05. Your Kingdom Come


Your Kingdom ComeI would like for you to imagine this scene: it is 1944. World War 2 is raging through Europe and the Allies are bombing Nazi Germany day and night. It is Sunday morning in the city of Stuttgart. And a pastor and the small remnants of his congregation are standing in the choir area of their church. The roof and most of the walls have been blown out in a recent bombing.

The people were scared, tired, hurt, some were homeless, some had lost loved ones to the war, they didn’t know where their next meal would come from, they did not know if the next bombing raid would end their lives. Pastor and people stood huddled together in the choir area and the pastor said, “We shall continue our study of the Lord’s prayer.” Then he began his sermon on the words “Your kingdom come.”[1]

Can you imagine the scene? Can you imagine how powerfully those words. “Your kingdom come” penetrated the hearts of those people who longed for a better world? Even today, here in the United Sates, in relatively good times, we long for a better world. We long for a world without natural and man made disasters and sorrows and tragedies. We desire a world without evil and tyrants and dictators; without political corruption and family break ups. We hope for a world without racial prejudice, injustice, war, famine, disease and death.  Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray for that new world.

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. (Matthew 6:9, 10)

When Jesus Christ invited us to pray and taught us to pray, he said focus on God and pray for big things. Before you pray for a safe day at work or at school, before you pray for someone to be healed and feel better, before you pray for your daily needs, pray that God’s name would be hallowed. Pray for God to be honored and revered and glorified. And then pray for God’s kingdom to come, pray for a better world, a better life. And ask God to bring it to pass in two ways. First, the kingdom of God, the rule of God must come in a personal way. I must desire for God to rule in my heart. But secondly, I am asking God to come and rule the world. I am asking Him to overcome sin and evil and to restore our world to the paradise it was in Genesis, chapter one.

In Matthew 6:33, Jesus Christ revealed that God’s kingdom must come to us first in a personal manner. Let’s read what he said beginning in verse 31.

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

When our Lord said “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” he meant for us to seek to live under God’s guidance. We are to seek to understand and obey His will in all things. We are to seek to please Him and to trust in His kingly protection and provision. We are not to be anxious about all the things the world worries about. God knows what you need; seek Him and pray, “Dear Father, come rule in my heart. I pledge allegiance to You alone. Help me to love You with my whole heart, to obey Your will with my mind and to serve You with all that I have.” This is the personal aspect when we pray “Your kingdom come.”

But there is also a future, real, literal world-wide meaning to the prayer “Your kingdom come.” When Jesus Christ explained the parable of the tares, he spoke about this world-wide, future kingdom.

He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:37-43) [my emphasis]

Jesus Christ was speaking here about the end of this age. At the end of this age he will return[2] and establish his kingdom and punish wickedness and reward believers. When God saves sinners by grace, through faith,[3] he saves us for everlasting life and glory in the coming kingdom of God to this world. This future, real, literal world-wide kingdom was the dominant theme of both Christ’s teachings and the apostles.

In the gospel of Mark1:15, Jesus Christ began his ministry saying,

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

The gospel or good news was about this future, world-wide rule or kingdom of God. Matthew 4:23 tells us that, Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

In Luke 4:43, Jesus Christ said,

I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent. 

At the end of the book of Acts we read that,

Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. (Acts 28:30, 31)

When the apostle Paul taught about our everlasting life in 1 Corinthians 15:50, he wrote that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”Jesus and the apostles never spoke about going to heaven when you die. They taught the truth about the future resurrection from the dead and living forever in the kingdom of God here on the earth.

Therefore, when we pray, “Your kingdom come” you are not only asking God to rule in your heart now, you are praying, “Dear Father, speed the day when You and Christ rule over the world. End this evil age; raise the dead, set up Your kingdom on the earth. Complete Your purpose for our world and our lives and do it fast!

Let me show you a review of what God’s Word teaches as the ultimate destiny of believers and the wicked. Let’s begin in Psalm 37.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:7-11)

Evil doers, the wicked, unbelievers will be “cut off;” literally, they will be destroyed. John 3:16 declares that believers gain everlasting life and those who do not believe in the Lord will “perish[4].” But the saved, the righteous, the meek shall inherit the earth. We are told the same truth in the book of Revelation.

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings[5] and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10)

When the kingdom of God fully comes, God will rule here on the earth. First He will rule through the Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, and then He Himself will be the ultimate King. The prophet Daniel saw a prophetic vision of the time when God gives the kingdoms of this world to His Son, Jesus Christ.

I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man[6]Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days[7]And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13, 14)

The prophet Isaiah foresaw the ultimate time of God’s full and final reign after Christ’s rule.

How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news[8], Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “ Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)

The prophet Zechariah also saw God’s ultimate victory over the world.

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“ The LORD is one,” And His name one. (Zechariah 14:9)

The “LORD” with all capital letters is the translation of God’s personal name which is Yahweh. There is only one true God and this is Yahweh, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our God and Father. And Yahweh will ultimately rule over Christ and us.[9]

Therefore, when we pray “Your kingdom come” here is what we are asking: we are asking God to rule in victory over our hearts and to rule in victory over the world. We are saying to Him “Heavenly Father, overthrow the governments of sinful men. Establish Your rule and Your kingdom over the entire world. Let us enjoy peace and life with You, now.”

Our world will be a far better place when the kingdom of God comes. There will be universal peace. There will be no more war.[10] There will be no more sickness or disease.[11] Animals will live in peaceful harmony with humans.[12] All of nature will be delivered from its bondage to corruption and the desert will blossom like a rose. Our world will be like the Garden of Eden.[13] When Jesus Christ returns to establish the kingdom of God then believers who have died will be raised back to life to live forever. And those who are alive at the time will be made immortal.[14]

Every believer who has ever lived or ever will live, will one day enjoy everlasting life and glory on this earth, which will be renewed and restored to its original condition. This will happen when God sends Jesus Christ back as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is perhaps no more inspiring description of this future world-wide kingdom that the one given in Revelation, chapter 21.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

What a magnificent future of love and peace and joy and glory we have because of our salvation in Jesus Christ! When we seriously and passionately pray, “Our Father, Your kingdom come” we are asking God to rule in our hearts. We are asking Him to guide us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We are asking Him to work in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

We are also asking Almighty God to send Jesus Christ back as King of kings and Lord of lords. We are asking Him to restore our world to paradise, to punish the wicked and to give everlasting life and glory to His people. We are asking God to rule in victory. And finally, we are asking God to put us to work to hasten the day when Christ returns and the kingdom is established. In Matthew 24, when Jesus Christ taught about the end of this age and his return he said,

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will  come.

The gospel of the kingdom will be preached until all the nations have heard the good news. Therefore it is the privilege and responsibility of every generation of Christians to boldly make known the good news of the kingdom of God and the truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to preach it to as much of the world as we can. Proclaim it to your family, to your friends and around the world.

Let us pray, “Dear Father, bring honor and glory to Your name. may You be hallowed in all of our hearts. Bring Your kingdom into our hearts. Establish Your kingdom and Your victory over the whole world. Work in me to share Your good news of Jesus Christ and the kingdom to as many people as I can, for our own good and Your supreme glory. Amen.

[1] Pastor Helmut Thielicke and the Church of the Hospitalers, Stuttgart, Germany, 1944

[2] Matthew 24:29-31. Jesus said that he would return immediately after the great tribulation which is Satan and Anti-Christ’s persecution of believers and especially of Israel. The pre-tribulation, anytime return of Christ has no biblical support. The rest of the New Testament adds further information about Christ’s return, like the fact that when he returns the dead in Christ will rise first then living believers will be changed, etc. But never is the timing of Christ’s return (immediately after the tribulation) ever changed. Christ returns after the tribulation and before God’s wrath is poured out upon an unbelieving world. God’s people will never, ever experience His wrath (Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

[3] Ephesians 2:8, 9

[4] The Greek word translated “perish” is apollumi, which means to be utterly destroyed.

[5] Literally “a kingdom.”

[6] This is a Messianic title; the title of the anointed Son of God. Jesus used this title for himself more than any other designation.

[7] This is a title for God.

[8] This is what the “gospel of the kingdom” is; it is good news!

[9] 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

[10] Isaiah 2:4; 9:6, 7, Micah 4:3

[11] Isaiah 33:24; 35:5,6

[12] Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25

[13] Romans 8:19-22, Isaiah 35:1, 2, 6, 7, Ezekiel 36:33-35

[14] 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-58