Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents

 

THE  TEACHINGS  OF  JESUS

BEATITUDES

The eight declarations of blessedness made by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount <Matt. 5:3-12>, each beginning with "Blessed are..." Some scholars speak of seven, nine, or ten beatitudes, but the number appears to be eight <verses 10-12 of Matthew 5> (being one beatitude).

The Greek word translated blessed means "spiritual well-being and prosperity," the deep joy of the soul. The blessed have a share in salvation, and have entered the kingdom of God, experiencing a foretaste of heaven. Some scholars render each beatitude as an exclamation: "O the bliss [or blessedness] of..."

The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple, and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still "outside the kingdom."

As a literary form, the beatitude is also found often in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms <1:1; 34:8; 65:4; 128:1>, and often in the New Testament also <John 20:29; 14:22; James 1:12; Rev. 14:13>. (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)   (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Matt 5:3-12

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.    (NKJ)

MATT. 5:1-12

Spurgeon:  Do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the opening verses of the Sermon on the mount set forth how we are to be saved, or you may cause your soul to stumble. You will find the fullest light upon that matter in other parts of our Lord's teaching, but here he discourses upon the question, "Who are the saved?" or, "What are the marks and evidences of a work of grace in the soul?" Who should know the saved so well as the Saviour does? The shepherd best discerns his own sheep, and the Lord himself alone knoweth infallibly them that are his. We may regard the marks of the blessed ones here given as being the sure witness of truth, for they are given by him who cannot err, who cannot be deceived, and who, as their Redeemer, knows his own. The Beatitudes derive much of their weight from the wisdom and glory of him who pronounced them; and, therefore, at the outset your attention is called thereto. Lange says that "man is the mouth of creation, and Jesus is the mouth of humanity;" but we prefer, in this place, to think of Jesus as the mouth of Deity, and to receive his every word as girt with infinite power.

The occasion of this sermon is noteworthy; it was delivered when our Lord is described as "seeing the multitudes." He waited until the congregation around him had reached its largest size, and was most impressed with his miracles, and then he took the tide at its flood, as every wise man should. The sight of a vast concourse of people ought always to move us to pity, for it represents a mass of ignorance, sorrow, sin, and necessity, far too great for us to estimate. The Saviour looked upon the people with an omniscient eye, which saw all their sad condition; he saw the multitudes in an emphatic sense, and his soul was stirred within him at the sight. His was not the transient tear of Xerxes when he thought on the death of his armed myriads, but it was practical sympathy with the hosts of mankind. No one cared for them, they were like sheep without a shepherd, or like shocks of wheat ready to shale out for want of harvest-men to gather them in. Jesus therefore hastened to the rescue. He noticed, no doubt with pleasure, the eagerness of the crowd to hear, and this drew him on to speak.     (from Spurgeon's Encyclopedia of Sermons)

DISCIPLES TAUGHT. "THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"

   5:3             Heirs of the Kingdom
            5:4         Mourners.    Reward for Mourners
                    5:5    Inheritance.    Earthly
                            5:6    True righteousness
                            5:7     Fruits of righteousness

                    5:8    Inheritance.    Heavenly
            5:9         Peacemakers.     Reward for Peacemakers
    5:10-12    Heirs of the Kingdom

1.  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Top

Blessed = Happy, representing the Hebrew ‘ashrey (not the Hebrew word baruk, which means blessed).

The first word of our Lord's great standard sermon is "Blessed." You have not failed to notice that the last word of the Old Testament is "curse", and it is suggestive that the opening sermon of our Lord's ministry commences with the word "Blessed." Nor did he begin in that manner, and then change his strain immediately, for nine times did that charming word fail from his lips in rapid succession. It has been well said that Christ's teaching might be summed up in two words, "Believe" and "Blessed." Mark tells us that he preached, saying, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel" <Mk 1:15>; and Matthew in this passage informs us that he came saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" <Mt 5:3>. All his teaching was meant to bless the sons of men; for "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved" <Jn 3:17>.  
(from Spurgeon's Encyclopedia of Sermons)

[Blessed] [makarioi] (Strong's Greek Concordance 3107). As this word and its cognates occur at least fifty-five times in the New Testament, it is important to understand its history, which is interesting because it is one of those numerous words which exhibit the influence of Christian association and usage in enlarging and dignifying their meaning. It is commonly rendered "blessed," both in the King James Version and English Revised Version (1885), and that rendering might properly be given it in every instance.   (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

The Christian word blessed is full of the light of heaven. It sternly throws away from itself every hint of the Stoic's asserted right of suicide as a refuge from human ills, and emphasizes something which thrives on trial and persecution, which glories in tribulation, which not only endures but conquers the world, and expects its crown in heaven.   (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

The Poor

[The poor] [hoi (grk 3588) ptoochoi (grk 4434)].

Three words expressing poverty are found in the New Testament. Two of them, [penees] (grk 3993) and [penichros] (grk 3997), are kindred terms, the latter being merely a poetic form of the other, and neither of these occurs more than once <Luke 21:2; 2 Cor. 9:9>. The word used in this verse is therefore the current word for "poor," occurring thirty-four times, and covering every gradation of want; so that it is evident that the New Testament writers did not recognize any nice distinctions of meaning which called for the use of other terms.  

from ptosso (to crouch; akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):

scanty pittance," [ptoochos] (grk 4434) is allied to the verb [ptoossein], "to crouch or cringe," and therefore conveys the idea of utter destitution, which abjectly solicits and lives by alms. Hence, it is applied to Lazarus <Luke 16:20,22>, and rendered "beggar." Thus distinguished, it is very graphic and appropriate here, as denoting the utter spiritual destitution, the consciousness of which precedes the entrance into the kingdom of God, and which cannot be relieved by one's own efforts, but only by the free mercy of God.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

KJV-- beggar (-ly), poor.

From these few words, we can see that the poor in spirit are reduced to the status of a spiritual beggar, who has no more pride, and has to rely not on there efforts but on the mercy of Almighty God. Because they realize that it is not of themselves but of the mercy of God.

Luke 18:13-14
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.    (KJV)

Until you get to that place, like a drowning man reaching out for life, calling out for help, realizing that without some help you will surely die, only in this case your death is eternal and not just physical.

We could classify this as a Broken spirit.

Ps 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.   (KJV)

Isa 57:15
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.   (KJV)

Isa 66:2
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.   (KJV)

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

The word "heaven" is generally in this connection in the plural, "of (or from) the heavens". For the difference between the use of the singular and plural of this word, see Matthew 6:9,10. This expression is used only in the Gospel of Matthew, as being specially in harmony with the purpose of that Gospel.

It is the dispensational term; and is used sometimes of Messiah’s Kingdom on earth, and sometimes of the heavenly sovereignty over the earth. It is not from or out of (Greek ek,) "this world" (Greek kosmos). This sovereignty comes from heaven, because the King is to come from thence (John 18:36). It was to this end He was born, and this was the first subject of His ministry. That Kingdom (Matthew 4:17) was rejected, as was also the further proclamation of it in Acts 3:19-26 (according to the prophetic parable of Matthew 22:2-7). Thenceforth the earthly realization of this Kingdom was postponed, and is now in abeyance until the King shall be sent from heaven (Acts 3:20). The "secrets" of this Kingdom (Matthew 13:11) pertained to the postponement of its earthly realization on account of its being rejected.

Matt 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.   (KJV)

Acts 3:19-26
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.    (KJV)

Matt 22:2-7
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.    (KJV)

Acts 3:20
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:    (KJV)

Matt 13:11
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.   (KJV)

2.    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted

Top

The eight Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 are best understood and interpreted by the eight contrasts, or "Woes" of Matthew 23:13-33. The comparison shows that Matthew 5:10-12 form one (the eighth) Beatitude, having one subject (persecution) corresponding with the eighth "Woe" of Matthew 23:29-33.

The Beatitudes  (5:3-12)

The Woes  (23:13-33)

The kingdom opened to the poor (v. 3) The kingdom shut (v. 13)
Comfort for mourners (v. 4) Mourners distressed (v. 14)
The meek inheriting the earth (v. 5) Fanatics compassing the earth (v. 15)
True righteousness sought by true desire (v. 6) False righteousness sought by casuistry  (16-22)
The merciful obtaining mercy (v. 7) Mercy "omitted" and "left undone" (23,24)
Purity within, and the vision of God hereafter (v.8)

Purity without, uncleanness within. "Blindness" (vv. 25,26)

Peacemakers, the sons of God (v. 9) Hypocrites, and lawless (vv. 27,28)
The persecuted (vv. 10-12) The persecutors (vv. 29-33)

Besides these eight contrasts there is an internal correspondence of the principal thoughts, suggested by the combined series, and forming the Structure given in Matthew 5:3,4.

It may be further noted that these Beatitudes, rest on special passages in the Psalms:

Matthew 5:3 Psalms 40:17
Matthew 5:4 Psalms 119:136
Matthew 5:5 Psalms 37:11
Matthew 5:6 Psalms 42:1,2
Matthew 5:7 Psalms 41:1
Matthew 5:8 Psalms 24:4; 73:1
Matthew 5:9 Psalms 133:1
Matthew 5:10 Psalms 37,39,40

Matthew 5:4

[They that mourn] (penthountes] (grk 3996). Signifying "grief manifested; too deep for concealment." Hence, it is often joined with klaiein (grk 2799), "to weep audibly" <Mark 16:10; James 4:9>.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

    "That Mourn"

Strong's #3996 pentheo (pen-theh'-o);  from 3997; to grieve (the feeling or the act):

KJV-- mourn, (be-) wail.

Ps 119:136
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.    (KJV)

Matthew 5:4

Evidently it is that entire feeling which the sense of our spiritual poverty begets; and so the second beatitude is but the complement of the first. The one is the intellectual, the other the emotional aspect of the same thing. It is poverty of spirit that says, "I am undone;" and it is the mourning which this causes that makes it break forth in the form of a lamentation-- "Woe is me, for I am undone." Hence, this class are termed "mourners in Zion," or, as we might express it, religious mourners, in sharp contrast with all other sorts <Isa. 61:1-3; 66:2>. Religion, according to the Bible, is neither a set of intellectual convictions nor a bundle of emotional feelings, but a compound of both, the former giving birth to the latter. Thus closely do the first two beatitudes cohere. The mourners shall be "comforted." Even now they get beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Sowing in tears, they reap even here in joy. Still all present comfort, even the best, is partial, interrupted, short-lived. But the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, and then God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be "comforted."
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

We could classify this as a Penitent spirit.

Isa 61:2
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  (KJV)

James 4:9-10
9   Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.   (KJV)

2 Cor 7:9-11
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.   (KJV)

3.    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

Top

Matthew 5:5

[The meek] [hoi (grk 3588) praeis (grk 4239)]. Another word which, though never used in a bad sense, Christianity has lifted to a higher plane, and made the symbol of a higher good. Its primary meaning is "mild, gentle." It was applied to inanimate things, as light, wind, sound, sickness. It was used of a horse-- "gentle."
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Strong's #4239 praus (prah-ooce');  apparently a primary word; mild, i.e. (by implication) humble:

KJV-- meek. See also #4235.

The Christian meekness is based on humility, which is not a natural quality but an outgrowth of a renewed nature. To the pagan the word often implied condescension, to the Christian it implies submission. The Christian quality, in its manifestation, reveals all that was best in the heathen virtue mildness, gentleness, equanimity-- but these manifestations toward men are emphasized as outgrowths of a spiritual relation to God.
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Spurgeon:  I have often reminded you that the beatitudes in this chapter rise one above the other, and spring out of one another, and that those which come before are always necessary to those that follow after. This third beatitude, "Blessed are the meek," could not have stood first,-- it would have been quite out of place there. When a man is converted, the first operation of the grace of God within his soul is to give him true poverty of spirit, so the first beatitude is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" <Mt 5:3>. The Lord first makes us know our emptiness, and so humbles us; and then, next, he makes us mourn over the deficiencies that are so manifest in us. Then comes the second beatitude: "Blessed are they that mourn." First there is a true knowledge of ourselves; and then a sacred grief arising out of that knowledge. Now, no man ever becomes truly meek, in the Christian sense of that word, until he first knows himself, and then begins to mourn and lament that he is so far short of what he ought to be. Self-righteousness is never meek; the man who is proud of himself will be quite sure to be hard-hearted in his dealings with others. To reach this rung of the ladder of light, he must first set his feet upon the other two. There must be poverty of spirit and mourning of heart before there will come that gracious meekness of which our text speaks.

Note too, that this third beatitude is of a higher order than the other two.

The first two characters that receive a benediction appear to be wrapped up in themselves. The man is poor in spirit; that relates to himself. His mourning is his own personal mourning which ends when he is comforted; but the meekness has to do with other people. It is trues that it has a relationship to God, but a man's meekness is specially towards his fellow-men. He is not simply meek within himself; his meekness is manifest in his dealings with others.
(from Spurgeon's Encyclopedia of Sermons)

Ps 37:11

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  (KJV)

We could classify this as a Mild-tempered, gentle spirit.

Matt 11:29
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  (KJV)

1 Pet 3:4
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.    (KJV)

4.    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled

Top

Matthew 5:6

[Shall be filled] [chortastheesontai (grk 5526)]. A very strong and graphic word, originally applied to the feeding and fattening of animals in a stall. In <Rev. 19:21>, it is used of the filling of the birds with the flesh of God's enemies. Also of the multitudes fed with the loaves and fishes <Matt. 14:20; Mark 8:8; Luke 9:17>. It is manifestly appropriate here as expressing the complete satisfaction of spiritual hunger and thirst. Hence, Wycliffe's rendering, "fulfilled," is strictly true to the original.
From Strong's #5528; to fodder, i.e. (generally) to gorge (supply food in abundance):
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

KJV-- feed, fill, satisfy.

[Blessed are they which do hunger ...] Hunger and thirst, here, are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we ought to feel to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. No needs are so keen, none so imperiously demand supply, as these. They occur daily, and when long continued, as in case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, <Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1-2>. A desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, <Isa. 55:1-2>.
(from Barnes' Notes)

[They which do hunger and thirst] As the body has its natural appetites of hunger and thirst for the food and drink suited to its nourishment, so has the soul. No being is indestructible or unfailing in its nature but God; no being is independent but him: as the body depends for its nourishment, health, and strength upon the earth, so does the soul upon heaven. Heavenly things cannot support the body; they are not suited to its nature: earthly things cannot support the soul, for the same reason. When the uneasy sensation termed hunger takes place in the stomach, we know we must get food or perish. When the soul is awakened to a sense of its wants, and begins to hunger and thirst after righteousness or holiness, which is its proper food, we know that it must be purified by the Holy Spirit, and be made a partaker of that living bread, <John 8:48>, or perish everlastingly. Now, as God never inspires a prayer but with a design to answer it, he who hungers and thirsts after the full salvation of God, may depend on being speedily and effectually blessed or satisfied, well-fed, as the word chortastheesontai (grk 5526) implies. Strong and intense desire after any object has been, both by poets and orators, represented metaphorically by hunger and thirst.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

The Old Testament dwells much on this righteousness, as that which alone God regards with approbation (<Ps. 11:7; 23:3; 106:3; Pro. 12:28; 16:31; Isa. 64:5>, etc.) Since hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord, by employing this figure here, plainly means `those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings. ' And in the Old Testament we find this craving variously expressed: "Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord" <Isa. 2:1>;
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

Ps 42:1-2
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?    (KJV)

We could classify this as a Hungering-thirsting spirit.

John 7:37-39
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)   (KJV)

5.    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

Top

Luke 1:50

[Mercy] [eleos (grk 1656)]. The word emphasizes the misery with which grace (see the note at <Luke 1:30>) deals; hence, peculiarly the sense of human wretchedness coupled with the impulse to relieve it, which issues in gracious ministry. Bengel remarks, "Grace takes away the fault, mercy the misery."

Of uncertain affinity; compassion (human or divine, especially active):
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

KJV-- (+tender) mercy.

Matthew 5:7

[Blessed are the merciful] That is, those who are so affected by the sufferings of others as to be disposed to alleviate them. This is given as an evidence of piety, and it is said that they who show mercy to others shall obtain it. The same sentiment is found in <Matt. 10:42>: "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." See also <Matt. 25:34-40>. This should be done with a wish to glorify God; that is, in obedience to his commandments, and with a desire that he should be honored, and with a feeling that we are benefiting one of his creatures. Then he will regard it as done to him, and will reward us. See the sentiment of this verse, that the merciful shall obtain mercy, more fully expressed in <2 Sam. 22:26-27>; and in <Ps. 18:25-26>.

Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing mercy. In nothing does God delight more than in the exercise of mercy, <Exo. 34:6: Ezek. 33:11; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9>. To us, guilty sinners; to us, wretched, dying, and exposed to eternal woe, he has shown his mercy by giving his Son to die for us; by expressing his willingness to pardon and save us; and by sending his Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts. Each day of our life, each hour, and each moment, we partake of his undeserved mercy. All the blessings we enjoy are proofs of his mercy. If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the wretched, the guilty, it shows that we are like God. We have his spirit, and shall not lose our reward. And we have abundant opportunity to do it. Our world is full of guilt and woe, which we may help to relieve; and every day of our lives we have opportunity, by helping the poor and wretched, and by forgiving those who injure us, to show that we are like God.
(from Barnes' Notes)

[Blessed are the merciful, [eleeemones (grk 1655) =chªciydiym (heb 2623)]: for they shall obtain mercy.] Beautiful is the connection between this and the preceding beatitude. The one has a natural tendency to beget the other. As for the words, they seem directly fetched from Ps. 18:25, "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful." Not that our mercifulness comes absolutely first. On the contrary, our Lord Himself expressly teaches us that God's method is to awaken in us compassion toward our fellow-men by His own exercise of it, in so stupendous a way and measure, toward ourselves. In the parable of the unmerciful debtor, the servant to whom his lord forgave ten thousand talents was naturally expected to exercise the small measure of the same compassion required for forgiving his fellow-servant's debt of a hundred pence; and it is only when, instead of this, he relentlessly imprisoned him until he should pay it up, that his lord's indignation was roused, and he who was designed for a vessel of mercy is treated as a vessel of wrath (Matt. 18:23-35; and see Matt. 5:23-24; 6:15; Jas. 2:13).

`According to the view given in Scripture, ' says Trench most justly, `the Christian stands in a middle point, between a mercy received and a mercy yet needed. Sometimes the first is urged upon him as an argument for showing mercy-- "forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you"  <Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32>; sometimes the last-- "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy;" "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" <Luke 6:37; Jas. 5:9>. And thus, while he is ever to look back on the mercy received as the source and motive of the mercy which he shows, he also looks forward to the mercy which he yet needs, and which he is assured that the merciful-- according to what Bengel beautifully calls the benigna talio (the gracious requital) of the kingdom of God-- shall receive, as a new provocation to its abundant exercise.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

Ps 41:1
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.   

Note the following thoughts.

Provocation to its abundant exercise. ' The foretastes and beginnings of this judicial recompense are richly experienced here below: its perfection is reserved for that day when, from His great white throne, the King shall say, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, and sick, and in prison, and ye ministered unto me." Yes, thus He acted toward us while on earth even laying down His life for us; and He will not, He cannot disown, in the merciful, the image of Himself.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

We could classify this as a Compassionate and merciful spirit.

Matt 18:27
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.   (KJV)

1 Pet 3:8
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:   (KJV)

6.    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God

Top

Matthew 5:8

[Blessed are the pure in heart [hoi (grk 3588) katharoi (grk 2513) tee (grk 3588) kardia (grk 2588) = baariym (heb 1305) leebaab (heb 3824), <Ps. 24:4; 73:1>]: for they shall see God.] Here, too, we are on Old Testament ground.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

The conscience thus purged-- the heart thus springled-- there is light within where-with to see God. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, have fellowship one with the other" [met' (grk 3326) alleeloon (grk 240)]-- He with us and we with Him-- "and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us"-- us who have this fellowship, and who, without such continual cleansing, would soon lose it again-- "from all sin" <1 John 1:6-7>. "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" <1 John 3:6>; "He that doeth evil hath not seen God" <3 John 1:11>.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

[Pure in heart] In opposition to the Pharisees, who affected outward purity, while their hearts were full of corruption and defilement. A principal part of the Jewish religion consisted in outward washings and cleansings: on this ground they expected to see God, to enjoy eternal glory: but Christ here shows that a purification of the heart, from all vile affections and desires, is essentially requisite in order to enter into the kingdom of God. He whose soul is not delivered from all sin, through the blood of the covenant, can have no Scriptural hope of ever being with God.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

    "SHALL SEE GOD"

[Shall see God.] This is a Hebraism, which signifies, possess God, enjoy his felicity: as seeing a thing, was used among the Hebrews for possessing it. See <Psa. 16:10>. Thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to SEE corruption, i. e. he shall not be corrupted. So <John 3:3>, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, i. e. he cannot enjoy it. So <John 3:16>, He that believeth not the Son, shall not SEE life, i. e. shall not be put in possession of eternal glory.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

Ps 24:4
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.   (KJV)

Ps 73:1
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.   (KJV)

We can classify this as a Pure spirit.

Phil 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.   (KJV)

1 Tim 1:5
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:  (KJV)

1 Tim 3:9
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.   (KJV)

1 Tim 5:22
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.   (KJV)

1 Pet 1:22
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:   (KJV)

7.    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God

Top

Matthew 5:9

[The peacemakers] [hoi (grk 3588) eireenopoioi (grk 1518)]. Should be held to its literal meaning, "peace-makers;" not as Wycliffe: "peaceable men." The founders and promoters of peace are meant; who not only keep the peace, but seek to bring people into harmony with each other. Tyndale renders it, "the maintainers of peace."
(from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)

Strong's Concordance: 1518 eirenopoios (i-ray-nop-oy-os');  
from 1518 and 4160; pacificatory, i.e. (subjectively) peaceable:

KJV-- peacemaker.

[Blessed are the peacemakers] Those who strive to prevent contention, strife, and war; who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent lawsuits and hostilities in families and neighborhoods. Every man may do something of this; and no man is more like God than he who does it. There ought not to be unlawful and officious interference in that which is none of our business; but without any danger of acquiring this character, every man has many opportunities of reconciling opposing parties. Friends, neighhors, people of influence, lawyers, physicians, ministers of the gospel, may do much to promote peace. And it should be taken in hand in the beginning. "The beginning of strife," says Solomon, "is like the letting out of water." "An ounce of prevention," says the English proverb, "is worth a pound of cure."
(from Barnes' Notes)

    "CHILDREN OF GOD"

Those who resemble God, or who manifest a spirit like his. He is the Author of peace <1 Cor. 14:33>; and all those who endeavor to promote peace are like him, and are worthy to be called his children.
(from Barnes' Notes)

A peace-maker is a man who, being endowed with a generous public spirit, labours for the public good, and feels his own interest promoted in promoting that of others: therefore, instead of fanning the fire of strife, he uses his influence and wisdom to reconcile the contending parties, adjust their differences, and restore them to a state of unity.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

We could classify this as a Spirit of wisdom and mediation.

Ps 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!    (KJV)

Rom 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.   (KJV)

1 Cor 13:1-3
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.   (KJV)

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Top

Matthew 5:10

They which are persecuted - Dedioogmenoi (grk 1377), they who are hard pressed upon, and pursued with repeated acts of enmity. Parkhurst. They are happy who suffer, seems a strange saying: and that the righteous should suffer, merely because they are such, seems as strange. But such is the enmity of the human heart to everything of God and goodness, that all those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution in one form or other. As the religion of Christ gives no quarter to vice, so the vicious will give no quarter to this religion, or to its professors.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

Blessed are they which are persecuted - To persecute means literally to pursue; follow after, as one does a flying enemy. Here it means to vex, or oppress one, on account of his religion. They persecute others who injure their names, reputation, property, or who endanger or take their life, on account of their religious opinions.

For righteousness' sake - Because they are righteous, or are the friends of God. We are not to seek persecution. We are not to provoke it by strange sentiments or conduct; by violating the laws of civil society, or by modes of speech that are unnecessarily offensive to others. But if, in the honest effort to be Christians, and to live the life of Christians, others persecute and revile us, we are to consider this as a blessing. It is an evidence that we are the children of God, and that he will defend us. "All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," <2 Tim. 3:12>.
(from Barnes' Notes)

Matthew 5:11

When men shall revile you, and persecute - The persecution mentioned in the preceding verse comprehends all outward acts of violence-- all that the hand can do. This comprehends all calumny, slander, etc., all that the tongue can effect. But as diookein (grk 1377), which we render to persecute, is a forensic term, and signifies legal persecutions and public accusations, which, though totally unsubstantiated, were the means of destroying multitudes of the primitive Christians, our Lord probably refers to such. No Protestant can think, without horror, of the great numbers burnt alive in this country, on such accusations, under the popish reign of her who is emphatically called Bloody Queen Mary.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

When men shall revile you - Reproach you; call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are Christians. Thus, they said of Jesus that he was a Samaritan and had a devil <John 8:48>; that he was mad <John 10:20>; and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross, <Matt. 27:39-44>. But, being reviled, he reviled not again <1 Pet. 2:23>; and thus being reviled, we should bless <1 Cor. 4:12>; and thus, though the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, <Phil 1:29>. 
(from Barnes' Notes)

All manner of evil against you falsely - An emphasis should be laid on the word falsely in this passage. It is not blessed to have evil spoken of us if we deserve it; but if we deserve it not, then we should not consider it as a calamity. We should take it patiently, and show how much the Christian, under the consciousness of innocence, can bear, <1 Pet. 3:13-8>. 
(from Barnes' Notes)

For my sake -  Because you are attached to me; because you are Christians. We are not to seek such things. We are not to do things to offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and. to court revilings. We are not to say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or offend. But if, in the faithful endeavor to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master was, then we are to take it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner. When thus reviled or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry; not reviling again; but endeavoring to do good to our persecutors and slanderers, <2 Tim. 2:24-25>. In this way many have been convinced of the power and excellence of that religion which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted; and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. Long since it became a proverb, "that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
(from Barnes' Notes)

Matthew 5:12

The followers of Christ are encouraged to suffer joyfully on two considerations.

    1. They are thereby conformed to the prophets who went before.

    2. Their reward in heaven is a great one.

God gives the grace to suffer, and then crowns that grace with glory; hence, it is plain, the reward is not of debt, but of grace: <Rom. 6:23>
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

We could classify this as a Longsuffering and forgiving spirit.

Matt 10:16-28
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.   (KJV)

1 Pet 4:14-17
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?   (KJV)

This ends the Beatitudes

Forward to the Next Section:  Woes

Bibliography


Home First
Covenant
Second
Covenant
Topical
Studies
Table of
Contents
Top