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Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth, Matthew 5:5

5th March 2012, mgh

 

1) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth, Matthew 5:5

This quotation deals with two issues, “the meek” and “inheriting the earth”. The Old Testament gives a lot of detail about the qualities that define “meekness”. The first things that come to mind about a meek person are quietness, gentleness and possibly weakness. But the Old Testament is very explicit about the qualities a meek person should have or develop and these are quite surprising.

The Meek

Psalm 149 reveals that Yahweh “will beautify the meek with salvation”. This is a promise and Jew and Gentile can rejoice in this hope, as the promise is contained in both the Old and New Testaments. In this Psalm the meek shall “praise his name “ and shall “ sing praises unto him”. The concept of praise and honour is established.

Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (Psalms 149 :2-4)


Consider Psalm 25 and the promise that Yahweh will guide and teach the meek, whose “seed will inherit the earth”. There is here also a need for the meek to “fear” Yahweh. The meek are teachable and seek to understand Yahweh's covenant and testimonies and Yahweh is merciful to those who “keep his covenant and his testimonies”.

The meek will he guide in judgement: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. What man is he that fears the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. (Psalms 25:9-14)

Zephaniah also refers to the meek of the earth. The meek are those who have sought to understand and been obedient to Yahweh's laws and covenant For the meek, Zephaniah states that there is the hope that they will “be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger”, that is, that they they will be protected in the day of Yahweh's judgement.

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. (Zephaniah 2:3)


Ezekiel commented on Israel's failure to listen to the Word of Yahweh. The principle here is that the faithful, the meek, should listen and hear and heed the Word.

But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shall say unto them, Thus said the Lord GOD; He that hears, let him hear; and he that forbears, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 3:27)


This same principle is also constantly referred to in the New Testament, particularly in reference to the parables of the Messiah. Y'shua adds that those who do listen and hear and try to understand will be given knowledge and understanding, but those who do not heed the warning and do not listen will lose the knowledge that they did have. Thus the meek are those who hear and understand, which comes from reading the Word of God.

Who has ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speak thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:9-13)


In summing up, the meek display the characteristics which are needed for salvation. They are obedient to Yahweh's commandments, they praise Yahweh, are thankful, they seek to read to gain understanding, they are teachable, they fear Yahweh and keep his covenant and laws.


Inherit the earth

The second aspect of this quotation from Matthew 5 is “inheriting” the earth. As before, we will begin with the Psalms. In the following quotation we have the phrase cited by Matthew stating that the meek shall inherit the earth. There are two related events mentioned. Evildoers are to be cut off and there will be a time of peace. These are very significant as far as time and setting are concerned.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalms 37:9-11)


The next quotation gives a future time frame also with the use of “shall inherit”.

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalms 37:22-24)


Psalm 37 again reinforces the future blessing and adds that the righteous would dwell there “for ever” when the “wicked are cut off “and the righteous “will see it”.

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgement. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watch the righteous, and seek to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. (Psalms 37:29-34)


Promises were made to the Patriarchs of Israel that, through the seed of Abraham, all families of the earth would be blessed.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and you shall be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12 :1-3)

The nation of Israel was to be the witness to all mankind that the promise made to Abraham would in time be fulfilled. It was a promise of salvation for Jew and Gentile through the work of Abraham's seed, the Messiah, in his sacrifice and resurrection for the redemption of the faithful.


In the letter to the Hebrews it is recorded that Abraham and the fathers of Israel died and did not receive these promises in their lifetime. To receive the promises the Fathers of Israel would be raised to life again, a resurrection

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)


The reason for this was that there had to be a resurrection of the dead at a future time so that Jews and Gentiles would both be incorporated in these promises. This is further explained in Hebrews 11 and the principle of a future resurrection established.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Hebrews 11:17)
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40)


The Ten Commandments contain a commandment that includes a promise.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God gives thee. (Exodus 20:12)

The word for 'long' has the sense of 'prolonged'. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians quotes from Exodus and emphasises that this prolonged life was promised on the earth.

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:2)


The Redeemer of Israel, the Messiah of Jews and Gentiles, Y'shua, will be the means of bringing about this salvation. Desolate lands will be restored to fruitfulness and peace established. Isaiah in many places speaks of the glories of this future age and the quotation below from Isaiah 49 clearly refers to this habitable earth.

And he said, It is a light thing that thou should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou may be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus said the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
Thus said the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that has mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. (Isaiah 49: 6-12)


Hannah, the mother of the prophet of Samuel, believed in a resurrection and this clearly revealed in her prayer recorded in 1Samuel 2. She also refers to the fate of the wicked, the anointed of Yahweh and the judgement to come on this earth.

he LORD kills, and makes alive: he brings down to the grave, and brings up. The LORD makes poor, and makes rich: he brings low, and lifts up. He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he has set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (I Samuel 2:6-10)


In Isaiah 57 there is again reference to the inheritance of the land and the revival of the humble.

When you cry, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that puts his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:13:-15)


The future of this earth and the destiny of Zion and Israel are made very clear in the words of Isaiah 60 .

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shall also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shall suck the breast of kings: and thou shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but you shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:12-21)


Note also that in the New Testament Jude refers to the prophecy of Enoch, which speaks of the Lord “coming “ with his saints to judge the earth.

Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:13-15)


We have been given the way in which we can gain understanding. The Messiah told his disciples that they had to heed those things “which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” We do well to heed this advice also.

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (Luke 24:44)

The disciples were also given a promise that they would judge the tribes of Israel, and this supports the earth as the place that the meek will inherit.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)


Finally in Revelation 5 the redeemed will sing a song and there is again a reference to the place of inheritance, the earth.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9-19)



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