Share (3310) (meris) refers to (1) a portion of a whole that has been divided ("district" in Acts 16:12). (2) a share or an assigned portion (Lk 10:42, 2Co 6:15, Acts 8:21, Col 1:12). The Greek reads more literally " for the portion of the lot" --that is we each receive our own individual assigned allotment or portion of the total inheritance. In the OT, God’s people had an earthly inheritance, the land of Canaan, and each tribe received its portion of the lot. Christians have a spiritual inheritance in Christ (See hymn below "Be Thou My Vision"). Crossing the Jordan to Canaan is unfortunately often portrayed as a picture of heaven but this is not an accurate portrayal for there will be no battles or defeats in heaven. More accurately, Canaan can be considered a picture of our present inheritance in kingdom of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Meris - 5v in NT - Lk. 10:42; Acts 8:21; 16:12; 2Co. 6:15; Col. 1:12. NAS common(1), district(1), part(2), share(1). Meris - 113x in the Septuagint (LXX) - 12.24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">Gen 14:24; 31:14; 9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">33:19; 43:34; 29.26" class="scriptRef">Ex 29:26; Lev 6:17; 7:33; 8.29" class="scriptRef">8:29; Num 18:20; 31:36; Deut 9:26; 10:9; 12:12; 22.27" class="scriptRef">27" class="scriptRef">14:27, 29; 18:1, 8; 32:9; Josh 14:4; 15:13; 18:5ff, 9; 19:9, 47" class="scriptRef">47; 21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21.42" class="scriptRef">21:42; 25" class="scriptRef">22:25, 27; 24:32; Judg 5:15; Ruth 2:3; 3:7; 4:3; 1 Sam 1:4f; 23" class="scriptRef">9:23; 30:24; 2 Sam 2:16; 14:30f; 20:1; 23:11f; 1 Kgs 12:16, 24; 2 Kgs 3:19, 25; 9:10, 21, 25f, 36f; 1 Chr 11:13f; 2 Chr 10:16; 31:3f, 19; 35:5; Neh 2:20; 8:10, 12; 11:36; 12:44, 47; 13:10; Esther 2:9; 4:17; 9:19, 22; Job 17:5; 20:29; 24:18; 27:13; 30:19; Ps 11:6; 16:5; 50:18; 63:10; 73:26; 119:57; 142:5; Prov 15:16; 20:9; Eccl 2:10, 21; 3:22; 5:18; 9:6, 9; 11:2; Isa 17:14; 57:6; Jer 10:16; 12:10; 13:25; 51:19; Lam 4:16; Ezek 45:7; 48:8, 21; Dan 4:15, 23; Amos 4:7; 7:4; Mic 2:4; Nah 3:8; Hab 1:16; Zech 2:12 INHERITANCE Source: Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology Legal inheritance refers to actual property or goods received after a family member's death. While Jewish inheritance customs were linked to family blood lines, Greek and Roman laws also provided for the disposition of family possessions through the adoption of an heir. The Scriptures transform the concept of inheritance to include the acquisition of spiritual blessings and promises from God. The Old Testament. The Old Testament is rich in its usage of the inheritance metaphor. The terms for inheritance occur over two hundred times, most frequently in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Psalms. While Jewish inheritance laws were specific and complete (Nu 27:8, 9, 10, 11), almost all references to inheritance in the Old Testament are theological, not legal. In the theological sense, to inherit means to "receive an irrevocable gift" with an emphasis on the special relationship between the benefactor and the recipients. Unlike legal inheritance, the benefactor, God, does not die, yet He provides material and spiritual blessings for His people (Ed note: This is not a Biblically accurate statement. Actually God in the Flesh does die on an old rugged cross in order to make it possible for saints to become beneficiaries of all "spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ.") The focus of the inheritance concept in the Old Testament is God's promise to Abraham. The land of Canaan was bequeathed to him and his descendants as an eternal possession (Gen 12:7). Each family in Israel was apportioned its own inheritance as an inalienable possession (Josh 13-31) and given the task to occupy the land (Judges 1:3). As the biblical history of Israel unfolds, the promised inheritance specifies a righteous remnant who will inherit the world as an everlasting possession (Psalm 2:8; Isa 54:3; Da 7:14). (Ed note: Click for discussion of "Remnant" on this website) From the promise of Canaan as Israel's inheritance came other aspects of the concept. The nation is described as God's inheritance (1Kings 8:51, 53; Psalm 78:71; Isa 19:25; Zech 2:12) whom the Lord will never forsake (Psalm 94:14). The Lord is conversely described as the inheritance of the nation (Psalm 16:5). The privileged position of Israel as God's chosen people placed them at the center of God's plans for blessing. Between the Testaments. In the intertestamental period the actual appropriation of this promise seemed remote due to the domination of Persian, Greek, and Roman powers. The reality of the inheritance of the land was deferred to the future and intertestamental literature emphasized the inheritance of eternal life and the world to come. The focus of the promised inheritance was less on national prominence in the present and more on personal participation in the future life with God. This idea was broadened in the rabbinic literature where having an inheritance or share in the world to come was a primary aspiration of the Jews. A notable dichotomy existed between those who would inherit the future world (the redeemed) and those who would not (the condemned). By the time of the New Testament, it was common for a person to ask a rabbi, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Matt 19:16). The New Testament. The legal-historical milieu of the first century provided an array of inheritance traditions. Jewish, Greco-Hellenistic, and Roman inheritance laws differed greatly in the meaning and implementation of their traditions. However, as in the Old Testament, almost all occurrences of the terms for inheritance in the New Testament are theological (Luke 12:13; is the lone exception ). Who Are the Heirs? Three major characters dominate the inheritance usage in the New Testament: Abraham, Christ, and the believer. The New Testament continues the focus on Abraham as a central figure of the inheritance metaphor. The initial promise to Abraham of the land of Canaan (Heb 11:8-note) is broadened to include "the world" (Ro 4:13-note). While the fact of Abraham's inheritance is significant, the New Testament concentrates on the means by which he received the inheritance: God's promise and Abraham's faith, not by works of the law (Ro 4:14-note; Gal 3:18). The second major character is Jesus Christ. His prominent position as the Son of God uniquely qualifies him as God's heir. He is presented as the heir of all things (Heb 1:2-note, He 1:4-note) and the promises of God's kingdom are focused in him (Matt 21:38). Finally, for the believer in Christ, heirship is a natural result of justification: "He saved us, … so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5, 6, 7-note). Since all believers are children of God they are necessarily heirs of God (Rom 8:17-note; Gal 4:7). It follows naturally that Christians are also heirs along with Abraham and Christ (Gal 3:29). They receive their inheritance by faith as did Abraham (Ro 4:13, 14) and share in the inheritance with Christ as sons (Ro 8:17-note). What Is the Inheritance? Throughout the New Testament, a striking promise for believers is simply "the inheritance" (Acts 20:32; 26:18; Eph 1:14-note, Ep 1:18-note; Col 3:24-note). Generally, the promise refers to the possession of salvation (Heb 1:14-note). The believer's inheritance is described more specifically as eternal and joyful existence with God. Believers are promised "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you" (1Peter 1:4-note). Inheriting the "world to come" is a guarantee for all those who belong to God's family. The apostle Paul employs the inheritance metaphor more than any other New Testament writer. For him, the object of the inheritance is the kingdom of God. He never states exactly what constitutes the believer's inheritance of the kingdom, but asserts emphatically that unbelievers will not inherit the kingdom (1Cor 6:9, 10; Gal 5:21-note; Eph 5:5-note). The Bible is clear that inheriting eternal life is synonymous with entering the kingdom. At the judgment, the righteous will inherit the kingdom (Matt 25:34) but the wicked will be eternally tormented (Matt 25:46). The finality of the separation of those outside of the family of God is clearly seen in their lack of a share in God's inheritance. The concept of the believer's inheritance highlights the dignity of the family relationship of the believer in Christ. No higher position or greater wealth can an individual acquire than to become an heir of God through faith in Christ. (Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology) Based solely on scripture it is difficult to state in specific terms all that our inheritance entails, the following verses outlining some of the general quantitative and qualitative aspects of a believer's inheritance. One thing is for certain as the writer of Hebrews encouraged the saints who had experienced loss of their earthly possessions -- we have "a better possession and an abiding one" (Heb 10:34-note) Paul already reminding the Colossian of this "the hope laid up for you in heaven". (Col 1:5-note) As the hymn (below) "Be Thou My Vision" says "Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always." Jeremiah echoes this focus in the midst of tragic loss and destruction of the material wealth of Jerusalem affirming that Jehovah is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him. (Lam 3:23) Peter says... Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pet 1:13-note) Jesus said in Mt 19:29, Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life. Eternal life is not only an endless existence in "eternity future" but describes a quality of life which is available now -- Christ’s life lived out in the believer in "eternity present" (Gal 2:20). In this sense believers can begin to share in their "spiritual inheritance" even now. Paul in his parting warning to the Ephesian elders to guard the flock said And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32) Paul was called by Jesus to go to the Gentiles to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. (Acts 26:18) The next two verses indicate that we have to some degree already received our spiritual inheritance. Paul encourages the Roman saints with the truth that not only were they now children of God but they were heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Ro 8:17-note) Paul instructed the Ephesian church that in Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. (Eph 1:11-note) Then Paul prays for the Ephesian church to understand what it is that they have already "inherited" asking that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Eph 1:18-note) But clearly the major "component" of our spiritual inheritance is yet future. Thus Peter writing to saints being severely tested encourages them in their temporal trials with the assurance that they will obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1Pet 1:4, 5-note) Paul amplifies the certainty of our future inheritance writing that believers have been given the Holy Spirit as "as a pledge (a deposit) of our inheritance" (Eph 1:14-note) (NLT phrases it "The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.") The writer of Hebrews uses God's promises to exhort his readers to continue on in the faith and to persevere and not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12-note) At the end of the great tribulation and at the inception of the 1000 year reign of Christ Jesus the King will judge the sheep and the goats (respectively saved and unsaved Gentiles and) will say to those on His right (saved Gentile "sheep") 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Mt 25:34) The saved Gentiles will enter into His millennial kingdom. This eschatological truth parallels Jesus' "beatitude" promising that "the gentle...shall inherit the earth." (Mt 5:5-note) Finally, we would be remiss to not remember why we obtain the inheritance, the writer of Hebrews stating that Jesus is the Mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." (Heb 9:15-note) BE THOU MY VISION Click to play Click to play vocal by Eden's Bridge Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one. Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art. OF THE SAINTS IN LIGHT: ton hagion en to photi: (Ps 36:9 Pr 4:18 Isa 60:19 ,20 Rev 21:23; 22:5) of the saints in the kingdom of light (NIV) "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion." http://www.preceptaustin.org/colossians_111-16.htm#sh
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