In the Fulness of Time/Part 26
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007|
|“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Dr. Figart explains what is meant by the term “kingdom,” and why Jesus included the petition “thy will be done.”|
Adoration: Worship of God (continued) Matthew 6:10
Last month we considered Matthew 6:9 with the pattern for prayer Jesus taught His disciples. It began with “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” The remainder of the pattern for adoration, Matthew 6:10 contains two thoughts: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The word kingdom is used in various contexts with differing meanings; the simplest way is to list the terms and their usages.
- The universal kingdom of the LORD Jehovah. I Chronicles 29:11: “Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine. Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all.” In Psalm 145:11-13 this kingdom is designated as everlasting.
- The Kingdom of the LORD Jehovah in the hand of the sons of David. II Chronicles 13:8: “And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hands of the sons of David….” This earthly kingdom was established in Jehovah’s Covenant with David’s family forever in II Samuel 7:8-17; II Chronicles 13:5. Even though there was disobedience and consequent punishment, Jehovah promised that He would never break His covenant with David; Psalm 89:28-37. In the future this kingdom will encompass the entire earth and all nations will serve the Messiah, the Son of David; Psalm 72:8-11; Isaiah 9:6-7.
- The term “kingdom of God” is used three ways in Matthew. First, it is a spiritual kingdom, entered by believing and receiving God’s righteousness; Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness….” Second, the personal ministry of the King: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28). Third, the universal offer of Christ, the Stone, to all because of His rejection by the rulers of the Jews: “The Stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner….Therefore… the kingdom of God is taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:42-46).
- The term “kingdom of heaven” is used three ways in Matthew. First, in Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 9:35 “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” is preached by Christ and John the Baptist. Christ was being offered as Messiah/King to the Jews. All through the Sermon on the Mount this “at hand” aspect of the kingdom was described, including our verse now under consideration, Matthew 6:10. But the Jews did not repent, as a nation, nor receive Him (Matthew 11:20). Second, the term, “The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11), defined in the parables of Matthew 13 as including the time of “sowing” until the time of “reaping,” when the wheat is separated from the tares at the end of the age of the mysteries. This will extend from the post-resurrection ministry of Christ and the Apostles, through the entire Church Age, through the Great Tribulation, and conclude with the return of Christ to earth to separate the true believers from the mere professing ones. If the Lord tarries, we will study this chapter in detail later. Third, the future earthly kingdom of heaven which supersedes all other kingdoms at the return of Christ to the earth; Matthew 16:28; 22:2-14; 24:14; 25:1-14, 34; 26:19.
Thus, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come” it obviously was not there at the time, so He had to be referring to the earthly aspect which the nation of Israel rejected.
The second part of the verse is anticipated in the first part: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Obviously, the scathing remarks made by Christ in Matthew 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” are indication enough that God’s will was not, (nor is it now) being done on earth as it is in heaven! This statement of Christ, by itself, should make extreme predestinationists pause in their thinking that our Lord is responsible for sin in any way!
Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before God’s will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. First, as already stated, the kingdom is not here yet. Second, the King is not here yet; He ascended to heaven and is there now: “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts. 1:11). Third, He is not sitting on the throne of David, but at the right hand of His Father’s throne: “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Matthew 22:44). When, “the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, then ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Certainly these things are not true, yet! But when He returns, He will sit on His own throne (Revelation 3:20), and will “rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Revelation 12:5; 19:15). “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (I Corinthians 15:25-26). Only then will God’s will be done as it is in heaven! All of this will come to pass “in the fulness of time!”