Why should disciples pray for the kingdom to come?


Why did our Lord teach His disciples to pray “Thy Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10), yet later say to Pilate in John 18:36, “My Kingdom is not of this world”?

How can I reconcile these statements?

It may be said on the face of it that, if we take the expression, “Thy Kingdom come,” by itself, there is nothing to affirm that the Kingdom referred to is of this world. The expression is often used to-day of what would be termed “God’s cause”—”not meat or drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” When we speak of the Kingdom of God coming, why, it may be asked, should we not be referring to the spiritual Kingdom? However, I am not advocating this use of the term, as we ought to take the words in their context. Such a question as this shews how important it is “rightly to divide the word of truth,” and to recognise the dispensational change, which occurred even in the brief space of our Lord’s ministry.

The kingdom that John, and subsequently our Lord and His apostles, proclaimed, was the Kingdom for which the disciples were taught to pray. This Kingdom, as we have shewn more than once lately, was the fifth Kingdom foretold by the prophet Daniel (chap. 2. ). Babylon, Medo-Persja and Greece had lost their power, and for nearly a century Jerusalem had been subject to Rome. The Lord Jesus was born King of the Jews. Born of the seed of David according to the flesh, He was the rightful heir to the Throne. He offered Himself as such. His miraculous works were His credentials, but these were in Matthew 9 and 12 imputed by His foes to Satan, and His rejection on the day of His entry into Jerusalem became a foregone conclusion.

This in no way set on one side the necessity of atonement, but that is kept in the back-ground till Matthew 16:21: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must suffer and be killed and be raised again the third day.” The Lord could not reign over an unrepentant people, and only, if repentant, on the ground of atonement. The setting up of the Messianic earthly kingdom was then postponed, so that the Lord’s words to Pilate fit into their place: His Kingdom had then for the time being lost its earthly character. When once more He claims the Kingdom, it will be as the Son of Man, coming in glory, and then it will be established by force. It will be said in that day, “The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” The Millennial Kingdom will be the vestibule of the “Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”