‘Thy Kingdom Come’
In the prayer outline Jesus Christ gave in Matthew 6, He told His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Today, most people who offer this prayer do so without understanding what it really means.
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” Christ continued (verse 10). Looking at the world around us, it is clear that God’s will is not being carried out here on Earth today. World leaders recently met in New York for the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly. For 66 years, world leaders have been working to make peace, yet there have been about 250 armed conflicts between nations since the UN began in 1945—an average of more than four per year.
God’s will, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “will not come for the whole world until the Kingdom of God does appear with the coming of Jesus Christ in supreme power and glory, as the King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling all nations in the Kingdom of God!
“The fact that the time is now near—the fact that it is sure!—that is the big good news today. That is the glorious silver lining behind the beclouded wretchedness of today. That is the world’s great hope right now” (co-worker letter, April 28, 1974).
To most people, including the traditional Christian denominations, Jesus Christ’s return to this Earth in power and glory is simply not real!
How real is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to you?
The Bible’s first promise of a coming Savior who would come to replace Satan on the throne of this Earth is in Genesis 3. This was shortly after Adam and Eve rejected God’s government and decided for themselves what is right and wrong.
Notice especially “her seed” in Genesis 3:15. That refers to Christ. God would allow Satan to “bruise” Christ’s “heel” in causing Him to be crucified. But Christ would bruise Satan’s head by rising from the dead and finally deposing the devil as ruler of the world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Once Adam committed his rebellious act against God, he disqualified himself from replacing Satan on the throne of this Earth, making Christ, as it says in Revelation 13:8, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Throughout the Old Testament, numerous prophets and teachers of God prophesied of a future Messiah and King who would rule this Earth. Moses wrote about His coming in the books of the law. He said God would raise up a prophet from among the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 18:18). David wrote about it in several of the Psalms. Isaiah referred to it in numerous places throughout his book. So did Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Daniel said that Jesus Christ’s dominion would break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms.
Nearly all of the minor prophets refer to this soon-coming King. Micah said the Lord would reign over Israel in mount Zion forever. Zephaniah said, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Haggai said the nations would shake in the lead-up to His coming. Zechariah said that even in the midst of great rebellion within the Church in this end time, God would send forth His servant, “the Branch.” Zechariah 14 describes that coming in great detail. Malachi said that the Eternal would come suddenly to the temple and that He would be like a refiner’s fire.
One reason so many Jews rejected Jesus Christ at His first coming is because they could not understand that most of these Old Testament prophecies foretold Christ’s Second Coming!
In the New Testament, Luke 1:33 continues with a similar theme, prophesying that Christ would reign on David’s throne forever. Whether in the Old Testament or the New, the Bible’s message is the same: Jesus Christ was born to rule this world as King of kings and Lord of lords!
When Pilate asked Jesus if He was born to be King, Christ responded, “Yes,” but added that His Kingdom was not of this world. This is why Christ did not take over the reigns of that government at His first coming.
Mark 13 and Matthew 24 describe bleak prophecies of events soon to unfold on this Earth as a sign of Christ’s coming. These prophecies could not be viewed with any kind of positive or hopeful focus unless we see what it leads to—the return of Jesus Christ to this Earth!
Here is Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples, already having come to the Earth in the flesh: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” (Mark 13:26-27).
He will come again, He said, out of the clouds, with great power and glory. His angels will come with Him and they will gather the elect of God. This is the first resurrection.
“If I go,” Christ said in John 14, “I will come again.” That is an unbreakable promise! If only the theologians of this world would believe it.
Repeatedly throughout the gospels, Christ said the Kingdom of God is like unto—and then He proceeded to compare it to something you can visualize. The gospel message Jesus preached while on this Earth the first time was about what He would do at His Second Coming!
Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, “How amazing—what a tragedy—that in church services and gospel preaching today, one seldom, if ever, hears of Christ as a coming king and world ruler. Spiritual principalities and powers of evil (Ephesians 6:12) are ruling the world today. It is these earthly governments of Satan that will be destroyed and replaced by Christ at His Second Coming. Christ’s Kingdom is of the World Tomorrow!”
In Revelation we find the same message, written several decades after Christ had come and gone: “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” (Revelation 11:15). Also read Revelation 19:6 and 22:7.
Whether in the writings of Moses, the book of Daniel, the New Testament gospels or the book of Revelation, the message about the Kingdom of God on Earth is consistent and repetitious.
The good news message of the coming Kingdom of God—it is this world’s only sure hope. It’s why true Christians, when they pray, begin with this earnest, heartfelt petition: Thy Kingdom come!