Anyone who has ever tried to organize a church or community event will realize that getting multiple people to the same point in space and time is a rather significant thing. Everyone has their own agenda and their own obligations, so the event we seek to schedule has to be one that becomes a priority for all invited for the time suggested. If it is not a priority for them, it’s all but impossible to plan. It becomes exponentially more difficult if just one of the parties invited is completely unaware of the event (as in a surprise party). How much more difficult if many are unaware and at the same time most are indifferent?
Yet it is to God’s great glory that this is exactly what He is doing. Not only with every human soul, but with all created beings. Further, He is doing this while numbers of them are not merely unaware or indifferent, but actively working against Him! God is bringing history to a conclusion. He is bringing the blessing of Himself to lost mankind. Not only that, but He is doing so while all the time having expressly told created beings that He is going to do it. As though to give His enemies every possible opportunity to try to thwart Him. But do it He will, as all His prophets have already foreseen the foregone conclusion.
As N.T. Wright wrote, “The prophets had promised it. Ezekiel: yhwh himself will come to be the shepherd of Israel. Zechariah: yhwh will come, and all his saints with him. Malachi (with more than a tinge of warning): the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his Temple. And, towering over them all, Isaiah: there will be a highway in the wilderness; the valleys and mountains will be flattened out; the glory of yhwh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” The day will come. God will come to the earth, and His Kingdom will be physically and fully manifested here. What we can only perceive with spiritual sight now we will then see with physical eyes. God’s kingdom will come.
Then we will no longer have to pray, “your kingdom come,” because it will have already come, as fully and completely as it could ever arrive. God’s kingdom will come. But until it is fully physically manifested on earth, we pray. Not only for its eventual fulfillment, but for ever greater manifestations of it in the here and now.
We pray that because we long to see more of it during our lifetime. To enjoy more of it, and to see the joy of others as they enjoy more of it. To see more of the purity of His Kingdom. To experience more of the peace of His Kingdom. To know more righteousness and joy in the Holy Spirit.
We have those things now, of course. But not in perfect measure, nor in lasting measure, for at present His Kingdom is not yet fully manifested. When His Kingdom is fully manifested it will be one of complete health and well-being and complete and everlasting provision. One in which we do not see peace come and go, or health fade and sickness reign unto death. One in which we do not see prosperity whither away due to corruption or loss. For, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
So we pray as Jesus instructed us to pray, “your kingdom come,” that we might see more of more of His rule breaking into our brokenness. That we might see done on earth what is a regular, daily and almost mundane experience in heaven.
We may say that in the possession of the Spirit we who are in Christ have a foretaste of the blessings of the age to come, and a pledge and guarantee of the resurrection of the body. Yet we have only the firstfruits. We look forward to the final consummation of the kingdom of God, when we shall enjoy these blessings to the full.Anthony A. Hoekema
Today, pray for more opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God into your community.