as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
The Disciples asked Jesus: "Lord teach us to pray". Prayer is one of our most difficult forms of communication and attempting to talk to the Creator and Sustainer of the entire Universe requires a great deal of humility. Our main concern for now, is just one small part of a wonderful prayer example, in what is universally known as the Lord's prayer. It was this prayer that Jesus offered as a pattern for the disciples to follow. The prayer begins: "After this manner 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." (Matthew 6:9-10)
Jesus taught them to pray for God's kingdom to come. He made it very clear that there was a specific location for this kingdom. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth". For the disciples, who were very familiar with the hope of the kingdom, these words were sufficient and appropriate. Unfortunately, today, there are so many ideas and imaginations concerning the Kingdom of God, that even the well known Lord's prayer may need some explanation.
If we want to pray effectively for God's kingdom to come, we must attempt to understand what the disciples knew about that hope. The disciples were Israelites. They were the "people of the book". The Old Testament scriptures had been given to them with ample information about God's kingdom. (Romans 3:1-2)
The beginnings of the Kingdom of God are well documented in the OT. The Children of Israel were called out from bondage in Egypt 2000 years before Jesus lived and taught. Moses guided them to Mt. Sinai. on the first part of their journey, to the land that had been promised to their forefather, Abraham, for an everlasting possession. At Sinai, they were formed into the original Kingdom of God on the earth.
During the Old Testament period, the Kingdom of God went through periods of glory and then destruction and dispersion. However, all of the prophets of Israel were inspired to write about the future restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, with their promised Messiah (Christ) as their King. This was the "hope of Israel", They were taught to pray for God's kingdom to come again in the earth. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth !
The Children of Israel were taken out of bondage in Egypt 2000 years before Jesus lived and taught. Moses guided them to Mt. Sinai on the first part of their journey to the land that had been promised to Abraham. At Sinai, they were formed into the original Kingdom of God on the earth. (Exodus 19:5-6)
They received the 10 Commandments and the Law of Moses, which included many types and shadows that were intended to teach them about the coming of their Messiah ( God's anointed). They understood that this Messiah would be their future king. David, one of the greatest kings of Israel, during the former glory, was promised that one of his descendents would be the Messiah and that he would sit on the throne of the kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
When Mary was told that she would bear the son of God, she was also informed that he would "sit on the throne of his father David, and reign over the house of Jacob forever." (Luke 1:32-33) When the disciples learned to pray for God's kingdom to come on earth, they understood that it would be a restoration of this former Kingdom of Israel.
After his resurrection, Jesus "showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power."
We learn from this exchange between Jesus and his disciples, (as recorded in Acts 1:3-7), that they had every reason to believe that Jesus would restore the ancient kingdom of Israel in the future, at an undefined time. The former kingdom of Israel that was the pattern for the future Kingdom of God.
All of the Hebrew prophets had spoken of the coming Kingdom. Daniel spoke of the end of Gentile rule, saying: "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Dan 2:44)
He also added: "The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." (Daniel 7:27)
When we repeat the Lord's prayer, we are expressing the hope that the disciples had. They understood that God would set up His kingdom on the earth, that Jesus would be the king in Jerusalem, the future throne of the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:17, Micah 4:1-4) Let us pray for the Kingdom to come on the earth, as the Lord taught.
The Apostle Paul told the Romans; "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)
Jesus commissioned his disciples to; "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16)
It was this gospel of Christ that Philip was preaching in Acts 8:12 (above). In this case the gospel is further defined by calling it "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ."
We must believe the true gospel of Christ to be saved. The Galatians were told, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-7) The questions we must ask is this, "Do we understand the true gospel of Christ that is essential to salvation? Is the gospel that we have been taught true, or is it perverted and invalid?
If the gospel is about the "things concerning the Kingdom of God" do we understand these things? If we have been taught that the Kingdom of God will be in heaven, we do not understand the true gospel taught in the Bible. Remember these fundamental Bible teachings:
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth... (Matthew 6:10)
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints. Daniel 7:27)
The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:10)
But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. (Numbers 14:21)