The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God.
Matthew 8:8, 10-12 – “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. … Hearing this, Yeshua was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. “I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. “But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In this foreboding statement by Yeshua, he is freely conveying that many outside the Jewish faith will be admitted to the kingdom by faith in him, while many within the Jewish faith will not participate in the kingdom because of their lack of faith in him. Faith in Messiah is clearly the primary intent of this teaching.
However, Yeshua also mentions that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and presumably, those of like faith with them) will participate in the kingdom.
Genesis 17:5 – “Your name will no longer be Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.” Genesis 17:19 – “But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring.” Genesis 28:10, 13-14 – “Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. … Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. … All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
The message of the all-encompassing kingdom through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was initiated in the very first book of the Bible; it was not a new teaching of Yeshua. However, it appeared radical to the Jewish leaders of his day because the Jewish people had come to believe that God had chosen them only, and no outsiders had the right to worship God.
This misunderstanding was common also among the Samaritans, who believed that they alone were the remnant of the true faith. And yet, Yeshua also sets this understanding straight with the woman at the well.
John 4:20-21, 23-24 – “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Yeshua told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. … “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
Once again, Yeshua makes the point that the true worship of God will not be based on a location, but in spirit and in truth. Spirit and truth are not limited to any one location, or any one people.
Paul also recognized this and clarified this truth further in relating it to the practice of circumcision.
Romans 2:27-29 – “A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you [Jews] who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart – by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.”
Having circumcised hearts was also not a new concept introduced by Paul, even though he suffered greatly for being persecuted as forsaking the law of Moses. In fact, Moses himself, the one whom the Jews were trusting in, related to ancient Israel the very same concept of spiritual circumcision of the heart.
Deuteronomy 10:16 – “Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer. Deuteronomy 30:6 – “Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live.
According to Yeshua, Paul, and even Moses, the kingdom of God belongs to those with circumcised hearts, the repository of faith. The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God. Yeshua claimed to be sent by God, so trusting in Messiah was by extension exhibiting faith in God.
Just like the centurion, when we exhibit faith in Messiah today, we are demonstrating that we have been admitted to the kingdom of our spiritual forefathers. Any non-believers, even descendants who could somehow trace their fleshly heritage to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be cast out. Every new believer becomes an ongoing fulfillment of the promises made to these spiritual forefathers, and as the promises of God are fulfilled, the kingdom continues to grow and spread across the earth.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.
God has demonstrated himself as being faithful and completely trustworthy through his actions with Israel.
Today we will be exploring the topic of trust, and how God has demonstrated himself as being faithful and completely trustworthy through his actions with Israel as revealed in the Bible. The story of Israel is a story about God’s faithfulness. He has demonstrated himself as worthy of trust because whatever he has committed to his people has come to pass. Time and time again he has proven himself as fulfilling what he has promised, whether in blessing or in judgment. In essence, the Bible story of Israel is a type of historical resume that God has provided us.
From a quick online search of definitions, we find that a resume can be defined as “a formal document that provides an overview of your professional qualifications, including your relevant work experience, skills, education, and notable accomplishments.” Now let me quickly add that it certainly isn’t necessary for God to provide us all of that information, since, well, he’s God and can do whatever he wants. It’s not as if he is encouraging us to hire him to be our God from among the choices of other gods that are out there. But isn’t that kind of how we look at this information contained in the Bible? We evaluate it critically against the claims of other beliefs and religious systems out there to see if it is a reasonable system of faith.
Since God certainly has nothing to prove, and yet we still need some sort of understanding of who he is, how does the Bible stack up as a demonstration of God’s “skills and notable accomplishments”?
Well, if we review the story of Israel as related in the Bible books, we find a consistent narrative that has a logical beginning, middle, and ending that has been borne out in time. We can see that there is a flow and a lasting evidence to how God has worked with the nation of Israel within history to help us understand who he is.
The story of Israel begins most notably with the events in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as related in the book of Genesis. After Abraham leaves the Ur of the Chaldees to go to a special place in which God is calling him, his son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob, carry the story forward to the twelve sons of Jacob. In the course of time, they needed to temporarily leave the area that God had called them to due to severe famine. However, God had promised that they would be returning in fulfillment of what he had promised them.
Genesis 28:15 – “Look, I am with you, and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
In this vision that Jacob experiences, God recounts the promises made to his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. He promised that they would receive the land, that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth, and that all the tribes of the earth would be blessed through him and his descendants.
Genesis 28:13-14 – “I will give you and your offspring the land on which you are lying. “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
Of course, the story reveals that in traveling to Egypt for salvation from the famine, they became a numerous people that began to be a threat to the Egyptians, so they were forced into slavery. God then sent Moses to deliver them, and separate them to himself as his own people.
After the events of the Exodus and the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai, they are relegated to the wilderness in preparation for returning to the land that God had promised them.
As Moses and Aaron pass from the scene, God raises up Joshua to be their leader in purging the land from its pagan atrocities so the land can prosper under the auspices of the torah of God.
Deuteronomy 9:5 – “You are not going to take possession of their land because of your righteousness or your integrity. Instead, Yahweh your God will drive out these nations before you because of their wickedness, in order to fulfill the promise he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
After the battle campaigns, we find that everything had come to pass just as God had promised. On his deathbed, Joshua recounts God’s faithfulness:
Joshua 23:14 – “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know with all your heart and soul that not one of the good promises Yahweh your God made to you has failed. Everything was fulfilled for you; not one promise has failed.”
So we can see, at least as far as Joshua was concerned, God had demonstrated himself worthy of faith based on everything that he had promised to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In reviewing God’s resume in relation to the Israelites, we find another historical aspect that has been borne out in time, and still exists to this day. Just prior to the nation entering and taking the land of Canaan, God had set some pretty strict covenantal standards in place. You may recall the blessings and the curses that were pronounced upon them if they were to keep the conditions of the covenant, or if they were to fail in doing so.
Deuteronomy 28:1, 15, 63-65 – “Now if you faithfully obey Yahweh your God and are careful to follow all his commands I am giving you today, Yahweh your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. … “But if you do not obey Yahweh your God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you: … “Just as Yahweh was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so he will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess. “Then Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There Yahweh will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit.”
Again, we find that both of these examples, the blessings and the curses, have come to pass in the life of the nation.
As they demonstrated faithfulness and maintained worship of the one true God, the nation rose to power in the ancient world, coming to a pinnacle in the lives of David and Solomon. At that time, Israel was not only bountiful within the borders of its own land, but David had also won the peace of surrounding nations who became subservient to Israel, from Egypt all the way to the Euphrates river. This was a monumental territory that was a fulfillment of all that God had promised to Abraham.
Genesis 15:18 – “On that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River…”
Solomon lived to enjoy the fulfillment of that promise.
1 Kings 4:21 – “Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and as far as the border of Egypt. They offered tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.”
Sadly, Solomon also lived to see the beginning of the curses of the covenant fall upon the nation, as he himself was the catalyst of events that would lead to the removal of Israel from their territory that God had promised them.
1 Kings 11:4, 6 – “When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been. … Solomon did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not remain loyal to Yahweh.”
In his later years, his heart went after foreign women and their gods. He began to compromise with the religions of the surrounding nations, and due to his unfaithfulness he triggered the activation of the covenant curses, beginning with his own son.
Upon his death, Solomon’s son Rehoboam inherited the kingdom and infuriated the people with his obstinance. As a result, Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon, rebelled and began to rule over ten of the tribes, leaving Judah and Benjamin to Rehoboam. A civil war was to commence that would never be physically healed.
Over the next several hundred years, the country would degrade further into idolatry and rebellion against God, until the ten tribes were finally overpowered by Assyria and removed from the land. Less than two centuries later, Babylon would rise to power and remove Judah and Benjamin from the land. The prophecy that Moses had given to their forefathers came to pass in horrifying reality.
Deuteronomy 28:63-64 – “…You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess. Then Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.”
Assyria invaded in 721 BC and Babylon in 586 BC. The Israelites were indeed “scattered among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other.” Even when the Jews in Babylon were allowed to return to Jerusalem 70 years later, many of them chose to remain in Babylon. The ten northern tribes that had been taken by the Assyrians were so widely spread and co-mingled with the nations that they also never fully returned.
Once again, the truth of God and his faithfulness to his word were demonstrated with Israel. Yet there remained a significant and enduring promise that was still to come to pass.
Long after the physical blessings and curses of the covenant had come to pass, there was still a work that God had committed would happen. Beyond the physical promises of a land and numerous people stood God’s promise to the forefathers of Israel that all the families or tribes of the earth would be blessed through their descendants. God had brought a small remnant of his people back to the land to ensure that the final stage of his drama with Israel could still be fulfilled.
One of the other major prophecies that God had declared to Moses was that of a prophet who was to come, who would faithfully speak God’s words within his generation.
Deuteronomy 18:18-19 – “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name.”
Additionally, God had yet to fulfill a prior prophetic commitment that he had made to Abraham.
Genesis 18:18 – “Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.”
The good news of the Bible is that God fulfilled these promises in the person of Yeshua. As God’s Son, the anointed One, he spoke the words of the Father to his generation of brothers and was appointed the judge who was to hold them accountable to the truth of God’s torah.
John 12:49 – “For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said.”
John 8:16 – “And if I do judge, my judgment is true, because it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.”
Additionally, as a true descendant of Abraham’s lineage, he fulfilled every promise and prophecy for the nation, and became the springboard of faith to the rest of the world.
Genesis 21:12 – But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed about the boy and about your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your seed will be traced through Isaac…
Galatians 3:28-29 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”
Just as Isaac was a miraculous son of promise, so Yeshua was a miraculous son of promise. We see the fulfillment of these promises made to Abraham and to Israel through Moses that came to pass in the days of Yeshua. The early believers recognized these promises being fulfilled, and came to faith in Messiah.
Additionally, in recognition of these fulfillments, the apostle Paul reached out to the Israelites everywhere who were still scattered among the nations with the hopes that they would be restored to the one true God, and that as lost sheep they would be restored to the fold. Many did return to the faith of God, thereby fulfilling the torah by becoming a faithful remnant through whom God would reach out to all nations. In the process of these lost and scattered Israelites coming to faith in Messiah, many others of the nations did so also, demonstrating how all nations would be blessed through him.
Every faithful life needs a narrative, otherwise the Bible merely becomes a collection of stories and platitudes. The Bible stands as God’s resume of faithfulness, a narrative corroborated through the annals of history. Through this brief recounting of God’s faithfulness with the nation of Israel, we can see how God has provided us a resume of his accomplishments within the history of his people. We know historically that they were brought dramatically out of Egypt, how they flourished in the land that God had promised them, and yet were ultimately scattered among all nations, even down to this day. We see through these inner workings that God has done all things in wisdom by caring for his people, yet holding them accountable to their covenant. All of this was so that his glory would be made known to the whole world, and that all nations would be able to recognize him for who he is.
Like Paul, we can hold all of this in amazement when we realize the intricate care and detail in how God works all things to his own glory:
Romans 11:33, 36 – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.”
The promises that were made to Abraham and Moses were recognized by the earliest believers in Messiah as coming to fulfillment in Yeshua. They have continued to come to pass up to our day, multiplying believers in the one true God and blessing all of the tribes within each generation of the earth into the future. As we honor God by trusting in him and his Messiah, we demonstrate we are participating in the ongoing consummation of his faithfulness to all people.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.
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Disciples would be made of all nations through faith in the seed of Abraham, that is, Messiah.
Genesis 28:10-14 – Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. He reached a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set. He took one of the stones from the place, put it there at his head, and lay down in that place. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching the sky, and God’s angels were going up and down on it. Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land on which you are lying. “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.
There is an ancient Jewish tradition that what Jacob viewed in this vision was a representation of the kingdom of God. This “ladder” (or stairway or ramp) was connecting the lofty realm of God with the earth. Through Jacob and his offspring, somehow there would be a connection between the realm of God in heaven and the earth, and it would extend to all people. The promise that was given to Abraham (Genesis 12:3) was reiterated to his son Isaac (Genesis 26:4), and here with Jacob, “All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
Interestingly, we find a reference to this story of Jacob’s dream issuing from none other than the Messiah himself.
John 1:49-51 – “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel! ” Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
This is a clear reference to the story of Jacob’s dream where Yeshua is now further illuminating the text by stating that the connection between heaven and earth, the ladder, stairway, or ramp, is attained through himself!
If we are to look at other references within the book of Matthew where Yeshua refers to himself as the Son of Man and speaks of angels, we find some interesting verses.
Matthew 13:41 – “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom all who cause sin and those guilty of lawlessness. Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each according to what he has done. Matthew 25:31 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
These references of angels with the Son of Man all have to do with consequence and reward within the kingdom of God. These sayings allude to the spiritual truth of the authority of the kingdom of God, and the consequences of rejection or belief in him. Notice the summary of each of the Son of Man passages above concludes with unambiguous references to the kingdom of God.
Matthew 13:43 – “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Let anyone who has ears listen. Matthew 16:28 – “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 25:32, 34 – “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. … “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
We know that this paradigm of the kingdom is already in place, as after his resurrection, Messiah was quoted as saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19)
This is the fulfillment of the promise of the kingdom made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Disciples would be made of all nations through faith in the seed of Abraham, that is, Messiah.
The apostle Paul recognized this connection as well, when he wrote that the Messiah was the promised seed to whom this blessing would come.
Galatians 3:14, 16 – The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the nations by Messiah Yeshua, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith. … Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Messiah.
In Messiah Yeshua, the kingdom of God has its fulfillment. As the promised seed of Abraham, he is the bridge between heaven and earth. All who believe in him, that is, who are “in” the seed, have access to the throne of heaven through faith. The ancient Jewish tradition of Jacob having a vision of God’s kingdom is substantiated through the revelation of the Messiah as the Son of Man through which God’s kingdom is come to earth!
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.
The biblical definition of meekness provides the basis of integrity
Today we will be exploring the topic of integrity, and how integrity is vividly illustrated in the concept of biblical meekness.
Yeshua stated it this way:
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
What I would like to do today is to look at the two main aspects of this principle of Yeshua: what the Bible says this meekness or gentleness is, and then to review what inheriting the earth is all about.
Looking at some modern definitions of the word “meek” present us with ideas like “easily imposed on” or “overly submissive.” Words like “weak, timid, soft, and yielding” are also considered modern synonyms.
Yet, if you were to look a little further into some of the archaic definitions, you would find “gentle” and “kind.”
As is typically the case, in shifting between languages throughout time certain meanings are lost and others are gained. Looking at definitions derived from the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible we come up with some definitions that provide a different emphasis.
For example, the Easton Bible dictionary says that meekness is “a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked.”
Friberg Lexicon says that meekness is as “a mild and friendly disposition, gentle, kind, considerate.”
Bauer’s Lexicon says meekness is when a person is “not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate.”
What Yeshua is expressing here when he says the meek shall inherit the earth is certainly not timidity or weakness, but rather strength that is under complete control, having the ability to demonstrate great power without harshness. This is a vital ingredient in the make up of the integrity of a believer.
This is a non-intuitive way of viewing power in general, as we typically associate power with directness and abruptness of absolute authority or influence. However, the quality spoken of here is one of constancy of purpose and direction, yet having the ability to convey that definitive purpose in a way that is steady and unyielding but without being severe.
I had recently come across an article from Llewelyn Martin, writing over at Pilgrim Ministries, that conveys a sense of this nature of Moses and how we should view his actions and behavior along with those of Yeshua.
“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). Vine’s defines meekness like this: “It is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God.” It is the attitude of accepting God’s work in our lives without disputing or resisting what He brings our way. It is the ability to see everything that comes along as something that God allows and wants to use to strengthen and purify our character. Whether it is circumstances that are contrary to our plan or people that insult or injure us, we realize that God has allowed it to purify us. It is complete reliance on God in what He asks of us or brings to us.
We tend to view meekness as weakness or mildness; however, in reality, meekness is strength. We know that Jesus was meek, but He was not weak. It took strength to meekly accept God’s lot for His life without using all the resources at His disposal to avoid it. He instead laid that all aside to follow through with God’s plan for Him. Meekness is the ability to use God’s power to fulfill His will when we have the power and ability to follow our own plan or defend ourselves. It is not being at the end of our rope and then needing to rely on God. It is having rope left but choosing instead to accept God’s plan. Therefore, meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness or self-interest. It is the calmness of spirit that is neither self-exulting nor self-degrading; it is not preoccupied with self at all. Meekness can only be realized through the Holy Spirit empowering our lives.
-Llewellyn Martin, Moses the Meekest Man
Moses The Meekest Man | Pilgrim Ministry
That biblically meek men can be influential leaders was also brought into focus by an article I found at Perspective Digest. This excerpt highlights the driving force behind biblical meekness which is a patient yet firm conviction of God’s will.
Review of the biblical use of the term translated as “meek” pertaining to Moses (Num. 12:3), provides good insight into Old Testament significance of this quality. Though at times synonymous (and even confused) with the related word translated “poor” or “afflicted,” the term’s 18 most certain occurrences never represent high social standing or popular esteem. …
For meekness as leadership principle is neither dependent on popular permission, nor on personal whim and preference. It is controlled neither by social status nor by personal will. It is the simple conviction that this is what God, unique and supreme Authority, has required and would will. It is doing what God says to do regardless. Patience with human perversity is part and parcel of such leadership, for the crowds do eventually follow, however reluctantly. But however unwilling the multitude may prove to be, God will still lead, and His meek human agent will lead by following Him (Ps. 25:9). Such single-minded, shame-despising commitment was and is the leadership of Jesus (Heb. 12:2), and of His servant Moses.
Lael Caesar, Moses’ Meek Leadership
Perspective Digest : Moses’ Meek Leadership
Believers are encouraged to have this quality of great strength and capability within humble and steady control, coupled with respect and kindness for others.
Titus 3:1-2 – Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Some other words from other versions of verse 2 use language like, “they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone,” or “to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
Biblical meekness is powerful because it is also one of the visible fruits of God’s holy Spirit working within us:
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
This Biblical meekness or strength that is under humble control can be likened to a forest stream as it winds its way down a mountain in the wilderness. The power of the water is steady and unyielding, yet it doesn’t flow in a straight line from the top of the mountain to the sea into which it empties itself. It flows over and around rocks and obstacles as it makes its journey, softening the edges of hard rock and scooping bits of soil and pebbles in its path and carrying them away. Over time, its effects become more prominent as the channel for the stream becomes deeper and more defined. While, from one perspective, the water can be thought of as yielding to the hard rocks along the way, it is actually molding, shaping, and moving the mountain as it flows over and around the rocks and pebbles in its path.
Matthew 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Yeshua encourages us to learn of this biblical meekness from him. When we take it to heart and actually practice this with those around us, our strength that is under control can positively influence the hardened and sharpened opinions of the world around us.
Now that we have a broader understanding of biblical meekness and how we should exercise this same quality that Yeshua had, how is it that this quality allows believers to inherit the earth? Well, we can begin to understand this better when we recognize that when Yeshua was saying that the meek shall inherit the earth, he was actually referencing a quote from one of the Psalms.
Psalm 37:11 – But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
However, in Psalm 37, the contextual reference is to the land as an eternal inheritance, not the earth as a whole. The Hebrew word for earth (eretz) can be translated as either “earth” meaning the whole globe, or “land” as in the land of Israel. It is up to the translator to choose the usage.
We can see the land referenced throughout this Psalm:
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. …
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. …
11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. …
22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. …
29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. …
34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
The reason that using the word land instead of earth in these passages is preferred is that this same type of language of inheriting the land is all through the Old Covenant. This was the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his descendants.
Genesis 12:7 – Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Genesis 13:17 – Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
Genesis 15:18 – On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…”
In that last passage, the land is even physically described as being bordered by Egypt to the Euphrates, the physical land of Israel.
To Isaac, God said, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father,” (Genesis 26:3).
To Jacob he said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring,” (Genesis 28:13).
So to inherit the land was the result of faithfulness and obedience to God. Conversely, to not enter or to be cut off from the land was language that defined the consequences of unbelief.
Numbers 32:11 – ‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me…
Deuteronomy 28:58, 63-66 – “If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, … “It shall come about … you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life.
This is the state of the wicked and unrepentant: to be cut off from the land.
God told Solomon: 1 Kings 9:6-7 – “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
So we see that the land was instrumental to the promises and purpose of God for national Israel. These promises then reached their fulfillment within the spiritual kingdom of God.
When Yeshua said the meek shall inherit the earth, I believe he used this phrase of inheriting the land metaphorically, applying it directly to the kingdom that emanates from heaven. This can be demonstrated by looking at the immediate context of the teaching of meekness within the Sermon on the Mount:
Mat 5:3, 5, 10 3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … 5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth [land]. … 10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, if Yeshua used references to the land inheritance to metaphorically stand for the Kingdom, then I believe we can also. God gave national Israel (physical descendants of Abraham) the Land; he gives believers (spiritual descendants of Abraham) the Kingdom.
Luke 12:32 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
Therefore, we now come to the final aspect of this land question. If the land was to be given to Israel forever, then why did this not come to pass, as they were removed through several different scatterings through the ancient empires of Assyria, Babylon and Rome?
I believe this has to do with the nature of the eternal promise, and its fulfillment in the kingdom of God.
We know that nothing on this earth is eternal. The apostle Paul even taught that everything which can be seen is temporary.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
By that logic, the land is something that can be seen and is therefore not an eternal possession in and of itself. I believe these references to an eternal land are foreshadowing the everlasting kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven.
The prophetic Zion is mentioned as having everlasting qualities.
Psalm 125:1 – Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.
Psalm 146:10 – The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
Micah 4:7 – “I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever.
This is also as the writer to the Hebrews relates when he ties all of this imagery together:
Hebrews 12:22 – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…
He even carries forward the promise of the land that was made to Abraham as a promise that even Abraham knew was something larger, more permanent, and a future possession:
Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-14, 16 – By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign [land,] dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. … All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. … But as it is, they desire a better [country,] that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Psalm 125:1 reads: Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” In an allusion back to this passage, the writer of Hebrews also mentions how the kingdom of God cannot be shaken.
Hebrews 12:27-28 – This [expression,] “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
This kingdom which cannot be shaken is the New Jerusalem, Mount Zion, representative of the kingdom of heaven. Just as the physically faithful inherited the physical land, then the spiritually faithful inherit the spiritual kingdom. This is the kingdom that was prophesied to spread to all kingdoms, and last forever.
Daniel 2:44 – “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and [that] kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.
Daniel 7:13-14 – “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and [men of every] language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
As this kingdom is to be spread over the entire earth, then in a very real way, the meek shall indeed inherit the earth, with the caveat that it will be so when the realization of the heavenly kingdom is over all the earth.
So to summarize a lot of broad-ranging information today, we can see that Yeshua’s saying that “the meek shall inherit the earth” is indeed a reality that is underway and growing to fulfillment with each passing day.
The concept of biblical meekness or gentleness is strength under control, flexible but unyielding, having a powerful purpose but adapting to its environment while accomplishing its ends.
This is the force that overcomes the mighty and powerful, beating swords into plowshares, replacing the kingdoms of men with the kingdom of God, as believers remain firm on the principles of God’s kingdom. We, as the biblical meek, are the stream cascading down the mountain of God, smoothing the rough stones and scooping up the willing along its way into the vast ocean of eternity.
As believers are diligent in bringing about this integrity of gentleness in expressing God’s powerful purpose around them, anything is possible. The world of rebellious men becomes the possession of God as willing hearts turn to him. To him every knee shall bow, and to him every knee shall confess. This is the type of power that truly inherits the earth.