- What Does It Mean to Be Blessed With the Kingdom of Heaven?
- What Does It Mean to Be "Poor in Spirit"?
- Other Investigation into "Poor in Spirit."
- Why Are the Poor in Spirit Worthy of Entrance Into the Kingdom of Heaven?
- Because They Have Forsaken Everything.
- Because They Hate This Life.
- Because They Have Taken Jesus's Yoke.
- Because They Have Chosen Jesus as Their Master.
- Because They Do The Will of God.
- Because They Have No Attachments to This Life World.
What Does It Mean to Be Blessed With the Kingdom of Heaven?
Jesus tells us,
Only those that do the will of Jesus's Father, God, enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, those that are "poor in spirit" are doing God's will. However, that doesn't mean that everyone that does God's will is poor in spirit. It's like squares and rectangles. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
What Does It Mean to Be "Poor in Spirit"? Back to Top ↑
We should understand what is means to be "poor in spirit." To be "poor" in this circumstance means to be utterly destitute. If we were "poor in money," we would be a beggar at best. But Jesus said to be poor in spirit. And so what does "in spirit" mean?
The spirit is the animating life force of a human. From the very beginning when
Perhaps the best example of someone poor in spirit is Lazarus.(Luke 16:19-22.) Lazarus did nothing. He sat at some rich man's gate, in pain from his sores, and begged, and died. He had no animating force. He had nothing to make him get up from the gate and work, or seek his desires or anything. He laid at the rich man's gates and died. And yet, Lazarus did the will of God, for the angels carried him away.
Lazarus was completely poor in spirit. He no longer cared for this world, and (probably) only looked forward to being with God. That is what it means to be poor in spirit.
If we were to provide another word for "poor in spirit," it would be "meek." The poor in spirit are meek to the point of excessiveness. Lazarus was so meek that he couldn't even shake off the dogs that licked his sores.
Other Investigation into "Poor in Spirit." Back to Top ↑
Most people know that Jesus likely taught in Aramaic, the regional language of the time. However, few people are aware that there was a common Aramaic saying, "to be high in spirit." Thus, Jesus could have been contrasting being 'high in spirit' with being 'poor in spirit.'
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project has documented the idiom several times in ancient writings. They show that it means 'insolence' and 'ostentatiousness.' Insolence is a disrespectful and arrogant attitude, much like a rebellious teenager might show to their dad. Ostentatiousness is an pompous, pretentious, and egotistical presense, such as what the pope seems like when he is fully decked out in his array.
This is also the perfect description of the leader in Jerusalem, the scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus condemned. They showed off to whoever was in sight or sound how righteous and perfect they were, while at the same time denying God in everything that they could. They were ostentatious and insolent.
But, if you're the opposite of those leaders, if you're 'low in spirit' instead of 'high in spirit,' then you wouldn't be haughty and pompous, you would be humble and discrete.
At least some of the early Christians viewed the verses this way. Tertullian wrote, "No one, assuredly, is 'poor in spirit,' except he be humble."Tertullian, of Patience, Chapter 9 Origen writes, "...those who have been obedient to the word of God ... are said to deserve the kingdom of that heaven or heavens; and thus the prediction is more worthily fulfilled, 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth;' and, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.'"Origen, De Principiis, Book 2, Chapter 5, Section 7 Tertullian saw being 'poor in spirit' as being humble, and Origen had no issues understanding both meekness and poor in spirit as being similar to one another, as they both described those obedient to the word.
So the early Christians understood being 'poor in spirit' to mean being humble, or meek, and also possible ebing obedient to the word of God. This is in direct contrast of being 'high in spirit,' which is insolent and ostentatious, which the contemporary Pharisees served as an example of.
Why Are the Poor in Spirit Worthy of Entrance Into the Kingdom of Heaven? Back to Top ↑
But it is not enough to explain a verse. No, not in an elucidation. We must explain why the poor in spirit will be granted entrance to the kingdom of heaven.
Because They Have Forsaken Everything. Back to Top ↑
Because they hate this life. Back to Top ↑
Because They Have Taken Jesus's Yoke. Back to Top ↑
Thankfully, Jesus came to just these people, saying,
Because They Have Chosen Jesus as Their Master. Back to Top ↑
And we have two masters that we can choose from in this world. Jesus said,
Those poor in spirit have given up on paying taxes and keeping with the times. Instead, they end up completely relying on others until they die. Thankfully, Jesus has promised us that if we seek the kingdom, he will take care of us in this life. Jesus promised,
Because They Do The Will of God. Back to Top ↑
After all, this is the will of God. Jesus implied that the children of God are the children of the resurrection.(Luke 20:36b) And since all the poor in spirit do the will of God, they are brother and sister of Jesus Christ.(Matthew 12:50.) And if Jesus is the son of God, and we are his siblings, then we too are children of God, and of the resurrection. Jesus said,
Thus, it is the will of God for us to be resurrected. If you are resurrected, you are a child of God. Likewise, if you follow the will of God by being poor in spirit, you are both a child of God(through siblinghood to Jesus Christ) and in the kingdom of Heaven. And, as covered previously, if you are poor in spirit, you are in the kingdom of Heaven. Thus, to "seek the kingdom of heaven" means to abandon all worldly attachments and desire to be in the next life!
Because They Have No Attachments to This Life World. Back to Top ↑
That is why Jesus was serious when he said,
This is how a true apostle of Jesus Christ, Peter, saw it. Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, couldn't hold to this. Instead, they tried to lie to Peter when they gave the proceedings of a sale to him.
To hold onto even a little bit of attachment to this world means you are not fit for the kingdom of Heaven. There is nothing in this world worth getting up for. And certainly nothing worth taking up a sword for. That is why Jesus was able to so easily say,
That is also why Jesus said,
What is there in this world that matters? God isn't here. Jesus isn't here.(John 14:2-3.) There is nothing. So let them who will live once live to their fullest. We who will live twice will live a far better life far sooner than we think. And if we hate our lives here as a result, then good. Jesus said,
Conclusion Back to Top ↑
Be poor in spirit. Give everything away. Lay down on the public streets and wait for death. Lazarus did so and he was carried away by the angels. If you do the same, you will do the will of God, and be granted everlasting life.