An exegetical study for the text, Matthew 5:1-12
NASB and NRSV say "the poor in spirit." Peterson says "end of your rope". Dr. Arsup's rough translation says "the poor by means of the Spirit." Since the Spirit plays the most significant and fundamental role at the birth of the kingdom of heaven, I think, Arsup's translation fits best: God's blessing sustains the poor by means of the Spirit because God wills the kingdom of the heavens to be theirs. Those who belong to or posses the kingdom of heaven certainly are in the guidance of the Spirit; in this text, saying, "blessed."
Verse 3 says, "Because God wills the kingdom of the heavens to be theirs". And verse 10 repeats the same phrase. Therefore, it seems to me that the beatitudes starts with verse 3 and closes with verse 10. In this case, verse 4 through 9 imply something inside of the kingdom of heaven and verses 11 and 12 serves the summary of the beatitudes or the paraphrasing of verse 10. Since the present tense is used in verses 3 and 10, whereas the future tense is used in verses 4 through 9, it seems to me that verses 3 and 10 serve as an invitation to the kingdom of heaven and verses 4 through 9 describe the lives in the new kingdom.
The beatitudes is located at the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry when He started to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand", and right after the call of His disciples. And it was addressed to both, the multitudes and His disciples. Therefore, I think, it serves well as an invitation to the kingdom of heaven. And since it is located at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that teaches the new lives in the new kingdom based upon Jesus' new interpretation of the Old Testament and the old way of life, it serves as the poetic introduction to the new lives in the new kingdom.
When the kingdom of heaven is said as a new concept, the kingdom of earth should be taken into consideration. Also, the social location of the first audience of the Beatitutes should be considered, too, particularly because of "they" in verse 12. Here, "they" certainly means a social group of the people, the governing class.
Some exegetical questions arise.
Where is the location of the democratic society?
Is there any confliction between democracy and theocracy?
Who can be designated for "you" in verses 11 and 12?