What are the beatitudes?


By BibleAsk Team

The Beatitudes

The English word “beatitude” comes from the Latin beatitudo. In the Latin Vulgate each verse in the first section of the Sermon on the Mount starts with the word beati, equivalent to makarioi. The word makarios is mentioned 9 times in verses 3–11. But verses 10, 11, are similar so is regarded as one beatitude, thus leaving 8 rather than 9 beatitudes. In the beatitudes, Christ shares His ultimate wish for every human—happiness. But this happiness is given only to the ones who are at peace with God (Romans 5:1) and men (Micah 6:8),

The gospel of Luke mentions only 4 beatitudes, the first, fourth, second, and eighth of Matthew, in that order (Luke 6:20–23), but he adds 4 equivalent woes (verses 24–26). The Beatitudes are eight blessings that Jesus spoke of at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12):

1-“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). 

The first condition for entering God’s kingdom of grace is the sense of one’s need. Those who do not feel their spiritual need, who believe they are “rich, and increased with goods” and in “need of nothing,” are, in the eyes of Heaven, “wretched, and miserable, and poor” (Revelation 3:17).  Those who feel their need of Christ will be ready to receive the kingdom of heaven.

2-“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). 

The spiritual poverty of the “poor in spirit” leads them to “mourn” for the imperfection they see in their own lives (Isaiah 6:5; Romans 7:24). As God meets the sense of spiritual need with the riches of the grace of heaven (verse 3), He also meets the mourning over sin with the comfort of forgiven sins.  

 3-“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). 

“Meekness” in New Testament is a Christian virtue (Galatians 5:23; 1 Timothy 6:11). A “meek” spirit “is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). “Meekness” toward God means that we accept His will and His dealing with us as good and we yield to Him without hesitation.  The “meek” will “inherit the earth” in the right time when the kingdoms will be given to the saints (Daniel 7:2; Matthew 23:12). 

4-“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). 

Those that deeply desire righteousness, will certainly find it. Material riches, great philosophies, physical appetites, honor, or power can’t satisfy the soul. After experiencing all these things, Solomon declared that “all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2,14 3:19; 11:8; 12:8). And he concluded that knowing the Creator and connecting with Him provided the only lasting satisfaction (Ecclesitates12:1, 13). 

5-“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

The mercy of which Christ here speaks is toward our fellow men. In Matthew 25:31–46, acts of mercy are presented as being the test of admission to the kingdom of glory. It is the “pure religion” (James 1:27). Man’s duty is “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with God (Micah 6:8). Those that will show mercy will receive mercy now and in the day of judgment.  

6-“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). 

Jesus was not talking about ceremonial purity (Matthew 15:18–20; 23:25), but the inward cleanness of heart. To be “pure in heart” is equal to being clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness (Matthew 22:11, 12), the “fine linen” with which the saints are clothed with perfection of character (Revelation 19:8). The pure in heart will forsake sin and dedicate their lives to God (Romans 6:14–16; 8:14–17). And as a reward, they will see God.

7-“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). 

Christians are to be at peace among themselves (1 Thessalonians 5:13) and to “follow peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14). They are to pray for peace, to labor for peace, and to have firm interest in acts that promote a peaceful state of society. “Peace-makers” will be seen by heaven as the “sons of God” for He is the source of all peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).

8-“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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” (Matthew 5:10-12).

The Scriptures warned the believers that “through much tribulation” they must “enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22; John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12). But the Lord promises that “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12; Matthew 10:39). While the sacrifice may be great, the reward is far greater. For when the Son of man comes in glory “he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12). 

In His service, 
BibleAsk Team 

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