῾Η ΒΑΣΛΑΕΛΑ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ orΤΩΝ ΟΥΠΑΝΩΝ -- By: Oliver S. Taylor
BSac 25:98 (April 1868) p. 365
῾Η ΒΑΣΛΑΕΛΑ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ orΤΩΝ ΟΥΠΑΝΩΝ
Our Lord Jesus has directed us to ask, in the beginning of our prayers: “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Except when we hear our Lord’s prayer repeated, is not the form prevailing an inversion of Christ’s order, so as to close our prayers with the petition: “Bring us at length to thy kingdom in heaven.” Here observe an inversion, not merely in that we mention the kingdom of God at the close rather than in the beginning of our prayers; but instead of asking for the “kingdom of God” as in heaven to come on the earth, as if this was our great concern, we ask chiefly to be taken to the kingdom of God in heaven. Jesus taught us to pray for the kingdom of God to come from heaven to earth. We little think of this, but are all concerned in being taken in due time from earth to the kingdom of God in heaven.
Whether this inversion of the order in our Lord’s prayer reveals any departure from the substance of the petition given us to imitate, or any change of thought and effort respecting the kingdom of God, is a question to be in part answered by our study of the common scripture phrase: ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, or τῶν οὐρανῶν, “the kingdom of God,” or “the kingdom of heaven.”
The latter expression, “kingdom of heaven,” is peculiar to Matthew, who uses it as exactly synonymous with the “kingdom of God,” found in parallel verses of the other evangelists. Whatever therefore may be said in explanation of one of these phrases will be also the explanation of the other.
It is first to be observed that the original word βασιλεία, translated in our Bible “kingdom,” may with equal authority, so far as classic use is known, be rendered “dominion” or “reign.”
BSac 25:98 (April 1868) p. 366
It is true, these words are often used as synonymous; hut in most accurate speech they designate two distinct ideas. Each word, “kingdom “and “reign,” implies authority; hut the former designates rather the place or region where the authority is exercised, and the latter the influence from that authority on the mind of its subjects. One’s kingdom is the territory or numbers over which his jurisdiction extends. One’s reign is the influence which goes out from his person to be a force on men’s character and action. He who reigns over men works results on their minds. He effects something in their thoughts, feelings, and wills. He exercises positive control. Here then is a phenomenon in man’s spiritual part, something working a result in mind; and the...
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