Let’s look at Jesus’ teaching concerning prayer. First we must realize that this is a prayer that is stated prior to Jesus going to sit at the right hand side of the Father. It is His instructions while He was still on the earth, yet the template (Jesus doesn’t say that we have to stay all these words, and in this precise order; He states: “after this manner therefore pray ye,” indicating that this is a template recognizing the areas of our lives that believers should approach the Father) is what we’re looking at.
Matthew 6:9-13 states,
“After this manner [i.e. “fashion”] therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
1) First, we note that it is addressed to “Our Father.” We notice that it is personal by the use of the word “our,” as opposed to the article “the,” it is in intimacy that we are to address the God of this universe as “Our Father,” as opposed to “the King.”
2) Next, we see that God is located in heaven. While this seems rather obvious, have you ever thought and consider the fact that God never leaves heaven, it is the Son and the Holy Spirit that leave heaven; but never God the Father (which would explain why God can never look upon evil, understanding that there is no evil in heaven ~ Hab. 1:13).
3) Next, the first issue after the address; is the reverence that we would hold for God by virtue of the reverence that we hold for God’s name. How unusual it is for us 21st-century Christians who focus on being better Christians, better people, better spouses, better parents, and better citizens; as opposed to keeping the focus on the worship of God.
How many sermons are wasted on self-help; which is only a guise for keeping the center of attention on “self.” In many churches when we hear about Jesus, it’s almost like He is a prop; when we sing about Me and Jesus, or how much He loves me, or how He’s died for me, or how He wants me to be a more loving and better person.
He, me, me… It’s a shame that “me” seems to always be somewhere in there, what we need simply to do is come to God and worship Him by acknowledging the awesomeness of even His Name.
4) Then, there is the recognition that the second most important thing in prayer, or better stated in the manner that we pray is a recognition that we should desire to see God’s kingdom come. Yet noticed the lack of specificity, which is obviously on purpose.
Were told to pray for God’s kingdom to come, however it does not feed the assumption that we always make that God’s kingdom is to come to earth, as if it’s not already here, or that God’s kingdom is limited. So what does this phrase really mean, what kingdom is He referring to.
Is Jesus referring to an extension of the kingdom of God, some other kingdom that will come into existence – because God’s kingdom is already here. God’s kingdom is everything, it is everything that is in existence, seen or unseen, physical, spiritual, or invisible; it’s all part of God’s realm. It all belongs to Him. So what kingdom is this?
Do you recognize what kingdom we are really talking about here, it was the kingdom that Jesus came to establish, if they would have received it (Matthew 22:3). There are two different terms utilized in the New Testament concerning,
1) “The kingdom of God.” It is a New Testament term that is used 71 times, exclusively in the New Testament. As already stated it is God’s realm, God’s possession, is everything that exist anywhere and everywhere. Psalm 24 is a Psalm concerning this very subject, which states: “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psa 24:1-10)
2) “The kingdom of heaven”, is used 33 times in the book of Matthew and no other place (Matthew also uses the term of the “kingdom of God,’ yet in a generic manner, more common concerning all of existence and everything that God possesses. Matthew Does not use the term the kingdom of God as specifically as he does concerning a particular kingdom which is coming from heaven, the habitation and living quarters of God and His Son, as they sit in God’s throne). If we remember the book of Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The book of Matthew centers on what Jesus said, but more than that it presents Him in His fulfillment as the Messiah of Israel. Its intended hearers are the Jews; its theme is concerning the nation of Israel.
The phrase, “the kingdom of heaven,” wherein the Greek word “των” (G3588) [T-GPM]1, which the King James translators and others translate into the English “of,” is just as easily translated into the English word “from.”
There is no preference to the use of the word “of”, it is simply the discretion of the translator. It has been commonly understood that the translators believed that the phrase the “kingdom of heaven” was simply a synonym for the “kingdom of God”, therefore they utilized the English word “of.”
However there is no sound reason concerning the linguistics and grammar for this translation. A word study in strong’s does not define this specific word used in these specific passages in the book of Matthew, it utilizes the generic form of the word, as it is commonly used in all of the New Testament.
Part of the problem of using concordances is that a specific word in a specific passage may be spelt differently (there can be diverse prefix and suffix, as well as single letter variations which affect the grammar. Yet the main problem is that words are combined in combinations that they are not meant to be parsed in a generic manner) or utilize different grammar than in other passages which is normally the case, therefore the problem is the grammar is different in each particular case, and this is a good example.
If you break down the grammar of this word within the passages of the book of Matthew concerning this particular phrase, you find a much more specific interpretation. This level of interpretation is normally left to scholars and theologians, however with today’s tools we can grasp the same meaning that these individuals understand.
And therefore we are not forced with the interpretation of the translators which is been accepted for 400 years.
Utilizing one of the most credible Biblical Greek translation tools, “Robinson’s Morphological Analysis Codes,” which utilizes a system to parse Greek words based upon their grammar, we find the following definition concerning the use of this word in these particular sentences and Matthew.
a. Part of Speech: definite article
b. Case: Genative (possession, “of”; also origin or separation, “from”)
c. Number: Plural
d. Gender: Masculine
Based upon a breakdown of this word as a definite article and concerning its case, number, and gender; the use of this Greek word in these 33 phrases as addresses the issue of separation, as well as the issue of possession. The word “from” holds more validity than the Word “of.”
Some may ask, “what is the big deal”? (this is the same simplistic lack of logic that has always led to the misunderstanding that the perfection of God demands the precision of the words He uses. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” ~ Matt. 5:18. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” ~ Matt. 24:35).
Simply this, we understand that the term “the kingdom of God,” is a reference to everything in existence as the realm of God is everything that He owns and therefore has made.
You see God is in heaven where there is no sin, yet we know from the Scriptures that He knows of everything that occurs everywhere within His creation, and He is the Lord and God of it. It is His choice not to destroy the earth because of sin due to His love for man – he is the potter and we are the clay (Rom. 9:21).
Therefore understanding that the kingdom of God is everything that we see, and perceive; of not only the physical existence but of all existence, this baits the question why does Matthew use this distinct term, the answer is easy.
We are told that the Messiah would come and that He would rule over Israel in the earth. Who is from heaven, Jesus. The “kingdom from heaven” would be Jesus’s kingdom. The kingdom from heaven would never refer to anything other than the kingdom that Jesus Christ will rule on earth, it is He that is from heaven and is He that will rule the kingdom from heaven.
You see Matthew’s reference to the Jews is concerning the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies referring to the Messiah ruling from the throne of David. Jesus is not in the throne of David – currently, He’s in heaven sitting inside of His Father’s throne, not his own throne.
It is Jesus’ fulfillment to sit on the throne of David (Luke 1:32), yet temporarily sidestepped because of Israel’s (the leadership – Matt. 13:10-15; Luke 23:28-33; Matt. 23:37) refusal to receive Him as the Messiah (Matthew 23: 37; Luke 13:34). This kingdom will come in the future – we refer to it as the “millennial” (meaning 1000 as in 1000 years) kingdom of Christ (Revelation 20:4).
This is the kingdom that we should desire to come; the kingdom where Christ is ruling on the throne of the earth, in the seat of David, fulfilling the prophecies uttered thousands of years ago.
You see in the disciple’s prayer that Jesus taught His followers, they would pray for the coming of God’s kingdom. Yet, if all of existence is God’s kingdom, what does this prayer really mean.
There is only one other kingdom that is an extension, apart of God’s kingdom and it is the kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ during the millennium. This is the only thing that this prayer could be concerning.
To insinuate that God’s kingdom is not current, that God does not have full control over everything He has ever created is blasphemy, and why would you pray for something that is blasphemous. And what a lack of faith it would be to pray that God would fulfill all that He said would happen. We know in faith that God is faithful concerning what He has said will occur.
The thing that we pray for, is not because we doubt it’s coming, but because we should anticipate it with great enthusiasm - it’s coming, it is the “kingdom from heaven,” the kingdom wherein Jesus Christ will sit in the throne of David, the throne of the Messiah and rule the earth – the earth that He paid for in His own blood.
To reiterate, Jesus Christ is currently sitting in God’s throne waiting for the fulfillment of the last days as encapsulated in the prophecies of His second return to the earth to rescue Israel, destroy their enemies, and set up His earthly kingdom referred to as the “Millennial” reign wherein He sits in His own throne, in the Temple; referred to as the throne of David.
But until that time He sits in God’s throne waiting for all to be fulfilled (“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” ~ Heb. 1:13. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” ~ Luke 1:32. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” ~ Rev. 3:21).
We will conclude with part two next week.
1. ROBINSON’S MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS CODES, Maurice A. Robinson, for use with the Greek New Testaments containing parsing or declension codes. E-Sword, Ver. 8.0.6, Rick Myers; www.e-sword.net. Uses only the Textus Receptus