Annotations to the Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 48
Lord's Day 48
What is the second petition?
Thy kingdom come.
So rule us by Thy Word and Spirit
that more and more we submit to Thee.
Preserve and increase Thy church.
Destroy the works of the devil,
every power that raises itself against Thee,
and every conspiracy
against Thy holy Word.
Do all this
until the fulness of Thy kingdom comes,
wherein Thou shalt be all in all.
Q. & A. 123 Thy Kingdom Come
- The kingdom of God is that state of affairs in which God is willingly and lovingly acknowledged as king. It existed in Paradise before the fall, but it was lost on earth because of sin. God did remain the king who reigned also on earth after the fall into sin, but he was no longer acknowledged and honoured as such thereafter. However, immediately after the fall Christ began to restore the kingdom of God on earth. It is often called the kingdom of heaven, because it is being restored on earth from heaven. Christ continues with this restoration until his return, when he will complete it. We pray for the continuation and completion of this restoration when we ask: Thy kingdom come.
- As regards the form and the answer to this petition, the same comments as those made in connection with the first petition apply. (See LD 47, Q&A 122, Notes 1 and 2).
- In this petition we ask first that the Lord will so rule us by his Word and Spirit that we will submit ourselves more and more to him. For that is how his kingdom comes, when we acknowledge him more and more in all things.
- The church has a unique task in the acknowledgement of God as king over all things. The church is the army of God's kingdom. It proclaims the king's Word with authority. That is why the second petition also contains the plea: “Preserve and increase Thy church.” Preserving means keeping to the Word. It is a very harmful error to suppose that the work for the coming of God's kingdom can continue powerfully, while one is unconcerned about the church and does not bother about the sins which destroy it.
- We can be sure that there will be oppression by enemies, especially when God hears this petition and his kingdom is coming. The more God's kingdom becomes effective, the more the devil will become active. That is why the second petition also contains the plea: “Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against Thee, and every conspiracy against Thy holy Word.” For nothing promotes the coming of God's kingdom as his Word, which announces and promises it and teaches us to seek it. That is why the devil roars more against the Bible than against anything else. He promotes all kinds of schemes to suppress the Bible in schools and army barracks, in the home and on ships, in newspapers and in the electronic media.
- Thus, in the second petition we ask that God himself will teach us to serve him as king and promote all the means which contribute thereto, but also that he will destroy all opposition which raises itself against him. And we ask this in order that (for that is the purpose of this petition) the fullness of God's kingdom come, in which he shall be all in all.
- We pray all this from the Lord. For only he can give it to us. And he has promised it!
- What is the kingdom of God? When did it already exist? How was it lost? Who restores it? What do we ask for in the second petition with respect to this kingdom?
- What can you say about the form of this petition? Does the Lord answer this prayer. If so, how?
- What is the first thing we pray for in the second petition?
- What is the significance of the church for God's kingdom? What do we ask for the church?
- What other plea does the second petition contain?
- What is the ultimate purpose of the second petition?
- Why do we pray all this from the Lord?