“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
Key Word Analysis
ὅτι ` σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία, καὶ ἡ δύναμις, καὶ ἡ δόξα, εἰς τοῦς αἰῶνας ἀμήν
This begins the last chapter of verse and word discussion. In this last phrase, Jesus gives the reason that the Father can and will answer the prayers and honor the life of the believer. In the words preceding these, the needs or wants of the believer are given. There is an implied authority in word’s receiver. The Father can and will answer or complete these requests. But why he would do so is implied previous to this phrase.
Here the total idea of the prayer or life-guide is made complete. While this last phrase is not found in all versions of this passage, it is included here because the editors of The Update New American Standard Bible chose to include them. The theological discussion around its inclusion is not the focus of this analysis. This phrase completes the authority and the content of the passage. Because the Father is who he is, the requests of the believer will be answered.
For/ὅτι is the conjunction tying it all together. Used to express that, for or because it ties the authority of the receiver to the words of the requester.[i] The believer is to ask for or live the objectives of the passage because all of the kingdom, earthly or heavenly, is under the authority of the Father, the recipient of the prayer. The first verses of the passage are possible because of this verse. There are many similar uses of the word in the New Testament.
“Because they were no more.” Matthew 2”18
“because they were distressed.” Matthew 9:36
“he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.” Matthew 14:5
“because he had married her.” Mark 6:17
“because they have remained with me”, Mark 8:2
“because they knew him to be Christ”, Luke 4:41
“because he was travelling toward Jerusalem.” Luke 9:53
“because I said to you”, John 1:50
“because he did need anyone to testify”, John 2:25
Yours/ σοῦ gives the Father possession of the remainder of the passage. Is/ἐστιν shows that possession to be in the present tense, existing today. This is significant because it indicates that Jesus was not giving a history lesson or speaking toward the future kingdom, but speaking of the kingdom of today . Is/ἐστιν also indicates first person singular.[ii] The Father is a singular person. The language is specific. It describes the authority of the Father even in the word tense chosen by Jesus.
Kingdom/ βασιλεία indicates not only the span of authority of the Father, but also his royalty. This word choice indicates kingship, royal power or royal rule.[iii] It is not a political or government territory but one that is royal, led by a King. This statement of royalty is different than the political or government leader Jews of that day were looking for in the Messiah. One wonders if the disciples heard that difference. This word was most commonly used to refer to a royal kingdom not of Earth but of Heaven. Matthew documented Jesus’ use of this word many times, in nineteen of his twenty eight chapters.
“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2
“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3
“Your kingdom come”, Matthew 6:10
“will enter the kingdom”, Matthew 7:21
“in the kingdom of Heaven”, Matthew 8:12
“the gospel of the kingdom”, Matthew 9:35
“The kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7
“the one who is least in the kingdom”, Matthew 11:11
“Any kingdom”, Matthew 12:25
“the mysteries of the kingdom”, Matthew 13:11
“the keys of the kingdom”, Matthew 16:19
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom?” Matthew 18:1
“for the sake of the kingdom”, Matthew 19:12
“The kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner”, Mathew 20:1
“will get in the kingdom”, Matthew 21:31
“The kingdom of Heaven may be compared”, Matthew 22:2
“because you shut off the kingdom of Heaven”, Matthew 23:13
“kingdom against kingdom”, Matthew 24:7
Power/ δύναμις is also not a political or worldly word choice, but one that means strength or power related to miracles, power or mighty works.[iv] It is more commonly translated as miracles in modern Bibles. This is not normal, human power but the supernatural power only a god or God the Father can possess.
“in Your name perform many miracles.” Matthew 7:22
“in which most of his miracles were done.” Matthew 11:20
“For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre”, Mathew 11:21.
“And He could do no miracle there”, Mark 6:5.
“these miraculous powers are at work in him.” Mark 6:14
“after it has come with power.” Mark 9:1
“who will perform such a miracle in My name”, Mark 9:39
“and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.” Mark 13:25
“in the spirit and power of Elijah”, Luke 1:17
“in the power of the Spirit”, Luke 4:14
“but you will receive power”, Acts 1:8.
Glory/ δόξα completes the trio of authority given to the Father by Jesus. He has the heavenly kingdom and the miraculous power that deserves the honor, praise and worship here given as glory by this word choice.
“Glory to God in the highest.” Luke 2:14
“And the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:32
“who returned to give glory to God”, Luke 17:18
“I did not receive glory from men.” John 5:41
“The glory which you have given me”, John 17:22
“he did not give God the glory”, Acts 12:23
“but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good”, Romans 2:10
Glory/ δόξα also communicate the majesty or exalted state of God. This is the more common translation of this Hebrew word but as just illustrated, not the only translation. As majesty, it is translated in the New Testament one hundred and fifty five times. As honor or praise, it is used thirteen times.[v]
“all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” Matthew 4:8
“Solomon in all his glory”, Matthew 6:26
“the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne”, Matthew 19:28
“on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory”, Matthew 25:31
“one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” Mark 10:37
“coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Mark 13:26
“I will give You all this domain and its glory.” Luke 4:6
“Solomon in all his goory”, Luke 12:27
“The Son of May coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:27
“you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40
“he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.” John 12:41
“The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham”, Acts 7:2
“because of the brightness of that light”, Acts 22:11
“the truth of God abounded to his glory”, Romans 3:7
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father”, Romans 6:4
The last word of the passage content prior to Amen is an adjective giving its time frame. Forever/ αἰῶνας indicates ever, evermore, end of the age and eternal. In some cases it also indicates never, the opposite of the traditional meaning for this passage. Because of that difference, careful translation by verse is necessary. In this passage it indicates evermore or eternal. This same meaning is present in many other New Testament passages.
“the harvest is the end of the age”, Matthew 13:39
“so it will be at the end of the age the angels will come forth”, Matthew 13:49
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.” Luke 1:33
“To Abraham and his descendants forever.” Luke 1:55
“he will live forever”, John 6:51
“the son does remain forever.” John 8:35
“who is blessed forever.” Romans 1:25
“who is overall, God blessed forever.” Romans 9:5
“His righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:9
“He who is blessed forever”, 2 Corinthians 11:31
“to whom be the glory forevermore.” Galatians 1:5
This last phrase gives the why of the passage. God the Father will honor these prayers or ways of life because He is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, until the end of all the ages, until the end of the universe as know it. The final phrase of the passage gives the reason for living the passage. The earthly life should be lived in the perspective that God the Father controls all in Heaven and on Earth, for now and for eternity. The word choices of Jesus have been examined. How the disciples would have accepted those words through the perspective of their lives up to this point is our next focus.
Historical Theology Analysis
Yours attached the words that followed with the receiver of the prayer or the objective of the life objectives identified by the passage. It would have been familiar to the disciples much as it is to us today. It was used in almost every book of the Old Testament.
“you shall surely die, you an all who are yours.” Genesis 20:7
“The honor is yours”, Exodus 8:9
“Every grain of offering of yours”, Leviticus 2:13
“This shall be yours”, Numbers 18:9
“who can do such works and mighty acts as yours?” Deuteronomy 11:24
“Our life for yours”, Joshua 2:14
“the honor shall not be yours”, Judges 4:9
The kingdom was equally familiar and common in the Old Testament, but not introduced until the book of Numbers. It did not appear in Genesis, Exodus or Leviticus. The kingdom concept began in the day of Moses and did not apply originally to The Kingdom of God but to earthly kingdoms. It evolved from earthly kingdoms to the kingdom of Israel to the Kingdom of God.
“the kingdom of Og”, Numbers 32:33
“the kingdom of Og”, Deuteronomy 3:4
“the kingdom of Og”, Deuteronomy 3:13
“the kingdom of Og”, Joshua 13:12
“the kingdom of Shinon king of the Amorites”, Joshua 13:21
“the kingdom over Israel”, 1 Samuel 14:47
“the kingdom of Israel”, 1Samuel 15:28
“now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 1 Samuel 18:8
“the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.” 1 Samuel 24:20
“to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul”, 2 Samuel 3:10
While the contemporary language of Jesus would have indicated a royal kingdom, the perspective of the disciples may have been more earthly or political. They may have heard these words in the theme of earthly or political leadership rather than the eternal, royal direction Jesus was leading them.
The power, while indicating miraculous power in New Testament Israel indicates political, military or miraculous power in Old Testament references. Like kingdom it is possible that the disciples heard this part of the passage in a different context than Jesus may have intended.
“the power of the Egyptians”, Exodus 3:8
“let the power of the Lord”, Numbers 14:17
“the power of the house of Joseph”, Judges 1:35
“the power of Midian prevailed against Israel.” Judges 6:2
“deliver us from the power of our enemies”, 1 Samuel 10:18
“the power and the glory and the victory”, 1 Chronicles 29:11
“from the power of the sword”, Job 5:20
“into the power of their transgression.” Job 8:4
“the power of God”, Job 27:11
“the power of Sheol”, Psalms 49:15
The glory had a different Torah perspective than the previous two key words. It was used almost exclusively in the Old Testament in reference to God the Father or the Lord.
“you will see the glory of the Lord”, Exodus 16:7
“behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.” Exodus 16:10
“that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Leviticus 9:6
“the glory of the Lord appeared”, Numbers 14:10
“all the earth will be filed with the glory of the Lord.” Numbers 16:19
“The glory has departed from Israel”, 1 Samuel 4:21
“for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:11
“A scribe to the Lord the glory due his name”, 1 Chronicles 16:29
“the glory of the God”, Psalms 19:1
“Sing the glory of his name.” Psalms 66:2
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter”, Proverbs 25:2
“the glory of the sons of Isreal”, Isaiah 17:3
The historical theology analysis reveals that the disciples understanding of the kingdom, the power and the glory may have been different than the contemporary meaning Jesus was using in this setting. It is not known how they perceived these words since there is no indication of either leaning in their understanding given in scripture. This exercise shows the difficulty of communication in any setting. We might wish to assume that the disciples understood the words of Jesus precisely but that may not have been the case.
Forever did have the same meaning in most Old Testament writings as it would have had in the contemporary context of that day. After examining the word analysis and historical context of the passage, the contemporary analysis is the next step.
Contemporary Theology Analysis
The modern application of “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” is the real challenge of the passage. This statement serves as the why of the instruction of Jesus on that day. We ask the Father for all these things knowing that He owns the entire kingdom, has all the power and will ultimately have the entire world’s glory. In prayer and in life, access that kingdom, power and glory is the key to the highest potential Christian life.
The kingdom is both today on the Earth and tomorrow in Heaven. Our goal is not just to get to Heaven eventually, but to live on Earth in a way pleasing to Him. The two places are “two interlocking arenas of God’s good world.”[vi] Heaven is “God’s space” and Earth is “our space”.[vii] The disciples were eager for Jesus to bring his kingdom and his rule to Earth, to take over the government and society and rule the planet. It has been prophesied by many Old Testament prophets. But that was not the focus of Jesus that day for his disciples or for us today.
Jesus sought to teach his listeners to think of Heaven and Earth as both his kingdom. He saw both places as the everyday home of God. He has experienced that himself by his personal presence in both places. He sought to expand their thinking to join the two as he would desire we would do today. Remember that Jesus did not teach them the prayer or cover the material in this passage until they asked him to do so. They asked him how to pray, how to live. As they were ready to hear this outline, he then shared it with them. He taught that it was his task and “our task to teach the world” to pray and live this way.[viii] The disciples saw his example in how he prayed and lived his life. They wanted to know the secret of his methods.
In this passage he brought it all together. Ask for and seek these things as they are all part of God’s kingdom, both in Heaven and here on Earth. He also stated that God the Father is the King of all things, as he owns the kingdom. We must live in an attitude toward Him that he is King to fulfil the passage. To many “the fundamental, underlying meaning of “Thine is the kingdom” is that God is King.”[ix] He is King of Heaven as well as King of “this fallen, rebellious world.”[x] Jesus sought to create a personal link between God and man by his earthly life and teaching to the disciples. At the same time. The Father is the King of all things. His robe states “KINGS OF KINGS AND LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16) Those who have personal relationships with the Governor, the President, the Prime Minister, the Queen or the King have great power and influence in the world, but also keep that relationship in the proper perspective. Jesus seeks to help each of us have this kingly, royal relationship but also understand that God is King and deserves our worship and respect while at the same time giving us the access to the power and influence necessary to accomplish great things.
A king also has The Power. Jesus states the power of the Father in the passage. He also gives his listeners access to that power.
“But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.” John 1:12
We have access to that power if we receive his messenger, Jesus. Our lives, though our actions and prayers, must declare the power of God and at the same time claim it through our reception of Jesus. By declaring His power in our lives and actions, we add that power to lives through his Son. That power is for today and for the future. While Jesus taught the power of God in his daily life, his short days on the Earth were also always focused on the future.
“Blessed by the God and Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, how are protected by the power of God” I Peter 1:3-5
God’s power is ours if we claim it. We claim it in our salvation experience, in our daily lives and in our focus toward the future. We must not just be future focused. Clearly Jesus lived the “give us this day” spirit of the prayer. He stopped along the way to help and experience the lives of others. We must do the same. At the same time, he was also clearly future focused at times, knowing the life that was to come. His Father owns the Kingdom and has the Power to bring it all together to those who claim it, live it and look forward to it in their future.
The Glory is the final descriptor of God’s three possessions most relevant to this passage. He owns The Kingdom and The Power and will receive The Glory from the world around Him. Acknowledging the glory of the Father in our prayers and lives should be our daily goal. Just as “no prayer is complete without a doxology”, no Christian life is complete without acknowledging God in His glory daily.[xi] Just as this prayer begins and ends with God, our lives should follow that same pattern.
“Our purpose in life is to live for God’s glory” and give him that glory in all we do.[xii] It is “focused, prayer-filled lifestyle, outlined in the Lord’s Prayer” that pleases him the most.[xiii] “We end the prayer by reminding ourselves that we are in the presence of the divine glory; and that means that we must live in the reverence which never forgets that we are living within the splendor of the glory of God.”[xiv]
Forever ends the passage, leading us to a “never-ending symphony of praise” with our daily lives.[xv] This was a traditional prayer ending for that day, sometimes translated as for-the-ages. It speaks to the eternal perspective we should have, in addition to give us this day our daily bread. God lives in today and tomorrow. Our perspective should be the same.
Just as our key passage begins with an acknowledgment of the holiness of God and ends with an acknowledgment of his kingdom, power and glory, it is with this pattern we should live our daily, weekly and yearly lives. This simple guideline for life is simple to understand and aspire to. Some may think the total journey too difficult or even impossible. While using this passage as our guide for Christian living, beginning and ending every day in this format seems attainable. To start and end each day using these ideals from the words of Jesus is to walk in his way.
[i] Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), 458.
[iii]Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1979), 168.
[v]Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), 155.
[vi]N.T. Wright, “Thy kingdom come: Living the Lord’s Prayer”, The Christian Century, March 12, 1997, 268.
[ix]R. Kent Hughes, Abba Father: The Lord’s Pattern for Prayer, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1986), 102.
[xi]Tyrone D. Gordon, Living the Lord’s Prayer, (Nashville, TN: Abigdon Press, 2008), 75.
[xiv]Morris A. Weigelt and E. Dee Freeborn, Living the Lord’s Prayer: The Heart of Spiritual Formation, (Kansas City, MO, 2001), 103.