Making Our Requests Urgent
...in Preparation for God’s Kingdom on Earth
We continue from our last issue in which we began learning about “the Prayer Jesus taught us to pray” from Matthew 6:9-13. To grasp a fuller understanding of what He was teaching, let us take some space for a brief lesson in New Testament Greek. Seeing a bit of how the language of the New Testament worked will help us understand more clearly what the Lord was teaching.
Our conviction is that the Holy Spirit caused the New Testament to be recorded in the koine Greek. This was the common language spread through much of the world in New Testament days. Koine means “common to all.” While it was the language of common people, there was a keen precision in it. We believe it was in God’s highest wisdom to record the greatest document ever written in this language.
In our previous article, we noted that there are seven petitions in the Prayer Jesus gave as a model for our praying. The key word of each petition is a Verb in its Aorist Imperative form. If this is “Greek” to you, it’s because an Aorist is a form of Verb used almost exclusively in the Greek language. It defines an action that is brought to its completion. In other words, it tells of a finished work.
Generally, an Imperative carries the meaning of a command. But, its form may be used also in prayer. When an Aorist joins with an Imperative, it lets us know that the command must be carried out at once, or, if it is a prayer, it cries for an urgent response. Thus, each one of the petitions of this prayer that Jesus taught us to pray is a cry for an urgent response.
As Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray, He was leading them toward living in the same Kingdom that He knew so well. The petition in the prayer for the Kingdom to come was a strong supplication. “Let it come now!” We began considering this in the last article. And, oh! We could go on and on.
But, here is a question. Did Jesus instruct them to make a plea for a Kingdom two thousand years ago, only to withdraw it immediately from their grasp as soon as most of the Jews rejected Him? Have believers made this plea for the Kingdom, according to His instruction, through all the age since He was here, only to have the prayer never yet answered?
Or, has the Kingdom been always at our door ready to enter us and bring into us the glory of His heavenly rule? I believe this is it. Christ’s place in God’s heavenly Kingdom is already secure. He is set on the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the heavens—Hebrews 8:1. The word set is itself from the Aorist ekathisen. It means He was seated—once and for all—as a King would be seated at his coronation, on the throne of his kingdom.
There is a prophetic Word in Psalm 2 that reaches on to the end of this age and confirms this. It records God as saying, Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion—verse 6. When confronted by the hoard who wanted Christ’s Throne for their own, God told them they were too late. His King was already set. He was already seated on His Throne. As this age nears its end, Christ shall already have been made secure in His Kingdom. No hellish force can overrule Him or move Him from His position.
Now, let us ask another question. Was the Kingdom offered only to the Jews? Not so, according to Paul. There are several references throughout his Epistles regarding his appointment to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, that is, all non-Jews. A most significant statement is Ephesians 3:8—Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
In this Epistle to the Ephesians, a group of Gentile believers, Paul brought the following amazing revelation. He taught them that not only has God’s Son already come to the Throne of the heavenly Kingdom, He has brought us who believe in Jesus to be in the Kingdom with Him. Ephesians 2:4-6 makes this clear. We place it here, like we do several other passages, as we view them in the Received Text of the Greek New Testament. 4But God, being exceedingly rich in mercy—because of His great love with which He loved us, 5while we were still dead in transgressions—has made us alive together with Christ. (It is by grace that you have been saved.) 6And He has raised us up together and seated us together in the heavens in Christ Jesus.
The prayer Jesus instructed His disciples to pray reaches toward the above. It is that we might come into the realization of what it means for us on earth to be seated with Christ in the heavens. When we pray Thy Kingdom come, we are asking that it will come in our own lives, as an immediate awareness.
From the beginning to the end, the greatest interest of Jesus was in God’s Kingdom. His desire was that it would come from the heavens into the earth. In all four Gospels, there are only two verses that give record of Jesus mentioning the Church—Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17. Nearly all of His lessons were about the Kingdom. As we speak of the Kingdom, let us be assured that the Church, too, is real. Paul was clear in saying that Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church—Colossians 1:18. But, it was the Kingdom that Jesus longed for us, His disciples, to share with Him.
Let us go on to see more about this matter of the Kingdom that is being offered, both to Jews and Gentiles. An astounding statement is at the beginning of Acts about what Jesus did after His resurrection, before He returned to His Father in Heaven. After He had suffered death, He presented Himself alive (to His disciples) by many clear proofs, being seen of them through forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God—Acts 1:3.
There are godly and sincere Bible instructors who inform us that the Book of Acts covers “the fading out period of the Kingdom.” But take note of this very interesting statement in the last two verses of Acts. They relate to Paul. He lived for two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who visited him, preaching—that is, heralding—the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all bold freedom, with no hindrance at all—Acts 28:30,31.
Even though he was in prison, he was still preaching the Kingdom. This word preaching is from the Greek keerus’so which means “to herald” or “to announce the presence of something, or someone,” very great. Paul could not “herald” the Kingdom unless he knew its presence was at hand. He had lost all liberty and would soon die from an executioners sword, but he could still herald the Kingdom. It was present with him. An eternal purpose of the Lord was set to come to its fulfillment in him. It was a Kingdom purpose. As it were, Paul lives today—important in the Kingdom—in the Letters he wrote nearly two thousand years ago.
God’s Kingdom is eternal. There are those who have their place in it that will come to its fullness presently, and there are those whose purpose belongs to the ages to come. It’s all God’s business.
From where I live on the side of a hill in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I could walk to perhaps eight different “churches.” They all have wonderful people who meet there every week and worship the Lord.
But I can’t walk to the Kingdom. It must come. We remember Jesus taught us to pray, Let Thy Kingdom come!
When the Church becomes desperate enough, and has had enough programs that pay slight attention to Jesus, the cry will arise in the land, and the Kingdom will come to those people who make urgent supplication for it to come. That for which Jesus died will come. That for which the Lord God made Covenant with Adam, with Noah, with Abraham and with David will come.
Through the ages, believers have seen that our Lord God is a Covenant Keeping God. We who know Him and His promises today know this is so. In times of desperation we have cried to Him and He has made known the power and presence of His Kingdom in our midst. Remember it is not a simple strip of words that we glide over with but little meaning. It is a cry that must have an answer. Again we say: Jesus taught us to pray, Thy Kingdom come!
We can enter the church, but the Kingdom enters us. Let it come, Lord! Let Your Kingdom come in us! Let it come in Your people everywhere! Let your people become Kingdom-bearers so that wherever anyone of us is, the Kingdom of Heaven is. Let it be that where the Church is, the Kingdom is.
In the last article we interpreted Matthew 6:9-13 from the Greek. That we might gain our bearing let us take note of it here again. The seven petitions of the Prayer have their numbers. Our present concern is with the third one. 9Therefore, after this manner pray: ‘Our Father in the heavens: Let Your Name be sanctified, now, in this very moment! 10 Let Your Kingdom come—now, into this present situation! Let Your will come into being—now, in this present moment on earth, as it already is in heaven.
11 Give us what is needed for our sustenance today—as You will through all our days.
12 And, dismiss us from the guilt of our failures toward You, as we also have dismissed the guilt of those who have failed us. 13And, lead us not into trials which we have not the grace to bear, but rescue us from the evil one...
Each petition carries us toward a life that is ready for participation in God’s Kingdom. This is for now as well as when His Kingdom will become known in its fullness in the earth. It is then that the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign, and we with Him, for ever and ever—Revelation 11:15.
It becomes apparent that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same. But, some might say that the Kingdom of Heaven emphasizes the location from which it comes, while the Kingdom of God emphasizes the One with Whom it originates. When Paul speaks of the Kingdom of Christ, the emphasis is on the One Who brought the heavenly Kingdom of God into the earth and Who has opened the way for us who believe in Him to enter the Kingdom with Him.
Many in praying, have become familiar with what we have learned from the King James Version of the Bible. As found there, here is the third petition: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. According to the Original, however, this is not exactly what Jesus said. The term be done is from the Aorist Imperative form of the Greek gi’nomai. This word goes through a wide range of translation in the New Testament, but in general, they all relate to, or evolve out of its primary meaning which is, “to come into existence,” or “to be born.” Thus we translated it, Let Your will come into being.
Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray that God’s will would come into being. And more than that, He was instructing them to pray that it would come into being from out of heaven. We will see, a few paragraphs down, that this gives Jesus knew what it meant for God’s will to come into being from out of heaven. What He did on earth was an extension of what His Father was doing in heaven. He wanted His disciples to know the same.
Jesus, on answering those who tried to kill Him after He said that God was His Father, said, The Son is not able to do anything of Himself. He only does what He sees the Father doing. For whatever that One does, the Son also does in the same way. For the Father loves the Son like a friend and shows Him everything that He is doing—John 5:19,20.
We have placed it here that the Father loves the Son like a friend because of the Greek word phile’o from which loves comes. It expresses the warm kind of love that exists between friends.
Emphasizing it again, Jesus was instructing his disciples to request of their Heavenly Father the same thing He knew about God’s will. “Let Your will come into being upon the earth, as in heaven.”
As the Lord Jesus watched the Father, we who have been redeemed are to watch Jesus. Paul discovered this and expressed it with these Words from Philippians 3:14—I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The word mark is from the Greek sko’pos, the word from which the English word “scope” comes. It means “the distant object on which one’s eye is kept fixed.” Precisely, Paul meant, “I press toward keeping Jesus in my scope.” He learned to watch Jesus and to move accordingly with Him.
How do we come to this? It begins by praying as Jesus taught us. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Or, as we interpret it from the Greek: Let Your will come into being...as it already is in heaven. He was not teaching His disciples to do His will; He was teaching them to become a reflection of His will already being done in the heavens. This throws us into relying on the grace that God has extended to us in Jesus. That grace enables us to behold Jesus and to keep Him in our scope.
Our friend Paul reveals more about this. In Romans 7 he told how trying to do what was right for God left him miserably tired and worn out. He expressed this well in verse 24. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The word wretched is from talai’poros which means, “worn out and miserable from hard labor.” Trying to do God’s will ourselves may quickly become “hard labor,” unless we tune in to what Jesus was teaching us to pray and to what Paul discovered and wrote about in his Romans Truth.
In Romans 8:19 Paul discussed what would bring about the manifestation of the sons of God. These are the ones through whom God will perform His great and final will on earth in this age. Insight unfolds for us from the Received Text of the Greek New Testament. As we observe it carefully, we see it holds a relation to what Jesus said as He taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6. The petitions He laid out are all supplications of urgency. They prepare us for what He called the beginning of sorrows in Matthew 24:8.
This above word sorrows is the same that would be used to speak of the travail of a woman in labor to give birth. We find it again in Romans 8:22. Only, in this passage there is the prefix sun attached to the word. It means “together with” and points to the travail into which we will enter with creation itself. Oh, what a time of praying!
Since we have no idea how to pray as necessity demands it of us, the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. He Who searches the heart knows instinctively what is the deepest thought of the Spirit, because He is making intercession for saints according to what God wants.
Through years of knowing the Lord, and beholding His hand at work, I am pressed, more than ever, into making the strong supplication—”Heavenly Father, let Your will come into being in my life. Let it come from out of the heavens.”
Like Paul, it is beyond my ability to perform God’s will. I too am pressed to discover what he discovered when he was rather old, beset with infirmity, and—of all things—in prison. He discovered the principle of living his life out of the resources of the finished work of the Lord Jesus. He struggled to find this, but he did!
The testimony of his struggle reached its climax in Romans 7:24. O miserably tired “ego man”! Who will rescue me from the body of this death? I thank God (it is) through Jesus Christ our Lord. He had literally worn himself out trying to do what he thought God wanted him to do. He had made the center of his life his own ego. The ego of any person, when it becomes the center of life, is easily buffeted, wounded and sorely discouraged. Paul cried out for someone to rescue him. That One was Jesus.
Then, Jesus became the center of his life. He replaced Paul’s ego. What a trade!
The center of his life then became One who had fought every fight—even death itself—and had come through victorious.
Paul continued his life, but with a positive commitment to a new source of energy that he discovered would work in him. He worked, but he said it was according to His working, which works in me mightily—Colossians 1:29. This was according to Christ’s energy, which worked as an energizing force in him. This brought into him the dynamic ability to fulfill God’s will for his life.
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