Remembering the eschatological nature of 'The Lord's Prayer', as it is traditionally called, and it's relevance to the history of Israel, when Jesus taught His disciples, in the 1st century, to pray 'Your kingdom come', we must understand first of all, that His Kingdom HAS come! It is a present reality! John saw and recorded in his Revelation ( 11:15 ), 'the kingdoms[f]of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!' Our Creator, in the Parousia of His Son, entered into His Creation, and made His dwelling with us!
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
The details of Nebuchadnezzar's dream were no doubt in the forefront of the Mind of Christ when He taught His disciples to pray this way! The disciples, being good Jews, most likely would have immediately thought of this prophecy as well.
As much as the Jews wanted to deny it, they were still in captivity, even though they were restored to the physical 'Land of Promise'! Since the Assyrian Captivity, and even before that, since the days of the Judges, at least, they were held captive, in some form or another!
Although every good Jew looked for to the Day that Daniel described, the Disciples of Christ must have had a slightly different understanding of this prophecy. Whereas most, if not all Jews looked for a physical and political kingdom, as do most Christians today, Jesus taught His disciples that this would not be a political kingdom, mediated through mere men, but that His Kingdom was of a more spiritual nature. Though He would rule and reign through His 'Body Politic'; this Kingdom would last forever, because it would not be upheld by any physical line of descent! Their history had proven that the strength of men would fail! Instead, this Kingdom would stand through spiritual generation!
In the same way that The Lord's Supper may still be observed without harming it's original intent, so the Lord's Prayer may still be uttered, in memorial. With the understanding though, that this Heavenly Kingdom has come, and is now a present Reality, to the casual observer ( or listener ) there may be even more confusion over this issue than over the continued observance of The Lord's Supper!
If The Lord's Supper, with its eschatological import, is fulfilled, how much more The Lord's Prayer, with 'Your Kingdom come'? We'll get into this more in the next several installments, but the qualifying statement is, of course, 'on earth as it is in heaven'. If, according to Fulfilled, or Realized Eschatology, God's Kingdom, the Kingdom that Daniel says 'became a great mountain and filled the whole earth', has come, then why would we still pray for it to come?
Unquestionably, although some do question it, God's Kingdom is a present Reality! To those with eyes to see, it is infinitely evident that He IS ruling through His People, from the Throne in His New Temple! We do not however see all men acknowledging Him, or bowing to His will. Nevertheless, we can see with open eyes, that though He is not acknowledged, and in many cases intentionally spurned, His Will, His Purpose is still accomplished, even through, or in spite of, the actions of wicked men!
So may we continue to pray, with our New Covenant Eyes, that His Kingdom would continue to come, or expand, 'on earth as it is in heaven', for we, His people, and the sheep of His pasture, ARE Heaven, the dwelling ( place ) of God!
Charles Haddon Shank