Matthew 6:10
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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(10) Thy kingdom come.—Historically, the prayer had its origin in the Messianic expectations embodied in the picture of the ideal king in Isaiah 11:1-6; Isaiah 42:1-7, Daniel 7:14. It had long been familiar to all who looked for the consolation of Israel. Now the kingdom of God, that in which He manifests His sovereignty more than in the material world or in the common course of history, had been proclaimed as nigh at hand. The Teacher of the prayer knew Himself to be the Head of that kingdom. But it was not, like the kingdoms of the world, one that rested on the despotism of might, but on the acknowledgment of righteousness. It was therefore ever growing to a completeness, which it has never yet reached. Its advance to that completeness might be retarded by man’s self-will, and hastened by man’s fulfilment of its conditions. And therefore we pray that it may “come” in its fulness, that all created beings may bring their wills into harmony with God’s will. So tar as that prayer comes from the heart and not from the lips only, it is in part self-fulfilling, in part it works according to the law by which God answers prayers that are in harmony with His own will; and in so far as the kingdom, though in one sense it has come, and is in the midst of us, and within us, is yet far from the goal towards which it moves, ever coming and yet to come, the prayer is one that never becomes obsolete, and may be the utterance of the saints in glory no less than of toilers and sufferers upon earth.

Thy will be done.—The prayer has often been, even in the lips of Christians, hardly more than the “acceptance of the inevitable.” Like the Stoic, we have submitted to a destiny; like the Moslem, we have been resigned to a decree. But as it came from the lips of the Son of Man, it was surely far more than this. We pray that the will of God may be done because we believe it to be perfectly loving and righteous. It is the will that desires our sanctification (1Thessalonians 4:3), that does not will that any should perish. The real difficulty in the prayer is, that it lands us, as before. in a mystery which we cannot solve. It assumes that even the will of God is in part dependent on our wills, that it will not be done unless we so pray. The question, “Who hath resisted this will? Does it not ever fulfil itself?” forces itself on our thoughts. And the answer is found, as before, in accepting the seeming paradox of prayer. In one sense the will of God, which is also the eternal law, must fulfil itself; but it is one thing for that law to work in subduing all things to itself, another for it to bring all created wills into harmony with itself. And in really praying for this we, as before, in part fulfil the prayer.

As it is in heaven.—The thought is true of the order of the visible heaven, where law reigns supreme, with no “variableness or shadow of turning.” But seeing that the obedience contemplated is that of the will, it is better, perhaps, to think of the words as pointing to the unseen hosts of heaven, the ministering angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. That all wills on earth should be brought into the same entire conformity with the divine will as theirs, is what we are taught to pray for.

Matthew 6:10. Thy kingdom come — This cannot with propriety be understood of that general kingdom, by which God ruleth over all the world, that being always come, and not capable of any amplification. But the kingdom of God under the Messiah, to be set up, enlarged, and perfected by the preaching of the gospel, and the exercise of Christ’s kingly power, is evidently here intended; even that kingdom which the Jews thought would immediately appear, Luke 19:11; which the pious among them expected and waited for, Luke 2:38; Mark 15:43; which both the Baptist and our Lord announced as at hand, chap. Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; and which Christ, in this chapter, Matthew 6:33, directs his followers to seek, in preference to all other things; and here to pray for. This kingdom of God is twofold, namely, his kingdom of grace and his kingdom of glory; the coming of both which we may be well understood to mean, when we put up this petition; desiring, 1st, that we and all men may receive the kingdom of divine grace into our hearts, and that God may reign in and over us in such a manner, that we may be his willing and loyal subjects; 2d, that, in order thereto, it would please him to give success to his gospel in all parts of the earth; that he would enlarge the borders of his Church, and bring all nations within the pale of it; and, where it is already established, that he would proceed by his grace more and more to destroy the power of sin, and the dominion of Satan; and to implant his fear and love in the hearts of all his professing people; that thus, 3d, his eternal and glorious kingdom may also be enlarged, the number of his saints be accomplished, and the blessed time come when we shall all be translated into his heavenly kingdom, when, all other powers and dominions being done away, God alone shall be exalted, and rule for ever and ever.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is heaven — It is justly observed by Dr. Whitby, that we do not pray in this petition that God may do his own will, nor that the will of his providence may be done upon and respecting us, but that, in consequence of the coming of his kingdom of grace, in the sense above explained, we, and all men, with as much readiness, alacrity, and perfection, as the imperfection of human nature will admit of, may yield obedience to his wise, holy, and good will, however made known to us, whether by revelation, natural conscience, or the dispensations of providence; and may imitate the blessed angels in a sincere, ready, constant, persevering compliance with it: and that, in order to this end, he would vouchsafe us those aids of his Spirit whereby our understanding may be enlightened, rightly to discern what is his good and acceptable will, and our wills and affections powerfully inclined, and all our executive faculties so strengthened, that we may sincerely, readily, and cheerfully perform such obedience.

6:9-15 Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Pr 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.Thy kingdom come - The word "kingdom" here means "reign." Note, Matthew 3:2. The petition is the expression of a wish that God may "reign" everywhere; that his laws may be obeyed; and especially that the gospel of Christ may be advanced everywhere, until the world shall be filled with his glory.

Thy will be done - The will of God is, that people should obey his law, and be holy. The word "will," here, has reference to his law, and to what would be "acceptable" to him. To pray, then, that his will may be done, on earth as in heaven, is to pray that his "law," his "revealed will," may be obeyed and loved. His law is perfectly obeyed in heaven, and his true children most ardently desire and pray that it may also be obeyed on the earth.

The object of these three "first" petitions, is, that God's name should be glorified and his kingdom established; and by being placed first, we learn that his glory and kingdom are of more consequence than our wants, and that these should be first in our hearts and petitions before a throne of grace.

10. Thy kingdom come—The kingdom of God is that moral and spiritual kingdom which the God of grace is setting up in this fallen world, whose subjects consist of as many as have been brought into hearty subjection to His gracious scepter, and of which His Son Jesus is the glorious Head. In the inward reality of it, this kingdom existed ever since there were men who "walked with God" (Ge 5:24), and "waited for His salvation" (Ge 49:18); who were "continually with Him, holden by His right hand" (Ps 73:23), and who, even in the valley of the shadow of death, feared no evil when He was with them (Ps 23:4). When Messiah Himself appeared, it was, as a visible kingdom, "at hand." His death laid the deep foundations of it. His ascension on high, "leading captivity captive and receiving gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them," and the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, by which those gifts for men descended upon the rebellious, and the Lord God was beheld, in the persons of thousands upon thousands, "dwelling" among men—was a glorious "coming" of this kingdom. But it is still to come, and this petition, "Thy kingdom come," must not cease to ascend so long as one subject of it remains to be brought in. But does not this prayer stretch further forward—to "the glory to be revealed," or that stage of the kingdom called "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Pe 1:11)? Not directly, perhaps, since the petition that follows this—"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"—would then bring us back to this present state of imperfection. Still, the mind refuses to be so bounded by stages and degrees, and in the act of praying, "Thy kingdom come," it irresistibly stretches the wings of its faith, and longing, and joyous expectation out to the final and glorious consummation of the kingdom of God.

Third Petition:

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven—or, as the same words are rendered in Luke, "as in heaven, so upon earth" (Lu 11:2)—as cheerfully, as constantly, as perfectly. But some will ask, Will this ever be? We answer, If the "new heavens and new earth" are to be just our present material system purified by fire and transfigured, of course it will. But we incline to think that the aspiration which we are taught in this beautiful petition to breathe forth has no direct reference to any such organic fulfilment, and is only the spontaneous and resistless longing of the renewed soul—put into words—to see the whole inhabited earth in entire conformity to the will of God. It asks not if ever it shall be—or if ever it can be—in order to pray this prayer. It must have its holy yearnings breathed forth, and this is just the bold yet simple expression of them. Nor is the Old Testament without prayers which come very near to this (Ps 7:9; 67:1-7; 72:19, &c.).

Fourth Petition:

Let the Lord rule over all the nations of the earth, and let them be freely subject to his laws, and to his Son Jesus Christ; let the gospel of the kingdom be published, and prosper, by bringing all thoughts into a captivity to it. And let the kingdom of God come more within the hearts of all men, and hasten the revelation of the kingdom of glory. Let the will of the Lord be every where done, and that on earth, with as much freedom and cheerfulness, and with as little reluctancy, as it is done by the angels and saints in heaven. These three first petitions are of great cognation one to another; God is then glorified when his kingdom is advanced, and his kingdom is then promoted when there is most free and cheerful obedience yielded to his will: the sum is, Let God be glorified.

Thy kingdom come,.... The form of expression used by the ancient Jews, relating to this article, before the coming of Christ, doubtless was, as it now stands in their prayers (r), , "the kingdom of thy Messiah come". Christ alters the expression, leaves out the word "Messiah", and puts it thus, "thy kingdom come", to let them know that the Messiah was come; and that it was the kingdom of the Father, in the power of his grace, upon the souls of men, they must pray for and expect: however, he conformed to a rule of their's in this, as well as in the former petition (s); that

"every blessing, or prayer, in which there is no , "mention made of the name", i.e. of God, is no prayer; and that every prayer, in which there is not "the kingdom", is no prayer.''

In this petition the disciples were taught to pray for the success of the Gospel, both among Jews and Gentiles; for the conversion of God's elect, in which the kingdom of God would greatly appear, to the destruction of the kingdom of Satan, and the abolition of the kingdom of the beast, in the latter day; which will usher in the kingdom, of the mediator, he will receive from his Father, and this will terminate in the kingdom of glory: in a word, not the kingdom of nature and providence is meant, which always was; but the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand, nay had taken place, though as yet was not very visible, and which is spiritual in the hearts of God's people, Jews and Gentiles; and which will appear exceeding glorious in the latter day, and at last be swallowed up in the ultimate glory; all which must be very desirable by the sincere lovers of Jesus Christ.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. There is some appearance of this petition still remaining, in what the (t) Jews call the short prayer:

"what is the short prayer? R. Eliezer says, , "do thy will in heaven"; and give quietness of spirit, or acquiescence of spirit in thy will, to them that fear thee below.''

Christ says "thy will"; not the will of wicked men, nor the will of Satan, nor a man's own will, but the will of God: by which is meant either his secret will, which is the rule of all his proceedings both in providence and grace; is unknown to us, till facts make it appear; is always fulfilled in heaven and in earth; and sometimes is fulfilled by those who have no regard to his revealed will; and is what ought to be submitted to patiently, and without murmuring: or rather his revealed will, which consists partly in the declarations of his grace and mercy; as that salvation is by Christ, whoever believes in him shall be saved, that all the redeemed be sanctified, persevere to the end, and be glorified; and partly in the commands enjoined his people, which will of his is good, perfect, and acceptable. The will of God may be said to be done by us, when our wills are resigned to his; when we patiently submit to every adverse dispensation of providence; when our hearts and actions are, in some measure, conformed to his law; when what is done, is done in faith, with a view to his glory, and without dependence upon it; of which such only are capable who have a spiritual understanding of the will of God, believe in Christ, receive grace and strength from him, and are assisted by his Spirit. These desire to do the will of God, as it is done in heaven; meaning not so much by the inanimate creatures, the sun, and moon, and stars, as glorified saints and holy angels, who do it voluntarily and cheerfully; speedily, and without delay; constantly, and without any interruption; and perfectly and completely.

(r) Seder Tephillot, fol. 128. 2. Ed. Basil. (s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 40. 2.((t) Ib. fol. 29. 2.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10.[420] Ἐλθέτω, κ.τ.λ.] Let the kingdom of the Messiah appear. This was likewise a leading point in the prayers of the Jews, especially in the Kaddisch, which had been in regular use since the captivity, and which contained the words, Regnet tuum regnum; redemptio mox veniat. Hence the canon, כל ברכה שאין בה מלכוח אינה ברכה. Bab. Berac. f. 40. 2. Here, likewise, the kingdom of God is no other than the kingdom of the Messiah, the advent of which was the supreme object of pious longing (Luke 2:25; Luke 17:20; Mark 15:43; Luke 22:18; Luke 23:51; 2 Timothy 4:8). This view of the kingdom and its coming, as the winding up of the world’s history, a view which was also shared by the principal Fathers (Tertullian, Chrysostom, Augustine, Euth. Zigabenus), is the only one which corresponds with the historical conception of the βασιλεία τ. θεοῦ throughout the whole of the N. T.; comp. on Matthew 3:2, the kingdom comes with the Messiah who comes to establish it; Mark 11:9-10; Luke 23:42. The ethical development (Matthew 13:31 ff., Matthew 24:14; comp. on Matthew 3:2, Matthew 5:3 ff., Matthew 5:48; also on Acts 3:21), which necessarily precedes the advent of the kingdom (Luke 19:11) and prepares the way for it, and with which the diffusion of Christianity is bound up, Matthew 28:19 (Grotius, Kuinoel), forms the essential condition of that advent, and through ἘΛΘΈΤΩ, Κ.Τ.Λ., is thus far indirectly (as the means toward the wished-for end) included in the petition, though not expressly mentioned in so many words, so that we are not called upon either to substitute for the concrete conception of the future kingdom (Luke 22:18) one of an ethical, of a more or less rationalistic character (Jerome, Origen, Wetstein: of the moral sway of Christianity; Baumgarten-Crusius: the development of the cause of God among men), or immediately to associate them together. This in answer also to Luther (“God’s kingdom comes first of all in time and here below through God’s word and faith, and then hereafter in eternity through the revelation of Christ”), Melanchthon, Calvin, de Wette, Tholuck, “the kingdom of God typified in Israel, coming in its reality in Christ, and ever more and more perfected by Him as time goes on;” comp. Bleek.

ΓΕΝΗΘΉΤΩ, Κ.Τ.Λ.] May Thy will (Matthew 7:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3) be done, as by the angels (Psalm 103:21), so also by men. This is the practical moral necessity in the life of believers, which, with its ideal requirements, is to determine and regulate that life until the fulfilment of the second petition shall have been accomplished. “Thus it is that the third petition, descending into the depths of man’s present condition and circumstances, damps the glow of the second,” Ewald. “Coelum norma est terrae, in qua aliter alia fiunt omnia,” Bengel. Accordingly the will of God here meant is not necessarily the voluntas decernens (Beza), but praecipiens, which is fulfilled by the good angels of heaven. This petition, which is omitted in Luke, is not to be taken merely as an explanation (Kamphausen) of the one which precedes it, nor as tautological (Hanne), but as exhibiting to the petitioner for the kingdom the full extent of moral requirement, without complying with which it is impossible to be admitted into the kingdom when it actually comes. As, according to Matthew 6:33, the Christian is called upon to strive after the kingdom and the righteousness of God; so here, after the petition for the coming of the kingdom, it is asked that righteousness, which is the thing that God wills, may be realized upon the earth.

[420] On the inverted order of the second and third petition in Tertullian, see Nitzsch in the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 846 ff. This transposition appeared more logical and more historical.

Matthew 6:10. Ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου: second petition. The prayer of all Jews. Even the Rabbis said, that is no prayer in which no mention of the kingdom is made. All depends on how the kingdom is conceived, on what we want to come. The kingdom is as the King. It is the kingdom of the universal, benignant Father who knows the wants of His children and cares for their interests, lower and higher, that Jesus desires to come. It will come with the spread of the worship of the One true Divine Name; the paternal God ruling in grace over believing, grateful men. Thus viewed, God’s kingdom comes, is not always here, as in the reign of natural law or in the moral order of the world.—γενηθήτω τ. θ. σ.: third petition. Kamphausen, bent on maintaining the superior originality of Luke’s form in which this petition is wanting, regards it as a mere pendant to the second, unfolding its meaning. And it is true in a sense that any one of the three first petitions implies the rest. Yet the third has its distinct place. The kingdom, as Jesus preached it, was a kingdom of grace. The second petition, therefore, is a prayer that God’s gracious will may be done. The third, on the other hand, is a prayer that God’s commanding will may be done; that the right as against the wrong may everywhere prevail.—ὡς ἐν οὐρ. καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. This addendum, not without application to all three petitions, is specially applicable to this one. Translated into modern dialect, it means that the divine will may be perfectly, ideally done on this earth: as in heaven, so also, etc. The reference is probably to the angels, described in Psalms 103, as doing God’s commandments. In the O. T. the angels are the agents of God’s will in nature as well as in Providence. The defining clause might, therefore, be taken as meaning: may God’s will be done in the moral sphere as in the natural; exactly, always, everywhere.

The foregoing petitions are regarded by Grotius, and after him Achelis, as pia desideria, εὐχαί, rather than petitions proper—αἰτήματα, like the following three. The distinction is not gratuitous, but it is an exegetical refinement which may be disregarded. More important is it to note that the first group refers to the great public interests of God and His kingdom, placed first here as in Matthew 6:33, the second to personal needs. There is a corresponding difference in the mode of expression, the verbs being in the third person in Group I., objective, impersonal; in the second in Group II., subjective, personal.

10. Thy kingdom come] See note ch. Matthew 3:2. Lightfoot quotes an axiom from the Jewish Schools, “that prayer wherein there is not mention of the Kingdom of God is not a prayer.”

Matthew 6:10. Ἐλθέτωγενηθήτω κ.τ.λ., come—be done, etc.) Tertullian has transposed these two petitions for the sake of his plan. For in his book on prayer, after he has treated of the petition, “Hallowed be Thy name,” he says, “ACCORDING TO THIS FORM, we add, ‘Thy will be done in the heavens and on the earth.’ ” And he then refers the coming of God’s kingdom to the end of the world.—ἡ βασιλεία Σου, Thy kingdom) See Gnomon on ch. Matthew 4:17, and Revelation 11:15; Revelation 11:17. The sanctification of God’s name is as it were derived from the Old Testament into the New, to be continued and increased by us; but the coming of God’s kingdom is in some sort peculiar to the New Testament. Thus with these two petitions respectively, Cf. Revelation 4:8; Revelation 5:10.—τὸ θέλημα Σου, Thy will) Jesus always kept His Father’s will before His eyes, for His own performance and for ours. See ch. Matthew 7:21, Matthew 12:50.—ὡς, κ.τ.λ., as, etc.) “It will be the part of the pastor to admonish the faithful, that these words, ‘as in heaven so on earth,’ may be referred to each of the (three) first petitions as, ‘Hallowed be Thy name, as in heaven so on earth,’ also, ‘Thy kingdom come as in heaven so on earth,’ in like manner, ‘Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth.’ ”—ROMAN CATECHISM.[258] The codices however which in Luke 11:2 omit the words, “Thy will be done,” omit also the words, “As in heaven so on earth”—ἐν οὐρανῷ, in heaven) We do not ask that these things may be done in heaven: but heaven is proposed as the normal standard to earth—earth in which all things are done in different ways.[259]

[258] sc. that, issued under the sanction of the Council of Trent.—(I. B.)

[259] In the original “in quâ aliter alia fiunt omnia.”—Lit.: “in which all things are done, some one way, some another.”—i.e. The unvarying uniformity of Heaven, which conforms itself undeviatingly to the Divine Will, should be the standard by which to correct the multiform variety of Earth, the infinite diversities of which are none of them in strict accordance with that Will.—(I. B.)

Verse 10. - Thy kingdom come. Let there come the full establishment of thy realm. The prayer passes from the personal acceptance in the heart of God's revelation of himself to the consequent result. The clause has a much wider meaning than the development and spread of the Church, or even the personal return of Christ at the second advent. It speaks of that which shall be the issue of both this and that, the final and perfect establishment of God's realm, in which all men will do him willing service, and all habits and customs, individual and social, will be such as he approves of (vide Introduction, p. 25.). Dr. C. Taylor ('Sayings,' etc., Exc. 5.) points out that the coming of the kingdom and the sanctifying of the Name are brought together in Zechariah 14:9; Weiss, ' Life,' 2:349, with many others, says that our Lord probably adapted the frequent Jewish prayer for the coming of the kingdom of Messiah. Thy will be done. Let thy will come into complete existence (γενηθήτω; cf. "Let there be light," Genesis 1:3, LXX.). The thought is not merely God's will realized in this or that action, whether performed or endured by us (cf. Matthew 26:42; Acts 21:14), but God's will as a whole coming into full being. God's will is always in ideal until it is accomplished in act. The connexion of the clause with what has gone before is therefore this - the acceptance of God's manifestation of himself leads to the establishment of his realm, and this to the realization of his will, which until then is only ideal (cf. Matthew 5:18, note, end). If this be all the meaning of the words, they express, in fact, only the ultimate result of the consummation prayed for in the preceding clause (hence this portion of the prayer was in itself complete without our present words; cf. Luke 11:2); but since it is so far a distinct thought that it would not immediately suggest itself, it has a worthy place in the fuller form of the prayer. Possibly, however, more may be intended. The full establishment of the kingdom may be only a part of his loving will, which may, for all we know, have countless other things in view. The highest prayer that we can make in the furtherance of God's cause is that his gracious purpose, his will (whatever it may include) may be fully brought about. In earth, as it is in heaven; as in heaven, so on earth (Revised Version). Probably the words are to be joined to only the immediately preceding clause. In heaven God's will is already realized; not yet on earth, where sin has entered. Matthew 6:10
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