“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
While the Lord’s Prayer is often one of the first passages of scripture we memorize, how close do we pay attention to the words as we repeat them? Do we think about the meaning behind the words?
The other day I was reading my children a book about Martin Luther (The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, by RC Sproul). Luther is well-known for his dedication to prayer, and would often spend hours on his knees in fervent communion with God. At one point, his barber asked if Luther would teach him how to pray. The result was a letter entitled “A Simple Way to Pray”. In it, Luther instructed his friend on how to meaningfully pray through the Lord’s Prayer.
Since reading this account, I have been praying through this beautiful passage. In doing so, something struck me as I meditated on the words. I want to share with you what I believe are prophetic portions in the Lord’s Prayer!
“Your Kingdom Come”
All creation is yearning for Jesus to restore and rule His Kingdom (Romans 8:19-23). Jesus gives us an example to specifically pray for this! When will His Kingdom come? At the Second Coming when Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom!
“Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”
We long for Jesus to rule humanity, with His will being carried out upon the Earth. Looking over history, it is blatantly obvious that when human will is done upon the earth, it results in a mess of sin and suffering. When we pray for God’s Will do be done on earth, we are praying for the literal fulfillment of all biblical prophecies. There’s a lot more that could be said, but I’m going to keep it simple – “Please come, Jesus, and fix everything better!!!”
It’s the next two phrases I think we need to mine more deeply.
“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
While Jesus promises not to allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, are we really to pray not to be tempted at all? Scripture is clear that we *will* be tested and tried, throughout the church age. We are to consider these trials and tribulations a joy:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame (Romans 5:3-5)
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Is it possible, then, that “lead us not into temptation” doesn’t mean the regular trials of faith and life that we are certainly to encounter and are even to embrace? Let’s look at the interlinear to see!
Lead – Strong’s 1533 eispheró – to bring or lead, to carry inward
Temptation – Strong’s 3986 peirasmos – an experiment, a trial, temptation; trial, probation, testing, being tried; temptation; calamity, affliction. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds the additional insight of “adversity, affliction, trouble”.
Does a trial, testing, calamity, affliction, and trouble remind you of something you have probably studied often – the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7)? Could Jesus have been encouraging us to pray “do not carry us forward into the Times of Trouble”? Does He suggest this elsewhere as well?
I believe He does:
“But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
What about the word Jesus chose for temptation, that we are to pray to not be led into? It’s not the same word He uses for the “greatest tribulation”, which begins long after the rapture event. Instead, He uses the word for trouble and trial, which is also used here:
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial [peirasmos] that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials [peirasmos], and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment… (2 Peter 2:9)
Jesus tells us to pray that we will not be led into the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world, and that we will have the strength/worthiness to escape all these things that are going to take place! The only way we can be worthy to escape is through His blood as our covering – being born again into the family of God.
“But Deliver Us From (the) Evil (One)”
If we are to pray not to be led into the time of trouble on earth, what else are we to pray? That we are to be delivered from evil, in general? Or is there a more specific meaning here?
Deliver – Strong’s 4506 rhuomai – to draw to oneself, deliver; I rescue, deliver (from danger or destruction). From HELPS Word-studies – “properly, draw (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer.”
Note the term “snatch up”? Sounds kinda like the harpazo, or rapture, doesn’t it! Where else is rhuomai used? Let’s see!
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver [rhuomai] me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)
When do we get delivered from this body of death? At the resurrection/rapture event!
For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers [rhuomai] us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
…and if he rescued [rhuomai] righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue [rhuomai] the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment… (2 Peter 2:7-9)
As in the days of Lot, we will be rescued before God’s wrath pours down on those who “refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Evil – Strong’s 4190 ponéros – evil, bad, wicked, malicious, slothful. It is also translated as “evil one”. From Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – ὁ πονηρός is used pre-eminently of the devil, the evil one: Matthew 5:37; Matthew 6:13; Matthew 13:19, 38; Luke 11:4 R L; John 17:15; 1 John 2:13; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18f
It is important to note that in the Greek, there is a definitive article tou (the) in front of ponērou. Thus the translation is most accurately rendered “the evil (one)”. We are to pray to be delivered from the evil one, satan, himself.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is teaching us to pray for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled. This includes the petition that we would not be led into the time of trouble on earth (the “tribulation” or 70th week of Daniel), that we would be delivered from the evil one (satan, including his unholy trinity of the antichrist and false prophet), and that Jesus would come and establish His millennial kingdom on earth.
Built in to the Lord’s Prayer is a plea to be raptured!!! Isn’t that amazing!??!!
Can we corroborate that elsewhere? Do we see hints of this anywhere else in scripture?
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:11-12)
Peter speaks of waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God (the day of the Lord). We know from our scripture study above, that the rapture occurs BEFORE the day of the Lord, and so when we pray for the day to haste we are also praying for the rapture!
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read Blessed Assurance: A Guide to Rapture Readiness.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!