Cosmos Dominator

Paul wrote to the Romans that Death reigned from Adam until Moses (Rom 5:14). He does not treat death as an experience, but refers to both Sin and Death as personal spiritual powers. Death is the name of a powerful cosmos dominator (evil spirit) who loves killing and destroying people. He dominated events on earth up until the time of the giving of the law, when his activity was curtailed in Israel.

The accuser (satan) was craftiest, so he tricked Adam and Eve, but Death was stronger, so he quickly came out on top in the struggle for control between evil powers. Death became the dominant spiritual power on earth, because the Holy Spirit had been squeezed out by human rebellion. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, and Death came in through sin (Rom 5:12).

If Paul was correct about Death controlling the first stage of human history, you would expect to see some evidence of it in the Old Testament, especially Genesis. It is slightly hidden, because the Old Testament authors had a two-agent world view in which every activity was caused by humans or God. However, when we read it, with a three-agent world view looking for what Paul taught, there are plenty of activities that were probably the result of Death's work on earth. The following activities are examples.

Covenant Victory

The covenant established by God through Moses broke Death's power over the children of Israel. There are three reasons why Death's activity was curtailed.

Clinging to Power

Once the children of Israel had crossed the Jordan, Joshua became vulnerable to the spirit called Death. Maybe he was already susceptible because he had led the Israelites into war on several occasions.

Although God said the people of Canaan would be frightened into fleeing, the taking of the land turned out to be extremely violent. This was probably due to the influence of Death on Joshua. (More at Violence).


The spirit called Death continued to have a strong influence on the leaders of Israel during the season of the Judges because many of them engaged in violence beyond what God allowed. The leaders of Israel led with unnecessary violence. This allowed Death to continue reigning, even though the law had curtailed his right to be active in Israel.

Tabernacle Broken

During the season of the Judges, the spirit called Death mostly worked through the political leaders of the nation. When Eli was the high priest of Israel, he released the spirit of Death more widely in Israel. His sons were wicked. They were sleeping with the women serving at the entrance to the tabernacle and stealing the offerings brought by the people. They were threatened people with force if they did not give in to them (1 Sam 2:12-16, 22).

A prophet came and challenged Eli about the consequence of his son's behaviour. The prophet warned that his strength would be cut off and he would be distressed by what he saw.

You will live long only to have eyes blinded with tears and a heart full of grief. Your descendants will die in the prime of life (1 Sam 2:33).
Eli will live long but will be filled with sadness and grief because his descendants will be cut off in the prime of life. They will become vulnerable to the spirit called Death.

Eli ignored the prophet and pretended not to see what his sons and their colleagues were doing. His eyes were weak, so he could barely see (1 Sam 3:1,11). Eli's spiritual blindness gave Death greater freedom to work in Israel, despite his defeat by the law of Moses. When the Israelites went to war against the Philistines, they were defeated, and four thousand men were killed.

Instead of seeking God to find out why they were defeated, the Israelites decided to take the covenant box with them into battle. They made it into an idol, like those of the surrounding nations. This did not work, as the Philistines were emboldened and won a powerful victory. Eli's two sons were killed, and the covenant box was captured. Thirty-thousand soldiers were killed.

The slaughter was very great (1 Sam 4:10).
This was the result of Death being given greater freedom. Death affected Eli when he fell off his stool with shock, and broke his neck (1 Sam 4:18). Taking the covenant box out of the tabernacle weakened the effectiveness of the tabernacle sacrifices because the place where God dwelt was broken. The human decision was made contrary to the instructions given to Moses on the mountain. The undermining of the process for offering animal sacrifices meant that Death was no longer constrained by the law.

God's wisdom had been rejected, so his presence was gone from the covenant box. The spirit called Death went with it. I presume that he wanted to be the spirit that controlled the box once the people had made it into an idol.

Cancer Tumours

Once the covenant box had been carried to Ashdod, Death had the freedom to work there. The writer of Samuel says that God's hand was heavy on them, but this is a two-agent world view. It was actually the hand of the spiritual powers of evil that was hard on them because they had no spiritual protection.

The spirit called Death brought devastation upon them and struck them with tumours (1 Sam 5:6). The covenant box was sent to Gath, but the same thing happened there. Death and his supporting spirits were heavy on that city too.

The city was thrown into a great panic. The people of the city, both young and old, were afflicted with an outbreak of tumours (1 Sam 5:9). These cancers affected young people. This is consistent with the prophecy to Eli warning that lives would be cut off in their prime. When the covenant box was sent to Ekron, the same thing happened. The cause of these events is described more precisely.

Death filled the city with panic/confusion; his hand was very heavy on it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumours, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven (1 Sam 5:11-12).
"Death" gained a hold on the city and released a pestilence amongst the people. Those who were not killed by the plague were afflicted with terrible cancers.

The Philistines had amazing spiritual insight because they knew how to put the situation right. They knew that they needed to get rid of Death and the spiritual powers that had attached themselves to the covenant box by making a guilt offering to attract and appease these evil spiritual powers. They made five gold tumours and five gold rats representing the rulers and people of the five cities that had come under attack. Sickness had attacked the rulers and people alike, so a solution that covered both was essential (1 Sam 6:4-5).

The Philistines knew that Pharoah was destroyed because he hardened his heart against God when plagues came upon Egypt. They did not want to make the same mistake, so they wanted to get the covenant box out of their territory (1 Sam 6:6).

When the Israelites offered the gold tumours and gold rats as a sacrifice, along with the two cows pulling the wagon carrying them, Death and his followers had to be satisfied and could not demand any more blood and death. This brought to an end the pestilence and plague of tumours that Eli had inadvertently released on the Philistines.

However, death had one last flourish. When the covenant box was at Beth Shemesh, some men looked into the box. Death took the opportunity and struck them down (1 Sam 6:19). When the frightened people moved the covenant box to Kiriath Jearim, Eleazer was sanctified to guard it, so Death was unable to do harm (1 Sam 7:1).


When Saul became king, neither he nor Samuel did anything to return the covenant box to the tabernacle. On one occasion, Saul tried to take it into battle, but he was prevented from taking this dangerous action (1 Sam 14:18). This continued separation meant that the tabernacle sacrifices lost some of their efficiency, so Death was not satisfied by them but was free to continue operating amongst the people.

Saul seemed to have an attraction to violence, which left him vulnerable to the spirit called Death.


David also seemed to be vulnerable to the spirit called Death. The early part of his life was focused on fighting, and the latter part of his life was disrupted by fighting and death amongst his supporters.

The law and the tabernacle should have protected David from attacks by the spirit called Death, but the mistake left him vulnerable, resulting in unnecessary death and bloodshed. David seemed to know that he was trapped by death. In his song of praise, he said,
The ropes of Hades entangled me; the snares of Death confronted me (2 Sam 22:6).
The cords of Death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me (Psalm 18:4-5).
And God frequently rescued him.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from Death (Psalm 68:20).
You have delivered me from Death and my feet from stumbling (Psalm 56:13).
The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to Death (Psalm 118:18).
You Lord have delivered my soul from death (Psalm 116:8).
God frequently rescued David from Death, but he never fully escaped the power of this evil spiritual power. And he passed it on to his son Solomon.


Christians mostly study the tabernacle as a type of Jesus, looking for details that represent his ministry. However, this misses an important point. God does not make mistakes. The tabernacle was not a failure the Jesus had to correct. God instructed Moses to build it to provide spiritual protection for the children of Israel. And it actually worked. When they were on the backfoot following the Exodus, the spiritual powers of evil had agreed with God that they would accept animal sacrifices in return for giving up the right to attack his people. The tabernacle was the vehicle for making this happen.

David seemed to put his desire to worship ahead of obedience to the commands of Moses, so he shifted the covenant box to a tent in Jerusalem, while leaving the tabernacle at Gibeon. This provided him with a place for worship, but unfortunately, it destroyed the capacity of the tabernacle to provide spiritual protection for the people, and they were attacked ruthlessly by the spirit called Death.

Many modern Christians have a fascination with the tabernacle of David as a symbol of fervent worship in their church building. Unfortunately, this has blinded them to the spiritual protection that comes through obedience to Jesus' instructions about how we should be his disciples. This disobedience has allowed the spirit called Death to elbow his way into the church and establish a terrible stronghold there. Obedience, not praise, brings power and protection.


David's son Solomon began his kingship by killing people who had opposed him, even though some had been very loyal to his father David: Adonijah, Joab, Shimei (1 Kings 2). This gave Death a place in his kingship.

Solomon built the temple and reunited the covenant box and the facilities for sacrifices, which should have ensured that Death was seriously constrained. However, he married so many foreign wives, who brought their own gods to Jerusalem, that he probably opened himself up to Death again.

Death Gains a Stronghold

When Solomon's son Rehoboam succeeded to the throne, the people rebelled against him. Jeroboam gained control of the Northern Kingdom, consisting of ten tribes. God defused the enmity between the two kingdoms by sending a prophet to prevent a war (1 Kings 12:22-24).

Jeroboam rebelled against God and led the people of his kingdom into idolatry. He created two golden calves for the people to worship and set up an altar on which sacrifices could be offered (1 Kings 12:28-32). A prophet from God declared that the altar would be broken (1 Kings 13:1-3). The King spoke against the prophet and stretched out his hand to seize him, but his hand withered up so he could not pull it back. The altar split and its ashes poured out in fulfilment of the prophecy. Jeroboam then asked the prophet to intercede for him. The prophet prayed for the king and his arm was restored (1 Kings 13:4-6).

A pattern emerged as Death worked with the spirits of sickness under his control.

This is the pattern of rebellion and Death.

Jeroboam son got sick. He sent his wife to Abijah the prophet. He declared that the son would die and that all Jeroboam's family would be destroyed. Dogs would eat those who died in the city and those who died in the country would be eaten by the birds (1 Kings 14:1-13). The boy died. Jeroboam's son Nadab only reigned two years. Baasha plotted against him and when he began to reign as king, he killed all Jeroboam's family (1 Kings 15:25-29). He had given Death a place, but Death destroyed him and his family.

Baasha rebelled against God. A prophet came to him and warned that because he had insulted God, he and his family would be destroyed. His son Elah had only reigned two years when Zimri, one of his officials, plotted against him and struck him down when he was drunk. When he began to reign, Zimri killed all of Baasha's family (1 Kings 16:8-13). The cycle of Death continued.

Zimri had only reigned seven days when Omri, the commander of the army, rebelled and laid siege to the city where Zimri was based. Zimri set the citadel on fire and burned down around him. Se he was taken by Death, too (1 Kings 16:15-20).

Omri reigned twelve years. He was succeeded by his son Ahab (1 Kings 16:23,29). Ahab took the rebellion a step further by marrying Jezebel, the daughter of a foreign king, and leading his people into worship of Baal. Elijah the prophet warned Ahab and drought made the land sick and nothing would grow. When the drought was ending, Elijah slaughtered 450 prophets of Baal, which probably left him vulnerable to Death, became he became suicidal (1 Kings 18:40). Ahab and Jezebel and all their family were killed by a warrior called Jehu.

Baasha, Zimri, and Omri all used ruthless and brutal power to gain control. Death has always used ruthless power to gain a place wherever spiritual protection is weakened. Jezebel used manipulation, intimidation to gain control. The marriage of Ahab (controlled by Death and Ruthless Power) and Jezebel (using Manipulation, Intimidation and Control), allowed a union of several being spiritual powers. Ahab placed the nation of Israel under the control of spirits called Death, Ruthless Power, Manipulation Intimidation and Control. These spirits still work together in many places.

Failing Kings

Many of the kings of Israel made themselves vulnerable to the spirit called Death, and much death and bloodshed followed. Some prophets fell into the same trap. The following are just a few examples.

God provided a way for Death to be constrained through the law of Moses and the Tabernacle Sacrifices. Unfortunately, the leaders of Israel and Judah frequently disobeyed God, which allowed Death to intervene in the nation quite frequently. This powerful evil spirit brought about considerable death and suffering.

God provided a way for Death to be constrained through the law of Moses and the Tabernacle Sacrifices. Unfortunately, the leaders of Israel and Judah frequently disobeyed God, which allowed Death to intervene in the nation quite frequently. This powerful evil spirit brought about considerable death and suffering.

New Testament Age

Ephesians 6:12 is an important verse for understanding the functioning of the universe.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the government-spirits, against the authorities, against the cosmos dominators of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms.
Most Christians don't think that much about the details of this insight. They are aware of being attacked occasionally by an evil being, but they will mostly have been dealing with an ordinary evil spirit. Evil spirits are not omnipresent like the Holy Spirit, so most Christians will not have encountered satan (the accuser), because he is busy elsewhere. They don't think much about how the activities of government-spirits and cosmos dominators affect their lives.

In the last few posts, I have tried to explain how a cosmos dominator Death worked during the Old Testament age (without receiving much interest). He controlled thousands of spirits who submitted to his authority. Paul had explained that Death had a legal right to act between the time of Adam and Moses (Rom 5:14). The law was given to curtail his activity, but he was able to continue to be effective when kings and rulers fell into sin.

Christians should not need to worry about this cosmos dominator, but unfortunately, he is still at work in the world. When Jesus was arrested by the Jewish leaders, they placed him in the power of the spirit of Death.

He was delivered over to Death (Rom 4:25).
Jesus totally defeated all the spiritual powers of evil on the cross. His victory included the defeat of Death.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him (Rom 6:8-9).
Followers of Jesus have died with Jesus, so they share in his life. Paul is emphatic that Death no longer rules over him, and therefore no longer rules over those who trust in Jesus. The spirit called Death should not have any legal rights in the church, but unfortunately, its leaders have frequently given him a place that he does not deserve.All Christians and church leaders should be alert to the activities of the cosmos dominator called Death. They should ensure that their spiritual protection is adequate when he is at work (See Personal Protection).

Whereas Satan uses legal authority to gain control of people, Death relies on ruthless and brutal power to establish a stronghold. Whenever, the people of God lose their spiritual protection, Death is able to elbow his way in and establish control of the situation.

Death does not work on his own, but enforces his power through a host of evil spirits who have submitted to his authority. When the people of God lose their spiritual protection, Death pushes his way in. Sickness often comes first because Death has many spirits of Death under his control.