The Great Sayings in the Gospels
How Shall We Pray?
Thy Kingdom Come
The Kingdom of God.
When Israel came up out of the land of Egypt the future was bright before them. Over and over again, the land was described as ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ Both physical and spiritual prosperity lay in their future.
God was going to drive out from before them all of their enemies and give to them as a permanent inheritance all of the land over which Abraham had trod. The land was rich and fertile, nurtured by two rainy seasons each year. Plus, they were given a God-centered government and a God-honoring religion. There were given the very commands and ordinances of God and promised that so long as they kept them their land would be safe and fruitful, that they would be blessed with many children and that the future would be bright and happy.
They could live among honest and decent neighbors, people who would not blaspheme, steal, lie, covet or be immoral. There would be no murder, adultery, idolatry, unwanted children or forsaken old folks.
They would be ruled over by Godly leaders. They would have Godly men to proclaim God’s Word to them. Their prayers would be heard and the Spirit of God would continually bless their souls.
Who would not want to live in such a place?
Of course, they never actually inherited the fullness of this wonderful place. God did indeed drive out their enemies but they did not obey Him in dealing with all of them. And, they refused, time over time, to obey His laws and commands. As a result, their history was one of ups and downs, of rebellions, partial repentances, and them more rebellions. Some of their kings were Godly men but even some of those allowed idolatry and immorality to flourish. We will not even mention what the wicked kings did and allowed.
So, the idea of the blessed place ruled over by God got moved to the future, to a kingdom ruled over by the Messiah, One specially sent from God. The Jews mistakenly took the prophecies of that kingdom to mean that there would be a golden age of Jewish superiority in the world ruled over by this God/Man, this King of all Kings. This was ingrained into their psyches by their Rabbis who also had political hopes for Jewish Independence after the great judgment upon the Jews by the 70 years of captivity under Nebuchadnezzar.
When Jesus came the people naturally transposed their hopes for the ‘Kingdom of God’ to Him, supposing that He was going to lead an insurrection against Rome and re-establish the kingdom of David. They were quite confused when He told them that His kingdom was ‘not of this world’ and that His ministry had nothing to do with their political aspirations at all.
Even to the end, His disciples had trouble wrapping their minds around this fact.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? KJV
The actual Kingdom of God has two phases, we learn in the NT, a present phase and a future one. That future phase will be that land of perfection and peace, of both spiritual and physical prosperity, that the Jews might have tasted of in this life had they not rebelled against God. The present phase is one that continues to mystify men and elude their understanding.
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. KJV
1 Cor 4:20
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. KJV
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: KJV
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: KJV
From these words we learn that those who believe on Jesus Christ have already been ‘translated’ into His kingdom. We learn that the ‘kingdom’ is primarily concerned with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. And, we learn that it is a thing of power. We also learn that we have already received it.
So, what is this ‘kingdom of God’ and what is it that we are asking for when we say the words, “Thy kingdom come”?
The kingdom of God (heaven, Christ, His Dear Son) is a spiritual place in which people are ruled over by the King of that Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He has commanded it, they repent of their sins and obey from their heart His commands, ordinances, and laws. They trust Him and yield themselves completely into His service.
Those who do not, who insist on holding on to iniquity, ungodliness and rebellion, are forbidden entrance into that kingdom.
1 Cor 6:9‑10
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. KJV
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. KJV
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. KJV
So, there is a very real and observable difference between the members of God’s kingdom and those who are not. That difference is the Rulership of Jesus Christ in their lives. One group yields to it and the other does not.
Now, there is a very real and abiding struggle in the lives of those in the kingdom concerning their ongoing obedience to Christ. Paul taught us that there are two competing forces, powers, entities within even the best saint. One of them longs for all that is of God, to be in total and complete obedience to Him. The other craves and lusts after that which is corrupt, ungodly, obscene and vile. There is a daily struggle over this issue in the heart of every true child of God.
When Paul talked of this struggle in Rom. 7 he exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am.” But then He went on to say, “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” In order to cope with this conflict, he gave himself over to death every day, reckoning that he was dead to sin and alive to God.
Therefore, one of the first items on the believer’s plate, every day, when he begins his day with God is “Please bring your kingdom to my soul today. Please let me walk in obedience and forsake iniquity. I want to be ruled over by You and You alone, obeying all of your commands and turning away from all that is contrary to You. Please, Lord, thy kingdom come….to me.”
There is a second and parallel issue also associated with this plea. The saint who seeks the face of God also longs for the rule and reign of God to be known by others. He/she longs for family, friends, neighbors and countrymen to know this same rulership of Christ in their lives. He longs for the power of God to be manifest widely and universally. He doesn’t leave anyone out but longs for the kingdom of heaven to be known far and wide.
In other words, he longs for a general and far-reaching awakening of the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls, so that the entire society in which he lives is ruled over by the King of Kings through the Spirit of God and according to the Word of God.
There have actually been many such times across these last 20 centuries of human history. The gospel began to take hold in Jerusalem when literally thousands were converted to Christ. Paul led such an Awakening at Ephesus that the entire city was in turmoil as even some of the rulers of the city came into the Kingdom.
At Carthage, Africa in the third century the church endured hideous persecution from the Romans. When Constantine ended the persecutions, the church was so completely devoted to Christ that they refused to obey Constantine when he appointed a bishop for them who had betrayed them during the persecutions. They were persecuted by this supposed ‘Christian’ emperor for their refusal.
The entire countryside of northern Italy was devoted to Christ under the direction and leadership of the Waldensian church for centuries. They evangelized Europe over and over again in spite of the great danger to their missionaries. God used them to set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.
We know of the Great Awakenings of the last 300 years: America, England, Ireland, Wales and many other places. In one form or another, in one place of another, an Awakening flowed around the world from the mid 1700’s to the early 1900’s.
All of these were the kingdom of God coming in power to the lives of men and nations. Entire countries were turned upside down by these Awakenings. Forming countries wrote into their constitutions and laws the very laws of God because of the impact of the kingdom upon the hearts and minds of men.
This is exactly the theme of the Prayers of Paul for the saints. He wanted them to be in full operative mode for the expanding of the Kingdom of God, empowered and filled by the Spirit of God, testifying in power to the world around them concerning the gospel.
So, when we say, “Thy Kingdom Come” let us do it sensibly and with our understanding that we both long for and seek after the powerful coming of God’s kingdom once again upon our culture and upon our world because we long to see Him glorified by men kneeling in willing homage to the True King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, there is a real longing for the full manifestation of the kingdom of God, a thing which will only happen at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
This really has three parts.
Every saint longs to see Jesus Christ and be fully united with Him eternally.
Paul so longed to see Christ that he struggled with the idea of remaining on earth.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. KJV
Since the real child of God loves Jesus Christ more than he loves any other person or thing, the desire to be with Him is greater than his desires to be with any other person or do any other thing.
When Jesus comes back in the full force and fury of His kingdom, we shall all be joined to Him forever in perfect unity and harmony, in full fellowship and glory.
1 Thess 4:16‑17
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. KJV
So even as we begin a new day, lifting up our hearts to God for our needs for the day, we remember that we are headed for eternity and we are caught in the midst of the desire to serve Him here a little while longer and the desire to be with Him now.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. KJV
We also long to see our own tendencies toward sin, our weaknesses and our corruptions forever eliminated and totally gone.
I do not believe that any real saint longs for the sight of the multitudes cast into Hell at the Great Judgment. It will not be, cannot be, a pleasant thing to behold. I would not be surprised if even the angels are awe struck by the ferocity of the judgment of God upon the wicked. Among the saints, I believe, there will be weeping and agonizing cries as people we love are cast away forever.
But there is one person that I will be glad to see dead.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. KJV
There is a thing that lives inside of me that hinders, obstructs, and makes more difficult every decent and good thing I try to do. He longs for things that are corrupt and ungodly and would make complete havoc of my life if he were permitted to do so. Even though he was rendered a death blow in the Work of Jesus Christ, I have not fully learned to avail myself of the help that is provided there. So, every day begins with a new struggle to make this ‘thing,’ this ‘Old man,’ this ‘flesh’ takes his place on the cross so that I can serve the Lord Jesus in the right way.
I long for the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God because I know that the moment I am forever united with Christ will be the first moment of an eternal existence in which I never have to deal with sin, the temptation of it, the corrupt of it, not even the thought of it, forever and ever. I am really looking forward to that day.
Finally, we long to see loved ones who have gone before us, dying in the faith.
Moses had a phrase that he used, a euphemism for death.
8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. KJV
I have some people on the other side that I really love and miss. I really look forward to seeing them again.
Then, I have some people on the other side that I have never met except in scripture. I am looking forward to making their acquaintance as well. Paul, John, Isaiah, Moses and many others I long to see and converse with about their lives and their writings. I will get to do that in the Kingdom of God as well.
So, when you have opportunity to pray and when you say, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name, Thy kingdom come… Do not just brush past the words. Think about the need for His kingdom now, our duties within it for this day, our longings for that Kingdom to be manifest on earth and the wonder that we are going to experience when it fully comes.