Truth, Understanding, Insight

Inherit the Earth

19th May 2013, mgh


1) The meek shall inherit the earth

This website frequently depicts the hope that man will yet enjoy peace and righteous rule on this earth, which will return to its original state of fruitfulness and no longer be polluted by man.

Some of the main references that have been used to support this are Isaiah 11:9, Numbers 14:21 and Habakkuk 2:14. Some readers may question the validity these few references. However, the writer in reading some Psalms recently was struck by the frequency of this theme in the Psalms and other sections of the scriptures. There would not be a Christian who is not very familiar with the words of Jesus (Y'shua) in Matthew 5:5. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” This is indeed a promise.

However, there are many places where the same message is revealed in the Old Testament. which can be easily overlooked. It is the aim of this article to explore some of these. We will take just a few examples from the Psalms which formed so much of the teaching that was given to Israel.

Can we envisage all nations on this earth turning to and acknowledging the Creator? Our world is full of violence and immorality. The Psalmist views a different and never seen state of allegiance on this planet to its Creator.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. (Psalms 22:27 )

There exists a provision for this state to exist, which is explained in the next passage from the Psalms. There is a need for fear and reverence of Yahweh and those people will learn from the written word what is required of them. They will learn of the promises, also known as the Covenant, made to the faithful and recorded many times in the Bible.

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 25:12-14)

The prayer expressed in Psalm 25 covers all the principles revealed so far. There is the need for us to be teachable, and a recognition of Yahweh's great mercy and forgiveness to those who seek it. The meek will be taught and guided in the right way and to an understanding of Yahweh's covenant. Yahweh's mercy and truth are specifically said to be for those who “keep his covenant and his testimonies”. The conclusion is then, that it is the faithful in all their ways who shall “inherit the earth”. The following section quoted from Psalm 25 develops these principles.

Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
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 25:4-14)

There is to be an end to the wicked. Read and consider the contrast that is vividly created between the fate of the wicked and the destiny of the faithful in Psalm 37. The scriptures make it clear and in language that we can all understand. This is a long quotation but vividly depicts the destiny of the wicked and godless, but in contrast the peace yet to come for the righteous.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

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. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. [
A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borrow, and pay not again: but the righteous shows mercy, and gives.
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. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loves judgement, and forsakes not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. (Psalms 37:3-29)

There is a time setting clearly given for the salvation of the faithful. It is when Yahweh brings his people Israel out of dispersion and captivity back into their own land. This is a sign that the promise is sure.

Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. (Psalms 53:6)

What do we see in Israel today? then what is next?

Yahweh will be known throughout the earth and among all nations, which will bring rejoicing. More than this there will be justice and peace on earth and the earth will be fruitful and no longer left to the destruction and ravages of man. The prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 67 is for that time of blessing and peace on the earth and a time when all men recognise and praise God.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for you shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.(Psalms 67:1-7)

And there is a fervent plea in Psalm 82 for the future time when all nations on this earth will submit to Yahweh.

Arise, O God, judge the earth: for you shall inherit all nations.(Psalms 82:8)

Daniel in chapter 7 presents the same time when “ the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever.” Mankind has had many kingdoms and powerful rulers that have ruled this earth but Daniel showed in his prophecy that the kingdoms of men would all fail.

Daniel and Isaiah speak of a future glory

I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.(Daniel 7:15-18)

Isaiah has given us a wonderful hope to look forward to.

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he has prepared for him that wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

Isaiah in many places reveals the work of the Messiah, the Saviour of Israel. Y'shua is the saviour of Jew and Gentile. In Isaiah 49 there is a section that depicts the work of the Messiah who would be a

“light to the Gentiles” and “salvation unto the end of the earth”. He would “raise up the tribes of Jacob, ... restore the preserved of Israel”. The following passage from Isaiah 49 also relates salvation to the establishment of Yahweh's Kingdom on the earth and princes that will worship before him.

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has he made mention of my name. And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver has he hid me;...
And now, said the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 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 you 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; (Isaiah 49:1-2, 5-8)

The New Testament confirms the Prophets

The promise of life, in the terms of life, everlasting life and life eternal occurs many times in the New Testament. Paul, in 1Corinthians 15, gives a lengthy discourse on the resurrection of the dead. The following states that the resurrection will occur at a specific time.

Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ( I Corinthians 15:52)

He also writes to the Thessalonians to assure them of the hope of the Messiah's return to earth and the judgement that will come on those that do not believe in God.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thessalonians 1: 7-10)

In Athens, the Athenians were curious about Paul's teachings of resurrection and Paul was anxious to spread the hope of the resurrection to those who wanted to hear.

Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18)

The Apostle John in many places develops the concept of salvation and life everlasting. In John 3 he records that Y'shua when when speaking to Nicodemus tells him of the promise of everlasting life to those who believe on the Son of God. It is a conditional promise involving belief and conviction.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believe not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:16, 36)

In John 4 the Apostle records a conversation that Y'shua had with the woman of Samaria at the well. Again the the subject is that of everlasting life. He also points out the role of the Jews in the promise of salvation. It was through the promises to the Patriarchs of Israel that life and salvation would come to the faithful, to both Jew and Gentile.

But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. (John 4:14,22)

John 5 records Y'shua's response to the Jews who sought to persecute Y'shua for healing on the sabbath day. Again there is an emphasis on everlasting life and belief on the Son. Y'shua here also speaks of resurrection. He directs the Jews to their sacred writings which they should have known. He tells them to search the scriptures (the Old Testament) for they prophesied of the Messiah and revealed the hope of life everlasting.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:24,29,39)

In John 6 there is a lengthy discourse between Y'shua and unbelieving Jews following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Again the emphasis is belief on the Son, resurrection at the last day and everlasting life.

They said therefore unto him, What sign show thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven...
And this is the Father's will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day...
No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day... Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life. [48] I am that bread of life... Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day...
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. [From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:30-32,39-40,49, 47-48, 54, 64-68)

John 6 reflects the love of John and his great attention to the words of his Messiah. We also see here the apostle Peter's faith and conviction. He sees that there is no other hope or promise like it. He would face challenges in his life but his confidence in the promise of life and resurrection would never fail. In his first epistle he encourages the strangers scattered abroad with these words.”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (I Peter 1:3-4)

In John 11 the same confidence, faith and hope is seen in the words of Martha to Y'shua following Lazarus' death.

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She said unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. (John 11:20-27)

The Apostle John records in detail the prayer of Y'shua before his crucifixion when he speaks of the glory to be bestowed on those who know Yahweh and his Son and believe. The following extract shows there is a hope of life at the return of Y'shua to earth extended to those who believe and trust in God's holy word.

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do.
( John 17: 2-4)

The future

Returning to the Old Testament we see the confidence of the prophet Daniel who tells us clearly that:

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.(Daniel 12:1-2)

Paul frequently advised his readers to search the scriptures, that is the Old Testament records, to learn of the promises to mankind and the prophetic writings, which reveal the events that will come before the return of the Messiah to establish peace on this troubled world. He often quotes from these and in 1Corinthians 2:9 he refers to Isaiah and reveals the splendour of the future hope for the faithful.

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,

the things which God has prepared for them that love him.

For more you may wish to read the book An Enduring Earth