THE KING’S BUSINESS
11) ; “for such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth” (v. 22); “the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever” (v. 29) ; “wait on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land” (v. 34) ; “what man is he that feareth the Lord? . . . his seed shall inherit the earth” (Psa. xxv. 12, 13). And Christ in his inaugural address as King said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. v. S). Did he mean it? The British “Financial Almanac” informs us that more than one-half of the land of the United Kingdom is held by one-twelve- thousandth of the population; that is to say, 2238 individuals, out of a population of 28,000,000, monopolize 40,000,000 out of the 72,000,000 acres that comprise the ter ritory of the two Islands. The Duke of Sutherland owns 1,208,000 acres, and Lord Middleton 1,005,000. Mr. Gladstone is reported to have said in a speech that sev enteen persons own the soil of Ireland. And in our own land, viewing the grasp ing greed of corporations and individuals in their rings, monopolies, trusts, combines, pools, syndicates, etc., it must be allowed that the present outlook, or the outlook under the present order of things, for the meek to inherit the earth is not altogether encouraging! Yet, so sure as the Word of God is true, these inheritance-declarations cannot fail. And it will not do to evacuate them of their plain import by saying, as does Mr. Barnes in his Commentary, with the emphasis of italics, that the promise of the earth was “a proverbial expression to denote any great blessing,” or say, as do others, that the inheritance is only a “spiritual inher itance.” I do not see how any heavy mal practice in interpretation can divert or per vert the obvious meaning of these scrip tures, since they mean what they say because they say what they mean. It is to Christ in his official capacity as Messiah that, in covenant gift, the promise is made: “I will give thee . . . . the uttermost parts of the earth for thy pos session” (Psa. ii. 8). In the wilderness
conflict he by conquest recovered the lost inheritance. It is to him that is “put in subjection the world to come (the future inhabited earth) whereof we speak” (Heb. ii. 5). The saints, as “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. viii. 17), shall possess the recovered inheritance, and in their royal and sacerdotal character they “shall reign upon the earth” (Rev. v. .10). “The saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. And the king dom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom is an ever lasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Here is the end of the matter” (Dan. vii. 18, 27, 28). In the regenesis of which Isaiah and Peter speak, in the “new earth” and not in the “first earth” which is to pass away (Rev. xjri. 1), shall the meek inherit the earth. There is one text which apparently is in conflict with the foregoing exposition: “An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter i. 4). But the conflict is only apparent. Of the severity- five times the word translated “reserved” is used, it is so rendered but eight times, and this word is but one of seven different words by which it is translated. In Matt, xxiii. 3; xxvii. 20; Acts xxi. 25, it is trans lated “observe,” and in Matt, xxvii. 36, 54, “watch.” The inheritance is -“observed,” “watched,” and so “reserved” in the sense of “guarded.” Accordingly, Vincent says that the Greek word “indicates the inheri tance as one reserved through God’s care. . . . . The verb signifies keeping as the result of guarding." The earthly inheri tance is guarded in heaven for us by our Lord “until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph. i. 14) “at his appearing and kingdom” (2 Tim. iv. 1). The material world, then, is destined to be renovated by a fiery ordeal that it may become the eternal abode, or the capítol of the abode, of God’s saints.
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