Pentheo – πτωξος Deep grief or intense sorrow, openly manifested by weeping audibly

parakalew – ‘One called from another to their side; metaphorically, to comfort’

παρακαλεω (Matthew 5:4). The kingdom truth in this beatitude lies in the meaning of the terms “mourn” and “comfort.” The Greek word πενθουντες (Luke 6:25Mark 16:10James 4:9Revelation 18:11,15,19); hence, “to mourn, grieve;”F1 “to mourn for, lament”F2 The Septuagint uses this term in reference to mourning over the dead, and for the sorrows and sins of others.F3

Since Chrysostom (late 300 AD), this beatitude has commonly been understood in the same manner, namely, those who mourned over their own sins and those of others.F4 Our second word study comes from παρακληθησονται (Strong’s #3870), which is a compound word translated “comfort” in this passage.

It is derived from παρα“from the side of,” and καλεω“to call” or “to summon;” hence literally, one called or summoned from another to their side. Young states the term means literally, “called near,” and refers to those who are invited by God to Himself.F5

The term, therefore, implies one who is called to another’s side in order to receive aid and comfort from him, or one who comes to ones aid as an advocate in a court of justice.F6

The first thing that is apparent is that this beatitude is not a consolatory text. To suggest that the Lord is referring to the material losses sustained in the adversities of life is too materialistic for this context; just as to refer it to the grief and sorrow over the loss of loved ones in death is too trite.

The “mourning” and “comfort” of the passage undoubtedly has connection with the announcement on John the Baptizer concerning the mission of Christ in reference to sin; for when John saw “Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Rather than referring to the personal sorrows, disappointments and losses we experience in life, Jesus is describing the mourning of the spirit of man over the sinful condition of the world when the Lord appeared and is sympathetic with His mission to take away sin as announced by His harbinger, John the Baptizer.

Thus, in this kingdom principle, we see an attitude of deep grief and intense sorrow felt deep within the spirit of man for the state of his own soul held captive in sin and death and for the state of a lost sinful world.

The application is just as applicable today as it was to the believing Jews who lived in the surroundings of the Roman and pagan society of the first century. No matter what the dispensation, all humanity must recognize the truth that their own sins and the sins of the world have caused them and all mankind to be separated from God (Isaiah 59:1,2).

To such persons who acknowledge this truth and are deeply grieved within their heart over their sins and the sins of others, Jesus said such individuals are supremely happy because in the kingdom of God they are comforted. Literally translated, the verse reads: “Supremely happy are those deeply grieving: for they themselves shall be called near (to God).”

The good, glad news of the gospel of Christ is that the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). Within the kingdom of the heavens brought down to earth, both Jews and Gentiles are now called from the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14) to the side of God where we receive heavenly and Godly comfort (Revelation 21:1-4).

Within the body and church of the Lord (Colossians 1:18), we now enter into the “Holy of holies” and come before the presence of God (Hebrews 9:3,11,12,24-26) in spirit and prayer, where there are no tears, sorrows, pain, or suffering, because the blood of Jesus is forever upon the doorpost of the tabernacle of God, having washed away the sins of the saved, and through the Lord’s resurrection we no longer feel the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:55,56) for death no longer holds us captive (Hebrews 2:14,15). The gospel of the kingdom therefore comforts us, by assuring God’s elect, Christians called out from the world by the good news of Lord (1 Peter 2:9), that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

The “comfort” of the second beatitude is the comfort of Isaiah’s prophecy in reference to the coming of Christ into the world: “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:1,2).

The reference to preaching the good tidings to the meek meant the “poor in spirit” of the first beatitude as affirmed by the Jesus to the synagogue (Luke 4:16-21), and it is evident that “to comfort all that mourn” is the same as the second beatitude, and refers to the good news proclaimed in the gospel of Christ. Isaiah was blessed with the opportunity to step through the portal of time as John the Baptizer and saw the coming of Christ to take away the sin of the world when he prophesied: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:1-5Matthew 3:3).

Parallel to the second beatitude is the invitation of the Lord: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). There is no difference between the “mourning” of the beatitude and the “heavy laden” of the invitation; and there is no difference between the “comfort” and the “rest.” Both passages refer to the removal of sins and the shackles of death by the gospel of Christ.

And that is the meaning of the second beatitude which anticipated the good news of the gospel, as the means of comfort for the sin-laden world by removing the cause of mourning, “the sin of the world.” Nothing can alleviate that kind of mourning, or weaken the potency of sorrow for sin, than the comfort of the gospel upon which rests the hope of all mankind; for only therein, are we called by God to Himself and made pure by the blood of Lamb of God upon the heavenly doorpost of the throne room of the Almighty.

F1: John Parkhurst, M.A., A Greek And English Lexicon To The New Testament (London: T. Davison, Whitefriars, 1812), pg., 520.
F2: Joseph Henry Thayer, D.D., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1901), pg., 500.
F3: Archibald Thomas Robertson, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D., Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), pgs. 40, 41.
F4: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, TH.D., Critical and Exegetical Handbook To The Gospel of Matthews, vol. 1 (Peabody, Massachusetts, 1983 reprint of 6th edition of 1884), pg., 113.
F5: Robert Young, LL.D., F.E.S.L., Concise Critical Comments on the Holy Bible (London: Pickering & Inglis), New Testament, pg., 5.
F6: M.R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. 1 (Florida: MacDonald Publishing Company, reprint of 2nd edition 1888), pg., 486.

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Meet the Author

Bill Klein has been a pastor, counselor, and educator for the past 41 years. He has had extensive training and education in biblical languages, and has authored a Biblical Greek course.

He is currently serving as Professor of Biblical Greek at Master’s Graduate School of Divinity, and president of BTE Ministries – The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America, a non-profit organization located in California that provides Bible study tapes and Greek study materials through their website

Source: pentheo – Greek Thoughts- Language Studies –

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