“Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, as it is in heaven, also on earth.” Matthew 6:10
Earth – When we follow the pattern of prayer taught by our Lord, we endorse the Hebrew view of deliverance. Praying “Your kingdom come on earth” focuses our attention of the Hebrew verb yasa’. Of course, this verb doesn’t appear in our text, not even when we translate the Greek expression back into Yeshua’s native tongue. But the context of the coming Kingdom is exactly what we would expect from the Hebrew worldview. What God is doing He is doing here and now. The focus of our attention is His Kingdom on earth. Soulen writes, “Redemption does not mean deliverance from this history but liberation within and for it.” Maybe we need to read that again. We are not adopted into the Kingdom in order to wait at the bus stop until the Heaven Express pulls up to take us away. For the follower of YHWH, there is no escape plan. Rapture isn’t escape. It’s “job well done.” If we’re not part of restoring the Kingdom here and now, we won’t be ready for His return. God is not waiting for the end to make a change.
Christian preaching in the last one hundred years has been so preoccupied with “getting to heaven” that it lost urgency about the Kingdom here and now, where God is at work. The new heaven and the new earth don’t happen until God is finished with His restoration work, delivering this earth from the forces of destruction. Deliverance puts us into the battle for restoration, not for removal. Perhaps this is why Yeshua chose the days of Noah as the context of “one taken and one left.” We stay. The wicked go. God does not give up on this place and opt to leave. Re-creation comes when His will is finished on earth.
Adopting this upside-down view of involvement in His Kingdom changes things. We have been focused on getting people “saved.” Saved from what? Saved from the threat of hell? That pushes the good news into a box labeled, “Open after I die.” But the good news is peace with God now. Discipleship is doing the Father’s will on this battlefield. Dying is a sad affair because I can no longer carry on the fight for His righteousness. Instead of hoping to get out, I should be anxious to remain in (remember Sha’ul’s dilemma?). Today’s agenda is “Your will done here, Lord.”
If the gospel message is removed from its context on this earth, if it ignores what God is doing in this concrete history with real people and real nations, then our lives become merely a test – and a rather pointless one at that. When we realize our need for a deliverer, we embrace His grace and mercy. We are ready to live for Him. So, why not just take us home? Why make us struggle through the valley of the shadow of death if the purpose is to get us into heaven? Let’s just board the bus. But that isn’t the purpose, is it? Life is not a test. It is the place where the Kingdom comes. It’s where you work out your deliverance because He is working in His restoration. Better stick around, huh?
 R. Kendall Soulen, The God of Israel and Christian Theology (Fortress Press, 1996), p. 176.
Topical Index: earth, heaven, gospel, Matthew 6:10, Soulen, deliverance, yasa’