In the Fulness of Time/Part 28
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007|
|Jesus demonstrates his authority over natural forces when he heals the woman with the hemorrhage. Was she healed simply by touching His robe, or was more involved?|
Supplication: Guidance and Deliverance
- Matthew 6:13a “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
Several questions arise from this verse: Would God ever lead anyone into temptation? What does the word temptation mean here? Is the deliverance from evil, or from the evil one, or could this have reference to deliverance from the future period of evil, the Great Tribulation?
The words “lead us not,” like all of the previous requests, is aorist imperative which can be construed as “do not cause us to go into temptation.” According to A.T. Robertson’s Grammar, p. 948, it can also be classified as a permissive imperative: “The causative can have a permissive force, do not allow us to enter.” Our answer to the first question, then, would be that Jesus is not instructing His disciples to ask God not to lead them into temptation; rather it is to ask God to not allow it to happen.
Second, the word temptation (peirasmos) can mean solicitation to evil (James 1:13-15), or it can refer to testing or trials given to prove or improve a person’s character (James 1:12). Obviously the context must be the deciding factor. Here in Matthew 6:13 it would seem to be negative, since the request is to be delivered from evil. After all, what point would there be in deliverance from a testing which would be for one’s benefit? In I Corinthians 10:13 God brings both the testing and the way to escape, which is really grace to be able to bear the testing; and in II Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul asked for deliverance three times but instead was given the promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
This leads to the third question: Is the deliverance from evil things or from the evil one, Satan? The gender of the Greek words, apo tou ponerou (from the evil) can be either neuter or masculine, since the spelling is the same in either gender. Some authors favor masculine, “from the evil one” because the preposition apo (from) is used predominantly of deliverance from persons, whereas ek (out of), would have been used for deliverance from evil things (cf. Robertson, p. 653).
The question whether peirasmos (temptation) can refer to the future Great Tribulation, would mean that Jesus is instructing His disciples to ask for exemption from that time of trial which precedes the establishment of His earthly kingdom. This would seem strange in light of his previous instructions to rejoice in such circumstances of persecution and slander. Further, the only time peirasmos is used of the Great Tribulation is in Revelation 3:10, and there it has the defining sentence, “the hour of trial which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” In all other occurrences the word thlipsis (tribulation) is used of the Great Tribulation.
To summarize, then, Jesus is telling His disciples, as He presents His Kingdom as “at hand” to pray, “do not allow us to be led into temptation to evil, but deliver us from the evil one.”
- Matthew 6:13b “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.”
The first part of the doxology, “for thine is the kingdom,” in no way contradicts the earlier part of the prayer, “Thy kingdom come” since Jesus realizes that the universal, sovereign rulership of God is certainly true now. But the kingdom which is to come, with the Son of David, Jesus Christ, as the supreme ruler, will be a worldwide manifestation of God’s kingdom on earth, when God’s will shall be done as it is in heaven.
The Heavenly Father is also the omnipotent and glorious God, so it can be added, “and the power and the glory forever.” This doxology is one which has its roots in the Old Testament, in I Chronicles 29:10-11 where David, in his prayer with which he closed his reign recognized these attributes and more: “Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel, our father, for ever and ever. 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.”
The final word, “Amen” puts the capstone on this prayer. Verily, or truly, it is so! What a superb ascription of praise to encourage disciples to follow the Messiah/King and help to establish His kingdom on earth! Yes, “in the fulness of time,” when He sets His feet upon the Mount of Olives, it will be so![[In the