Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the following outline:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.1 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done,1 on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread,1 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Mt 6.9-13 – ESV).
We pray to the Father. Simple enough.
Thy “kingdom come” coupled with “your will be done” are synonymous. God’s “rule” is his “will” being carried out. And, where is the rule of God carried out? “Heaven” and “earth.” God issues his decree “from the bench” so to speak, in heaven, and it is carried out on the earth. Now, Jesus is not saying that unless this is prayed, it won’t happen. God’s rule has always been the norm. So, what is the difference here? The answer is to be found in the expression: thy kingdom come. What kingdom? God’s. Hasn’t it “come” before? Yes, it has always ruled. God has always ruled in the heavenlies, and he has always ruled the nations. The OT is replete with this notion. So, what’s this “coming” all about?
It has to do something with the fact of the kingdom’s manifestation. The kingdom, which has always been expressed in the OT, would come about in a new way. If we understand Jesus to be firmly rooted in the OT Scriptures, then we must go back there to see if the Prophets were expecting the arrival of God in a way that He has not arrived before. In short, to keep this simple, Jesus is praying for the arrival of the salvation and kingdom of God outlined in the Prophets. He is praying for the arrival of Isaiah 40-66, Ezekiel 40-48, Zechariah 14, and the other myriad of passages that are in parallel with that material.
“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream,1 which the wind of the LORD drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD (Is 59.16-20).
Thy kingdom come! And so it has. We believe that this coming refers to the events of history surrounding the Jewish War in 66-70 AD. But, the prophecy does not end there. Is 60.1-ff shows what happens as a result of this coming. There is a recreation that takes place, not instantly, but gradually. The nations are no longer gathered and ruled over in terms of their entering into judgment. They are ruled over and gathered in terms of their redemption. God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven. The Purpose of God (his will) is now being displayed, and the results are the salvation of the nations. Is 60.1-ff (which is rehashed in Rev 21-22, verbatim in some places). The language of Isaiah 60 and 61 is the language of restoration and recreation. That Purpose has now come, and is coming. Wherever the Christian stands, he should pray: thy kingdom come! In your houses, businesses, neighborhoods: thy kingdom come!
Unlike before, where God’s kingdom ruled on earth, the display of it “worked wrath”. Now that the sin issue is dealt with in Christ, the kingdom of God “on earth” can take on a new-creation dimension it was not able to do before. I do not mean it was “not able” in the sense that something prevented God from being God. The reason it was not able to do what it now does is because of that which God himself had set up. He judged sin. He decreed the reign of the Sin and the Death. He added the Law in order to increase the Sin. This was his kingdom at work on earth. But, “there was no one to intercede.” There was no “salvation” upon the earth. It is this aspect of the coming kingdom Jesus taught his disciples to pray for. Where God and Man together can rule and reign together on earth, bringing all things on earth into submission to God’s kingdom. David had tried this, and Solomon had reached the zenith of trying it, only to fail. Jesus succeeded. He crushed the powers and disarmed all authorities. God’s power was now fully given the Last Adam (the First Adam of the New Creation), to Man himself. Because the Last Adam, unlike the First Adam, shared as equal in the Divinity of the Godhead, it was now eternally secured to Man. This time, the kingdom (dominion) of God and the rightful dominion given to Man can now accomplish the original Purpose: subdue all things to the glory of God.
This, then, is the will of God, and it is to be displayed on earth as it is in heaven. All we need to ask it, how IS it in heaven, currently? Pretty good, I imagine. God’s redeemed have been gathered to him. His son has been married off with the Bride. His people now dwell with him, enjoying the Feast. We see glimpses of that reality here on earth, too. But, we don’t see it all that way, yet. You now have your marching orders. One day, the earth will reflect as it is in heaven, where the two shall become as one. In our hearts, in our carbon-based lives here on earth, it is already reflecting it. In the Church at large, it is already reflecting it. Our mission, like Isaiah 61 tells us, is to “rebuild” what Sin and Death have destroyed. To enter into the Purpose of God in the process of recreating a new heavens and a new earth. This is the impossible-for-man-but-possible-for-God-mission that he has called the Church to do. All things have been given to us. All things are guaranteed to work for the good of God’s Glory and Purpose. We can’t fail (Rom 8.24-ff).
Anyway….food for thought.