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The Lord’s Prayer part 1

The Lord’s Prayer part 1

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This message was part 1 of a two part teaching series. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a “maranatha cry,” for the God of Israel to fulfill His covenant promises to His people and bring about His redemptive purposes for the heavens and the earth. This teaching explores, phrase by phrase, the covenantal background of this prayer that embodies and exemplifies the very faith of the Hebrew Scriptures. As believers in the promises of God, whether Jew or Gentile, we would do well to orient our heart and prayers in this same manner as we await the blessed hope.

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The Lord’s Prayer part 1

COMPARING LUKE AND MATTHEW

COMPARING LUKE AND MATTHEW

At the time when the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were being composed…the Lord’s Prayer was being transmitted in two forms that agreed with each other in essentials, but which differed in the fact that the one was longer than the other. The longer form appears in Matthew 6:9–13, and also, with insignificant variants, in the Didache 8:2. The briefer form appears in Luke 11:2–4.[1]

Matthew 6:9-13 Luke 11:2-4
Our Father who is in the heavens Father
May Your name be sanctified May Your name be sanctified
May Your kingdom come May Your kingdom come
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in the heavens
Give us this day our daily bread Give us each day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts And forgive us our sins
As we have forgiven our debtors As we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us
And lead us not into temptation And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us to-day our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. 3 Thrice in the day thus pray.[2]

A. The Request

1It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” (Lk 11:1)

The request for teaching from a religious leader is common, but this is the only place in the Gospels where such a direct request appears (Marshall 1978: 456; SB 2:186)[3]

B. Original

There is debate over whether the Lukan or Matthean form of the prayer is the “original.” Jeremias puts forth that Luke’s version is more original in terms of length but Matthew’s more original according to wording.

The Matthean catechism on prayer is addressed to people who have learned to pray in childhood but whose prayer stands in danger of becoming a routine. The Lukan catechism on prayer, on the other hand, is addressed to people who must learn to pray for the first time and whose courage to pray must be aroused. It is clear that Matthew is transmitting to us instruction on prayer directed at Jewish Christians, Luke at Gentile Christians.[4]

C. Form / Structure

Even the person who brings no knowledge of the Semitic languages to the following attempt at retranslation can easily spot the characteristic features of this solemn language. We should note three features especially: parallelism, the two-beat rhythm, and the rhyme in lines two and four, which is scarcely accidental. The Lord’s Prayer in Jesus’ tongue sounded something like this, with the accents designating the two-beat rhythm:

’Abba’

yithaqadddáš šemákh / tethé malkhuthákh

laḥmán delimḥár / habh lán yoma’ dhén

ushebhoq lán ḥobhain / kedhiš bháqnan leḥayyabhaín

wela’ tha‘elínnan lenisón [5]

D. The structure could be broken up into:

  1. Two / Three “Thou” petitions
  2. Three “we” petitions

[1] K. C. Hanson, “Editor’s Foreword,” in Jesus and the Message of the New Testament, ed. K. C. Hanson, Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002), 42–43.

[2] Didache 8:2-3

[3] Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1050.

[4] K. C. Hanson, “Editor’s Foreword,” in Jesus and the Message of the New Testament, ed. K. C. Hanson, Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002), 44.

[5] K. C. Hanson, “Editor’s Foreword,” in Jesus and the Message of the New Testament, ed. K. C. Hanson, Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002), 48.

JEWISH CONTEXT

JEWISH CONTEXT

That our Saviour comprised the sum of all prayers in this form, is known to all Christians; and it is confessed that such is the perfection of this form, that it is the epitome of all things to be prayed for, as the Decalogue is the epitome of all things to be practised.[1]

A. Qaddish

The earliest form of this Jewish prayer recited during the time of Jesus is translated:

“Exalted and hallowed be His great name in the world, which He created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the whole house of Israel, speedily and at a near time.”

  1. The Lord’s Prayer seems to be an adaptation from this contemporary Jewish prayer (see also the Shemoneh – Esreh – the Eighteen Benedicitons).

The Lord’s Prayer, in its eschatological orientation, is similar in a number of ways to the Qaddish prayer of the synagogue. This is true not only of the spirit of the entire prayer but especially of the content of the first three petitions.[2]

[1] John Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 147.

[2] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 147.

OUR FATHER IN THE HEAVENS

OUR FATHER IN THE HEAVENS

[1] “The instruction is addressed to the disciples corporately, and the whole prayer will be phrased in the plural. It is the prayer of a community rather than an individual act of devotion, even though its pattern would also appropriately guide the secret prayers in the store-room (v. 6).” [R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co., 2007), 244.]

A. God as Father

  1. Throughout the ancient Near East, the term “father” was used for differing deities as being the procreator, lord, and merciful being who gives life to men. In the OT, God is Israel’s father, being the one who elected, delivered, and saved His people. Throughout the prophets, we see them calling forth Israel, the son, back to a reconciled and honoring relationship with their father, Yahweh.

22“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. (Ex 4:22)

5“They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; But are a perverse and crooked generation. 6“Do you thus repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you. (Dt 32:5–6)

15Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. 16For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name. (Is 63:15–16)

7There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. 8But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. (Is 64:7–8)

4“Have you not just now called to Me, ‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth? (Je 3:4)

19“Then I said, ‘How I would set you among My sons And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’ And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.’ 20“Surely, as a woman treacherously departs from her lover, So you have dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord. (Je 3:19–20)

20“Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord. (Je 31:20)

6“ ‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ (Mal 1:6)

Jewish people commonly addressed God as “Our heavenly Father” when they prayed, although such intimate titles as “Abba” (Papa) were rare. [1]

B. ‘Abba’

  1. In Luke’s version, we have the simple address “Father” (Gk. patēr), which most likely was the Aramaic spoken term In every occasion of Jesus’ prayer life addressing God, He uses the term “Father” (Mk 14:36; Mt 11:25–6 par. Lk 10:21; Lk 23:34, 46; Mt 26:42; Jn 11:41; 12:27–28; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24–25), with the exception of “My God my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Mat. 27:46 quoting Ps. 22:1).

36And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mk 14:36)

The reason why ‘abbā’ would be so little used is presumably because it was typically a family word, or expressive of a degree of intimacy with reverence which would be characteristic of children (but not just little children) within the family circle, or of disciples of a loved and revered teacher*…. If so, we may still deduce that the reason why Jesus used the word so regularly in prayer was that he experienced his relationship with God through prayer as such a relation of intimacy and reverence. The earliest disciples likewise retained the usage because they too experienced prayer thus prompted by the Spirit as a relationship of sonship—but not of a sonship independent of Jesus’ sonship. Rather, their relationship was dependent on his abba sonship and shared in his inheritance as God’s Son.[2]

  1. The disciples of Jesus thus began to call upon YHWH using the title

15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Ro 8:15)

6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Ga 4:6–7)

C. Messianic

  1. Besides the petition addressed to YHWH in Isaiah 63-64, the other notable passage in the OT that directly addresses God as Father in prayer is 1 Chron. 29:10:

10So David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12“Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13“Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. (1 Ch 29:10–13)

  1. There is obvious connection with the “doxology” of the Lord’s prayer (which will be observed below), however it should be noted at this point the subject matter of the prayer: the kingdom of God.
  2. In 1 Chronicles, we have David praying to “Our Father” about His kingdom and this is directly tied to this kingdom being established through the anointed Son of David (see 1 Chron. 28:1-8, 10-25). There is a connection between praying to God as Father and the establishment of the Davidic kingdom through His chosen Messiah. This King is a “Son” who will call God “My Father.”

14“I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, (2 Sa 7:14)

26“He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27“I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. (Ps 89:26–27)

[1] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Mt 6:9–10.

[2] J. D. G. Dunn, “Prayer,” ed. Joel B. Green and Scot McKnight, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 619.

FIRST PETITION: SANCTIFY YOUR HOLY NAME (1ST THOU PETITION)

FIRST PETITION: SANCTIFY YOUR HOLY NAME (1st THOU PETITION)

A. Sanctify

  1. “Hallowed” (Gk. hagiastheto from Gk. hagiazo) means to set apart, treat as holy, or reverence. This is a petition, not an indicative statement i.e. not “Your name is set apart” but “set apart Your name!” It is an imperative in the third person and passive form; meaning this is something God is called on to accomplish.

fig1[1]

B. Setting Apart

  1. This is an appeal for God to act in vindication of His own name. God’s name is united to His very person. This is an appeal for the God of Israel to act in fulfillment of the promises of Israel – vindicating His name that all men might honor Him.

Jewish prayers recognized that God’s name would be “hallowed,” or “sanctified,” “shown holy,” in the time of the end, when his kingdom would come, as the Bible also said (Is 5:16; 29:23; Ezek 36:23; 38:23; 39:7, 27; cf. Zech 14:9)….[2]

a. The name of God, YHWH, is His covenant name as “the God of Israel.” [3] This means that for God to act on behalf of His name, He is acting in link with fulfillment of His covenant to Israel; He has bound up His name covenantally to a specific ethnic group in the earth as He unfolds redemption and the restoration of all things.

b. Thus, the cry for God to set apart and vindicate His own name is not done in a metaphysical way disconnected from the timeline of redemptive history. It is a once-for-all aspect done by God being faithful to and fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel! This petition echoes the prophets and would be the foremost longing and hope for a faithful Second Temple Jew.

that Israel by its conduct and disloyalty had dishonored God’s name, caused God’s reputation (that which he was known as) to be despised and profaned. The point is that God had committed his name to his chosen people (“the God of Israel”), so that their failure redounded to his discredit. As Ezekiel goes on to show, God would vindicate his name precisely by restoring and renewing his scattered people (Ezek 36:24–36). All this indicates that the prayer for God’s name to be made holy is a prayer that God may so act in his creation, and particularly through his people, that the rest of humankind may in turn come to honor him as God. In this again the petition taught by Jesus grows out of Jewish self-consciousness and hope. [4]

23But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, They will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob And will stand in awe of the God of Israel. (Is 29:23)

EZEKIEL 36:16-38

16Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 17“Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18“Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. 19“Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20“When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land.’ 21“But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. 22“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23“I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24“For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28“You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God… 33‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34“The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35“They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36“Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.” …. 24“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25“They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27“My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28“And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” ’ ”…14“Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? 15“You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; 16and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.” 17‘Thus says the Lord God, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?… 23“I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord.” ’ (Eze 36:16–38:23)

c. The sanctifying of God’s name is done in the fulfillment of His covenants at the Day of the Lord; the salvation of Israel, end of their exile, and vindication of the faithfulness of the God of Abraham in the sight of all the nations of the earth. [5] This is in line with the following lines of petition in the prayer as well.

Comparison with the Qaddiš also shows that the two petitions are eschatological. They make entreaty for the revelation of God’s eschatological kingdom. Every accession to power by an earthly ruler is accompanied by homage in words and gestures. So it will be when God enters upon his rule. Then people will do homage to him, hallowing his name: “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). Then they will all prostrate themselves at the feet of the King of kings, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (Rev 11:17). The two “Thou-petitions”—to which Matthew adds yet a third one of like meaning (“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”)—thus make entreaty for the final consummation. Their contents strike the same note as the prayer of the early church, Maranatha (1 Cor 16:22), “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20). They seek the hour in which God’s profaned and misused name will be glorified and his reign revealed, in accordance with the promise, “I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am Yahweh, says the Lord Yahweh, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes” (Ezek 36:23).[6]

In a Jewish context, this petition refers to God acting in fulfillment of the promises to Israel, and thus to the silencing of the taunts of her enemies. In short, God’s name will only be properly honored when he brings his kingdom and accomplishes his will on earth (cf. the Qaddish). Thus, the first three petitions of the prayer are closely linked, referring essentially to the same salvation-historical reality.[7]

..Jesus trusted God’s reign to consummate the economy of mutual blessing that God had initiated long ago through God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah. This theme is evident, for example, in the Lord’s Prayer…In the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed his followers to pray for the sanctification of God’s name, for the quick coming of God’s reign, and for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. These petitions amplify one another and point to God’s coming reign as a place where the covenantal relationship between God and creation will be fulfilled in an eschatological economy of blessing, praise, and righteousness (Matt. 6:9f; Luke 11:2). [8]

[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993; 2006), Mt 6:9.

[2] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Mt 6:9–10.

[3] (Ex. 5:1; 24:10; 32:27; 34:23; Num. 16:9; Jos. 7:13, 19f; 8:30; 9:18f; 10:40, 42; 13:14, 33; 14:14; 22:16, 24; 24:2, 23; Jdg. 4:6; 5:3, 5; 6:8; 11:21, 23; 21:3; Ruth 2:12; 1 Sam. 1:17; 2:30; 5:7f, 10f; 6:3, 5; 10:18; 14:41; 20:12; 23:10f; 25:32, 34; 2 Sam. 7:27; 12:7; 23:3; 1 Ki. 1:30, 48; 8:15, 17, 20, 23, 25f; 11:9, 31; 14:7, 13; 15:30; 16:13, 26, 33; 17:1, 14; 22:53; 2 Ki. 9:6; 10:31; 14:25; 18:5; 19:15, 20; 21:12; 22:15, 18; 1 Chr. 4:10; 5:26; 15:12, 14; 16:4, 36; 17:24; 22:6; 23:25; 24:19; 28:4; 29:10; 2 Chr. 2:12; 6:4, 7, 10, 14, 16f; 11:16; 13:5; 15:4, 13; 20:19; 29:7, 10; 30:1, 5; 32:17; 33:16, 18; 34:23, 26; 36:13; Ezr. 1:3; 3:2; 4:1, 3; 5:1; 6:14, 21f; 7:6, 15; 8:35; 9:4, 15; Ps. 41:13; 59:5; 68:8, 35; 69:6; 72:18; 106:48; Is. 17:6; 21:10, 17; 24:15; 29:23; 37:16, 21; 41:17; 45:3, 15; 48:1f; 52:12; Jer. 7:3, 21; 9:15; 11:3; 13:12; 16:9; 19:3, 15; 21:4; 23:2; 24:5; 25:15, 27; 27:4, 21; 28:2, 14; 29:4, 8, 21, 25; 30:2; 31:23; 32:14f, 36; 33:4; 34:2, 13; 35:13, 17ff; 37:7; 38:17; 39:16; 42:9, 15, 18; 43:10; 44:2, 7, 11, 25; 45:2; 46:25; 48:1; 50:18; 51:33; Eze. 8:4; 9:3; 10:19f; 11:22; 43:2; 44:2; Zeph. 2:9; Mal. 2:16; Mt. 15:31; Lk. 1:68).

[4] J. D. G. Dunn, “Prayer,” ed. Joel B. Green and Scot McKnight, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 621.

[5] See also Tobit 13: 1Then Tobit said: “Blessed be God who lives forever, because his kingdom lasts throughout all ages. 2For he afflicts, and he shows mercy; he leads down to Hades in the lowest regions of the earth, and he brings up from the great abyss, and there is nothing that can escape his hand. 3Acknowledge him before the nations [Gentiles], O children of Israel; for he has scattered you among them. 4He has shown you his greatness even there. Exalt him in the presence of every living being, because he is our Lord and he is our God; he is our Father and he is God forever. 5He will afflict you for your iniquities, but he will again show mercy on all of you. He will gather you from all the nations among whom you have been scattered. 6If you turn to him with all your heart and with all your soul, to do what is true before him, then he will turn to you and will no longer hide his face from you. So now see what he has done for you; acknowledge him at the top of your voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages. In the land of my exile I acknowledge him, and show his power and majesty to a nation of sinners: ‘Turn back, you sinners, and do what is right before him; perhaps he may look with favor upon you and show you mercy.’ (Tob 13:1–6)

[6] K. C. Hanson, “Editor’s Foreword,” in Jesus and the Message of the New Testament, ed. K. C. Hanson, Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002), 53.

[7] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 148.

[8] R. Kendall Soulen. The God of Israel and Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1996) 160.

SECOND PETITION: YOUR KINGDOM COME (2ND THOU PETITION)

SECOND PETITION: YOUR KINGDOM COME (2nd THOU PETITION)

A. Kingdom of God

  1. This refers to the eschatological Kingdom of God [1] – whose King is YHWH’s divine agent, the Messiah, in fulfillment of His covenantal promise to David.

This refers to the eschatological rule of God (cf. Harner) expected and longed for by the Jewish people (cf. the central petition of the Qaddish, above v 9). It involves the consummation of God’s purposes in history, the fulfillment of the prophetic pictures of future bliss (cf. Acts 1:6).[2]

  1. It is generally pointed out by NT scholarship the particular absence of the phrase “kingdom of God” in the OT. The particular phrase, developing through history into the second Temple era, refers exclusively to the Messianic kingdom. While the idea of kingdom being restored to Israel through an apocalyptic-Day of the Lord-event fills the pages of the OT, there is one specific passage referring to its “coming.”

1And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. 2Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 3And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war. 4Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 5Though all the peoples walk Each in the name of his god, As for us, we will walk In the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. 6“In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will assemble the lame And gather the outcasts, Even those whom I have afflicted. 7“I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever. 8“As for you, tower of the flock, Hill of the daughter of Zion, To you it will come— Even the former dominion will come, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. (Mic 4:1–8)

a. Here, the phrasing in the Lord’s Prayer, kingdom (Gk. “basilea” [of God]) come (Gk. “erchomai”) are very clearly paralleled in Micah; where the nouns “dominion” and “kingdom” are related to the verb “come.”

b. In addition to this striking parallel, we find the contours of the promised future kingdom to be in continuity with the former glory of Jerusalem under the leadership of David and Solomon (for “Ophel” or “Hill” of daughter of Zion see 2 Chron. 27:3; 33:14). This verse provides somewhat of a hinge point in the greater context of the book of Micah, where, with the backdrop of the promise of this coming kingdom, the oracle shifts focus towards its Messianic Ruler, coming forth from the city of David (5:2).

20“I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, 21With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. 22“The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23“But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. 24“My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. 25“I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. 26He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27“I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28“My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29“So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven. 30“If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, 31If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, 32Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. 33“But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. 34“My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. 35“Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. 36“His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. 37“It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah. (Ps 89:20–37) 

31“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Lk 1:31–33)

44“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Da 2:44)

6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Ac 1:6)

“…the Greek verb is not only in the emphatic position but also aorist imperative in form, thus indicating “single or instantaneous” action. [3] Thus, in harmony with all Old Testament prophecy, the prayer taught by our Lord suggests not only that His kingdom is to be prayed for, but also that its coming to the “earth” will be a definite crisis in history, not a long and gradual process of evolution.” [4]

“The Coming of God’s Kingdom. We are to pray for the coming of the kingdom (Mt. 6:10). Praise is offered for its coming on the entry into Jerusalem (Mk. 11:10). The kingdom comes in power (Mk. 9:1). The future kingdom is identical with the coming aeon which means eternal life (Mk. 10:30; Lk. 18:30). The future kingdom will come with the parousia; Jesus comes in and with his kingdom (Mt. 16:28; Lk. 23:42).” [5]

The petition refers primarily and directly to the Messianic kingdom on earth, of which all Scripture testifies. The King of this kingdom is the Lord Jesus, the Son of David; the subjects of it are Israel and the nations,—the chosen people fulfilling the mission which, according to the election of God, is assigned unto them, of being the medium of blessing unto all the nations of the earth; the centre of the kingdom is Jerusalem, and the means of its establishment is the coming and visible appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. When we pray “Thy kingdom come,” our true meaning is, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! [6]

The meaning is not “may thy Kingdom grow,” “may thy Kingdom be perfected,” but rather, “may thy Kingdom come.” For the disciples, the βασιλεία [kingdom] is not yet here, not even in its beginnings; therefore Jesus bids them: ζητεῖτε τὴν βασιλείαν [seek the kingdom] (Luke 12:31). This yearning and longing for its coming, this ardent prayer for it, and the constant hope that it will come— that it will come soon—this is their religion. We would import an opaque and confusing element into this unified and clearly unambiguous religious frame of mind were we to think somehow of a “coming in an ever higher degree” or of a growth or increase of the Kingdom. Just as there can be no different stages of its being—without prejudice to what Harnack has explained concerning its preexistence —so likewise there are no stages of its coming. Either the βασιλεία [kingdom] is here, or it is not yet here. For the disciples and for the early church it is not yet here. And when Jesus calls them blessed because of what they see and hear (Matt.13:17), the fact that glorious prophecies have been fulfilled in their presence is surely sufficient basis for this declaration—but the one great and foremost promise still remains to be fulfilled. [7]

[1]To speak of the meaning as “where God is reverenced, His Kingdom comes” (Luce 1933: 210) misses the petition’s eschatological thrust (Arndt 1956: 295 and Hendriksen 1978: 609–10 soften this eschatological thrust). Both requests are made in the aorist tense, which summarizes the request by looking at its arrival and not stressing the process leading to completion (Arndt).” [Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1053.]

[2] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 148.

[3] S. G. Green, Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1912), p. 309-310

[4] Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (BMH Books, 1959), 36.

[5] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 258 (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985).

[6] Saphir, Adolph, 1831-1891. The Lord’s prayer (Kindle Locations 2207-2209). London, James Nisbet & Co.

[7] Weiss, Johannes, Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, 73-74 (Ausburg Fortress Publishing, 1971)

THIRD PETITION: YOUR WILL BE DONE

THIRD PETITION: YOUR WILL BE DONE

A. Expansion, Emphasis, Transition

  1. This petition is an expansion of the second “Thou” petition: “Your kingdom come.” Luke’s version doesn’t contain this phrase. Its omission there, helps us see that it is virtually the same idea and timing of “Your kingdom come.” Hebrew writing and prayers often carried some sense of parallelism; where the same idea was stated in two different ways. This couldn’t technically be classified as “parallelism,” but is close to it and helps us understand the point being made.

It was understood that after his kingdom came God’s will would be done on earth as in heaven.[1]

“cause your will to be fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven.” This petition is essentially synonymous with the preceding petition (cf. its omission in Luke 11:2). The accomplishment of God’s will on earth obviously means the overturning of the present evil order and thus a regeneration of the earth as we know it. [2]

9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him (Eph 1:9–10)

[1] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Mt 6:9–10.

[2] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1–13, vol. 33A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 148.

David Rickman David Rickman (4 Posts)

David is a Bible teacher and missionary. He and his wife, Kirsten, have a passion to proclaim the gospel and make disciples for the Day of the Lord.


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