“Coronation Mantle”, Steven Zucker, flickr.com
Sunday July 12, 2020
For most of my adult life, I’ve been perplexed or even confused by a single line in the Lord’s Prayer * found in either Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2-4. To put this thought in context, below is Matthew’s version quoting the words of Christ our Messiah.
“This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “ Matthew 6:9-13 NIV **
What did the Lord mean when He said, “on earth as it is in heaven” ?
This question was burning inside of me when I began my fast on May 11th, 2020 in response to the local and international halting of corporate worship over the Covid 19 virus. (For those unfamiliar with the term, by ‘corporate worship’ I mean being physically present together to: sing, pray, receive Communion, speak with each other and the Lord, hear from each other and the Word, kneel, sit, stand, raise hands, give offerings and tithes, and practicing other forms of showing Our Father that He is worthy of praise and adoration.) I wondered to myself and the Lord, “If worship is disrupted on earth, in many places for the first time in over 1,000 years, does this mean that worship stopped in heaven too?”
Many answers came to me by reading and re-reading two of my all-time favorite books on prayer. The first is “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting” *** by Derek Prince, and the second is”Ekklesia Rising” **** by Dean Briggs. For me, it’s as if the silver pen of the Holy Spirit fell from heaven into the hands of these brothers, and they started writing His hard fought revelatory lessons. Both books are the intersection of education and revelation, and are worthy of our attention!
In Mr. Prince’s book, the Lord speaks so clearly to us about Our Father’s heart for government and leadership. In the third chapter, “Praying for our Government” he starts with Scripture and ends with an unassailable statement of logic.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we made lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 Phillips
He contends that one of the most basic functions of any meeting of believers’ is to pray and express gratitude for our government and those in leadership because it is a clear mandate from the Bible. Yet the Body of Christ rarely practices this primary function?!Allow me a quote from Mr. Prince, “Not merely do they not pray for the government “first”, they scarcely pray for it at all!” p.49
Let’s fast forward to how he summarizes the mandate of I Timothy 2:1-4 as only a philosopher of Eton and Cambridge can?
“1. The first ministry and outreach of believers as we meet together in regular fellowship is prayer.
2. The first specific topic for prayer is the government.
3. We are to pray for good government.
4. God desires all men to have the truth of the Gospel preached to them.
5. Good government facilitates the preaching of the Gospel, while bad government hinders it.
6. Therefore, good government is the will of God.” Shaping History p.53
Let’s hold that thought while I tie it to another “big idea” from the book “Ekklesia Rising” by Mr. Briggs?
Again, he starts with the Word and builds into a logical revelation from heaven.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 NIV *****
Though this is one of the most familiar passages of the Bible, Briggs points out that the word Christ used is “ekklesia” and not “kyriakon”. Why does this discrepancy in the original Greek matter so much to Briggs? It’s because words mattered to Jesus; He said what He meant, and we should settle for no less!
So what is the magnitude of this difference? What is the distance between two words with completely different connotations and meanings? Let’s see for ourselves?
Kyriakon – a compound Greek word translated from; “Kyrios”- meaning the Lord “ and “oikas” meaning house, a building. “Kyriakon” literally means the Lord’s house.
Ekklesia – a compound Greek word: “Ek” ‘out of’ and “Klesis” ‘a calling’ or “called out, separated, holy.” p.107
Though this misinterpretation already shows a major difference in meaning between ‘the Lord’s house’, and ‘the called out, separated, and holy’ there’s much more depth when Mr. Briggs zooms in on the meaning of ‘ekklesia’. A few fast facts below:
- Ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament, misinterpreted 112 times as “church” and interpreted, in part, correctly 3 times as “assembly”. p. 108
- Quoting Oskar Seyfert’s “Dictionary of Classical Antiquities”, “ekklesia was originally used to describe the assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the final decisions in public affairs.” p.109
- The idea of the ekklesia would already have been familiar to the Hebrew mind and the Disciples. Deuteronomy 9:10 and 18:16 used the word ‘qahal’ meaning “the day of the assembly”. p.109
- Quoting William Barclay “New Testament Words”.
“The Septuagint…translates the Hebrew word qahal, which again comes from a root which means ‘to summon’. It is regularly used for the “assembly’ or ‘congregation’ of Israel…In the Hebrew sense it, therefore, means God’s people, called together by God, in order to listen or act for God.” For this reason, Barclay observes, “In a certain sense the word ‘congregation’ loses a certain amount of the essential meaning” because qahal and ekklesia are both, clearly, summoned together for a purpose, rather than merely “assembling because they have chosen to come together.” Pp.109-110
Mr. Briggs wraps the chapter saying, “the ekklesia was by definition a governmental assembly”. What does Matthew 16:18 sound like with this new information?
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, my ‘called out, holy ones, who are summoned together by my Spirit to govern, listen and act for me, to enact, spiritually, my dominion over the authorities of earth…
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
All this to say that when we agree in prayer with even one other person, we are authorized by the ruling council of heaven to make changes on earth. The Enemy doesn’t get to “steal, kill, and destroy” anymore without pushback. The political powers of earth must bend the knee to the will of heaven. Those that create false narratives for profit or power must redact their falsehoods before the King of the Universe, or be windmilled by their own judgments and misbeliefs.
We have an action plan. We have unbreakable hope. We get to invite the place where everything works into the dysfunction of our nation or neighborhood; our family or tribe because we are summoned to do so by G-d. We get to be the “deciders” and the “inviters” of His will; “on earth as it is in heaven”!
*** Prince, Derek. “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting”. Old Tappan, N.J., F.H. Revell 1973.
**** Briggs, Dean. “Ekklesia Rising the Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer”. Kansas City, MO.,Champion Press. 2014.