Matthew 5:10, blessed are the persecuted
5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
(Matt 5:10 WEB)
Theirs is the Kingdom
This final beatitude sums up all the rest, for it is linked to the foundational promise upon which all the Beatitudes’ promises rest.
Whilst Israel were camped in Moab, on the verge of entering their inheritance, Moses reviewed the blessings associated with righteousness and the accursed lifestyle suffered by those who forsook it. He then assured them, that when they found themselves in such a terrible place, displaced and suffering at the hands of others, and then remembered the blessings and the curses, they still had a choice. Turn back to him, i.e. back to the way of righteousness, and the persecution would stop. God would restore his kingdom and the blessing would return. Hence, this verse is not speaking of the persecution of people because of their righteousness, that is addressed in the next verses. Rather here the focus is on those whose persecution God has allowed for the sake of achieving righteousness, either because it refines them personally or because, like the refiner’s fire, it strips away the dross of unrighteousness from their community.
In numerous places this cycle of blessing, sin, suffering, repentance and restoration drives the narrative of the Hebrew Bible. To be
effective, such repentance must always bring the sufferer back to the way of righteousness, but thereafter the door is open to enter into the
blessings of these beatitudes.