“Let Your Kingdom Come”
1, 2. (a) What do the clergy claim the Kingdom’s coming means, and how is their application of Romans 14:17 wrong? (b) What does this verse mean?
GOD’S kingdom is the mighty agency by means of which he sanctifies his holy name and proves to all the creation that he is the Sovereign of the universe. Christendom’s clergy claim that the Kingdom here prayed for is in the hearts of Christians and is a spiritual condition enjoyed by them, and that the Kingdom’s coming means the converting of the people to Christ and putting God in the governments and kingdoms of this old world. They quote in support Romans 14:15-17: “Do not by your food ruin that one for whom Christ died. Do not, therefore, let the good you do be spoken of with injury to you. For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but means righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit.” (NW) Frankly, then, if the Kingdom is to come by converting this world and putting God in its political governments by the influence of the clergy, the prayer for the Kingdom to come will never be answered. Look at Christendom today, not to speak of heathendom. Mark her fear of so-called “godless Communism”. Her only defense against it is the military bulwarks of democratic powers. Roman Catholics are now taught to pray for Russia’s conversion, that is, a conversion to Roman Catholicism, not to Russian Orthodox religion. But Hitler’s Nazi hordes failed to open up Russia for the easy invasion of Roman Catholicism; and now even the fall of the Soviet regime internally or its defeat militarily would never hasten the conversion of the Communist peoples to Catholicism, much less to true Christianity.
2 If, according to Romans 14:17, people’s having righteousness, peace and joy with holy spirit means the Kingdom is existing among men, then how much of these things do Italy, France, Spain, and the rest of Christendom have? Certainly not enough to prove that God’s kingdom exists among them. But what Romans 14:17 says is that, if we possess righteousness, peace and joy with holy spirit, this means we will gain a place with Christ Jesus in God’s kingdom. Gaining that kingdom is not by eating and drinking. It is by taking part in these other spiritual things, just as our taking in knowledge of the only true God and of Jesus Christ means everlasting life; it gains everlasting life in the new world for us.—John 17:3, NW.
3. What, then, is that kingdom which is to come, and so what does praying for its coming mean for governments of this world?
3 The kingdom that is to come is the kingdom concerning which God made a covenant with King David and concerning which Daniel the prophet said: “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” An inspired dream of Daniel foretells, too, that this divine kingdom will be put into the hands of Christ Jesus, the Son of man and Son of David. His faithful body of followers, his little flock of joint heirs, will inherit that kingdom with him. (Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14, 18, 22, 27, AS) Hence when a child of the heavenly Father prays for His kingdom to come he is praying for God’s kingdom in Christ’s hands to break to pieces and obliterate all the political systems of this world at the battle of Armageddon. If patriots do not like this thought, let them quit praying this prayer.
4, 5. (a) When and how was that kingdom brought to power? (b) What was one mighty expression of its coming to power?
4 In 1914, in harmony with Daniel’s vision, the Son of man, Christ Jesus, was brought before the Ancient of days, the heavenly Father, and “there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, 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”. In this way Jehovah took his great power and began reigning toward our earth and put his Son in power to rule in the midst of his enemies.
5 1914 was the divinely marked year for this assumption of power over our earth, because that year the “appointed times of the nations” ran out. They had begun 2,520 years before with the overthrow of God’s typical kingdom in Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple of Solomon. Their end in 1914 must mark the setting up of God’s kingdom in the hands of his Heir to the Kingdom covenant, Jesus Christ, and the assigning of all nations to be broken to pieces like potters’ vessels by the iron rod of his reigning King. Thus the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come to pass. One mighty expression of this fact was the “war in heaven” and the forcible ousting of Satan and his demons and the confining of them to this earth for final attention. No wonder we can hear today all over the earth the thunderous voice of a great witness-crowd saying as with the roar of many waters: “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.”—Rev. 12:1-12; 19:6, NW.
6. So should we stop praying for the Kingdom to come? Why or why not?
6 Does this mean, then, that our heavenly Father’s kingdom has come, that is, come in the way meant in the Lord’s prayer and that we should now stop making this petition? No; for, as pictured by the prophetic dream which Daniel interpreted for King Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom has been given existence like the rock which was cut out of the mountain without aid of human hands. But this Kingdom rock must still come against the idolatrous image of Satan’s world organization and hit its feet or visible part and knock the image from its base and completely destroy it in the battle of Armageddon. When King David of old was ruling in the midst of his foes in the Promised Land he had to come against all the enemies and subdue them all until he had reached every border of the kingdom’s God-given domain. Likewise Christ Jesus the Son of David, who is now ruling in the midst of his enemies, must yet come like a thief at an unexpected day and hour against these enemies lined up at Armageddon and must break up their organized power and grind them to powder.—Dan. 2:31-35, 44, 45; Rev. 16:13-16.
7. When therefore is the prayer for its coming fully answered?
7 The first expression of the Kingdom’s coming was when it began the tribulation on Satan’s world organization and hurled him down from the heavens. The complete expression of its coming will be when it revives this tribulation which has been interrupted since 1918 and wipes out Satan’s organization at Armageddon. There Jesus the King binds Satan and his demons, casts them into the abyss and seals it up for a thousand years. Then Christ Jesus will begin reigning for a millennium without any hindrance from this world. Then, therefore, is when the prayer is fully answered: “Let your kingdom come.”—Rev. 19:11 to 20:3.
8. Where is it to come, and why there? How far is it to extend?
8 This earth is the place to which God’s kingdom comes or extends its power and dominion, for it is here that Satan has separated mankind from God. Now since he has been hurled down here, the earth is the center of rebellion, an island of rebellion in all the universe; and God is localizing the war of Armageddon to just this earth and vicinity. God’s covenant with King David for an everlasting kingdom was not for just a spiritual state of religiousness and morality but was also for possession of territory. God held down David’s dominion to just the land God designated in his covenant with David’s forefather Abraham, known as the Promised Land. But the territory that the prophecy assigns to God’s kingdom by Christ will be “from sea to sea, and from the River [Euphrates, Babylon’s one-time seat] unto the ends of the earth”. The stone symbolizing God’s kingdom crushes Satan’s political image and becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth. We read further: “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.”—Ps. 72:8; Dan. 2:35; Isa. 9:6, 7, AS; Gen. 15:18-20.
9. How is it that God’s will comes to pass here as in heaven?
9 From this standpoint we can appreciate more intelligently the petition that immediately follows the prayer for God’s kingdom: “Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10, NW) This is generally understood to mean that God’s will is to be done by human creatures on earth as it is done by spirit angels up in heaven. But does it mean just that? Or rather that God will do what he wants to do here on earth by means of his kingdom just the same as he does it up in heaven? Rather the latter, although it includes the former thought too. As it is written: “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased.” “Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that hath he done, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” Says he: “I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; . . . yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.” (Pss. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 46:9-11, AS; also Eccl. 3:14; 8:3) At his appointed year, 1914, he brought his kingdom to birth by enthroning Christ Jesus as King in the midst of his enemies. And Jesus, who taught us to pray for God’s will to be done here, is faithfully carrying out his will toward this earth just as he did toward heaven when he fought and cast Satan and his demons down from there. Jesus once came to earth as a man to do his Father’s will here. For so doing he was raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven to continue doing his Father’s will forevermore.
10. Who on earth are now doing God’s will, but how not Christendom?
10 Now the time for Satan to rage and do his will, bringing woe upon earth and sea and persecuting Jehovah’s people on earth, is very short indeed. That is why he is so angry and is now trying to do his worst, so as to destroy all mankind and especially the remnant of the heirs of God’s kingdom and all their crowd of goodwill companions and fellow witnesses. But the remnant are not terrified by Satan’s anger and his warfare, but “observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus”. They and their good-will companions are wholly committed to doing God’s will. Hence they are now obediently having part in fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy concerning the end of this world: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Rev. 12:12, 13, 17; Matt. 24:14, NW) But not so Christendom! She regularly says her “Pater Noster” (Latin meaning “Our Father”) but does not do God’s will. She fights the true interests of God’s kingdom and fights Jehovah’s witnesses who proclaim that the Kingdom has been set up. She is now divided within herself by hot and cold wars over international communism, and she is inconsistently serving both sides of the conflict.
11. How will the destruction God brings about allow for his will to come to pass on our earth as well as in heaven?
11 As regards God’s will to be done in the heavens, he has installed the new heavenly powers to rule the coming righteous new world and has ousted Satan and his demons and limited their activities now to the earth. His installed King now has all his enemies at his footstool the earth and is ruling among them. Shortly he will destroy Satan’s wicked heavens and earth, Satan’s invisible and visible organization. Following this destruction he will build up a new human society the members of which will love to do God’s will. Thus God’s will to have a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells will be done, in fulfillment of his promise. (2 Pet. 3:13; Isa. 65:17; 66:22) It is not God’s will to destroy this literal earth, no more than to destroy the literal heavens. These shall abide forever. Because his will is to preserve this earthly globe through the battle of Armageddon, his will can and will be done here also as it is done up in heaven.