“Thy Kingdom come,” Matthew 6:10
Come – There is little doubt that the Greek text of Matthew reads eltheto. Literally, the verse is “Let come the kingdom of You.” Eltheto is an active imperative. That means it is a command – a call to action – not simply an observation. There are plenty of commentaries that elaborate the nature of this call. But Gordon and Johnson discovered something radically different when they investigated the copies of the Hebrew version of Matthew. What they discovered is that the original Hebrew gospel probably read “Your Kingdom be blessed,” not “Your Kingdom come.” The difference is significant.
The Greek version of this prayer focuses our attention on the future arrival of the Kingdom. It looks for something that has yet to be. It projects an image of the heavenly government as the eventual objective of the earthly realm. This is commonly described in Christian circles as the “already but not yet” dynamic of the Kingdom.
But if the Hebrew version is the original, things change. The prayer is much more in line with Yeshua’s proclamation that “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Instead of “Your Kingdom come,” the text reads “Your Kingdom be blessed.” Suddenly this prayer is about God’s reign and rule here, on this earth, at this moment. It is a proclamation of blessing on the present manifestation of the Kingdom. Just like the Greek text, it is a call to action, but now it is a call not for the arrival of some future government, it is a call to act in accordance with the present Kingdom of YHWH and, by so doing, bless His reign. It is a call to look around you and see where God is at work and join Him there. It is a call to right living right now.
You might wonder how such an immediate presence of the Kingdom ever got changed to a far-off expectation. After all, it is very Jewish to think in terms of a present manifestation of God’s reality. Why would a Greek translator shift the focus to the future? While the answer is now hidden in the historical past, we might speculate that this might be expected from a Greek point of view. In the Greek world, significance and meaning are lodged in the future where the utopian ideal will come about. The world today is a mess. The world tomorrow will be better. So, our hope is pushed over the horizon. Some day we will get to heaven – and everything will be wonderful.
The Hebrew perspective is back, not forward. We are called to return to the original, not project a utopian tomorrow. Our focus is on this day, the day God has given us to bring about one more act of restoring what was lost. Genesis is our goal, not simply our beginning. Of course, we can go right on praying the Greek version, but we might have to pause a bit.
Topical Index: come, eltheto, kingdom, Matthew 6:10
 According to Gordon and Johnson, A Prayer to Our Father, there are 28 extant copies of a Hebrew version of Matthew in various libraries around the world. One of these copies of earlier manuscripts was done by a Jew named Pozanski. In his copy, he corrects the Hebrew text to match the Greek common reading but makes a note about the correction in the margin, indicating the different Hebrew word.