Questions From Readers
In his model prayer, did Jesus imply that God’s will was being done in heaven even though the wicked angels had not yet been cast out?
As recorded at Matthew 6:10, Jesus said: “Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” This request could be understood in either of two ways. First, as a petition for God’s will to be done on earth as it was already being done in heaven or, second, as a request that it be done fully both in heaven and on earth.* The meaning behind Jesus’ preceding words, “let your kingdom come,” indicates that the second view is more in harmony with the Scriptures. And it reflects the situation when Jesus was on earth and the long period thereafter. How so?
The book of Revelation points to two distinct results of the establishment of God’s Kingdom in heaven. The first affects heaven itself, the second, the earth. Says Revelation 12:7-9, 12: “War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”
The expelling of Satan and the demons from heaven after 1914 purged that realm of all spirit rebels, bringing much joy to Jehovah’s loyal angelic sons, who represent by far the majority of his spirit creation. (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Revelation 12:10) Thus, the request in Jesus’ model prayer, as far as it applied to heaven, was fulfilled. All who remained in that heavenly realm were loyal to Jehovah and fully submissive to his sovereignty.
It must be stressed that even before that, when the wicked angels still had access to heaven, they were outcasts from God’s family and under definite restrictions. For instance, Jude 6 reveals that already in the first century C.E., they were “reserved with eternal bonds under dense [spiritual] darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Likewise, 2 Peter 2:4 says: “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus [a state of utter debasement], delivered them to pits of dense [spiritual] darkness to be reserved for judgment.”*
In marked contrast with their status as outcasts while yet in heaven, the wicked angels have exercised great authority over earth. In fact, God’s Word calls Satan “the ruler of this world,” and it calls the demons “the world rulers of this darkness.” (John 12:31; Ephesians 6:11, 12; 1 John 5:19) Because of his authority, the Devil could offer Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” in exchange for one act of worship. (Matthew 4:8, 9) Clearly, then, when God’s Kingdom ‘comes’ as far as the earth is concerned, it will effect radical changes.
Here on earth, the ‘coming’ of God’s Kingdom will result in a completely new system of things. The Kingdom will crush all man-made rulerships and become earth’s sole government. At the same time, its God-fearing human subjects will be “a new earth.” (2 Peter 3:13; Daniel 2:44) The Kingdom will also eradicate sin from obedient humankind and in time make the earth into a global paradise, thus eliminating every single trace of satanic rule.
At the conclusion of the Millennium, when the Messianic Kingdom has accomplished God’s will for it, “the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.” (1 Corinthians 15:28) Then there will be a final test, after which Satan, his demons, and any misled human rebels will be permanently eliminated in “the second death.” (Revelation 20:7-15) Thereafter, all intelligent creation in heaven and on earth will forever exercise joyful submission to Jehovah’s loving sovereignty. In every respect, that will be the complete fulfillment of the words of Jesus’ model prayer.
The apostle Peter likened this spiritually outcast condition to being in “prison.” However, he did not mean the future “abyss” that the demons will be cast into for a thousand years.