Recently I have found myself praying one particular prayer a lot – “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) I pray that prayer not as a routine or ritual. I pray that prayer because I want God to be glorified in me and through me. “Thy will be done in my life as it is in heaven.” I must confess, I’m not there yet. I have a long ways to go. I am at war with my flesh and it does not surrender easily. Thus I pray often – “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in me.”
As I have mediated over those few sentences and what they mean, I have come to realize that they are a prayer for God’s will to be done in each of us personally, but also upon this earth. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Is God’s will currently being done here on earth is it is in heaven? I don’t see how anyone could say that it is. What then does this prayer mean? What are we to pray for?
I. The Kingdom of God
Recently I heard But what is the kingdom of God?
A. God’s Eternal Kingdom
God always had and always will have a kingdom. God is the Creator and sustainer of this universe, therefore God’s kingdom extends from eternity past to eternity future.
Psalm 29:10 …the LORD sitteth King for ever.
Psalm 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
B. God’s Spiritual Kingdom
In addition to God’s eternal kingdom, there is also His spiritual kingdom. Jesus said – “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) There are two possible interpretations of this verse:
1. The Kingdom of God is in Your Midst
Many of the Jews of Jesus’ day looked for a coming Messiah who would establish a kingdom here on earth for Israel. Therefore Jesus was saying to them – “You do not need to continue to look for God’s kingdom to come. Through Me and My ministry, the kingdom of God is already here.”
2. The Kingdom of God is Within You
Some believe that Jesus meant – “the kingdom of God is when God rules and reigns in your heart.” Your heart is His kingdom. Indeed this is true. Referring to Christ and our salvation the Apostle Paul wrote – “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 3:13) Because I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I am already a part of God’s spiritual kingdom.
C. God’s Earthly Kingdom
There is a third aspect of God’s kingdom. There is a promise of an earthly kingdom that He will establish at the end of time.
Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
1. The Setting of God’s Earthly Kingdom
When will God’s earthly kingdom be established? To put this passage in its proper context we need to back up to chapter 19.
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus will return at the end of the Tribulation Period in order to defeat the Antichrist and his armies. We commonly call this the Battle of Armageddon.
Note what is written on Jesus’ garment at His appearance – “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” At His second coming, Jesus will establish the fact that He is Lord of all. We read from the book of Revelation –
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
During the Tribulation Period, Jesus will reclaim what has always been rightfully God’s. The Bible says – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God created this world and He put man in charge of taking care of it. “Let them (man) have dominion over everything on the earth.” (see Genesis 1:26) When man fell, he lost dominion over the earth. The Bible says that Satan is now the ‘god of this world’ (2 Cor 4:4) and the ‘prince of the power of the air.’ (see Ephesians 2:2) But one day all of that is going to change. King Jesus is going to reclaim this world as His kingdom. We read from Psalm 2-
Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” …8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. NIV
2. The Sequence of God’s Earthly Kingdom
How will God establish His earthly kingdom?
a. The Binding of Satan for a Season
Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Why will God bind Satan in a bottomless pit? The Bible says – “that he should deceive the nations no more…” None of us can comprehend the influence Satan has upon this world.
Is this the end of Satan? No. The Bible says – “and after that he must be loosed a little season.” We see in Revelation 20:10 that Satan will eventually be cast into the lake of fire; but not yet. Satan is going to be bound for 1,000 years and then he is going to be released for a little season so that he might go out one final time and deceive the nations.
There is no reason to believe that the binding of Satan for 1,000 years is a spiritual allegory. That something significant is going to happen right after the Tribulation is clearly evident. A literal one thousand year time period is referred to six times in this passage.
b. They Lived and Reigned With Christ for a Thousand Years
In addition to Satan being bound for 1,000 years, the Bible also says in reference to the Tribulation saints – “and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev 20:4)
Often this 1,000 year reign of Christ and His saints is referred to as the Millennial Kingdom. The words ‘millennial’ or ‘millennium’ are not found in an English translation of the Bible. They are Latin. Before the Bible was translated into English it was first translated into Latin. The Latin Vulgate translates the thousand years as – “annos mille” which is actually -‘years thousand’, or we would say in English, ‘a thousand years.’
What will happen during the thousand year reign of Christ? For sake of time I will call our attention to just three of the more significant events.
i. The Rule and Reign of Christ
Isaiah 9:6 … and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Christ will rule over all the earth and serving with Him as co-regents will be a number of individuals and groups.
David, along with all the other Old Testament saints, will be resurrected just before the Millennium begins and will serve as a co-regent with Christ.
Jeremiah 30:9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
(II) The Apostles
Matthew 19:28 … Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
(III) The Church
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?
(IV) The Tribulation Saints
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
ii. Perfect Peace and Harmony
Isaiah 2:4 “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock…
Isaiah 11:8 The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. NLT
Hosea 2:18 On that day I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky and the animals that scurry along the ground so they will not harm you. I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. NLT
iii. Prosperity and Longevity of Life
Isaiah 35:1 Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. 2 Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. NLT
Isaiah 65:20 “No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young!
Some might say, “But don’t you think that these verses are talking about heaven?” There are many similarities, but there is nothing in scripture that suggests that animals will be in heaven. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. Nor is there any indication that anyone will ever die in heaven. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that in heaven there will be no more death. Yet during the Millennium, some will die. Scripture says that if a person dies at the age of 100, everyone will think that they died young.
II. Why Will God Establish an Earthly Kingdom?
Why will there be a millennial kingdom here on earth? If God is going to take us to heaven, why does He bother to prepare for us a kingdom here on earth? That a good question and allow me to give three reasons for an earthly kingdom:
A. Reassurance of God’s Faithfulness
One of the great reasons for the establishment of an earthly kingdom is to reassure us that God will always be faithful. God has made two covenants that need to be fulfilled:
1. A Covenant With Abraham
God made a covenant with Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. In this covenant God made several promises to Abraham including the fact that his descendents would forever possess a certain piece of land. (Genesis 13:15) The Jews have never completely possessed the land, nor continuously possessed the land. Up until this point and time it has been a hit or miss kind of thing. But during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, Israel will fully possess all that God has promised them.
2. A Covenant With David
God made a promise to David that one of his descendents would sit upon his throne forever. When Jesus was born the angel said to Mary,
Luke 1:32 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
‘The house of Jacob’ is another way of describing the nation of Israel. Has Jesus ever ruled over the nation of Israel? No. The Bible says that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. (Jn 1:11) But during His Millennial Kingdom He will establish His throne in the Temple in Jerusalem and from there He will rule over the house of Israel.
Though it would be easy for God to by-pass the establishment of an earthly kingdom, He will do so in order to reassure us of His faithfulness to do all that He has promised.
B. Reward for Our Faithfulness
A second reason for an earthly kingdom is a reward for our faithfulness. Jesus promised His disciples that He would reward their faithfulness by allowing them to rule over the house of Israel. God has also promised His saints that they will rule upon the earth:
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
In addition to God reward of our faithfulness, there is also His reward of Christ’s faithfulness.
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
C. Reaffirmation of Our Need for Salvation
There are many reasons for why God will establish an earthly kingdom, but perhaps most significant is that it reaffirms man’s need of salvation.
Among the many participants in the Millennial Kingdom will be believers who survive the Tribulation Period. Though many believers will be martyred during the Tribulation, there will be some who will survive and thus enter into the Millennial Kingdom with physical bodies. Isaiah 65:20 teaches us that it will be unusual for someone to die at the age of 100. Though many will live extremely long lives, some will die. For them to die must mean that they still have physical bodies.
As these individuals live these long lives in physical bodies, they will marry and produce children. The Bible indicates that there will be babies born during the Millennial Kingdom. Note what will happen to these individuals at the end of the 1,000 year time period.
Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
As long as Satan is bound, for the most part these individuals will live pure lives. But once Satan is released and free to tempt man again, many of these individuals will turn against God and seek to fight against Him. What does this teach us? It reaffirms the fact that good works and clean living are not enough to get us into heaven. There must be a spiritual new-birth produced by the Holy Spirit.
God’s kingdom is coming. King Jesus is coming again! The will of God will be done upon this earth and throughout His entire universe some day.
The question is – “Am I a part of that kingdom?” Am I a part of the kingdom of God or am I a part of Satan’s kingdom of darkness?” Jesus said. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) There must be a spiritual new birth to become a part of God’s kingdom. Have you experienced that new birth? Have you denounced the sin in your life and embrace King Jesus? If you need help in regards to your salvation, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org