“The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth”—HOW?

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“The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth”—HOW?

“YOU are probably familiar with Jesus’ heartwarming words that ‘the
meek shall inherit the earth.’ But in view of all that people are doing
to one another and to the earth, what do you think there will be left
for the meek to inherit?”—Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:11; King
James Version
.

Myriam, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, used this question to start a
Bible discussion. The man to whom she spoke responded that if Jesus made
this promise, the earth must be an inheritance worthy of the name and
not a devastated or uninhabitable heap.

That was surely an optimistic answer. But do we have reason for
having such a positive outlook? Indeed we do, for the Bible gives us
strong reasons to believe that the promise will come true. Actually, the
fulfillment of that promise is closely linked to God’s purpose for
mankind and for the earth. And we are assured that what God purposes, he
will carry out. (Isaiah 55:11)
So, then, what did God originally purpose for mankind, and how will it
all work out?

God’s Eternal Purpose for the Earth

Jehovah God created the earth for a specific purpose. “This is what
Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the
Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly
established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it
even to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.’” (Isaiah 45:18)
Thus, the earth was created specifically for human habitation.
Furthermore, it is God’s purpose for the earth to be an eternal home for
mankind. “He has founded the earth upon its established places; it will
not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.”—Psalm 104:5; 119:90.

God’s purpose regarding the earth is also made evident in the
commission that he gave to the first human pair. To Adam and Eve,
Jehovah said: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue
it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures
of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the
earth.” (Genesis
1:28
) The earth, which God entrusted to Adam and Eve, was to be an
everlasting home for them and for their offspring. “As regards the
heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong,” declared the psalmist many
centuries later, “but the earth he has given to the sons of men.”—Psalm 115:16.

To realize that marvelous prospect, Adam and Eve, as well as their
offspring, must each accept Jehovah God, the Creator and Life-Giver, as
their Sovereign and be willing to obey him. Jehovah left no room for
doubt in this regard when he gave this command to the man: “From every
tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of
the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day
you eat from it you will positively die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17)
For Adam and Eve to continue living in the garden of Eden, they must
obey that simple and clearly stated command. Doing so would be an
expression of their gratitude for all that the heavenly Father had done
for them.

When Adam and Eve willfully disobeyed God by breaking the command
that had been laid upon them, they in reality turned their back on the
one who provided them with everything that they had. (Genesis 3:6) In
so doing, they lost their beautiful Paradise home not only for
themselves but also for their offspring. (Romans 5:12)
Did the first couple’s disobedience thwart God’s purpose in creating the
earth?

God’s purpose for the earth is evident
in the commission that he gave to Adam and Eve

A God Who Has Not Changed

Through his prophet Malachi, God declared: “I am Jehovah;
I have not changed.” (Malachi 3:6)
Commenting on this verse, French Bible scholar L. Fillion observed that
this declaration is closely associated with the accomplishment of divine
promises. “Jehovah could have annihilated his rebellious people,” wrote
Fillion, “but being unchangeable in his promises, he will, in spite of
everything, be faithful to the promises he made in the past.” God’s
promises, whether to an individual, a nation, or all mankind, will not
be forgotten but be carried out in his due time. “He has remembered his
covenant even to time indefinite, the word that he commanded, to a
thousand generations.”—Psalm 105:8.

 

The peace and security of
Solomon’s reign provided a preview of the promised inheritance

How, though, can we be sure that Jehovah has not changed his original
purpose with regard to the earth? We can be sure of this because
throughout God’s inspired Word, the Bible, we find mention of the divine
purpose to give the earth to obedient mankind. (Psalm 25:13; 37:9, 22, 2934)
Furthermore, the Scriptures describe those blessed by Jehovah as
dwelling in security, each sitting “under his vine and under his fig
tree,” with “no one making them tremble.” (Micah 4:4; Ezekiel 34:28)
Those chosen by Jehovah “will certainly build houses and have
occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their
fruitage.” They will enjoy peace even with the beasts of the field.—Isaiah 11:6-9;
65:2125.

The Bible provides a foreglimpse of God’s promise in another way.
During the reign of King Solomon, the nation of Israel enjoyed a time of
peace and prosperity. Under his rule, “Judah and Israel continued to
dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig
tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)
The Bible says that Jesus is “more than Solomon,” and speaking of his
reign, the psalmist prophetically declared: “In his days the righteous
one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”
At that time, “there will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on
the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.”—Luke 11:31; Psalm 72:716.

Faithful to his word, Jehovah God will make sure that the promised
inheritance is not only available but also restored in all its splendor.
At Revelation
21:4
, God’s Word tells us that in the promised new world, God “will
wipe out every tear from [people’s] eyes, and death will be no more,
neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” What is promised
is no less than Paradise.—Luke 23:43.

How to Share in the Promised Inheritance

The transformation of the earth into a paradise will take place under
a government that exercises its dominion from heaven, a Kingdom with
Jesus Christ as King. (Matthew 6:9, 10)
First, that Kingdom will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18;
Daniel 2:44)
Then, as the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ will fulfill these
prophetic words: “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace
there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7)
Under that Kingdom, millions of humans, including those who will be
brought back to life by means of the resurrection, will have the
opportunity to inherit the earth.—John 5:28, 29;
Acts 24:15.

Who will be in line to enjoy that wonderful inheritance? Consider
Jesus’ words: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit
the earth.” (Matthew
5:5
) What does it mean to be mild-tempered, or meek? Dictionaries
generally define “meek,” or “mild,” as gentle, moderate, submissive,
quiet, even timid. However, the original Greek word used means much
more. “There is gentleness” in that word, observes William Barclay’s New
Testament Wordbook
, “but behind the gentleness there is the
strength of steel.” It denotes a mental disposition that enables a
person to endure injury without resentment or thought of retaliation,
all as a result of having a good relationship with God, and that
relationship becomes a source of strength for him.—Isaiah 12:2; Philippians 4:13.

One who is meek humbly accepts God’s standards in all aspects of his
personal life; he does not insist on going by his own views or by other
people’s opinions. He is also teachable, willing to be taught by
Jehovah. The psalmist David wrote: “[Jehovah] will cause the meek ones
to walk in his judicial decision, and he will teach the meek ones his
way.”—Psalm 25:9;
Proverbs
3:5, 6
.

Will you be among “the meek” who will inherit the earth? By getting
to know Jehovah and his will through a diligent study of his Word and by
putting what you learn into practice, you too can look forward to
inheriting an earthly paradise and living forever in it.—John 17:3.

A righteous new world is ahead
—will you be there?

 

Appeared in The Watchtower  October
1, 2004

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