This of course is a major doctrine in more than one modern ecclesiastical Christian sect. The idea one sect proposes is that their members will be put on a list and after Jesus' return, everyone else will be slaughtered and the members on the list will "inherit the earth."
But what about those who have died before this interpretation of Jesus' "second coming?" How will they inherit the earth? 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, in fact, will they inherit the earth if their bodies are completely decomposed, with the exception of a few bone fragments? And what if their bodies were burnt in a fire at the time of death? Will their ashes rise up and inherit the earth?
"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)
"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)
Frankly, "inherit the earth" is a misinterpretation 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. And γῆ (gē) means "arable land."
In other words, an appropriate translation of γῆ gē would be "oasis" or "paradise."
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 was 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 from the distress of the physical world.
Therefore, a more appropriate translation of this statement (as found in the Devotional Translation) would be:
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 who art in heaven, hallowed by thy 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 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)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of Matthew without sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)