Verses 3-9–The Beautitudes

As I grew in my ministry, and thinking of the lesson taught to me by my Bible professor, this fine man of God, I came to formulate the Four Question for interpreting a Bible passage.  And in light of this time frame, this is how I will now begin to teach these Beatitudes.  Incidentally, there are eight Beatitudes, and the number eight is the number for Salvation, or for A New Beginning.  To illustrate this, understand that there were eight people on the ark for their salvation and for a new beginning of the human race.  That is what is about to take place in these BeatitudesA New Beginning.  The Jews use eight candles on their menorah, or candlestick at the time of their Passover and for the beginning of their New Year

“Blessed are the poor in spirit:  for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit
Literally:  “Blessed the poor in spirit

During that terrible time in the future (the time known as the Great Tribultation), when they are being hunted and killed by the antichrist, who else but the Jews, and of course, Tribulation believers, would be poor in spirit.

            POOR:  (Grk.–ptôchos)–This Greek word is a word literally means abject poverty; i.e., a man who has lost everything Ptôchos  is connected with the Greek root word  ptôssein, which mean, “to couch; to cower.” 

           This describes that poverty which has a man beaten down to his knees.  These would be people whose spirits have been broken, from their own fear of death, and for having seen their loved ones taken off and killed. This would be reminiscent of Jews in Europe and hiding out from the Nazis.
          In his parallel Gospel recording of this passage, Luke simple says, “Blessed be ye poor” (Luke 6:20). Some would debate as to whether Jesus meant the poor in reference to the things of this life, or the humble.   But the next phrase would seem to point out that Jesus was referring to the poor in spirit during the time of the Tribulation.  A free translation might read, “Blessed is the man who has realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God.”

         BLESSED: (Grk.–makarioi)–Of the two words which our translators render “blessed,” the one here used points more to what is inward, and so might be rendered “happy,” in a lofty sense; while the other denotes rather what comes to us from without (as in Matt. 25:34). 

          But the distinction is not always clearly carried out. One Hebrew word expresses both. On these precious Beatitudes, observe that though eight in number, there are here only seven distinct features of character. The eighth one–the “persecuted for righteousness' sake”denotes merely the possessors of the seven preceding features, on account of which it is that they are persecuted (II Tim. 3:12).  Accordingly, instead of any distinct promise to this class, we have merely a repetition of the first promise.
          This has been noticed by several critics, who by the seven-fold character thus set forth have rightly observed that a complete character is meant to be depicted, and by the seven-fold blessedness attached to it, a perfect blessedness is intended. Observe, again, that the language in which these Beatitudes are couched is purposely fetched from the O.T., to show that the new kingdom is but the old in a new form; while the characters described are but the varied forms of that spirituality which was the essence of real religion all along, but had well-nigh disappeared under corrupt teaching.
          Further, the things here promised, far from being mere arbitrary rewards, will be found in each case to grow out of the characters to which they are attached, and in their completed form are but the appropriate coronation of them. Once more, as the “kingdom of heaven,” which is the first and the last thing here promised, has two stages: a present and a future; an initial and a consummate stage–so the fulfillment of each of these promises has two stages:  a present and a future, a partial and a perfect stage

            “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
            Literally: “for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”–That is, “Because of them is the kingdom of heaven.”

Simply speaking, Jesus is referring to the Millennial Kingdom.  This is explained in the Judgment of the Nations in chapter 25.  Those (both Jews and Tribulation believers) who survive this literal hell-on-earth of the Tribulation will be invited to enter into the Kingdom (25:34)—“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”                                 

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

“they that mourn”
Literally: “the mourning”–This expression is used in the LXX for
mourning for the dead, and for mourning for the sorrows and sins of others. Here it does mean mourning for the dead. 

These would be the same people as referred to in verse 3.  These brow-beaten ones who are poor in spirit because of their mourning for loved ones who have been taken away and killed, and fearful for their own possible impending doom.

“they shall be comforted.”
Literally:  “For they shall be comforted”–Christ will call them to Himself, and speak the words of pardon, peace, and life eternal, to their hearts.  See this notion of the word expressed fully by Jesus, Matt. 11:28, “COME UNTO ME all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Sorrow can show two things to us
1.      It can show us, as nothing else can, the essential comfort and compassion of God. 
        Examples of this are those who, while going through the depths of sorrow were able to write such great hymns of the faith as, “Does Jesus Care,” and “It is Well with My Soul.” The Lord Jesus Himself will comfort this remnant when He returns, and wipes away all tears.

2.      It can also show us the essential kindness of our fellow-men. 
         There is a poem that is here quite apropos:

I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way,

But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she,
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

“Blessed are the meek:  for they shall inherit the earth.”

            MEEK:  (Grk.–praus)–This Greek word  isa word which Jesus uses to describe Himself (Matt. 11:29).

           The Greeks used this word as one of their greatest ethical words.  It was also used by them for an animal which has been domesticated; on that has been trained to obey the word of command.  Using the word like that, this verse might also be freely translated as,  “Blessed is the man who has every instinct, every impulse, every passion under control.  Blessed is the man who is entire self-controlled.”
          These “poor in spirit” and “mourning” Jews will not longer be the haughty, arrogant, and “stiff necked” people they have always been toward God.  That attitude will have been knocked out of them by what they have been going through, and seen, during this terrible time of the Great Tribulation.  Now they will be of a quiet and gentle spirit, in opposition to the proud spirit of the Scribes and Pharisees and their disciples.  The People’s New Testament Commentary describes them thusly: “The mild, the gentile, opposed to the proud and ambitious, the kind who succeed in such a king as the Jews expect” that they first expected Messiah to bring in.

            “They shall inherit the earth”
            Literally:  “for they shall inherit the earth”– –When will these “meek” ones do this inheriting?

This will take place when Jesus, their Messiah, comes at the end of the Tribulation and they have seen and recognized “Him whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10).  At that time, this Jewish remnant, and along with them faithful Gentile Tribulation believers (Gentiles), will be invited to enter into the Kingdom—the Millennial Kingdom (25:34).

            INHERIT THE EARTH: (Grk.–klêronomêsousi tên gên)– Although the Greek noun (gê) can mean either “earth” or “land,” in Psalm 37 the Hebrew word “eretz” means “land” (and not “earth”) no less than six times.  “…the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11).

         Those who trust in Adonai will “dwell in the land”  (v. 3), and those who wait upon Adonai are the “meek” referred to here.  The term “inherit” in the Tanakh (Jewish O.T.,)— refers to the Jewish people’s inheritance from God, which includes does not include the whole earth, but the specific small territory on the east shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
          Eighteen times in the N.T.  the
Greek phrase (hê gê)–“the land;” or “the earth”  refers to the Land of Israel; and many of these are quotations of the Tanakh (Tanakh).  Because replacement theologians erroneously claim that God no long promises the Land of Israel to the Jews, it is important to see that the N.T. still gives Jewish possession of the physical Land of Israel.  “…Hath God cast away His people”  God forbid” (Romans 11:1).

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:  for they shall be filled.”

            “they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness”
            Literally:  the {ones}hungering and thirsting after righteousness”–Hunger and thirst, here are expressive of strong desire.

       RIGHTEOUSNESS:  (Grk.–diakaiosunê)–The Greek word is in the Greek accusative case which shows that the desire for righteousness is for all of it. 

           In normal hunger, a few bites would satisfy the hunger; but in the accusative case you want the whole dinner.  In normal thirst, a cup of water would satisfy, but in the accusative case, you want the whole canteen full.
           The type of hunger described here is not the kind that would be satisfied with a mid-morning snack; and the thirst spoken of here is no thirst that could be slaked with a drink of iced tea or cold water.  On the contrary, it is the hunger of a man who is absolutely starving for food, and the thirst of the man who will die unless he gets something to drink.  Since that is so, then this beatitude really is asking us a question:  “How much do you really want righteousness or goodness?  Do you want it as much as a starving man wants food, and as much as a man dying of thirst wants water?”
         A free translation of this verse might read, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the whole of righteousness; for complete righteousness.”  But, this is something that people seldom do.  They are content with part of righteousnessThis Beatitude says that it is not enough to be satisfied with a partial goodness. “Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts for the goodness which is total.
          During this terrible time, many, through the ministry of the Two Witnesses  (Rev. 11) and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev. 7), will realize Who their Messiah really is, and will turn to Him. In verses 3-5, Jesus referred to only the Jewish people.  Now He begins to include Gentiles, for during this time there will be Gentiles, of every nation and every tongue (Rev. 7), who will be converted.  It is these who are referred to as Tribulation Believers. 

“for they shall be filled”
Literally:  “for they shall be filled”–When their Messiah finally returns for them, all their dreams, expectations and hopes—hungers and thirsts–will be filled to the fullest.  When    they see Jesus, and enter into the KINGOM,  it will all be “worth it all.”

“O the bliss of the man who longs for total righteousness
as a starving man longs for food,

and a man perishing of thirst longs for water,
for that man will be truly satisfied.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

            “The merciful” are those Gentile Tribulation Believers who, at the risk of their own lives, have shown kindness and mercy to the Jews during this horrible time. It is they of whom the Lord Jesus refers in 25:34-40.

          MERCIFUL:  (Grk.–eleêmones)—This Greek word denotes one who is actively compassionate, or who outwardly displays pity.

           This Greek word is an attempt to get back to the original Aramaic word (chesedh).  This is a word that is really untranslatable.  It does not simply mean to sympathize, nor does it simply mean to feel sorry for someone in trouble.  More correctly, chesedh  means the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until we can see things with his eyes, think thinks with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.

Perhaps this may be illustrated by the true story of Queen Victoria.  She ws a close friend of Principal and Mrs. Tulloch of St. Andrews.  Prince Albert had just died and Victoria was left alone.  At about the same time, Principal Tulloch died and Mrs. Tullock was left alone.  All unannounced, Queen Victoria came to call on Mrs. Tulloch, who was resting on a couch in her home.  When the Queen was announced, Mrs. Tulloch struggled to rise, but Queen Victoria wais, ‘My dear, don’t rise.  I am not coming to you today as the queen to a subject, but as one woman who has lost her husband to another.”  That is just what God did; He came to men, not as the remote, detached, isolated majestic God; but as a Man.  The Supreme Example of (chesedh).

It will be these, Gentile Tribulation believers, who will attempt to bring some degree of comfort to the Jews during this terrible time of the Great Tribulation; as reminiscent of good Gentiles who hid out Jews from the Nazis—people of the caliber of Corrie ten Boom and others who hid those, like the Frank Family (as recorded in the Diary of Ann Frank) during WW-II.

            “for they shall obtain mercy”–These are the ones to whom the Lord refers in 25:35-40.

This is referring to those Gentile Tribulation Believers who will show mercy to these beaten down and hiding out Jews during this horrible time.  They will receive mercy from God Incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns at the end of this terrible time.  Because of their having shown kindness to His Jewish “brethren,” Christ will repay them by allowing them to enter into the Millennial Kingdom along with the Jewish remnant (Matt. 25:32, 40).

“O the bliss of the man who gets right inside other people,
until he can see with their eyes, think with their thoughts,

feel with their feelings,for he who does that will know
that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!”


“Blessed {are} the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”

“the pure in heart”– This can only be referring to those who have become believers during the Tribulation time—both Jewish and Gentile believers. 

These would surely be “pure in heart” because their faith in Him would have made them pure, and He will declare them the be righteous (Justification).   JUSTIFIED–“Just-as-if-I-had-not-sinned”

 “for they shall see God.”–On that day, after His Glorious Return, they will see Christ; and as He had told His disciples, “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.”

“the peacemakers”–This is probably referring to those who will be peacemakers among their own peoplethose who strive to prevent contention, and strife; those who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent hostilities in families and neighborhoods, and attempt to “pour oil on troubled waters.”

           When people are starving, or down trodden, or spiritually beaten, as these people will surely be during this time of the Tribulation, tempers will become short.  Disagreements and arguments are bound to flare up.  Keep in mind that not all of these people will be believers; in fact, at first, none of them will be.  There may even be Gentiles among these Jews who are also hiding out, and many of these Jews will resent them being there.  Starving people may fight over a hoarded morsel of food, a cup of water, or even some insult (real or imagined), or fear.
          There will be wise people among them who shall attempt to calm thengs down.  This is reminiscent of the time when the Israelites were wondering around in the wilderness, and Moses was counseled to appoint some men over groups to settle problems that flared up among the people.  Although there will not be any pastors, per se,  at that time (for the Church will have been taken out), there may be those (rabbis, civil leaders, etc.), who may step in and attempt  to fill the task.
          There are some people who are always “storm-centers” of trouble and bitterness and strife.  Wherever they are, they are either involved in quarrels themselves, or the cause of quarrels between others.  They were just naturally trouble-makers.  On the other hand, thank God, there are people in whose presence bitterness cannot live; people who have that ability to bridge the gaps, who heal the breaches and sweeten the bitterness.  The ancient Jewish rabbis had the saying that the highest task which a man can perform is to establish right relationships between man and man.  That is what Jesus means here.

“for they shall be called the children of God”–God is the Author of peace, (I Cor.14:33) and all those who endeavor to promote peace are like Him, and are worthy to be called His children.

During that horrible time of the Great Tribulation, one would need to be a child of God to have the compassion or patience to be a peacemaker or problem solver.  It would take a God-given wisdom to fulfill such a function during that time.

 “A peace-maker is a man who, being endowed with a generous public spirit, labors for the public good, and feels his own interest promoted in promoting that of others; therefore, instead of fanning the fire of strife, he uses his influence and wisdom to reconcile the contending parties, adjust their differences, and restore them to a state of unity. As all men are represented to be in a state of hostility to God and each other, the Gospel is called the Gospel of peace, because it tends to reconcile men to God and to each other.  Hence our Lord here terms “peace-makers” as the children of God: for as He is the Father of peace, those who promote it are reputed His children (sons).”Adams Clarke’s Commentary

“O the bliss of those who produce right relationships between man and man,
for they are doing a Godlike work.”