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Colossians 1:13

"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son". ESV. My emphasis. [domain/exousias].

Matthew 28:18

"And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me". [authority/exousia].

As all authority has been given to Jesus what "authority/exousias" does the domain of darkness have?

3 Answers 3

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OP's s question;

"What does domain mean in the domain of darkness?"

This is a realm where darkness has authority over the inhabitants of the Earth. It was given to Satan when Adam lost the dominon over the earth when death became his master.

We know, Christ conquered death, and see the first fruits of His glory.

Who rescues as out of the authority of darkness, and transports us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13

This domain of darkness is headed up by the god of this evil eon or age we are living in.

"We are not rescued from earths government, but from the powers of darkness which direct and dominate them. "Concordant Literal Commentary.

Believers wrestle against these powers but are no longer under their authority.

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Israel's, warefare is with flesh and blood on the earth. Ours is with wicked spirits in the celestial realms. We should always remember that those who oppose us are merely the intermediaries used by the spiritual forces, and treat them accordingly. It is not our place to wrestle with blood and flesh but to look beyond the human instrument to the real adversary in the spirit world. Material weapons are worse than useless. Our attitude towards men should be one of pure conciliation, not strife . (Eph 6:15) Concordant commentary

The way the power of darkness works is in the mind of unbelievers, which some have been delivered out of.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2: Corinthians 4:4

This domain of this dark spirit is in the air, opposite of God's, Holy Spirit, that works in believers. Satan's authority is in the air, the lower heavens and is at work in mankind, operating them.

in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of Stubbornness. Ephesians 2:2

Christ indeed, was given authority over all these powers, authorities, sovereignties. Only the believers at this time have been freed from their reign but their mind is still open to being deceived with lies.

Indeed, all authority, has been given to Jesus in all realms.

"And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me". [authority/exousia]. Mathew 28:18

But just as Hebrews 2:8 says, everything has been subjected to Christ but we don't see it yet .

8You gave them authority over all things.”

Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority.

In the future, Christ will come into glory when he has taken His power in Revelation 11:17

Remember, when Satan took Jesus to a high mountain, showing him all the kingdoms of the Earth that have been his.

Satan does have this power over the nations now. It certainly is becoming more evident in the time we live in.

€“I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory,” he said. “For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish. Luke 4:6

They are still Satan's at this time, but his authority will be coming to an end.

And the seventh messenger did sound, and there came great voices in the heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of the world did become those of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!' Revelation 11:17

This is the beginning of Him taking His authority first on earth, and will spread to all the heavenly realm as well...,,,

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Paul in Colossians 1:13 was likely requoted the words from Jesus. In Acts 26, Paul pleaded before king Agrippa, described his encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus. Acts 26:15-18 read

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’“. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied.

16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.

17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them

18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

"the power of Satan" is used in most English version Bible (e.g. NIV, ESV, KJV NASB). Only a few use "the dominion of Satan" (NASB1977, 1995), or "the authority of Satan (LSB).

In Colossians 1:13, similar variances appear as well to translate "the domain of darkness". There are "the dominion of darkness"; "the power of darkness"; "the authority of darkness".

It is quite interesting of using the word "domain". It is because "domain" is a finite territory, though Satan may have great power, vast dominion, but his ruling is finite, as opposed to God infinite power.

Though I don't know Greek, but I find the word "domain" can bring up this contrast between Satan and God. It is for sure Jesus has all authority given by God, but Satan still has finite power, on those who were still disobedient to God.

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The answer to this question is hiding in plain site if we understand a little Latin. Let me explain.

Our English word "dominion" is from the Latin "Dominus" which mean "Lord". That is, a dominion is the area over which the Lord has authority. That is, one's Lordship extends (by definition) over that Lord's dominion, precisely because the Lord (whoever that is) has authority over the dominion.

Our English word, "domain", "dominate", etc, all come from the same Latin root.

In the great struggle between the dominion of Christ and the dominion of Satan, every person must decide whose authority will have sway in our lives. These two realms are given different names that are equivalent.

The Kingdom of God

  • Luke 11:20, 17:20, Matt 12:28, Acts 8:12, John 3:5
  • Kingdom of heaven, Matt 11;12, 13:11, 33, 47, 16:19, 20:1, etc
  • kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, Rev 11:15
  • kingdom of light, Col 1:12
  • This is because Christ has been given all authority (Matt 28:18) in this kingdom and so it is His Dominion

Dominion of Darkness

  • kingdom of this world, Rev 11:15, Luke 4:5
  • dominion of darkness, Col 1:13
  • kingdom of Satan, Matt 12:26, Luke 11:18
  • Dominion of Satan, Acts 26:18
  • authority/power of the air, Eph 2:2

In Col 1:13, Satan's dominion extends to all people over whom Satan has authority. It is Jesus stated purpose to all people "out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9); that is Jesus wants to take people out of the dominion of darkness and into the kingdom of light, Col 1:12 (NIV).

APPENDIX - Greek words translated "Dominion"

The following Greek words are translated "dominion" in various versions:

  • κυριότης = "lordships" from the root word, kyrios = "Lord", eg, Eph 1:21, Col 1:16, 2 Peter 2:10, Jude 8.
  • κράτος = dominion, strength, power; eg, 1 Tim 6:16, Heb 2:14, 1 Peter 4:11, 5:11, Jude 25, Rev 1:6, 5:13.
  • ἐξουσία = authority, having dominion over, earthly power, eg, Luke 4:6, 23:7, Acts 26:18, Rom 13:1, 1 Cor 15:24, Eph 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Col 1:13, 1 Peter 3:22, Rev 6:8, 9:3, 12:10, etc.
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  • You say: "Christ has been given all authority[Matt 28:18] in this kingdom" but ESV has "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me". I do not understand this change. As I understand it, Satan is not part of the kingdom of God but does work in this world e.g. John 13:2. So changing "heaven and earth" to "kingdom of God" seems like a fundamental change.
    – C. Stroud
    Mar 21, 2023 at 16:50
  • @C.Stroud - I am not sure what point you are making. The king of heaven and earth is the king of God and of Christ (Rev 11:15). These terms all equivalent.
    – Dottard
    Mar 21, 2023 at 21:07
  • A bread knife in ones hand actually cuts but is an instrument. As Jesus has all authority Satan cannot be more than an instrument. When Jesus commands [e.g. Mark 9:25] the unclean spirit, it does not reply,"I'm an unclean disobedient spirit; I'm not coming out". Jesus has all authority always.
    – C. Stroud
    Mar 22, 2023 at 16:12

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