A Prayer of Jesus I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
A Footstool, a House and a Throne
By Edgar Jones
Vast multitudes of Christians, perhaps hundreds of millions, are eagerly anticipating the return of the Lord. Encouraged by many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of ministers, pastors, teachers, evangelists, authors and web masters, they expect him to transform the earth into Paradise and, as the children of God, they confidently believe they are to inherit it. It is the Lord's promise, delivered in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount:Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5).Are the "meek" to inherit the planet? The language is clear; the statement is very simple and the words are familiar. Therefore, why don't I do what I am always urging others to do: listen to him? Well, it is not quite so simple as it appears because this interpretation is not in accord with other utterances of the Lord. These multitudes of Christians have listened to him only a little. To be sure, we must listen to him but we must listen to him carefully! What happens is that they have their hearts set on certain things and the instant they see some words of the Lord that seem to confirm them, they jump on it without questioning.
There are so very many of these Christians who expect to inherit the earth; they come from all branches of the church. They come from Catholicism, from Protestants of all stripes, from the Anabaptist wing, from Evangelicals, from Orthodoxy, from liberalism, from fundamentalism and indeed from every corner. There are so many of them!
Here, let me just quote some of their spokesmen to illustrate their expectation:
George Eldon Ladd writes: "Furthermore, the Kingdom will see the redemption of the present order from all evil and its transformation to provide a perfect setting for God's redeemed people. (Jesus and His Kingdom, p. 315). He Goes on to quote Matthew 5:5, The meek shall inherit the earth, and then comments: There is every reason to conclude that Jesus shared with the prophets the expectation of a redeemed earth. (p 315,316) Ladd goes on to conclude: "In Jesus, God acted in history. The consummation of the kingdom, although breaking into history, will itself be beyond history, for it will introduce a redeemed order whose actual character transcends both historical experience and realistic imagination. However, its coming is inseparable from what God has already done in history. Therefore, even though the goal of history is beyond history, it nevertheless means the redemption of history, when history is transformed into a new and glorious mode of existence." (p. 333).
John Bright, in The Kingdom of God writes most boldly: It is as if the seer had been projected beyond the present trial and all the woes and ills of this world, and had been permitted to behold that yet unconsummated end event, the victory of the Kingdom of God. The power of Cosmic Evil is now at length ended. The Devil and his minions, the Beast and all that did his bidding, are consigned to the flames, and the judgment books are opened before him that sits on the Great White Throne. Then it is that this old and weary creation is restored, new heavens are there and a new earth; the very City of God, the new Jerusalem, has come down from heaven to take its place among men. In it is ineffable joy; all sorrow, all pain, all evil have vanished away (p. 241,242).
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II quotes from Lumen Gentium: "The end of the age has already arrived and the world's renewal is irrevocably set – and in a certain real way it is even anticipated in this world. Already, on earth the Church is adorned with true, even if imperfect, holiness. But until there are new heavens and a new earth, in which justice resides, the pilgrim church, with its sacraments and history, carries the mark of this fleeting world, and lives among creation, which still groans and struggles, yearning for the appearance of the children of God."
Billy Graham: "Now, the point is that in all these quotations, as throughout Christendom, the earth is the center of attention. It is the earth that is to be transformed, renewed, whatever, so that there can be a new earth for the meek to inherit." (Matthew 5:5)
Also, in The Approaching Hoof beats, he writes, "Yes, God has promised this planet to his Son, Jesus Christ, and some day it will be his. He will bring an end to all the injustice, the oppression, the wars, the crime, the terrorism, that dominate our newspapers and television screens today."
Eberhardt Arnold, in Salt and Light: "Jesus describes this new order as something that comes from heaven. In the heavenly world it already rules now as the unity of the universe and as the circling course of the stars, as light and life, as harmony and law-governed spirituality of matter, as justice and peace. All this shall rule on this earth as well! That heaven come onto earth, that the earth itself become the kingdom of heaven – that is the goal."
Yes, multitudes believe it, but it is not to take place. They have completely misunderstood the Lord’s words, not having listened carefully. We will here examine some of the reasons why I have reached this conclusion.
The NumbersFirst, consider the numbers. Multitudes upon multitudes entertain this hope. But let us listen a little more carefully to our Lord as he speaks further on in the same Sermon on the Mount:Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13,14).Since, therefore, only a "few" will enter into life, a hope that is shared by these multitudes on multitudes of Christians must be vain. Luke’s Gospel contains a similar teaching. Once someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" He replied:Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24).Where are these "many" that are seeking to enter? Throughout history they are to be found in only one place: the church. There it is that these multitudes on multitudes reside who are seeking to enter, and who will not be able. So, this is only the first reason to question the hope of multitudes of inheriting the planet.
Where Is Your Treasure?Here is another utterance of the Lord, again from the same Sermon on the Mount:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).It is clear that if one’s heart is set on inheriting the earth, that is something one treasures in the heart. It is also clear that Jesus would not teach us, as here, to treasure in our hearts only what is in heaven while promising us the earth as an incentive to meekness! These words also clearly suggest that there is no mixing of these two hopes in the hearts of the disciples – that is, the hope of treasure in heaven and of inheriting the earth. Our hearts are either on earth or in heaven; it is vain to cater to both. But those who are eagerly anticipating the inheritance of the earth have laid up their treasure on the earth; indeed, their treasure is the earth! So, if Jesus meant to promise us the inheritance of this earth, he was inconsistent. I don’t think so! He tells us here to set our hearts on heaven and not on the earth.
If he was not literally promising the earth to his disciples, what did he promise? What can be the meaning of Matthew 5:5?
Compare with Other BeatitudesThis beatitude needs to be understood in the light of all the beatitudes. They are nine in number and I list them here, from Matthew 5:3-12:
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for their is the
kingdom of heaven.
9. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil
against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in
heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. Return
The OrderThere is a certain order to these nine beatitudes but first we should explain that there are really only eight of them, not nine as we have listed them. Both No. 8 and No. 9 are promises delivered to those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, with No. 9 being only and expansion of No 8. The promise is the same in each case, being stated in slightly different terms. in No. 8 it is the "kingdom of heaven; in No 9, it is a great "reward in heaven." What greater reward can there be in heaven than the kingdom of heaven?
Furthermore, there are only seven promises. I have already equated the promises of Nos. 8 and 9, but we can easily see that the promise of No. 1 is precisely identical to No. 8: "theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The Beatitudes open with the promise of the kingdom of heaven, and they close with the promise of the kingdom of heaven! I suggest at this point that this single promise, coming at the beginning and repeated at the end, serves to bracket the whole, indicating that all the promises contained therein are to be identified with the promise of the kingdom of heaven. The fact that there are only a total of seven different promises should not surprise for Scripture often settles on this "perfect" number. The ninth and last Beatitude then is a sort of summary, not only of No. 8, but of all the others. All of them are different aspect of the "reward in heaven." Now note carefully, the reward is "in heaven" and not on the earth. But can the meek inherit the earth, in heaven?
Without forgetting that promise No. 3, of the inheritance of the earth, is the focus of our attention, let us now examine each of the other promises, then we will return to No. 3 at the last.
Identifying the Promised Rewards – No. 1" . . .for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."Identical to No. 8, we will also include the latter here, and we ask, How are these poor in spirit and persecuted ones to receive the kingdom of heaven? They are to inherit it! We need only to listen to Jesus as he describes the Judgment Day, where he return to earth and gathers all nations before him, divides the sheep from the goats, and says to the sheep, "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . (Matthew 25:34)."
Where is this inheritance? The Great Judgment of Matthew 25 does not answer this specifically, but it closes with these words: "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (v. 46)." The first words here, " . . . "they will go away" applies both to the goats and the sheep. Then, " . . . they (the blessed) will go away . . . into eternal life." Still, we are not told where they are going away too, there to enter into eternal life. But we can get this answer by going somewhere else in the utterances of Jesus.
He began this description of the Great Judgment by saying, "When the Son of man comes in his glory . . . he will sit on his glorious throne (Matthew 25:31). This Judgment is then associated with his return to earth in glory. It is the same return to earth that he mentions in The Fourth Gospel: "In my Father’s house are many rooms; . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . and when I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am there you may be also (John 14:2,3). I think you will all agree with me on this, otherwise we have not one, but two "second comings" to contend with. Not reasonable, is it?
Now we know where the disciples will go to inherit their kingdom and enter into eternal life – to the Father’s house. But where is this house?
It is a far place from here – from the earth. This is strongly suggested by the Parable of the Prodigal Son, where the Prodigal left the "Father’s house" and went away into a "far country." This "far country" is a metaphor for the earth. What else could it be? It is the place where young men sin, visits bordellos, feed swine, experience famine, hunger greatly, and waste their substance. Therefore we confidently conclude that, to the Father’s house, the earth is a far country.
Heaven is also the God’s throne. Are we agreed on this? It must be, for Isaiah has told us the words of God, "Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest’" (Isaiah 66:1)? It is surely the place indicated by Jesus when he said to the high priest, "But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64). It is the place indicated by the Psalmist, "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet’" (Psalm 110:1). All the Scriptures testify consistently that this place is at the right hand of God in heaven. The throne of God is in heaven where Jesus has gone to be seated "at the right hand of Power," where he is preparing rooms for his disciples, and from whence he shall come to judge the world. Jesus also refers to this same inheritance when he responded to Peter's question, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have (Matthew 19:27)? Jesus replied,Truly I say to you, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28).This question and answer was prompted by Jesus' statement that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Entering the kingdom of God is therefore by implication identical to being in the "regeneration" and to inheriting eternal life. This regeneration must be in heaven, for there is the throne. Indeed, heaven itself is the throne! Also, this inheritance of eternal life is the same as the inheritance of the kingdom, and of the earth! It all comes together, in the same package, when "the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne."
I can only conclude, and I hope you also, that the promise of the first and eighth Beatitudes can only be received in heaven and before the throne of God. There, to the right hand of Power, in the Father’s house, we must go to inherit the kingdom. The promises of these three Beatitudes, No. 1, No. 8 and No. 9 can only be a promise of heaven and of rewards in heaven, to be realized only when the disciples enter into heaven. They do not promise anything to be received on this earth.
Identifying the Promised Rewards: No. 2The second promise is that of comfort for the mourning. Surely this is a promise for the earth? No, even this is a promise to be realized only in heaven. Of course, I must interpose here to assert that the Father comforts us in our mourning on the earth every day in many ways, but that is not what Jesus implies here. The Greek New Testament word here is parakaleo, literally, to summon to one’s side. It is the comfort a child receives when summoned to the consoling side of a parent, as my surviving parent pulled this lad to his side and comforted him after the death of his mother. This is a special comfort that one receives only through being called to the side of the Father in heaven, there to be comforted by him eternally!
Jesus confirms this interpretation in his Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. It is the only other time Jesus uses this particular Greek word for "comfort," where he tells of Lazarus, in Abraham’s bosom, being comforted while the rich man must experience torment (Luke 16:19-31). Here, Abraham’s bosom is another metaphor for heaven, the place of comfort. It is not on the earth, where the rich man wanted Lazarus to be sent, to his father’s house to warn his five brothers. This particular comfort is therefore received only in heaven, when the children of God are called alongside Him for their consolation. So, I believe I can reasonably conclude that this, the promise Beatitude No. 2, is the promise of comfort for heaven, not for the earth. So, we can confidently state that the promises of No. 1, No. 2, No. 8, and No. 9 are all promises to be received only in heaven. We are saving the third promise, that of the inheritance of the earth, for last, so we go on now to the fourth.
Identifying the Promised Rewards – No. 4"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6).You may misinterpret this unless you distinguish our usual notion of "righteousness" from the one that prevails here. I mean that we must not interpret it here as good deeds or good works as we often do, for here we must understand not that kind of righteousness, but simply justice. This is the usual interpretation to be applied in both the Old and New Testaments. Amos the prophet, for example, hungered and thirsted for righteousness when he cried out, "Let judgment roll down like waters and justice (righteousness) an ever flowing stream." It is the justice defined by Jesus, again in the Parable of Lazarus, when he has Abraham say to the rich man, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish" (Luke 16:25). That is the justice for which we must hunger and thirst if we are to be satisfied. Of course, it is not only that others should deal with us justly, but that we must also deal with others in justice. This justice we, like Lazarus, can only receive in heaven, in the Father's house and before the Father's throne.
Just a little further on in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers again to hungering and thirsting:Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat (the hungry)?’’ or ‘What shall we drink (the thirsty)?’ or "What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness (justice), and all these things shall be yours as well.(Matthew 6:31,32)We have already seen that the disciples will only receive his kingdom (inherit the kingdom) in heaven; now we see that is also where they are to experience his justice along with the kingdom. True, they have the promise of something for their hunger and thirst for food and drink here on the earth, but the kingdom . . . and the justice . . . these are possessed only in heaven, where the children of God are to be comforted in the bosom of the Father. The earth is not the locale of true justice! Therefore this promise of satisfaction for the hunger for justice can only be realized in heaven, at the side of the Father. We confidently conclude that the promises of No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 8, and No. 9 are promises to be received only in heaven.
Identifying the Promised Rewards: No 5Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).Where do the merciful go to receive mercy? It cannot be anywhere on earth, because Jesus elsewhere promised his disciples that they are to receive the very opposite. "In the world," he said, "you will have tribulation."Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. . . . Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and the children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will hated by all for my name’s sake (Matthew 10:16-21).I realize, of course, that Jesus might mean this as a condition that will be changed with the transformation of the earth. The knowledge that the earth is to pass away, however, discredits this conclusion. So, the promised mercy cannot be for this earth; it must therefore, like the other promises we have examined, be only for heaven. The children of God are to be merciful toward others here on the earth, otherwise we will not receive mercy in heaven. That is the full import of this Beatitude. We can confidently state that of all the Beatitudes we have examined, every one of them contain a promise that is to be received only in heaven. So, No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 8 and No. 9 are promises for heaven and not for this earth.
Identifying the Promised Rewards – No. 6"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).O, this is an easy one! Here Jesus draws on Psalm 24. This Psalm begins with the obvious focus on the earth: "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof" (Psalm 24:1). Then it asks the questions, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?" The answer? "He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully." All these qualifications are included in the one, "a pure heart," for one who fails in any of them surely does not have a pure heart! Therefore, this is the only qualification listed by Jesus. The others are unnecessary so Jesus only lists the one.
Then we proceed to the end of the Psalm where we read, "Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob." This tells us where the "hill" and the "holy place" are located. They are not Mt. Moriah with its temple containing the Holy of Holies. No, for Jesus knew that no one really sees the face of God there. This hill and this Holy Place are in heaven, where God is and where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. It is only there that anyone will see God; therefore this promise of seeing God is, like the others we have examined, received only in heaven. The pure in heart will be blessed to see God, but they must go to heaven to see him. We will add No. 6 to our list, and now we see than No. 1, No. 2, No.4, No, 5, and No. 6 as well as No. 8 and No. 9 are promises that can only be received in heaven. They can never be received on the earth. We have only two more of these to examine – the seventh and the one we skipped over.
Identifying the Promised Rewards – No. 7"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God" (Matthew 5:9).Here, the question is, "Where are the peacemakers to be called the sons of God? On earth, or in heaven? To this question there is no clear answer as to the others. But if we also ask, "Who is to do the calling?" we may get some indication. Obviously, anyone could call themselves "sons of God" right here and now – indeed, many do so! Even the unrighteous have the freedom to call themselves such, and they sometimes do so. But there is not much of a blessing in calling oneself a son of God since anyone can do it. Not only so, but even here and now it may be the case that some are being called sons of God by friends and others close to them. The congregation is usually confident that their pastor is truly a son of God. But does that make it so? No, of course not! This is a great and certain blessing only if one particular person calls one the son of God – that is, God himself. That makes it real, and that is a great blessing indeed! But this, like all the other blessings we have examined, can only be a promise fulfilled in heaven, where the pure in heart will not only see God and be comforted by him but where they will hear him call them "my children." I conclude, therefore, that it is only in heaven, and not on the earth, that the disciples will receive this blessing – to be called children of God by the Father himself.
We can get some confirmation of this conclusion by examining Luke’s similar blessing, for in the Sermon on the Plain he makes this promise:But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful even as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:35,36).This gives us an expanded definition of "peacemakers" as designated by Matthew. We see that they are those who love their enemies, who are kind to the ungrateful and the selfish, who are merciful as the Father is merciful. Is there any better way to make peace? The alternative is of course to fight your enemies rather than make peace! It is this character of God-likeness, of being merciful as He is merciful, that qualifies us to become the children of God (sons of the Most High). But it is only here on the earth and in this time that we have enemies, that we lend to those who will not repay or that we can confront the merciless with mercy. Therefore it is here and now that we qualify to be called the sons of the Most High; it is there that the children of God will hear it from the Father himself.
Therefore, all these promised blessings, No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 can only be received in heaven. They are not promises to be received on the earth. If this applies to all except No. 3, then it is reasonable to expect it to apply to No. 3 also. But how are the meek to inherit the earth in heaven?
Identifying the Promised Rewards – No. 3Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).What did the disciples gathered around him on the mountain understand him to be saying? Or, what did those words mean to them? Surely he intended for those who heard him immediately to understand him, so he would have spoken in words they could understand.
If we ponder just a minute, two things must immediately come to mind: Matthew. 5:5 is a quotation from Psalm 37:11, with which the disciples were surely acquainted, and the word "earth" does not mean the same thing to them as it does to us. What does it mean to us? Whenever I think of "earth" there comes to mind one picture pre-eminently: that of a shimmering blue sphere whirling through space in its orbit about the Sun – the very sphere that I see when I look down toward my feet planted on the dirt. It could not possibly have meant the same to them for they had absolutely no planetary conceptions. This was long before Kepler and Galileo, remember? Now Jesus was surely speaking to his disciples, immediately, in words that they could understand, else why speak to them at all? So, taking the word "earth" from Psalm 37, what did they understand it to mean?
They understood it to refer to what they saw when they looked down toward their feet, planted on the dirt. This is the common element that makes "earth" apply to them and to us. And to them, that is all it could mean. Jesus surely knew that they would immediately relate this Beatitude to the age-old aspiration of the Sons of Abraham, of possessing the Land of Canaan. Canaan was the Promised earth – promised first to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to David and Solomon, and through the Prophets and Psalms, to the descendants of Abraham forever: the meek will inherit the land, that is, the land of Canaan – on which they were standing! Yet there they were – Jesus and his disciples – indeed all the Jewish nation, conquered by the Romans and dispossessed of the land of Promise.
Jesus has just told them who will possess it by inheritance: the meek. Jesus is reminding them that God hasn't forgotten his promise. The meek will yet possess the land. It is land, not planet earth that is spoken of here. This promise of God to the Jews that involves the expression, inherit the land, can mean nothing to the disciples but the realization of an age old dream: the restoration of the Kingdom of God under the line of David in the land of Canaan. Of course, if Jesus also meant to be referring to this exact same promise, it must be fulfilled on the earth. That's where the land of Canaan is located.
That is not what it meant to Jesus; it had a vastly different focus for him. But he had to start somewhere in the task of re-educating the twelve, and he chose to start here with the intention of then continuing to convert the definition of the phrase "inherit the land" to something vastly different. He knew what they understood by it and he knew what new meaning he would give it, so enriching it for them, and for us.
First, Jesus redirected the promise from the sons of Abraham to "the meek." This was necessary so as to keep the promise alive, for the sons of Abraham had utterly failed to qualify because they rejected him. He said therefore to them,The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it (Matthew 21:43).This nation to whom the kingdom is given he clearly identified as his little flock of disciples, saying,It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).It is this little flock that he has called "meek" in the Beatitude, and it will include not only sons of Abraham, but Gentiles also. These are the meek who will inherit the earth. But just as he changed the recipients of the promise from the sons of Abraham to the "meek," so also he has changed the promised land to something other than the land of Canaan. It cannot be the earth that the meek are to inherit and hold forever, whether the planet or that portion of its land called Canaan, because Jesus has clearly informed us that this planet is to pass away, together with all the created heavens:Heaven and earth will pass away . . . (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).The whole creation is futile in itself, in that it passes away. Nothing lasts. Everything ends, including the creation itself. Modern science has even suggested to us how it will pass away.
An Exercise in LogicGiven: The beatitude, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, consists of words of Jesus.
Given: Jesus spoke for God and said that heaven and earth (the planet) will pass away, be dissolved, exist no more (Mark 13:31).
Very well, he said it and he was speaking for God the Creator so it must be true. Let us take this and set it before us as Proposition No. 1:Proposition No. 1: Heaven and (planet) earth will pass away.Given: Jesus spoke for God and also said, in the same breath, that his words will not pass away (Mark 13:31).
Very well, he said it, and he was speaking for God the Creator so it must be true. Let us take this and set it before us as Proposition No. 2:Proposition No. 2: The words of Jesus will not pass away.Jesus stated both of these propositions on the authority of God the Creator, and we who believe he spoke accurately of these things will agree that these propositions are true. More than that, they are absolute Truth with a capital T, coming as they do from the Creator himself, and for whom Jesus spoke. Let us then state as Proposition No. 3:Proposition No. 3: Propositions No. 1 and No. 2 are absolutely True.By the same reasoning, with the understanding that the Creator is eternal and without end, changing not, we can conclude that these propositions will always be absolutely True. Let us than state as Proposition No. 4:Proposition No. 4: This proposition, and Nos. 1, 2, and 3, are forever True.Not to proceed too speedily, let's summarize all by stating all four propositions together and taking a moment to reflect on them. Also, since the earth is our concern here, we will drop the references to heaven (the created heavens).1. Proposition: The earth will pass away.Are you ready to proceed? Very well, let us return now to the listing of all the Beatitudes that I presented earlier. Looking at them, we find we can make some simple axiomatic observations that are so obvious as to be true beyond question:
2. Proposition: The words of Jesus will not pass away.
3. Proposition: Nos. 1 and 2 are absolutely True.
4. Proposition: Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 are forever absolutely True.1. Axiom: The blessings to the left in every case is in the present tense .Now look again at the Propositions:
2. Axiom: In Beatitude No. 3, which is our concern, the promise is future tense.
By Proposition No. 1 (the earth will pass away) we see that there will come a future last day, hour, and moment when the earth will pass away, after which it will exist no more. We will call this Derivation No. 11. Derivation: There will be a last moment when the earth passes away.By Proposition No. 2 (The words of Jesus will not pass away) we see that the words of Jesus will continue through the last moment of the earth's existence. Let us call this Derivation No. 2:2. Derivation: The words of Jesus will continue through earth's last moment.Also, by Propositions No. 3 and No. 4, the words of Jesus will still be absolute Truth at the earth's last moment. This we label Derivation No. 3:3. Derivation: The words of Jesus will yet be Truth at the last moment of the earth.It is given that the third Beatitude, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" consists of words of Jesus. Therefore the third Beatitude will be true at the last day, hour and moment of the earth's existence. This we label Derivation No. 4:4. Derivation: The third Beatitude will remain true at earth's last moment.To give your mind a little time to work on this, let us take a moment here to list all four of these propositions together and ponder them.1. Derivation: There will be a last moment when the earth passes away.
2. Derivation: The words of Jesus will continue through earth's last moment.
3. Derivation: The words of Jesus will yet be Truth at earth's last moment.
4. Derivation: The third Beatitude will remain True at earth's last moment.
It follows, then, by Axiom No. 2 above, that the words of Jesus, his promise to the meek, will still be True and will yet be in the future tense at the earth's last moment. Therefore, the promise, the True promise of inheriting the earth, cannot refer to the planet, which will no more exist for the meek to inherit.
ConclusionThe "regeneration" of which Jesus spoke, this new heaven and new earth, cannot be the material earth on which we now dwell. It cannot be this planet. All this earthbound thinking of the churchmen will be their eternal undoing if they are not careful to change their ways of thinking and preaching. They will not be able to say truly that the prophets, apostles and even the pseudo apostle on whom they rely have not warned them:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death what is earthly in you. (Colossians 3:1-5)This all hangs directly on the Great Commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." When we do this, there is no love left in our hearts, souls, and minds to give to anything on earth. Our hearts are pure only when this is the case, and the promise that comes to the pure in heart comes only to those who love God with all that they are and have.
The Title of this PaperThe footstool is the planet about which we have said so much, the planet that is to be dissolved and that the meek will not inherit because it will not exist for anyone to possess. The earth is my footstool, sayeth the Lord. Since it is only a footstool, it is a most menial thing and will never be glorified. The throne is heaven itself, as Isaiah has already informed us: "Heaven is my throne . . .." The "House" also refers to heaven. God's throne is in his house! It is to My Father's house, where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for the meek and that is identified with the "land" that the meek are to inherit. It is the seat of the kingdom that they are to inherit. So you see, everything promised to the meek -- to the children of God by any description, whether a land, a kingdom, a house, a place, or whatever – everything, absolutely everything, is in the heaven of heavens. The earth knows them not.
The thing that troubles me so much about the churchmen is this: I just cannot forget that to be pure in heart, our hearts must will but one thing: the Eternal Glory with the Father in heaven. While their hearts remain set on an earthly consummation, they are not pure, and, according to Jesus, they cannot see God – not now, not ever. Being hooked on the earth in this way is a symptom of a terrible malady; it betrays the presence of the love of life, an unwillingness to venture away from the earthly environs when establishing the treasures of our hearts. And we know what Jesus has said about this.
Now, really, wouldn't you rather inherit the throne than the footstool? Don't you, like the Prodigal Son, want to be received into your Father's house, where Jesus has prepared a place just for you? If you are only to inherit the footstool (the earth), think where that puts you (Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool (Psalm 110:1)!
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