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“Jesus said, ‘The meek shall inherit the Earth.’ What does that mean?”— Devin
This statement is from Jesus’ spiritual/moral insights, called “The Beatitudes” (Mt. 5:3-11), which are collected at the beginning of the passage of Scripture typically referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5-7). First, let’s look at the word “meek.” Then, we will examine two possible (though interrelated) meanings of “the Earth.”
“Meek” in the language of the New Testament does not mean weak, indecisive or timid. The “meek man” is not without conviction, passion or decisiveness. He has, however, brought some discipline to these aspects of his character and learned to trust in God, confident that God will guide and provide as needed. He humbles himself before God, acknowledging utter dependence on Him, bending his will before the greatness and grace of God. He emulates the very nature of Christ, the epitome of “power under control” (Mt. 11:29; II Cor. 10:1; Col. 3:12-15).
One possible meaning of “the Earth” has to do with contentment. The meek man has no compulsion to be always grasping, wanting more. He trusts in the unfailing grace of God to provide his “daily bread” (Mt. 6:11). When a man has all he needs, he has, metaphorically speaking, inherited the earth. He’s got, as they say, “the whole world in his hands” (Rom. 8:31-32; I Cor. 3:21-23).
Another possible meaning of “the Earth” is the eschatological “new Earth” to be inherited by God’s people. The final “new heaven and new Earth” (Rev. 21) will not belong to the self-asserting person who demands and/or conquers it, but to the “poor in spirit” who is willing to lose all for the Kingdom (Mt. 5:3) — who lives by dying (Mt. 10:39), receives by giving (Acts 20:35) and who is made first because he is willing to be last (Mt. 19:30).
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