This week I have been pondering over the next line in the Lord’s prayer: Your kingdom come. Why would Jesus, a man whose earthly ancestry was from the royal lineage of Israel and whose heavenly heritage is the King of Kings, ask his disciples to pray for the kingdom to come. Many times when I pray this prayer I get hung up on this line. I often ask myself if that means that God’s kingdom is not yet on earth and God has no rulership or authority on earth and so Christians have to pray for God’s kingdom to come. I have also wondered if it means we are asking God to hasten the day when the sky will be rolled back like a scroll and the Lord shall appear with great power and glory (Matthew 24:30).
To be honest, I had been dreading the thought of moving on to this phrase in the Lord’s prayer until this evening. As I was reflecting on what “your kingdom come” might mean, another scripture kept coming to mind:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Rev 11:15 ESV
To English scholars, you will understand that the phrase ‘has become’ is a present perfect tense. This tense indicates either that an action was completed at some point in the past or that the action extends to the present. At face value that scripture implies that at some point the kingdom of the world was not the kingdom of God and has now become so. If God owns everything how did He lose the kingdom of the world and who did he lose it to? I started reading a book yesterday titled Pursue Overtake Recover by Kerry Kirkwood and I learned something that might help answer these questions.
In the book, Kerry describes redemption as such: Redemption means to buy back or pay the ransom; but it is more than that , it means the original owner never loses the right to redeem. It always has to be the original owner who redeems it not someone else down the line. The original owner has first right to refuse the redemption or to pay the redemptive price required. Keep this in mind as we move along.
In the beginning, God placed Adam in the garden of Eden and gave Adam full authority to rule over everything on earth. God in essence gave the kingdom of the world to Adam (humankind). As ruler over the kingdom of the world, only Adam had the authority to give up his rulership to another. The devil who had been cast down to earth for many many years (Isaiah 14:12-14) prior to Adam could not rule over the earth until Adam gave up his rulership to the devil through disobedience. The kingdom of the world which was man’s inheritance became the devil’s.
See Genesis 1:28 and compare with Genesis 9:1. You will notice that after the flood God made similar pronouncements of blessings upon mankind as he made in the garden of Eden when he first created man. But the second time around ,God never mentions anything about man’s dominion over earth. Man had given away that dominion to the devil at this point. Have you ever wondered about the devil’s audacity in this scripture: Again, the devil took Him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.”(Matthew 4:8-9 BSB). Yeah that’s where it comes from.
Now remember I said to redeem something in biblical times, it could only be done by the rightful owner not someone else in line. So to redeem the kingdom of the world, it could only be done by God who is the rightful owner and Lord of the earth (Rev 11:4). “Now the kingdom of this world belongs to our Lord and to his Chosen One! And he will rule forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15 CEV). Jesus the Chosen One, has redeemed the kingdom of the world but He did not hand that right back to man. Instead, He promised man keys to the kingdom of heaven.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”Matthew 16:19 NIV.
And so now man’s authority to rule on earth is subject to his authority in the kingdom of Heaven as a joint heir with Christ.
So He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19 BSB
So when I pray, “Your kingdom come” it is an affirmation God’s rulership and authority over the kingdom of the world. It is a recognition that I have authority on earth because I have ties with the kingdom of God. And finally it is to pray that more and more people come to this same recognition so that they can also have dominion and authority too as long as they too submit to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ, the owner and redeemer of the earth.