What does Jesus mean by 'inherit the earth'?Did Jesus really promise his students that they, if they were meek, would "inherit the earth" as interpreted from this statement by Jesus?
Did Jesus really suggest that these folks will literally inherit the earth?
Actually, Jesus is quoting David's Psalms:
But the meek shall inherit the earth,And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:11)
This means that this concept of "inheriting the earth" did not start with Jesus. It was something unrelated to Jesus. It was related to those who are not only humble, but devoted to God:
But those who wait on the LORD,They shall inherit the earth. (Psalm 37:9)
The word "LORD" here is translated from the Hebrew word הֹוָה (Yĕhovah). This is the name of the Supreme Being, also called Jehovah. In other words, David is not referring to Jesus. He is referring to those who take refuge in God.
What is the 'inherit the earth' doctrine?
Some sects teach that their members will be put on a list and after Jesus' return they will be spared while everyone else will be slaughtered. Then those on the list will "inherit the earth."
But what about those who have died before Jesus' "second coming?" How will they inherit the earth? Or how about those during David's time? Will their decomposed bodies - their bone fragments - come back to life to inherit the earth? Or perhaps the worms that ate their bodies will inherit the earth?
How could they inherit the earth if their bodies are completely decomposed and turned into soil and ash? And what if their bodies were burnt in a fire at the time of death? Will their ashes rise up to inherit the earth?
If that were true, why did Jesus also say:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)and
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3-4)
The fact is, Jesus did not teach that his followers would inherit the earth. He promised them that if they followed his teachings, then they would become eligible to enter the "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of God."
This ridiculous doctrine of inheriting the earth also denies the existence of a spiritual living being that lives on after the body dies, while even conventional medical science now accepts that a person can exist after death, evidenced by millions of clinical death cases.
Is 'inherit the earth' a mistranslation?It is evident from the original Greek and its context that "inherit the earth" is a mistranslation* of what Jesus said. The phrase "inherit the earth" is taken from the Greek words κληρονομέω (klēronomeōto) and γῆ (gē). Yes, κληρονομέω (klēronomeōto) can certainly mean "to be an heir, to inherit" according to the lexicon. But it can also mean, "to receive" and "to receive a portion."
And γῆ (gē) can mean "arable land," but also "territory," "region," or "one's country."
In this context, an appropriate translation of γῆ (gē) in this context would be "oasis" or "paradise." Jesus is referring to a special place. Something that is a reward or benefit.
Why would "arable land" be translated to "oasis" or "paradise"? "Arable land" refers to land that is productive for growing food. It is special land - because much of the land that Jesus and those around him around Jerusalem were rocky, barren desert land. Arable land would be land that was not only adequate for growing crops but received adequate rain or other water supply.
In hot desert regions, that would be considered an oasis - which is often described as a paradise and metaphorically used to describe the spiritual realm.
Why? Because metaphorically, the spiritual realm is a paradise or an oasis apart from the distress of the physical world.
Therefore, a more appropriate translation of this statement (as found in the Lost Gospels of Jesus) would be:
“Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit paradise.”
Where is paradise?Jesus is speaking metaphorically here. Why? Because we cannot see the spiritual realm with our physical eyes. It lies in another dimension. So as Jesus speaks about it, he has to speak in metaphorical terms.
Jesus is speaking about being humble. The word πραΰς (praÿs), being translated to "meek" can also mean "mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit." In other words, "humble," or "gentle" as well as "meek."
Jesus was talking about humility, stating that being humble had its own rewards in the long run. This is because only out of humility comes the ability to hear the word of God.
Why? Because the kingdom of heaven is where the Supreme Being dwells. Remember the beginning of the "Lord's prayer:"
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name" (Matt. 6:9)and remember this statement:
"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." (Matt. 18:10)Jesus certainly was teaching his students that if they followed his teachings - requiring humility - they would return to their relationship with Supreme Being, who dwells in the spiritual realm - "heaven" or "paradise."
Jesus was discussing the spiritual realm, where God lives, and where those who love and serve the Supreme Being dwell. Jesus confirmed this when he said:
"Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35)Doing God's will means serving God. It means being a loving servant. A loving servant is naturally humble.
Those who teach the "inherit the earth" doctrine are missing the entire point of Jesus' discussion. One must develop humility in order to come to know and love God, and one must maintain the humility to enter into the spiritual realm of love for God:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)