The Old Testament, especially the prophets, spoke of the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed one, who would save Israel and usher in the Day of the Lord, that is, the time when God would exercise His power to vanquish evil.
The New Testament Greek noun basileia refers to something associated with a king; in English we translate this word as either ‘reign’ or ‘kingdom’. In the New Testament, Jesus saw His ministry as revealing the presence of the reign or kingdom of God. Jesus himself is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The reign of God is no longer in the future; when we have faith we are dwelling right now in the kingdom of God.
Jesus healed in order that people would have faith and believe. Jesus taught and preached so that people would understand the new paradigm and believe. The Gospel According to Matthew focuses significantly on Jesus’ teaching and preaching (Mt 5 – 7 et al).
At one point (Mt 6:9-13) Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray- and so we have the Lord’s Prayer. We recall that Hebrew poetry is based not on rhyme as in English tradition but rather on repetition or various types of related parallel phrases. The Lord’s Prayer is a New Testament example of Hebrew parallelism using five supplications each with a parallel phrase.
Our Father who art in heaven = hallowed be thy name
The opening sentence is an example of synthetic parallelism: the second phrase builds on and expands the meaning of the first phrase.
Thy kingdom come = Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
How often do we unthinkingly break this sentence after the word ‘done’; perhaps for breathing purposes we tend to make two equal size phrases. However, in terms of Jesus’ meaning as He teaches us to pray to the Father, the sentence is better paused after the word ‘come’: ‘Thy kingdom come’ is our basic supplication. What does this mean? Remember one of the purposes of parallel poetry is to confirm meaning.
This is an example of synonymous parallelism, in which the second phrase has the same meaning as the introductory phrase. Typically one phrase can define one or more terms in the other phrase. So we find that ‘Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven’ defines ‘Thy kingdom come’. Jesus doesn’t just announce the coming of the kingdom, He is telling us what that means. The kingdom of God means that the will of the Father is fulfilled not just in the next life but right here and now! Wow, what a difference a Savior makes!
When we pray the “Our Father’ let us put the pause after ‘come’; if we need to break up the second phrase, let us do so to punctuate Jesus’ message by placing a pause not after ‘done’ but rather after ‘Earth’.
— Eric Wolf
Good News Eric!
Well done… thank you
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father (Jn 14:12).”