Jesus’ first public sermon was recorded in the Gospels of Matthew (Matthew 5) and Luke (Luke 6). His third blessing from God, called the “Beatitudes,” that Matthew recorded was:
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
What does it mean to be meek, and what is this promise of an inheritance? The word “meek” in Greek is πραεῖς or transliterated, “praus” or “praeis,” (pronounced prah-ooce’) meaning to be mild or gentle. The world often views meekness as weakness, but what is weak in man’s eyes are really strengths and vice versa. To be meek means that you hold strength in truth, but do not use your power with harshness. We can be in the “right” but use it wrongly, being cruel and vain, whereas God wants us to be gentle and humble.
We can look to where else the word “praus” is used in the Bible to gain a deeper understanding of what God wants from us in being meek. Jesus said in Matthew 11 that to be meek means to learn from his gentleness and humbleness.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Being meek means that even when you are blessed with much and have a position above others, that you remain lowly. When Jesus entered Jerusalem announcing his right place as king, he did so on the back of a donkey, thus signifying that he came in humility and peace, rather than on horseback, which would have signified him coming as warrior and conqueror. This was to fulfill the prophecy by Zechariah:
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
It also means that your beauty not come from how you look but from your inner spirit, treating all with gentleness.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4).
In obeying God in this, he promises that we will “inherit the earth.” The Bible tells us that one day this earth and heavens will end, and that those who obey God will be spared his terrible judgments and receive a new heaven and a new earth.
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (2 Peter 3:3-7).
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man [Jesus] with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia [about 180 miles] (Revelation 14:14-20).
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:118)