Theirs is the Kingdom
Over the last couple of weeks in these devotionals we have discussed the first beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be exact, we have talked about what it means to be “poor in spirit.” After pondering that phrase for a while, we may now turn our attention to the second part of the beatitude. The “poor in spirit” are those who are “blessed” because of the promise “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Now, we should say first that the word “heaven” is a respectable substitute for “God” in Jewish thinking. Matthew, being a Jewish Christian, was sure to use the reverential term. The two phrases, “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God,” mean the same thing. They are interchangeable in New Testament vocabulary. Thus, Jesus is referring to the righteous reign of God. The word “theirs” is placed at the beginning of the phrase in the original language, not following normal structure, which emphasizes the word. The kingdom belongs to the beatitude kind of person, the one who is poor in spirit. Also, notice that this is in the present tense. The Lord does not say that the kingdom will belong to the poor in spirit. He says, “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is a here-and-now reality.
God had prophesied, as revealed in Daniel 7:13-14 and 27, that there would be an everlasting kingdom given to the “Son of Man” which would, in turn, be given to the people of God. Listen in to what Daniel shares: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. . . . Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
When a person realizes and confesses their poverty of spirit before God and puts their faith in Jesus Christ, the kingdom of heaven is given to them. The Lord says of the kingdom in Luke 17:21, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom belongs to and dwells within the people of God. The kingdom will one day spread over the entire globe, but it is already a present reality in the church as the Lord sovereignly reigns in the hearts and lives of believers. So, what is the blessing of the first beatitude? The one who is poor in spirit is the one who already knows the King of kings. How satisfying it is to have the Lord directing our path! How wonderful it is for the work of God to spread to the nations through us—His people! We are to be envied because we are completely satisfied in and fully approved by God. Yours is the kingdom!