The Second Petition
“Thy Kingdom Come”
The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer is “Thy kingdom come.” The Purpose of Jesus’ evangelism that proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2) was to establish the kingdom of God and the focus of his evangelism was the kingdom of God. Jews is saying that a prayer that does not mention the kingdom is not a prayer. The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer is the shortest and yet it is a central and inclusive petition. The doxology in Matthew mentions the kingdom again at the end of the three petitions about God. If you truly focus, you will sincerely participate yourself with the petition, “Thy kingdom come.”
1. When Jesus said, “Kingdom of God,” what does it mean?
What Jesus said about the kingdom of God is different from the concept of the worldly kingdom. It means that there is no territorial concept, but God’s sovereignty and rule.
2. Whose kingdom is the kingdom of God?
It is certainly the kingdom of the Father God. But we should not think that it is different from the kingdom of the Son, Jesus Christ. As the Scriptures say, “which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth,” (1Timothy 3:15) the word of Christ is not separated from that of God. The kingdom of Father is not different from that of the Son.
3. What is the nature and peculiarity of the kingdom of God?
The Scriptures describe the nature and peculiarity of the kingdom of God in various ways.
1) It was before the creation
2) It is not conceptual, but it has time and space
3) It is possible in the kingdom to practice a perfect spiritual and ethical life.
4) It will come when the eternal glory begins.
5) The king of the kingdom is Christ.
6) It is the holy kingdom without sinners.
7) It expands limitlessly.
8) The glorious splendor of the kingdom is eternal.
9) God reveals his glory through his sovereignty and rule in the kingdom.
Therefore, the kingdom is where Jesus Christ is present and rules. The inhabitants of the kingdom are believers and angels. The Supremacy of the kingdom is on Christ who sits on the throne.
4. How are the terms, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom” being used?
Both the kingdom of God and the kingdom include the message that Jesus is centered and the main petition of the Lord’s Prayer. The kingdom is the central message of Jesus and contained in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The word “shamaim malcute” in the Old Testament has the same meaning as the Greek words, “h basileia twn ouranwn” and “h baoieia ton Qeou.” Matthew did not used the word “God” because he was addressing the Jews who do not call God by his name. He used the phrase, “the kingdom.” Other gospels, including Mark, Luke and John used the phrase, “the kingdom of God,” because they were intended for the Gentiles.
5. What are the present and future meanings of Jesus’ teaching of the Kingdom?
First, what is the present meaning of the kingdom of God? Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God and sent his disciples out to proclaim the kingdom. He also defeated the power of evil by the Word and brought the kingdom of God on earth. The event on the cross indicates the ultimate victory of Jesus over against Satan. So the present kingdom of God is a historical event that was established by Jesus’ public ministry, the cross, and the resurrection. Second, what is the future meaning of the kingdom of God? When Jesus proclaimed “repent, the kingdom of heaven is near” in Matthew 3:2, it means that the kingdom is still to come. Jesus commanded his disciples concerning the expansion of the kingdom of God in future “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). This is the great commission for the church. The church should continue the work of Jesus until the second coming of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised at his ascension. The future kingdom is an eschatological one that is completed with the second coming.
6. What are the misunderstandings of the kingdom of God?
1) Some Understand the kingdom of God as a secular concept.
Many Christians who are interested in earthly things focus on their earthly needs. 2 Timothy 4:10 says, “For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” Demas thoroughly pursued not the coming kingdom of God, but the earthly things. He misunderstood the kingdom of God. People like him are not willing to be ruled by the kingdom that Jesus completes. Their lord can be themselves or money, but not Jesus. When we pray “Thy kingdom come,” self, money, honor and earthly pleasure cannot be our lord.
2) Extremists understand the kingdom of God as an earthly heaven.
They understand that the purpose of the church on earth is to revolutionize the world. They are the liberation theologians. They say that the kingdom of God is to liberate the poor, those who are suffering and the general population. They believe that people can establish the kingdom be their deeds. However, the kingdom of God is not made by the hands of people, but by God’s hands. Whenever we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we should make sure that the kingdom of God is established by the hands of God.
7. How is the kingdom of God completed?
The kingdom of God comes gradually as following:
1) The kingdom of God starts in the heart of those who received Jesus as their Saviour and God who is the Lord of the kingdom.
This means that the kingdom of God comes to men through the method of salvation (Rom. 10:9-17). That is the inward kingdom of God. The kingdom of God begins in the heart of those who received Jesus Christ as their Savior and God, and in those who were born again who believe that the kingdom of God presents in their hearts. We should pray for the presence of the kingdom of God in our hearts. When the law of the kingdom of God is practiced in our real life and God is glorified and praised through our life, the prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” is accomplished.
2) The kingdom of God expands through the church.
The kingdom of God that began in at the heart of those who were born again, through the church of which the head is Jesus, expands by the proclamation of the believers who are the body of Christ. The ultimate purpose of God, who established the earthly church, is to expend his kingdom throughout the world (Matt. 28:19-20). As Romans 10:10 says, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved,” If there are more of those who have the kingdom of God and Jesus ruling in their heart, then the kingdom of God will expand. We can see in our eyes that the kingdom of God is expands through our confessions that began in our hearts by faith. This means that where the kingdom of God is proclaimed with the power of the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of Satan is reduced and will perish. When the outward kingdom of God expands, the petition, “Thy kingdom come” is accomplished.
3) The kingdom of God, where Jesus is the King and Lord, will be completed at the second coming of Jesus.
The greetings of the early church were “Marana-tha,” (1 Cor. 16:22). This means “Lord, come quickly.” The apostle John was looking towards the second coming of Jesus and said, “Come, Lord Jesus,” in Revelation 22:20. Jesus will come again with the saints to complete the kingdom of God. The saints who were delivered and the believers on earth will rule for a thousand years as his high priests with the almighty God (Rev. 20:6). The book of Revelation mentions that this is the millennium kingdom. During the period of the millennium kingdom, Jesus will correct all wrong accusations from Satan. The believers who prayed for this world to become the kingdom of God, will receive the answer of their prayers. People on earth will see the rule of Jesus on earth. There will not be curses or death in the kingdom. The kingdom of God will become the Garden of Eden that God planned before the fall. God’s people will praise God with righteousness, peace, and eternal joy in the kingdom. When the time comes, we will not need to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” anymore. For then the kingdom of God will be completed. We are yearning for this kingdom. So, we should continue to pray, “Thy kingdom come.”
8. How do we have the right to pray, “Thy kingdom come.”
The answer is simple. It is to allow our citizenship to change from earthly to heavenly. How can we do that?
1) Possible through repentance.
We need to confess our sins which did not establish the kingdom of God and others’ sins. So in the prayer, “Thy kingdom come” it is necessary to include our confessions.
2) We have to live sacrificial lives as citizens of the kingdom of God. We eagerly seek for the grace that can give sanctifying influence to our lives to maintain and establish the kingdom of God. We also need to be ready to obey the commands of the Lord and live our lives according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We ought to obey the commandments that were set by the Lord for us. Our lives should be fruitful as citizens of the kingdom of God.
I would like to conclude this chapter with the Westminster Catechism on “Thy kingdom come.” Thy kingdom come means that the kingdom of Satan be destroyed and the kingdom of grace be prospered, and we including others can get into the kingdom of grace and stay in there all the time. It also seeks that the glorious kingdom will come soon. Amen.