Matthew 6:10 is the tenth verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse is the second one of the Lord's Prayer, one of the best known parts of the entire New Testament. This verse contains the second and third petitions to God.
- Thy kingdom come,
- Thy will be done in
- earth, as it is in heaven.
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
- Let your Kingdom come.
- Let your will be done, as
- in heaven, so on earth.
For a collection of other versions see BibRef Matthew 6:10
The opening of this verse, like the end of the last ones, echoes the Jewish Qaddish prayer. That prayer contained a call for the Kingdom of God to begin in one's lifetime.
Kingdom is a metaphor for the Kingdom of God that the Jewish messiah was meant to bring. At several places in the New Testament Jesus states that he has brought the kingdom, and that this kingdom is the Christian faith, not the worldly empire that had been expected. Fowler notes that some have thus argued that this prayer is out of date, that it was intended for a pre-Christian audience not one where Christianity is already established. One response to this is that Christianity is far from universal, and that this phrase is a call for the Kingdom of Christ to spread to those who do not yet believe. Even those who do believe are never perfect Christians, and some part of their heart is always left untouched, and this verse can thus be read as calling for the full adoption of Christianity. Alternatively it is common to see kingdom as having more than one meaning in the New Testament, and that while Jesus did inaugurate and new kingdom, this verse is eschatological and looking forward to the final end times.
There is also debate over how eschatological the third petition is. The will of God could refer to the power of God, the manifestation of his reign, and the last petition is simply an addendum to the second calling for God's power to be made manifest on Earth as clearly as it is in Heaven, a clear reference to the end times. The second interpretation is that the petition is a call for humans to obey God's will, his commandments and ethical teachings. A call for proper human behaviour, rather than for divine intervention.
In the original Greek the phrase "in earth, as it is in heaven" is ambiguous. Either it can mean that things on Earth should become as they are in Heaven, or it could be read as stating that these things should be done in both Earth and Heaven. The first interpretation is the most common, and this gives us rare information about Heaven, making clear that in that realm God's will is fully enacted. It is uncertain whether this phrase is intended to only modify the last petition, or all three.
- Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew: Volume One. Joplin: College Press, 1968
- Hendriksen, William. The Gospel of Matthew. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976
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