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Understanding the Lord's Prayer

Let Your Kingdom Come

Millions regularly recite Jesus' model prayer, recorder at Matthew 6:9-13. But how many have been taught its meaning, especially the first part of the prayer dealing with God's name and Kingdom? These subjects are so important that Jesus placed them first in the prayer.

It begins: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified," meaning hallowed, or made holy. Note that Jesus said to pray for God's name to be sanctified. To many people, that raises at least two questions. First, what is God's name? And second, why does it need to be sanctified?

The answer to the first question can be found in over 7,000 places in the Bible in its original languages. One is at Psalm 83:18: "That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." Concerning the divine name, Jehovah, Exodus 3:15 says: "This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation." (Some scholars prefer the rendering "Yahweh" instead of "Jehovah". However, most modern Bible translators have erased God's name from their versions in any form, replacing it with generic titles "Lord" or "God".) But why does the name of God, which is the very epitome of purity and holiness, need to be sanctified? Because it has been reproached and maligned from the very beginning of human history.

In Eden, God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 2:17) Satan brazenly contradicted God, saying to Eve: "You positively will not die." Hence, Satan accused God of lying. Yet, he did not rest there. He heaped still more reproach on God's name, telling Eve that God was unjustly withholding valuable knowlegde from her. "For God knows that in the very day of your eating from [the tree of the knowledge of good and bad] your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad." What slander! - Genesis 3: 4,5.

By partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve took their stand with Satan. Most humans since then, knowingly or not, have added to that original reproach by rejecting God's righteous standards (1 John 5:19) People still malign God by blaming him for thier suffering - even though it may be due to their own bad ways. "A man's own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the Lord," saiys Proverbs 19:3 (The new English Bible) Can you see why Jesus, who truly loved his Father, prayed that His name be sanctified?

"Let Your Kingdom Come"

After praying for God's name to be sanctified, Jesus said: "Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth." (Matthew 6:10) Concerning that passage, we may ask: 'What is God's Kingdom? And what does its coming have to do with God's will being done on earth?'

In the Bible, the word "kingdom" basically means a "rulership by a king." Logically, then, God's Kingdom would refer to a rulership, or government, by God, with a king of his choosing. This King is none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ - the "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19: 16; Daniël 7: 13,14) Concerning God's Messianic Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, the prophet Daniël wrote: "In the days of those kings [human governments now ruling] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and itself will stand to times indefinite," that is, forever - Daniël 2: 44.

Yes, God's Kingdom will take complete control of the earth, ridding it of all the wicked and ruling "to times indefinite," that is, forever. In this way, God's Kingdom is the means by which Jehovah sanctifies his name, clearing it of all the lying reproach of Satan and wicked humans. - Ezekiël 36: 23.

Like all governments, God's Kingdom has subjects. Who are these? The Bible answers: "The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace." (Psalm 37:11) Similarly, Jesus said: "Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth." Of course, these ones have acurrate knowledge of God, which is a requirement for life. - Matthew 5: 5; John 17: 3.

Can you imagine the whole earth filled with meek, mild-tempered people who truly love God and love one another? (1 John 4: 7, 8) That is what Jesus prayed for when he said :"Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth." Do you appreciate why Jesus taught his followers to pray that way? More important, do you see how that prayer's fulfillment may affect you personally?

Your Name Be Sancitied

ŠThe Watchtower
Adapted from The Watchtower, april 1, 2002