Inheriting The Earth
By: Henry Morris, Ph.D.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
This third of Christ’s beatitudes has always seemed paradoxical because those who now rule the earth seem anything but meek. It has always been the strong and aggressive who control the world, not the meek of the world.
Christ, however, was confirming an ancient promise given through David: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11). Surprisingly, there are also four other promises in this psalm describing those who are to inherit the earth:
Psalm 37:11 - But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
“Those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth” (v.9). “For such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth” (v.22). “The righteous shall inherit the land (same word as ‘earth’)” (v.29). “Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land (i.e. ‘earth’)” (v.34).
Psalm 37:9, 22, 29, 34 - For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. 22. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. 29. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 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.
It is Jesus Christ, of course, who ultimately will receive “the uttermost parts of the earth for (His) possession” (Psalm 2:8). However, we also (if we are among the “meek”) are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and thus we also shall inherit the earth with Him.
Psalm 2:8 - Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Romans 8:17 - And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
But how does this quality of meekness equip believers for such an exalted future? In the Bible, meekness does not mean “weakness,” of course, nor is it even an innate mildness that may characterize some unsaved people. “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . meekness” (Galatians 5:22-23), which means that meekness is not a natural human trait at all. It is best defined as the character of Christ, Himself, for He said: “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), and Paul measured his own actions “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:1). In Psalm 37, it was seen that “the meek” (v.37) are synonymous with those who “wait on the LORD, and keep His way” (v.34).
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Matthew 11:29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
II Corinthians 10:1 - Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
Psalm 37:37 - Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
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.