As we begin to consider the second half of verse 5 “for they shall inherit the earth,” we need to remember that Jesus did not speak the eight statements of blessing as if they were warm and fuzzy sayings that would delight the people who were gathered around Him. Each of the eight statements was a direct confrontation against the beliefs of the Pharisees.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
The words of Jesus were a challenge to the false religion that the Jews had created. These words penetrated to the heart. He was delivering a wake-up call to people who were sleeping in the cozy comfort of their religious system. He was threatening to turn their belief system up-side-down. This excited many people, but made many others squirm under the truth that He taught.
Blessings or Curses – There are No Other Options!
In Deuteronomy 28, God lists the blessings that will be given to the Jews if they listen to God and obey, and He lists the curses that will be received if they do not harken to the word of the Lord. God summarizes their decision as follows:
Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
The Jews who listened to the Sermon that Jesus spoke were filled with religious pride. They claimed the blessings based on their genealogy and not on having a heart that was right with God. They claimed righteousness based on compliance with a set of extra-biblical laws they had created. They added to God’s law, and then judged themselves according to the religious system they had created. Based on their own analysis, the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be the most righteous, were blessed. They would have seen the Gentiles as being cursed. They understood themselves to be God’s chosen people, and as such, they should be privileged and blessed.
When Jesus spoke to the Jews, He was in essence saying, “Don’t be so sure of your high standing with God. Don’t assume that simply being Abraham’s children will automatically buy you favor with God. Don’t assume that your obedience to the minor points of the law you created will excuse you from the more weighty points of the law, which you ignore. Don’t assume that you are safe from being cursed.”
When Jesus spoke the eight statements of blessing at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, He did not speak of the curses. He simply held up the statements of blessing to the Jews as if He was holding up a mirror. He didn’t say “Cursed are those who are not poor in spirit for they shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He did not say “Cursed are those who will not mourn over their sin for they shall be tormented.” He did not say “Cursed are those who are arrogant and full of pride for they shall inherit none of the earth.” Instead, He simply stated the qualities of character that are associated with the blessings. He was not giving a speech designed to engender applause and praise. He was giving a sermon that was designed to prick the conscience of His listeners. He described spiritual realities and asked His listeners to look at themselves. He asked them to consider: Are you poor in spirit? Do you truly mourn over your sin? Are you meek? Are you teachable? Do you hate sin? Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness? Jesus was saying: “Look at yourself! – Do you look like the people that will be blessed?”
Let’s begin looking more closely at the phrase “inherit the earth.” In the Old Testament, the word “inherit” is commonly paired with either “earth” or “land.” There is a long standing promise in scripture that God will greatly multiply the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and give them an inheritance of land that will be taken from their enemies.
Genesis 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Jews to make Him the center point of their lives. He expects us to do the same. This expectation has never changed and will not change in the future.
Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Jews sometimes obeyed, but most of the time they worshipped other Gods, while trying to cling to their inheritance that was given to their fathers by God. They seemed to cherish the land more than they cherished the God who gave it to them. The following verses describe how God spoke to the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel through the words of His prophet Amos.
Amos 2:6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; 7 That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: 8 And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. 9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. 10 Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD. 12 But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. 13 Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Amos 5:22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.
The Land was an Idol
Throughout the generations, from the time Joshua lead the tribes of Israel into the land that God had designated for them, to the many warnings given by the prophets concerning God’s displeasure regarding their worshiping of other gods, the Jews made their inheritance into an idol. They defended the land and died for the land. They refused to believe that their sin would cause God to remove them from the land, despite all the warnings of the prophets. Even after the Babylonian exile and the occupation of Israel by the Roman Empire, they longed for the restoration of the land. For them, the promise of a messiah was a promise to establish a political earthly kingdom and restore the land of Israel to their control. For them the inheritance meant security. The land meant much more than a place to live. It was the center point of their religious, economic, and political system. They longed to see the day that Ezekiel described.
Ezekiel 39:26 They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they live securely in their land with no one to make them afraid.
Single Commitment to the One True God
After God promised Abraham that his seed would receive an inheritance of land, and after Moses had led the people of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, there was a day when God required the Jews to make a commitment to Him and His ways. This is what God said to His people just before He would allow Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan River into the land of promise.
Exodus 23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. 24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. 26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. 27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. 28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. 29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. 30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. 31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee. 24:1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. 2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
Please notice in the preceding verse that God clearly expressed his expectations regarding the exclusive relationship that He wished to have with the descendants of Jacob. Also notice that the people said that they accepted God’s conditions. Sadly, scripture records the breaking of this promise over and over again. God warned the people about His pending judgment against the people and the land they occupied through the words of the prophets, but they would not listen or obey. They refused to be corrected and they refused to repent, and they were cursed by God. We would like to think that there is a middle ground where we can live that is between the blessing and the curses of God. I am unaware of any safe city of refuge where we can hide while we decide whether we will listen to and obey the voice of God. We, just like the Jews of the Old Testament must decide whether we will choose life and blessing or choose death and cursing. Their inheritance did not protect them from the consequences of their behavior.
The Jews were free to choose whether they would be fully committed to God and to receive His blessing or to go after other gods and be cursed. We face the same choice today. It is a conscious choice to obey God and receive His blessings. If we do not obey His commandments, then we will live in rebellion, be cursed, and be cut off from God’s blessings.
Psalm 37:22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
It is through meekness that we learn about daily submission to God and we receive God’s blessing. His blessing includes the kingdom of God, His comforting, and the inheritance of the Earth. Those who are not blessed will be cursed – there is no neutral position with respect to God.
Psalm 37:34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Attachment to the Land
The Jews were not unusual in their attachment to land. Throughout history, land has been the foundation of economic, political, and family life. Even today, many people will gladly fight and die for their homeland regardless of the nation where they live. Ownership of land is associated with security. In an agriculturally based economy, land is required for food and literal survival. Without access to land, people would starve. Thus, it is a natural desire of parents to give human prosperity and physical security to their children through the inheritance of land.
Exodus 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
A Place of Prosperity
In the specific case of the Jews, the promise of land was not just the giving of physical acreage, but a qualitative blessing. It was to be a land of milk and honey – a place of prosperity and abundance.
Leviticus 20:24 But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.
A Place of Safety
The land was also to be a place of rest from persecution. It was intended to be a safe haven where the people could live a structured and secure life with God as the focal point.
Deuteronomy 12:10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
Joshua 11:23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
A Place of Commitment
Joshua 14:9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
Despite the positive proclamation of Moses, we see that the Jews did not wholly follow the LORD their God after they took possession of the land. Instead, Israel played the harlot and went whoring after many other gods. Even though the Jews broke their commitment to God, they expected Him to bless them and honor His commitment to them regarding their inheritance. They believed that no matter what they did, the land would always be theirs. They repeatedly stumble over keeping the commandments of God, yet, they expected that the land would be a perpetual inheritance without conditions.
1 Chronicles 28:8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.
A Place of Conditional Blessings and Curses
God blesses those who follow His commandments and He curses those who refuse to submit and obey. The blessings are conditional. Submission and obedience are required of those whom God blesses.
Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field… 13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: 14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. 21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
Let’s look more closely at the word “earth.” The Greek word that has been translated “earth” in this verse, simply means the whole earth – all the land that there is. In modern language we might capitalize earth to refer to the entire planet. Jesus was not limiting the inheritance to the land of Israel, but extending it to include all the land on the Earth.
Expectations of the Jews
Why would the words of Jesus “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” be a challenge to many in the crowd who were listening to His sermon? What were they hoping to hear? Perhaps it was something such as, “Blessed are the Jews — God’s chosen people — for I am about to restore the land of Israel to you.” Instead, He linked the character of a person to the inheritance of the land. He connected brokenness, mourning over sin, and meekness to the possession of the earth. He said that it is the meek who will have an inheritance and that their inheritance will be not only the land of Israel, but will be the entire Earth.
Expectations of Jesus
Jesus was reaching out to the meek. He was looking for people who were willing to repent and submit to God. He was looking for people who were teachable and correctable. We don’t know what was in the minds of the Jews and specifically the Pharisees who listened to Jesus as He spoke from the mount. How did they feel about the principle that Jesus was teaching – the meek shall be blessed? Did the Pharisees see themselves as meek? Did the Jewish population of Israel perceive themselves as being meek? Did they think that they were correctable and teachable? Let’s look and see how scripture answers these questions.
In the next passage, we read Stephen’s final remarks, which were spoken to the Pharisees when he addressed their sins. How would you rate the meekness of the Jews?
Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. 54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him:
Did John the Baptist believe that the Jewish leaders were teachable and submissive to the law? Were they meek?
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
What did Jesus think about the Jewish leaders who opposed His teaching? Did they have submissive and meek hearts?
Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Were the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders meek? Were they teachable? We will let Jesus give His final answer to this question.
Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
The Pharisees were full of pride. The Jews were proud of their heritage as sons of Abraham. They had pride and confidence in the inheritance, and believed the land was theirs no matter what they did and how they lived. Jesus did not reassure them that they will have the land restored to them. Instead, He said that the meek shall have an inheritance of land and it will be the entire earth – the whole thing — all the land there is. Jesus said it would be the meek that would have an inheritance and not the proud and arrogant Jews, whom He silenced with His teaching.
ENRICHING THE IMAGE of INHERITING THE EARTH
When I did word studies for this verse “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” I found a large number of related verses that used the same words, but which also linked these words with other central Christian themes. As I meditated on these verses, I began to notice the interconnected relationships. Meekness, for example stands in very close relationship to other key words such as righteousness and holiness. The word earth is linked to the spreading of God’s kingdom into every corner of the world. The Earth is not just an expanse of dirt and rock, dotted with lakes and bounded by oceans. It is a place for displaying the glory of God. The Earth is a place where all people shall know that there is one and only one true God, and He shall be placed above all others.
Old Testament Inheriting the Earth
The following scriptures speak about land, earth, inheritance, and God’s dominion. I encourage you to read the verses slowly and to ask the Holy Spirit to enrich your understanding regarding the relationship between “the meek” and “the earth.” You might wish to write down your observations for each verse.
Psalm 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.
Psalm 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. 28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
1 Kings 8:60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. 61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. 32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. 33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth. 34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. 36 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
1 Chronicles 29:11 Thine, O LORD, 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 LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Psalm 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? 11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. 13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
New Testament Inheriting the Earth
The Old Testament presents types and shadows of things that will be brought to fruition in the New Covenant of the New Testament. In the language of the New Testament, Jesus promises all true Christians a spiritual inheritance, which is eternal life with Him in the kingdom of God. Those who are in the kingdom of God as it exists upon the Earth will be the ones who are led by the Holy Spirit to carry the Gospel message to the entire Earth, and in doing so, will bring glory to the one true God. In the New Testament, the land and the earth represent all the land that exists – the whole planet. The kingdom of God exists on the Earth today, and it will exist in its full and complete form when Jesus returns. The kingdom of God is spreading throughout the Earth. Each time another person is converted, the kingdom of God expands a little further on the Earth.
What do you learn about inheritance, Earth, and the kingdom of God when you read the following verses?
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Acts 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
1 Peter 1:3 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, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Revelations 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
The inheritance that true Christians receive is not physical, but spiritual. We receive a new life when we are converted and yield control over our lives to God. When we have the Holy Spirit, we can submit to God’s correction. When we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we become meek. Those who are meek will be teachable and will seek to be sanctified. Meekness prepares us for receiving our inheritance.
Galatians 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Our inheritance is not measured in acres of land, but is given to us in the form of responsibility and opportunity. The meek are responsible to go out into the world (Earth) and share the good news. The Earth and lost souls are our inheritance. Our inheritance is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The meek are to go out into all the world and to baptize the newly converted in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Our inheritance is the Word of God and the responsibility to those who are being saved. We are responsible to walk beside those who are being saved and to teach them the commandments of Jesus.
When the Jews stood on the banks of the Jordan River and were about to cross over, they had to have faith that God would deliver the land into their possession. God said that he would drive out the inhabitants of the land over time so that the land would not be left fallow. At that time, the land was occupied by people who did not know the great Jehovah God. They worshipped a variety of idols, and were ultimately submitted to the demonic power of Satan. God drove out the idolaters as He increased the Israelites’ possession of the land.
Today, Christians are in a similar situation. The land is occupied by many demonic forces which operate under the authority and control of Satan. When we spread the Gospel and the kingdom of God is expanded through new conversions, Satan is being driven back. God does not drive Satan off the entire land all at once, but step by step so that the land can be occupied by Christians. Again I am not speaking of literal land, but the clash between two kingdoms.
The land that Satan occupies is the hearts, minds, and wills of the lost. He must be driven out so that the Holy Spirit can enter. This is not a passive process. It requires aggression, and sometimes the battle for a soul is a violent clash between spiritual kingdoms.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Once Satan is driven out of our minds, hearts, and wills, we still must pay close attention to Satan’s influence over our flesh. Since we are creatures who are connected to the physical world through our physical bodies, Satan uses the proximity of our flesh to try to control our thinking, feeling, and willing. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and strengthens us in our battle with the flesh and with Satan. But, our cooperation with the leadership of the Holy Spirit is required. The process of sanctification fortifies us against the attacks of Satan waged through our flesh.
A meek spirit, a gentle spirit, and a quiet spirit are needed so that we can be teachable. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot become meek and we will not be able to fulfill the Great Commission and inherit the Earth.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Cleanse my heart and mind of anything that prevents me from being meek.
Fill me with the presence of the Holy Spirit and help me listen to Him.
Grant me the gift of repentance to turn away from the lies I believe, which are keeping me stuck in my sins.
Please give me the privilege of going out among broken and lost people and to help set the captives free by doing what Jesus did. Help me follow Him, heal the broken hearted, and spread the true Gospel to the ends of the earth.