“Thy Kingdom Come”

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
—Matthew 6:10

JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES (and us) to pray for his kingdom to come. In this prayer, as outlined by our Lord in Matthew 6:9-13, he tells us to pray for a kingdom to be established on earth where God’s will is to be done as it is being done in heaven. This, of course, will be in sharp contrast to this present evil world (Gal. 1:4), still dominating the earthly scene in our time. Christians have been repeating this prayer for centuries without giving much thought, in many cases, to how and when this kingdom will come. The waiting has been so long in time that many years ago some of the early church fathers started to analyze the delay and concluded that the kingdom had come, as represented in the present Christendom, or kingdom of Christianity. Along with this conclusion, many basic teachings of the Bible were altered to make it fit this concept.


Christianity, therefore, as it is known by the major portion of the world is a religion that has been adopted by the most prominent nations of the Western world. It teaches that people have immortal souls, and that those people accepting Christianity as a religion will go to heaven. The earthly kingdom became a stopping off place for such en route to heaven. To bolster this concept, the words of Jesus as recorded in Luke 17:21, “The kingdom of God is within you,” are used to show that the goal of Christians is heaven, and is a hope within a person adopting Christianity as a religion. In reality, Jesus said, “God’s Royal Majesty is among you.” (Luke 17:21, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott). He was referring to himself as the king of that kingdom who had come to earth and was among them. The Pharisees had asked him when God’s kingdom should come, and his answer was “The Kingdom of God comes not with outward show; nor shall they say, ‘Behold here! or there!’ for, behold, God’s Royal Majesty is among you.”—Luke 17:20,21, WED

On that occasion Jesus certainly could not have meant that the kingdom of God could be within the Pharisees who had asked the question and to whom the answer was directed. Jesus then turned to his disciples and said, “The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” (vs. 22) He was telling them that he would leave them, and then for our sake he projected future events of the time intervening to when he would return. Continuing he said, “They shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.” (vs. 23) This was an allusion to the claims that would be made that the kingdom was in operation. Jesus further explained, “As the lightning [Greek, astrape], that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” (vs. 24) Jesus was referring to the time of his Second Advent when he would shine forth as the Sun of righteousness. (Mal. 4:2) The Greek word astrape means ‘bright shining’ and is derived from the Greek word Aster which means ‘star.’ As used by Jesus it could refer to the bright shining of the sun as it seems to travel from one part of heaven to the other.


Jesus then explained, “First must he suffer many things [culminating in a cruel death on the cross], and be rejected of this generation.” (Luke 17:25) If the disciples could have understood they would have known that the kingdom would not come in their day, even though the ‘Royal Majesty’ of that kingdom was with them at that time. What followed (vss. 26-29) was the explanation by Jesus that events occurring in the days of Noah, and in the days of Lot, were such that routine matters of life hid from the people’s view an understanding of what was coming. He said that those days, and the lack of comprehension, would be similar to the days when he would return and be present, or, as he stated on that occasion, “Thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (vs. 30) It is only then that the Royal Majesty of that kingdom will have come to establish his kingdom.


Today, the concept of Christendom has been retained by Christian nations. Roman Catholics have believed that the millennial kingdom of Christ was fulfilled with the Holy Roman Empire under Charlemagne in A.D. 800. Protestants have used Luke 17:21 as the scripture to indicate that they can implant the hopes of a Christian to go to heaven. The kingdom of God is thought to be Christendom. With this concept of Christianity a book was recently published entitled, “The Next Christendom” by Phillip Jenkins. The book was reviewed in the May 12, 2002 Book Review section of the New York Times. It said:

“Mark your calendar. By the year 2050 six nations—Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, Congo, and the United States—will each have 100 million Christians or more. Sub-Saharan Africa will have long displaced Europe as the leading center of Christianity, while Brazil will count 150 million Catholics and 40 million Protestants. And more than one billion Pentecostals, the poorest of the poor, will be spreading their distinctive brand of Christian supernaturalism.

“Across the Southern Hemisphere a new wave of nondemocratic states with theocratic pretensions, some of them openly repressive, will compete for regional dominance. When they are not fighting among themselves, these Christian regimes will unite against their common foe, Islam. In 2050, almost 20 of the 25 largest nations will be predominantly or entirely Christian or Muslim; at least 10 will be the sites of intense conflict.

“Although Christians will continue to outnumber Muslims, Islam may have the upper hand in the third-world wars. The deciding factor may well be the support provided to oil-producing Muslim regimes by the nations of the industrialized North, whose sentimental attachment to Christianity will be outweighed by economic considerations. Extremists in both religions, meanwhile, will continue to guarantee the absence in the South of women’s rights, freedom of worship, and other misbegotten ideas of the secular North, even as Asia and Africa develop significant military capacity, perhaps based on chemical or biological weapons. The coming havoc, in short, will make the bloody religious wars of the sixteenth century look like calisthenics.”

Instead of Roman Catholics dominating the Christian world, the review states:

“The new world of the South will not conform to the vision of liberation theology or other movements for radical restructuring in developing nations that many European and American liberals still cherish. As Jenkins remarks, quoting one writer on Brazilian religion, ‘the Catholic Church has chosen the poor, but the poor choose the Pentecostals,’ and the choice rankles. Indeed, Pentecostalism does seem to be the wave of the Christian future. Born early in the twentieth century, this Spirit-filled movement, emphasizing the power of personal faith, biblical literalism, visions and prophecy, numbers hundreds of millions of souls in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Its ministers are homegrown products, not seminary-trained missionaries. Apocalyptic visions of extrahistorical justice are more than plausible in societies colored by violence and life-threatening diseases like AIDS. Reliance on faith healers and shamans is also healthier than mounting revolution.

“None of this bodes particularly well for Northern Christians. Black missionaries from the Anglican communities of Africa may be inspired to mount huge missionary crusades to re-evangelize the white, affluent ‘pagans’ of England. And the Catholic Church, faced with huge losses to the people-friendly Pentecostals and new indigenous churches, might soon regret its policy of robbing Africa and Latin America of their already inadequate supplies of priests to serve the relatively priest-rich United States.”

A final assessment of the book says:

“What to make of all this? Statistics are the stock in trade of futurists, and Jenkins adopts the somewhat dubious methods of these secular prophets: he ventures to predict the future by extrapolating current social chaos and catastrophes on roughly the same scale as population is projected to increase. In the case of third-world Christianity and Islam, more is worse.”


This book is a projection of how Christianity and other religions will fare if matters continue as they are headed according to present trends and population growth. Trouble looms on the horizon strictly based on these trends alone. Bible Students know, however, that God will not permit matters to continue as by present trends, and clearly indicates in prophetical writings that changes must occur.

The original mandate given to Father Adam was to multiply and fill the earth. (Gen. 1:28) The King James translators used the word “replenish” which is a wrong translation. The earth was not populated before. Population started with Adam and Eve. As earth’s population grew, concerns started to arise. Prominent among these was the projections made by Thomas Malthus (1798) that poverty and stress would be unavoidable because population was growing by a geometric ratio (rising rapidly) and the means of subsistence by an arithmetic ratio (in a straight line). Worldwide disaster was predicted because factors such as war and disease for slowing population growth would not be enough to do so.

The Industrial Revolution and the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy that in “the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,” (Dan. 12:4) were unforeseen by Malthus. The inventions and increased knowledge have made possible a growth beyond the Malthusian projections. Today, everyone does not benefit from these inventions and selfishness continues to hinder their application. Periodically, scientists look at population growth and predict disaster. In their eyes, the earth is already overfilled. When will the earth be filled? There are signs that it must be at hand.


The Bible message reveals that the first step to be taken toward stabilizing earth’s society is the displacement of the old order on earth with a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Peter 3:13) These are symbolic terms describing new spiritual rulers and a social order to be established upon earth. It is under this new arrangement that God’s kingdom comes as we have been taught to pray. We believe that procreation will cease as explained by Jesus in Matt. 22:23-32, because the earth will be filled. Procreation was a special gift from God designed to fill the earth with human beings. Its termination will coincide with the establishment of Christ’s kingdom of righteousness on earth.

Then, the program of bringing back all those who have died will begin. Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28,29, Revised Standard Version) The earth will be comfortably filled when all these in reality come back from the dead.


The attraction that Pentecostalism has had to the poor, with its offer of Divine healing and God’s blessing, is to be realized. Such will be actually provided as the real benefits of the kingdom. The wonderful examples of healing works that Jesus performed during his earthly ministry will become the rule for everyone as Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled. (Isa. 35:1-10) The elimination of poverty, distress, hunger, malnutrition, and insecurity will be the hallmarks of that kingdom. (Isa. 11:1-9) Many beautiful prophecies concerning that kingdom will be fulfilled. As we look at the title of the book that was just issued ,“The Next Christendom,” we could almost say this could be the title of the Bible, if Christendom only didn’t have the association with the present imperfect Christian nations of earth. The Bible’s message is all about a kingdom to come.

A prophecy to be fulfilled says, “It shall come to pass in the last days [our time], that the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains [all the kingdoms of earth], and shall be exalted above the hills [over every other authority on earth]; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [the new heavens, the new spiritual rulers, the Christ head and body] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the earthly phase of the kingdom under the Ancient Worthies].” (Isa. 2:2,3) The need for different religions will disappear as all people will want to learn the new religion as defined by the law and Word of the Lord.

After centuries of learning the wrong precepts and ways of false religion, this will not come easily. The prophecy continues by saying, “He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.” (vs. 4) They will be quick to learn the right way and all the misguided concepts of false religion will be discarded. The climax to learning the correct religious life to follow comes when the prophet states, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (vs. 4) The unlearning of all the false religious doctrines will include unlearning warfare. Wars between Christian nations have been a blight on the name of Christianity. The Royal Majesty of that kingdom, the Prince of Peace, will make certain that peace will prevail. How eagerly we await the fulfillment of that prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” May we with more fervor and thanksgiving continue to pray for it.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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