We need to ask two questions regarding Jesus's statement, the meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). First what is meekness? Meekness has been well described as “strength under control” with humility. Meekness is not the same as weakness.
A well-equipped, well-trained soldier who is prepared for assigned battles is meek, if he is always self-controlled and humble. He is gentle- when not in the fight against evil. A meek soldier of the Lord does not depend on his own strength. He is humbly and totally dependent on the power of God to be victorious against the “spiritual forces of evil” (Eph 6:12)
Jesus said He was meek and lowly in Matthew 11:29. Yet He turned over the money exchange tables used in the temple to abuse the people. Let’s leave that topic there and proceed to the second question about the phrase, “the meek shall inherit the earth”.
The earth? What about heaven? Romans 8: 16-17 describes us as “children of God,...heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” And verse 32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rev 21:7 “shall inherit all things”.)
The promise that the meek shall inherit the earth is not separated from our inheritance of “a new heaven and a new earth”. Revelation 21 further says the New Jerusalem will come “down” from heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And God will live “among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them”.
Earth is at the center of God’s focus throughout the Bible and always will be His pride and joy. As God was creating the earth, prior to the creation of humans, God repeatedly said, “it was good.” Once man was created it was then described as “very good”. (Gen 1) All of creation was “very good” once man was on the earth. God told mankind to have dominion over everything that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
The potential remained for the meek to inherit the earth, even after the fall of Adam. The fall of Adam required the renewal of heaven and earth as described in Revelation 21. The fall of Adam was a spiritual issue that affected heaven. (Human authority/dominion, given over to evil spirits by sinful man). It deeply affected the earth because the spiritual cannot be separated from the earthly things. The renewal “fixes” all of that.
The Garden of Eden was the beginning of the meek shall inherit the earth. At the fall of man, meekness left the scene. The meekness and inheritance were restored through Christ’s salvation. There was more to come than just salvation from our sins!
“The meek shall inherit the earth” ultimately leads to “the knowledge of the glory of God will cover the earth”. (Habakuk 2:14.) That statement is repeated in 2 Cor 4:6, Isa 11:9, Number14:21 and Psalm 72:19. Clearly, the earth is at the center of the plan beyond salvation from our sins.
Some will ask, if “the meek shall inherit the earth, then what do we do with 2 Peter 3:10?” First, we do not throw away all the other scriptures that indicate God is all about the earth and the meek inheriting the earth! Why would He give us the earth as an inheritance and then say, “Sorry, I couldn’t save the earth. Your inheritance is now just cosmic trash.”
He wouldn’t! He is the quintessential Victor and calls us “more than conquerors”. Victors and more than conquerors don’t lose! He even promised in Psalm 27:39, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.”
2 Peter 3:10 must be seen in context with all that. Further, we must admit that the translation of those words is obviously difficult. Look at all the different ways it can be translated here: https://www.biblehub.com/2_peter/3-10.htm.
Putting everything together, we see that “both the earth and the works that are in it” (NKJV) will be cleansed and renewed to its original creation. After being subjected to the fall of man, it once again shall be made “very good”. What God called “very good” will not be thrown in a galactic trash heap.
When “the knowledge of the glory of God shall cover the earth”, He will make His abode with man. We have work to do! We must not hunker down and wait for God to rescue us from a world held captive by satan and the other fallen angels. That was never the plan.
The temporary captivity happened because we gave up the authority in Christ (Luke 10:19) and the responsibility that comes with it to have dominion. Jesus came to set the captives free. (Luke 4:18) He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me." Then, He gave it to us to partner with him in expressing that authority.
The meek shall inherit the earth. And the meek shall humbly use the authority of God, along with His power working through us. Then this promise of Jesus will be fulfilled.
Notice the emphasis on “truly” in this scripture. “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.” (John 17:12)
We must disabuse ourselves of the escapism doctrine. Many will refuse to do so, because it’s easier to just hope and wait for rescue from a fallen world that God has, supposedly, lost control of. But that is false. God doesn’t lose! Satan has deceived many into thinking that because He sees that God wants to work with His creation to enforce an overwhelming victory.
Defeatism with escapism was never taught and accepted until the mid-1800s, when John Nelson Darby introduced the idea in 1830. We are more than conquerors and the meek shall inherit the earth! By Christ doing even “greater works” because of our humble belief (John 5:20 and 14:12), “the knowledge of the glory of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas” (Hab 2:14).
When He finishes that ultimate destiny written for us, God will make His abode with His creation. It will fulfill His prophetic decree that we will become one with Him and the Father. (John 17:21)
Our destiny is written. Our inheritance is secure. Will we live out that destiny? Or will another generation complete the greatest revival in history? It has begun!
Consider the book, Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle. While we do not endorse everything in the book, we do agree with the vast majority of Eberle's meticulous research.