Thy kingdom come. (Matthew 6:10, KJV)
I’ve been digging deeper into the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer and today I’m on the second petition: Thy kingdom come. This is the KJV translation as set in stone by Henry VIII. Three different people translate the Aramaic words this way:
Têtê malkuthach. (Aramaic)
1. Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
2. In Wisdom, Love and Equity Thy Kingdom come to all.
3. Create your reign of unity now.
4. Let thy kingdom reign over us now and forever. (Kadish)
My first reaction is this: look at the variation in translation when coming from the same words in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke). Combined, it can be said that they mean the same thing since God’s kingdom is one of unity, love, equity, and wisdom. But individually, those of us who don’t understand the fluidity or indefiniteness of Aramaic or Hebrew, would not know they come from the same two words.
Another thing I notice is – this is not a petition for the Last Day to come. Jesus was not suggesting that we pray for the end of time where God brings an army of angels to destroy the bad people so the rest of us (the ones God really loves) can live in peace.
When Jesus began his ministry, he started with these words, “Change the way you think – the kingdom of heaven is now!” At least, it’s now when there is unity, wisdom, love, and equity. That’s the proof that God reigns.
The problem is that we don’t realize that the kingdom can come to some and not to others. The expectation I was given as a child is false. Heaven-above-the-clouds is not going to magically fall through the clouds and descend upon the earth. Remember, heaven is between the earth and the clouds, not above the clouds. (See this earlier post.)
This kind of messes with the concept that when we die, we are transported to a wonderful city up in the sky. Heaven is below the clouds? The kingdom comes to the earth? And it’s already here?
Changing my mind about the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven was one of the milestones in my faith journey. I was forty-eight years old before it happened. I owned my own business and was participating in a two-year Christian businessmen’s Bible study called Christian Leadership Concepts.
The program taught me to start each morning with 30-45 minutes of quiet time devoted to prayer and study. That was fifteen years ago. The practice made such an impression on me, and provided such benefit, that I still do it today. It was during those quiet times that I started questioning what I believed and I asked, “why did I believe it?” Most of the “why” answers were “because that’s what someone told me when I was little.”
To make a long story short, the more I prayed and studied, the more I came to understand God’s love, and more important – that God is love. Once you understand this, the kingdom is near. So near that you can touch it and smell it.