When do the meek inherit the earth? Is Jesus simply saying that the redeemed shall one day live on the recreated earth in the "new heavens and earth"? This is certainly true and each beatitude has an element of looking forward to receiving in some way what we give up in this life. But there seems to be something in them that speaks to being blessed now. Verse 3 of Matt. 5 says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus had said that the kingdom of God was about to begin; so we should be enjoying living in the kingdom right now. Again, are we to think of the satisfaction of thirsting and hungering after righteousness as only something that we gain in Heaven?
So how is it possible to inherit the earth now? Let me offer something to think about. The word for "earth" simply means land or dirt. The terms of inheritance and land are very Old Covenant terms. The main inheritance of the Old Covenant was the Promise Land. While our full inheritance is to be in the presence of our Lord face to face and thus Canaan is a type of Glory, yet they also fought battles in this land flowing with milk and honey. Canaan is also a type of living in the kingdom.
So I think what Jesus is telling us is that those who live in submission to the Lord shall be able to enjoy the "land" or the blessings of living in the kingdom of God set up by Jesus. I think 1Co 3:21-23 offers some help here: "So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Also 2Co 1:20 "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory."
In a very real sense we already have everything through Christ. When we live lives in submission to God’s will we will live life as man was created to live life on this earth. Instead of every material thing becoming our master, we use all things for him. Just as Adam was originally given dominion over all things to serve God with but sin turned his dominion upside down so Christ has given us all things that we might honor him as they were originally intended to be used. The Bible has much to say about us reigning with Christ now.
Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
We read further, Rev 11:17 saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
The Key to living in the kingdom then is meekness. Rebels don’t serve the king, they disrupt the kingdom. Living for self not only disrupts the kingdom of God it will disrupt your life and you will be unable to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s rule, Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Pro 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. Pro 3:8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Are we living in our inheritance now or do we think that we will only be able to reign with Christ at some point in the future?