In the Lord’s prayer, the Lord Jesus says, “Your kingdom come”. What does that mean? Does it refer to the fact that the Kingdom of God will be on earth just as Jehovah’s Witnesses say? What did the Lord refer to when he said, “Your Kingdom come”
Jehovah’s Witnesses declare with much boldness that the Kingdom of God will only be on the earth since the Lord Jesus Himself prayed the words “Your Kingdom come”.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus is the King of kings and sovereign over His creation:
You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. (John 13:13)(NASB)
The central message of the Lord Jesus was “The Kingdom of God”; and what qualifies a man to enter the Kingdom of God is the righteousness offered by faith in Jesus Christ:
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)(NASB)
For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)(NASB)
The word ”Kingdom” is used in both Testaments to refer to the sovereignty of God as well as His redemptive relationship with those who believe in Jesus Christ. There are two expressions for the Kingdom of God in the New Testament ”God’s Kingdom” and “the Kingdom of heaven”. The former is used only in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew uses “God’s Kingdom” four times. “The Kingdom of heaven” is a semitic phrase used by Hebrews who from respect for God avoided uttering the name of God.
I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight” (Luke 15:18)(NASB)
For a more profound understanding of the expression used by Jesus in the “Lord’s prayer”, it is important to look at the meaning of the word “malkut” in Hebrew and the word “basileia” in Greek used for “The Kingdom of God”.
When the word “malkut” is used for God, it referrs to His authority or heavenly reign:
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. (Psalm 145:11-13)(NASB)
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)(NASB)
In the New Testament, the word “basileia” has the meaning of authority, reign and the sphere where his authority and reign is manifested as it is written:
And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42)(NASB)
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”(John 18:36)(NASB)
The power and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ exerted over the world is not from this world but from God. As a result, His Kingdom is not of this world nor established and dictated by this world.
In the Lord’s prayer, the request “Your Kingdom come” is used when a person asks for His help, accepts His reign, and choses to do His will. Thus, those who pray with these words from the Lord’s prayer must open his/her heart for the Kingdom of the heavenly King. The expression “Your Kingdom come” refers to the relationship of the righteous with God. His Kingdom is inaugurated to every heart that accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life.
He was saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”. (Mark 1:15)(NASB)
The coming of God’s Kingdom was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The fulfilling of God’s promise of salvation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ also, and we enter in His Kingdom through the new birth, through faith in Jesus Christ:
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. (John 3:5)(NASB)
The Kingdom of God is here and now, in the heart of those who are born again. But in another sense, the Kingdom of God remains a term of future, we are waiting for the return of our King Jesus Christ. The phrase “Your Kingdom come” refers to that time, but until then let’s choose to do His will and accept his Kingdom in our life as well as to preach the gospel of His Kingdom, “fellow workers for the kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11)(NASB)
At that time, the eschatological coming of the Kingdom of God will be inaugurated through an apocalyptic event – the glorious coming of the Son of Man.
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46 )
The righteous – the sheep – must inherit the kingdom prepared since the creation of the world and enter it. Entrance into God’s Kingdom is entrance into eternal life. There are many other parables spoken by the Lord Jesus in the gospels that announce the coming of His Kingdom. Read Matthew 25.
The message of the book of Revelation is the consummation of God’s salvation when the kingdom of this world will transition into the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.
We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. (Revelation 11:17)(NASB)
The message of the book of Revelation closes with the description of God’s Kingdom: God will dwell in the midst of His people and “they will see His face.” (Revelation 22:4)(NASB)
I recommend you study “The sermon on the mount” and read the following articles:
Translated by Liza Birladeanu.
Read this article in Romanian.