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Blessing are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are you when  men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were  before you–Matthew 5:10-12

The word translated revile is the word oneidizo which means to taunt, upbraid, chide, rail at, defame. the word translated persecute is the word dioko to pursue, to persecute, follow after, cause to suffer. I have known several people who claimed they were being persecuted.

When I compared their belief that they were persecuted with this verse, I had my doubts to whether they were actually being persecuted with the conditions stated in these verses. First of all, the persecution had to be false. Too often, we are not really being persecuted, we are being prosecuted. In other words, we are reaping what we sewed. We are being paid back for our own indiscretions.  I have know self-professing Christians who treated others unkindly and when those other people did not treat them with respect, the Christians claimed that they were being persecuted. That’s not being persecuted, that is being treated in the same manner that those professing Christians treated others.

These verses do not refer to them. What these verses are talking about is the type of persecution like Daniel endured. (Daniel 6:14-24) Daniel defied the law so that he could worship his God and was placed in the lions den for his tenacity. He didn’t mistreat anyone. Instead he simply and quietly stood up for what he believed. With integrity he refused to worship no other god but the one true God.

This is the kind of persecution we will be rewarded for. This kind of prosecution might not lead to the kind of deliverance that Daniel faced. Many people have died in their faith, but as these verses state, he has given us promise of blessings in Heaven. As we continue our studies of Matthew, we will discover more about the Kingdom of Heaven.


Picture of the Mount of Beattitudes

Chapter 5 of Matthew begins the passage known as the Beatitudes. I remember years ago at the church I attended at the time the elementary children had a program called The Bee-attitudes and there were posters about how “to be”. the idea is that if we want to be blessed by God, we would be blessed if we did these things.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

There’s that phrase again, Kingdom of Heaven. The poor in Spirit get the Kingdom of Heaven. What does it mean that the poor in Spirit will get the Kingdom of Heaven? What makes someone poor in Spirit?

Poor in spirit does not mean being poor in the physical sense. Being poor in spirit means that re recognize that we don’t own anything. Everything that we have in this short life belongs to God. We are only stewards of what God owns.

How differently we would live if we recognized that all the we claim to own belonged to God. Imagine what it would be like if we do not identify with this physical world. If we knew that what we had belonged to the creator of the universe, that we simply were taking care of what belonged to him. We don’t own these worldly goods, it doesn’t own us. It belongs to the Lord God All Mighty, Jehovah our provider! We are here to do the Father’s business.

If we are poor (God owns it, we don’t)  in this physical world that we live in does not belong to us. Spiritually we recognize that our citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven. Compared to our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, our life as we know it here, even if we live to be 120, is but a vapor.

Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

This is the promise of the resurrection. What Jesus is saying here is that we may be mourning now, but our mourning will last a short time. Our comfort in our loss is knowing that someday in eternity, we will again see that person we think we lost. It will be as though they were only asleep.

As Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:9-11: “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died that whether we are alive or asleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.”

Jesus promises us that if we recognize that this world has nothing to offer us, that if we recognize that we have a life that goes beyond this life, God will bless us. He wants us to more than just recognize that our ultimate citizenship is not in this world. We have been promised eternal life in Christ Jesus. Even in death, we are blessed!

Again as the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21-23 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot declare. For I am torn between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better. However, I know that I must stay here because I benefit you.”

When we recognize that our citizenship is not of this earth, that God owns it all, that our loved ones who died and are believers we will be with again. How can we be anything else but blessed?

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