw, weakness, or “disease,” which causes him to sin. The Gospel of the Kingdom teaches us how we may overcome death, so that we may cease from sin. Further, it tells us the divine plan not only for us as individuals, but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).
Death and sin created a problem with King Adam. If he had remained immortal, he would have remained King of the Earth and would not have had to pass the crown to his children. It was Adam’s job to subdue the earth—that is, to bring all things under the authority of the righteous government of God. But because he sinned, he failed, and it required another “Adam” to succeed where the first Adam failed. The “last Adam” was Jesus (1 Cor. 15:45).
Adam's mortality meant that he would die, and so his crown would have to be passed on to succeeding generations in history. And because men were now born in the image of the fallen Adam, their tendency would be self-serving. Many would desire to assert themselves as rulers over others. Their selfishness would cause them to plot how they might force their will upon others and make slaves of men. This is the origin of the kingdoms of men.
But their crowns would be contested by many who would assert their own wills, each desiring to usurp the crown for himself. But let us return to the beginning and trace briefly the origin of kings and of governments on the earth.
The Dominion Mandate was one of two mandates which formed the Birthright itself. The other was the Fruitfulness Mandate, given in Gen. 1:26, which said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” That second mandate is the origin of Sonship and was the mandate which was designed to populate the Kingdom of God with citizens of the Kingdom. Of course, if Adam and Eve had brought forth children in the image of God, then all of their children would have been citizens of the Kingdom, and they would not have been a problem.
The Birthright, which included both of the Mandates in Genesis 1, was passed down from Adam to Seth. When Seth died, it was given to his son, Enos. The Birthright continued to be passed down to their sons all the way to Noah, who took the Birthright through the flood.
Noah passed it to Shem, who lived to be 600 years old (Gen. 11:10, 11). He outlived his children and grandchildren, so none of them received the Birthright during their life time. In fact, Shem was still living after ten generations of his descendants had lived and died. If you do the study in Genesis 11, you will see that Shem even outlived Abraham, the man who would have received the Birthright, if he had outlived Shem. (See Secrets of Time.)
Shem finally died when Isaac was 110 and Jacob was 50. Thus, the Birthright bypassed Abraham altogether and was given directly to Isaac. It is with Isaac that the Birthright itself is mentioned directly in Scripture, for we find his twin sons, Jacob and Esau, fighting over it.
Jacob ended up obtaining the Birthright, though not without problems caused by his carnal motives. In later years, the Birthright was partitioned to Jacob's sons. He separated the Dominion Mandate from the Birthright and gave it to Judah (Gen. 29:10), leaving Joseph with the rest of the Birthright itself—primarily, the Fruitfulness Mandate (Gen. 49:22). This is confirmed in 1 Chron. 5:1, 2.
Judah’s claim to the Dominion Mandate was said to be temporary, lasting only “until Shiloh comes, and unto Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Gen. 49:10). The prophecy as given is obscure, but as time passed, its meaning was clarified. The Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle was set up in a town of Ephraim (son of Joseph), known as Shiloh (Joshua 18:1).
Later, because of the corrupt priesthood of the house of Eli, the Ark was moved from Shiloh to Jerusalem (Ps. 78:60-68). Still later, the glory of God was taken from Jerusalem because of the corruption of those priests (Jer. 7:12-14). God forsook Jerusalem “as Shiloh.” From there it was destined to find a permanent rest in the New Jerusalem, a spiritual city in which we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16), and His name is written in our foreheads (Rev. 22:4).
In the end, the prophecy of “Shiloh” has become a body of people, rather than a physical location on the earth. This body of people have Christ as their Head. Together, they form “one new man” (Eph. 2:15) and are pictured as that final “temple” built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and having Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).
Ultimately, the elements of the Birthright—separated by Jacob—were destined to be re-united in Christ. He came the first time of the tribe of Judah and specifically of the seed of David in order to qualify lawfully to receive the Dominion Mandate.
In His second coming, He comes as Joseph to qualify as the recipient of the Birthright as well. For this reason, it is prophesied in Rev. 19:13 that “He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.” He is described in this way to identify Him with Joseph, the man whose robe was dipped in blood in Gen. 37:31. This second coming is important, because it completes the work begun in His first appearance. Without a second coming, He would not be able to receive the Birthright of Joseph.
But getting back to the Dominion Mandate, Jesus' first appearance was from the tribe of Judah and of the seed of David in order to qualify Him as the lawful King of the Earth. In the end, all kings will serve Him—not unwillingly, and not by force. They will gladly serve him with rejoicing. Jesus never advocated the use of force to compel anyone to worship Him or bow before Him. Instead, He has chosen to earn their love and respect by demonstrating the love of God to all. Thus, Psalm 67:4, 5 says,
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with righteousness and guide the nations on the earth. 5 Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee.
Even so, history reveals many usurpers to the throne of the world. Jesus' right to rule the earth has been challenged from the beginning. The first major challenger was Nimrod, who was the first to conquer men and form a rival kingdom, which was called Babylon. He apparently knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah who was destined to rule the earth, and Nimrod wanted to be that Messiah.
Shem, then, left Nimrod's Babylonian Kingdom, traveling west to the land of Canaan. There he built a city which he called Salem, “Peace,” or Jeru-Salem, “City of Peace,” and set up his throne there under the title of Melchizedek, “King of Righteousness.” These two rival kingdoms, then, became the archetypes of the historical conflict between Mystery Babylon and the New Jerusalem.
Later, the Dominion Mandate was given to King David, along with the promise that the Messiah would be one of his descendants. David's throne was challenged by Absalom, who thought that he could qualify for the throne as a son of David. But Absalom was a usurper, and his character proved him to be unworthy of the Dominion Mandate.
A thousand years later, Jesus came of the lineage of David to claim His throne, but He too was challenged in the same way that Absalom challenged David. The story of David and Absalom was replayed in the story of the New Testament when the chief priests usurped the throne of Christ. But even as David had a “second coming” in which Absalom was deposed and killed, so also will Jesus Christ have a “second coming,” in which the usurpers will be deposed and their counterfeit kingdom destroyed.
At the same time, Christ will come as Joseph to re-unite the Birthright with the Scepter. At that time, the Kingdom of God will have not only a King, but also the manifested Sons of God, the first fruits of creation (James 1:18), who will rule under Christ. These will be given immortality and incorruption in the “first resurrection.”