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Most Christians are familiar with the 'Lordís Prayer'. This is often repeated as a tradition in many Christian denominations. The prayer was given by Jesus in response to a request that one of the disciples made to be taught how to pray. Much can be learned from studying this example that Jesus gave.
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. - Luke 11:2-4
In particular, the word 'kingdom' is basileia in the Greek and means royalty, realm, or kingdom. Today we often think of a kingdom in terms of geography, assets, military strength, and administration. The Greek word carried more of an idea of the reign of the King. We can see that God gave dominion over the earth to man who quickly lost it to Satan and that Jesus recovered that dominion by the cross. Jesus is a King and his realm consists of that over which he rules. Paul can tell Christians that we have (past tense) been translated into this kingdom (Col 1:13) by virtue of being placed into the "body of Christ". However, there is also a physical kingdom that will be established when Christ returns to earth. There may be additional confusion in that there will be a restored kingdom of Israel as well as the whole earth being called the kingdom of Christ.
Jesus was able to offer an earthly kingdom contingent on the nation accepting the new covenant. When Israel failed to receive it, the physical kingdom of Christ on earth was postponed until a future time when Israel would be more enthusiastic about receiving it.
Note: some translations delete 'Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.' This is because a modern Greek New Testament was compiled a little over 100 years ago from two manuscripts purported to be older and therefore more 'accurate'. There is reason to suspect that they are neither older nor more 'accurate'.
One can see in the now frequently missing subsequent line 'Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.' an expansion of the meaning of Godís kingdom coming. There is much suffering in the world that is a result of rebellion (both angelic and human) against God. The commonly omitted line is an expression of hope that the coming kingdom would quell the rebellion that has produced so much misery.
This example of prayer was requested by a disciple seeking instruction similar to what the disciples of John the Baptist had already received from him. Since the request was made 'teach us to pray' and the answer included the words 'ye' and 'our', it would indicate a plural that would apply at least to the other disciples. Here we need to consider an important discipline of bible study and that is to resist the temptation to jump to conclusions.
It is tempting to assume that the instruction Jesus gave to the disciples is to be applied to the entire nation of Israel and even to gentile Christians. However, this is not clearly established in the text. Praying that the kingdom would come and that Godís will would be done would seem to not have any restriction of application. Even the request for 'daily bread' could also be seen as not limited to a particular group. However, forgiveness, leading, and deliverance may not have universal application.
The possibility that aspects of the kingdom may not have universal application can be seen with the instruction Jesus gives his disciples.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: - Mark 4:11
It is the intention of this book to make a careful examination of the biblical references to the kingdom of God. From these it is hoped that a more clear understanding can be obtained regarding what was promised, offered, rejected, and will be established in regard to the kingdom of God.
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