Month 11:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:311 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 14 February 2014
The Heart of Torah IV
What Yah'shua Most Loves
Continued from Part 3
- (1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- (2) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- (3) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
- (4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
- (5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
- (6) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Elohim (God).
- (7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of Elohim (God).
- (8) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- (9) Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt.5:3-12, NKJV).
Shabbat shalom and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with you all as we continue today with our study the third of the nine beatitudes.
3. The Meek
This particular one is not repeated in the Sermon on the Plain but is exclusive to the Sermon on the Mount:
- 3. "Blessed are the anavim (meek, humble), for yireshu aretz (they shall inherit the land, earth)" (v.5, NKJV/OJB).
This is a reiteration of the promise earlier made by Yahweh through David:
The Land Inheritance
"But the anavim (meek, humble) shall inherit the 'arets (land, earth), and shall delight themselves in the abundance of shalom (peace)" (Ps.37:11, NKJV).
And specifically it is a reference not to the whole earth but to the Land of Israel though in its wider millennial application it would not be incorrect to translate 'arets as "the earth" too as most versions do. Furthermore, because shalom or peace has an internal, spiritual dimension too, it would also be correct to additionally view this as the heavenly inheritance, the solid ground of ultimate, divine reality on which the redeemed plant their feet in eternity. The 'arets is therefore the millennial Promised Land of Israel (with its capital, the New Jerusalem), the millennial world itself (in which Israel is its centre-piece) and the invisible land - the Kingdom of Heaven and the inward New Jerusalem which links us back to the first beatitude since meekness is a fruit of true poverty that results in utter dependence on Elohim (god).
We should not be surprised to find, then, the high place accorded to meekness in the list of desirable, messianic virtues which is due to the high example of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). The anavim or meek are those who possess gentleness, self-control and humility. They are marked by a peculiar absence of malice or a condescending spirit that looks down upon others as inferior.
Paganism Disdains Meekness
This is particularly important in the modern world which so obviously imitates the ancient ideals of paganism. You will not find meekness highlighted or idealised by Hollywood. I was earlier looking at the Facebook page of someone I know and they had singled out the movie, Braveheart, as an illustration of what they viewed as that which is most prizeworthy in life in a man. Courageous and brave the Scotsman may have been, but meekness was not a virtue owned by him. You see, paganism then, as today, places self-confidence on a far higher plane than meekness.
A Supreme Virtue
I said that the third beatitude links back to the first. The Hebrew adjective 'anav basically means 'poor' and 'afflicted' from which the spiritual quality of patient submission results if we choose not to respond in anger or bitterness to those who try to provoke us. This is the only way that humility is born and it is in this sense that 'anav is used throughout the Psalms (Ps.22:26; 25:9; 147:6 etc.). Meekness is a supreme virtue or quality of the Messianic King or of His messianic talmidim (disciples). Indeed, the whole theme of Psalm 37, which Yah'shua (Jesus) cites, is this meekness.
The Incompatibility of Jihad
Meekness is not popular with the world and it is despised by Satan's mob. It is viewed by all carnally-minded men and women as a detrimental weakness. And that is why, perhaps, Christianity is singled out from all the other religions, including its corruptions. There is no sense of jihad in the Besorah (Gospel) because meekness and jihad are utterly incompatible.
Meekness is Not Weakness
Meekness is not, however, to be mistaken for weakness. In meekness Moses, while maintaining strength and firmness of leadership, was ready to accept personal injury without resentment or recrimination:
Miriam and Aaron's Lack of Meekness
"Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, 'Has Yahweh indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?' And Yahweh heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth)" (Num.12:1-4, NKJV).
It is particularly interesting that Yahweh should choose to remind us of Moses' humility by coupling this to the complaints of his brother and sister. What was their complaint? It began by them complaining that he was married to an African - an Ethiopian or Cushite. This woman, according to Jewish tradition, was a Cushite princess from Meroë, whom he married as a royal Prince of Egypt before his exile in Midian where he took a second wife, Zipporah (Ex.2:21).
Whether they resented her because she was of royal blood (and they were not), or because she was black (and they were brown), or because Moses was married polygamously with at least two wives, or because Miriam was still imbued with Egyptian matriarchy (women ruling with men, or the belief in coheadship) is not made clear. These are certainly some of the complaints made by unspiritual men and women today, aren't they?
The Ethiopian Woman
Whatever the cause of the resentment was, the real reason they were angry with him was because of his position of authority over them. They reminded him that they too were the recipients of divine revelation and because of that they figured that some kind of equal status was due to them. But what they lacked, and what disqualified them and qualified Moses and the other great leaders who would one day come (like Joseph), was humility. They were arrogant. And for their trouble, Yahweh punished them, as you know, with leprosy until they repented and were restored.
Since meekness is specifically contrasted with these sinful attitudes it is well we remind ourselves of them today. There is an arrogance, particularly in the West, whose roots may be found in paganism, that condemns African polygamy, male headship (patriarchy) in general, and much else besides that is in divine tavnith (pattern) but out of the world's way. Paganism breed an arrogance that crushes meekness. Modern Christianity and Messianism are also full of pretended 'leaders' with very few possessing the true meekness of the kind exemplified by Moses and Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Land as Home, Security and Inheritance
"The meek, like the poor in the first beatitude, usually have no resources of their own. Moses, when called to be a prophet, complained that he was no orator. He had to call Aaron to do the talking for him - and perhaps that is where Aaron got some of his arrogance from and why he was complicit in the Golden Calf apostacy. The meek do not exploit and oppress others; they are not given to vengeance and vendettas, they are not violent, and they do not try to seize power for their own ends. In short, they have emulated the nature of Yah'shua (Jesus) in their lives and learned from Him. This does not mean that they are weak or ineffective in life. They may be gentle and humble, but they can and do champion the needs of the weak and the oppressed." 
If the meek inherit the land, then clearly there is no inheritance for the arrogant and prideful. There is neither security nor rest for them, for inheriting the 'land', in the biblical sense, is not just the possession of a geographical patch of soil (important though that is) but, more than that, in the possession there comes a sense of 'home' or 'place', a sense of security, and an inheritance from Yahweh. Land is therefore everything and thus the greatest thieves (and therefore servants of Satan) are the land-robbers.
Rebellion, Loss of Land and Regathering
Because of their rebellion, Israel was constantly invaded and the people sent into exile - whether nearby in Babylon (initially Judah and Benjamin) or far away in Assyria and the whole world (Ephraim and the 10 Tribes in Assyria, and later the Judahites and Benjamites again). The importance of being regathered one day to 'eretz Yisra'el - the Land of Israel - is stressed again and again through the Scriptures. But first there has to be an 'inward gathering' back to Yahweh prior to the final gathering to the land.
Products of the Ruach
That is why the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) stress the inward attitude of meekness (Gk. prautés, and the adjective praus), whereas gentleness is expressed rather in outward action. This gentleness is a part of the fruit of a Messiah-like character produced only by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit):
Its absence in a believer signifies a lack of regeneration in key areas of the spiritual life and may indicate no regeneration at all, being an index of a nominal or carnal believer only, and therefore not an authenic one - a 'tare' rather than wheat, resembling the genuine article in general behaviour (Torah-obedience, etc.) but lacking those most fundamental of Christian indices that include ahavah (love) and meekness. And did you know that tares differ from the genuine wheat not only in the appearance of the seed but in the fact the tare does not bend over as wheat does? That's right, the tares stand upright, tall, proud and self-confident unlike the bowed wheat sheaves!
"But the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) is ahavah (love), simcha (joy), shalom (peace), longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no torah (law)" (Gal.5:22-23, NKJV).
Meekness and Regeneration
The Sheaves Bow Down to Joseph
Do you remember the dream of Joseph, how the sheaves of wheat presenting his brothers, mother and father all bowed down to him? (Gen.37) Joseph was a messianic figure, full of humility, kindness, gentleness and nobility, and Yahweh made him great because of it, putting him in charge of the Egyptian nation. This should tell us something important, should it not? His brothers first tried to murder him, with that same spirit Miriam and Aaron had toward Moses, and then sold him into slavery. The meek are always persecuted by the arrogant, because the arrogant have the same nature as the father of lies in their unredeemed state. And it doesn't matter how 'important' or 'right' (righteous) they (the arrogant) think they are.
The Purpose of Adversity
If you think that life is tough because the wicked, or illnesses, or other adversities are making life miserable for you, remember that there is a purpose in your being here to learn to react humbly no matter what your circumstances. Joseph the righteous was sold into slavery, falsely accused of adultery and thrown into a prison yet eventually emerged as the Prime Minister of the most powerful nation in the world. His was literally a story of 'rags to riches', though not the outward riches the world aspires to.
Yahweh's Unalterable Decree
In power, and still incognito, Joseph's brothers and families soon came bowing, didn't they? (Gen.42:6) Indeed, does not Yahweh say of His rebellious people:
All Shall Bow Before the King
"I have sworn by Myself; the davar (word) has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, 'Surely in Yahweh I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him" (Isa.45:23-24, NKJV).
And did not Paul prophecy in the same vein that all would do the same to Messiah?
How Will You Submit?
"Therefore Elohim (God the Father) also has highly exalted Him (Yah'shua/Jesus) and given Him the Name (Yah) which is above every name, that at the name of Yah'shua (Jesus) every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is Master, to the glory of Elohim (God) the Father" (Phil.2:9-11, NKJV).
It does not matter that you are "incensed against Him", it does not matter whether you are alive "on the earth" now, or "under the earth" in Hades (Hell) - it does not matter whether you are a human or a devil, because Yahweh has decreed that you will bow the knee one way or another, and acknowledge His Deity and Supreme Power. But, oh, how much better that you do so now in meekness and with simcha (joy) now than later in hell with bitterness of soul!
The Secret of Weathering Adversity
Now I will share a secret with you, one that is unbelievable and unthinkable to those who are arrogant and prideful: the meek to not resent adversity because they accept everything as being the effect of Yahweh's wise and loving purposes for them, so that they accept injuries from men also, as Moses did, knowing that these are permitted by Elohim (God) for their ultimate good.
When Shimei Cursed David
Ah, this is indeed a great mystery, and one not understood until you are on the other side of your suffering, but come it will. We can thus better understand David's attitude:
Marking Out the Blessed
"And David said to Abishai and all his servants, 'See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so Yahweh has ordered him. It may be that Yahweh will look on my affliction, and that Yahweh will repay me with good for his cursing this day.' And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust" (2 Sam.16:11-12, NKJV).
How many of you would have responded otherwise? How many of you would have assumed the humility of David and accepted the abuse as part of Yahweh's ordaining? Our response to adversity is one of the chief means by which Yahweh marks us out as His own or not, whether we will receive the first or second resurrections, or whether we will receive no salvation at all if our response to all such adversity is self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-this or self-that.
The Example of Messiah
The meekness and gentleness of Yah'shua (Jesus) was the source of Paul's own plea to the disloyal Corinthians:
Accepting Discipline the Right Way
"Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Messiah -- who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh" (2 Cor.10:1-2, NKJV).
You will doubtless be familiar with the oft-cited verses that follow and yet in detatching them from these that I have just quoted to you, people often approach discipline, spiritual warfare and deliverance in entirely the wrong spirirt!
The Correct Way to Rebuke
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim (God) for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim (God), bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled" (2 Cor.10:3-6, NKJV).
Ah yes, discipline without meekness is not a happy recipe because it is rarely a remedy that has any lasting effect. Paul enjoined meekness as the spirit in which to rebuke an erring brother and when bearing with one another:
Dealing With Argumentative Unbelievers
"And a servant of Yahweh must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if Elohim (God) perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the emet (truth), and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Tim 2:24-26, NKJV).
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Master, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in ahavah (love), endeavoring to keep the unity of the Ruach (Spirit) in the bond of shalom (peace)" (Eph.4:1-3, NKJV).
In the same manner, the apostle Pater exhorted that the inquiring or arguing pagans should be answered in meekness:
Yah'shua as Son of Man
"But sanctify Yahweh-Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (reverence); having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Messiah may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of Elohim (God), to suffer for doing good than for doing evil" (1 Peter 3:15-17, NKJV).
Supremely, of course, meekness is revealed in the character of Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself as the Son of Man, demonstrating in superlative degree when He stood before His unjust accusers without a word of retort or self-justification. The formula is simple:
Arrogant Health and Wealth Teachers
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt.11:29, NKJV).
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey" (Zech.9:9, NKJV; cp. Mt.21:5).
What a contrast to the deceiving and arrogant 'health and wealth' teachers! There is no meekness in parading yourself in expensive cars, jets and other items of luxury when millions of believers are starving and in need of comfort! This is not meekness, it is an abomination! Yah'shua (Jesus) rode a humble donkey, not a white stallion, to remind us of the humble station we should be imitating. And had He been here, do you think he would have been driving around in a fancy Rolls Royce or an expensive Mercedes-Benz?
Or consider some of the arrogant Torah-teachers in the Messianic Movement who condemn Christians to hell because they're not pronouncing Divine Names correctly or still following pagan traditions in ignorance? There is a manifest lack of humility in so many of them, the same as the Torah-teachers of old.
Code of the Millennial Forerunners
None of the nine beatitudes, as you will see as we work our way through them, make of primary importance the things the unregenerated and arrogant religious people do. As the forerunners of the Millennium and the New Creation, and especially those of us called to be leaders, we are not to resemble in any way powerful despots, ruthless tyrants or manipulative schemers of the world system. "I am not of this world" (John 8:23, NKJV), said Yah'shua (Jesus), and nor are true talmidim (disciples). The New World will be possessed or inherited by the meek, and the Messianic communities are supposed to be models of that, little lights shining in the great sea of darkness.
The Big Question: How To Become Meek?
I suppose the big question that follows from all of this is: how do I become meek? Not, as one humourist intimated in a parody of a rather arrogant politician when he posthumously titled an imaginary book on the great man's life: 'Humility: And How I Achieved It'. Like salvation, it's not something you can earn or work for. Humility is the by-product of responding as the Saviour would to life's challenges, great and small, for these cumulative responses shape us into one of either growing spirituality or descending into further carnality.
Meekness, gentleness and goodness are, as we have seen, all fruits of the Ruach (Spirit), and the fruits of the Ruach (Spirit) only come as a result of dying to self and allowing Messiah to be enthroned in the heart. The only way, then, to cultivate meekness and humility is to walk by the Ruach (Spirit) and be controlled by the Ruach (Spirit) in the way that we live for Yah'shua (Jesus) and respond to life's adversities, so that the character and qualities of Messiah are eventually produced in us through the gradual leavening of our spirits. This is the Royal Way of the Master and it begins on our knees. Amen.
 Adapted from, Allen Ross, An Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew, the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)
Comments from Readers
 "Shalom brother Christopher, thanks for sharing your wonderful message. A very edifying sermon indeed" (RL, Indonesia, 16 February 2014)
 "Excellent sermon" (JT, USA, 17 February 2014)