Re: 3rd-person imperatives in the Lord's Prayer

From: Jeffrey Gibson (
Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 20:05:32 EDT

On Thu, 14 Aug 1997, Ben Crick wrote:

> Jonathan: I think the answer is on the immediate context. "Hallowed be thy
> name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN" hWS EN
> This earth is not presently the Kingdom of Heaven; it is the province of the
> Prince of this world: he is the Evil One from whom deliverance is requested
> hRUSAI hHMAS APO TOU PONHROU. He will not hallow God's Name; he will not
> further Christ's Kingdom on earth; he will keep tempting people to disobey
> God's will as he misled our first parents in the Garden of Eden.

I'm a little uneasy with this, not only because it doesn't deal strictly
with the question of why the petitions are in the imperative, but
because it seems to assume that the "deliver us from evil" clause is
original to the LP. Would you reach the same conclusion, Ben, from the
Lukan form of the prayer, which has a far better case for its being
closer to the original wording of the LP? And are you sure that your
theology of the Evil One, while perhaps Matthew's, was that of Jesus?

Moreover, what strikes me here is how well the "on earth as it is
in heaven" clause (another Matthean addition?) fits in with the
discussion raised by Ward Powers on binding and loosing in Matt.
16. Perhaps all that is being asked for is not so much a
transformation of the earth, as guidance and help from God that the
community who prays this prayer conforms itself to God's will.

Jeffrey Gibson

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