RESTORING THE LORD'S PRAYER
In the King James version of Matthew chapter 6, verses 9-13, we read what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” thus:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”
The closing expression: “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” is missing in many modern translations. Amongst those which omit the sentence are: niv, gnt, asv, esv, net, rsv. As some of the marginal notes state, this clause is not present in some early manuscripts, hence the omission. The question arises therefore, is there any contrary evidence to suggest that it should remain? In this article, we argue in favour of retaining these words, based on Biblical internal evidence—namely, part of the Old Testament background to the prayer.
1 Chronicles chapter 29 narrates the prayer that king David offered at the inauguration of his son Solomon as king. The result of the events described in this chapter was that: “Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh, as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him” (verse 23). The circumstance therefore, is to do with a seed of David becoming king over Israel, seated upon the throne of Yahweh—very clearly foreshadowing the future position of Messiah himself.
In his model prayer, Messiah alluded to this prayer of David, which we can see by comparing the two:
“Blessed be thou, Yahweh God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. Thine O Yahweh is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Yahweh, and thou art exalted as head above all …” (1 Chron. 29:10-11).
Notice the similarity of language here, particularly the highlighted words, which form the closing phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. We suggest the fact that Messiah is citing/alluding to this Old Testament passage is evidence that the words imputed to him should remain: “thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”.
Psalm 145 also forms part of the background to the prayer, speaking of the time when the kingdom will indeed have come:
“All thy works shall praise thee, O Yahweh; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom …” (Psa. 145:10-12).
This is a future day when Yahweh’s Name shall be hallowed (being blessed by the saints), when the mighty acts performed in Heaven shall be upon Earth, and the power, glory and majesty of the kingdom shall be globally acknowledged. Again, we see a supporting Old Testament background to this prayer, validifying the clause in question.
There is a third Old Testament allusion which seems relevant to include, from a surprising context: king Nebuchadnezzar. Part of the purpose of the vision described in Daniel chapter 2, was to demonstrate that the Hebrew God “removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Dan. 2:21). So, Daniel began his interpretation to Nebuchadnezzar: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory …” (Dan. 2:37).
Notice again, the three elements of allusion: kingdom, power and glory. As the use of a concordance will show, these words only come together 4 times in Scripture: once in the Lord’s Prayer, and again in the three passages cited above. And the context of this last allusion is most appropriate, for the vision shown to Nebuchadnezzar culminated with the establishment of the kingdom of heaven upon earth—the very thing that Messiah commanded his disciples to pray for!
This internal evidence would suggest that we ought to restore the omitted portions of the Prayer, and indeed include them in our own prayers and petitions, attributing the kingdom, power, and glory to our Father alone.