This is the last blog I have that will fall under the Judgment theme. So far we have looked at Death (and the 2nd Death), the Lake of Fire, Destruction, Punishment, Wrath, Judgment and various other related issues. To my knowledge there is only one more theme that needs to be addressed – Christ putting all His enemies under His feet.
The reason I saved this topic for last is, b/c as much as the other themes we have already looked at dealt with Ultimate Restoration, this one does so far more blatantly. It ties into Restoration so directly that I wasn’t sure whether I should save it for the next series on Restoration. In the end I decided that since it clearly deals with Judgment it needed to be included here, however, I left it for last so that it would be a sort of bridge between the two; it will be a fitting end to our series on Judgment and a fitting transition into the next series concerning the Restoration of All Things.
Until I Make Your Enemies a Footstool
This subject concerns a certain Old Testament passage that is quoted in the New Testament. In fact, of all the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament this one is quoted a total of 8 times! Far more than any other Old Testament verse. This is highly significant, it tells us that we ought to pay very close attention to what God is trying to teach us. The passage is as follows,
“The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’” (Psalm 110:1)
This passage is quoted in Matthew 22:42; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:43, Acts 2:35; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; and Hebrews 1:13 and 10:13.
What we will focus specifically on in this blog is what it means to make an enemy into a footstool. A footstool, obviously, is what you use to rest your feet on and the passage in question concerns the feet, as the following alternate quote renders it,
“…until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.” (Matthew 22:42)
The concept of putting Christ’s enemies under His feet is found several more times (Ephesians 1:22, Philippians 3:21 and 1 Peter 3:22) on top of the 8 direct quotes of the Old Testament verse in question. This leaves us with a total of 11 direct references to this theme. All in all this seems to be a very big and important concept in Scripture. And there is more! There are dozens upon dozens of passages in the Bible that concern this theme of subduing enemies under the feet.
This might come as a surprise to some, but WE are considered to be God’s enemies! At least, the wicked/evil, fallen nature within us is. The Old Man that is lawless and “hostile to God” (Romans 8:7) is God’s enemy. That part of humanity that is dead in our trespasses and sins is considered to be God’s enemy,
“For although we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,” (Romans 5:10)
Putting Enemies Under His Feet
The idea of putting an enemy under one’s feet is referring to a Ruler conquering those who oppose or resist said Rulership. The Bible has many pictures of the wicked being put under the feet of the righteous.
“A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us and nations under our feet.” (Psalm 47:2,3)
One of the terms of putting an enemy under one’s feet is the term “tread” or “treading down.”
“’You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 4:3; see also Romans 16:20; Job 40:12; Psalm 18:37,38, 44:5, 60:12; 91:13, 108:13; Zechariah 10:5; Lk. 10:19 and 2 Kings 9:33)
Now although the term “treading down” seems like it is referring to destruction, it is more specifically referring to the subjugation of an enemy. For in war there are certainly casualties, but in the end the victor wins the subjugation of the nation/people he is battling. Whenever this happened in Scripture the losing nation would become the “servants” of the winning nation.
“[David] defeated Moab…and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.” (2 Samuel 8:2,6,14; 17:3, etc…)
Putting someone under your feet concerned bringing them under your authority. They were now part of your kingdom. That was how nations expanded, when they became powerful enough they would invade and conquer neighboring nations. And those who came under their subjection came under their authority – a.k.a kingdom. This is what it means when Scripture refers to all of Christ’s enemies being put in subjection under His feet.
“[God] seated [Jesus] at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,” (Ephesians 1:20-22)
Notice that it says Jesus is at God’s right hand; which is a position of rulership (see Matthew 20:20-28). Also note that the terms rule, authority, power and dominion are references to the evil spirits that rule the kingdom of this earthly realm (see Ephesians 6:10-17, 2:2, 2 Corinthians 4:4). But Christ is above them, He has authority over them b/c they have been conquered and are part of the “all things” which have been put in subjection under His feet. However, we do not yet see that as a reality. For though Christ has obtained victory over them, His enemies are still fighting. St. Paul addresses this specifically,
“You have put all things in subjection under His feet. For in subjecting all things to [Christ], [God] left nothing that is not subject to Him. However (right) NOW we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” (Hebrews 1:8)
Paul wants to make absolutely sure we understand that all things have been subjected under Christ’s feet so he says it a second time in an opposite contrast, take a look at it again,
“for in subjecting all things to Christ God left nothing that is not subject to Him.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. However, Paul then clarifies that at this present time (and from our earthly perspective) we are unable to see that reality. Which is why the Scriptures testify that,
“[Christ] must reign UNTIL He has put all His enemies under His feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25)
even though Christ has obtained victory over His enemies, and has authority over them, they are not yet under His subjection. But they will be, its only a matter of time.
Treading Grapes Under Foot
Related to this is the concept of crushing grapes, or the treading grapes. There are 3 feasts in the Law that Israel was commanded to observe; and like all the rest of the Law they are “a type and shadow of good things to come.” (Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:16,17) Each feast concerned a specific harvest: Passover concerned the harvest of Barley, Pentecost concerned the harvest of Wheat, and Tabernacles concerned the harvest of Grapes.
Each of these harvests concerns a harvest of souls that will be brought into the kingdom. We will look at this in much more detail in the next series. But suffice it for now to say that each harvest required a specific labor necessary to process it. The Grape harvest required that it be “trodden underfoot.”
“I have made the wine to cease from the wine presses; no one will tread them with shouting,” (Jeremiah 48:33; see also Amos 9:13; Micah 6:15)
The treading of grapes was used many times by God as a description of trodding down His enemies – a.k.a subjecting them under His feet.
“The Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter of Judah.” (Lamentations 1:15; see also Isaiah 63:1-6; Jeremiah 25:30-38; Joel 3:9-14; Micah 7:19)
The book of Revelation has one of the clearest pictures of treading grapes as a judgment of God upon His enemies and even connects it to “God’s Wrath” which we looked at a few blogs previous.
“’Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.’ So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city,” (Revelation 14:8-20)
The Grape connection is very enlightening, not to mention fascinating, unfortunately we don’t have enough space to pursue it further, but we will in a later blog for there is a lot of great information/insight connected with it. I merely add what I have for the sake of further connecting the subjection of one’s enemies with the concept of being put under one’s feet. In other words the treading of the Grape harvest is symbolic of the process of subjecting one’s enemies under one’s feet.
The Temple of God
It is very curious that God would describe the triumph of His enemies, putting them under His feet, as making them into a footstool. As I mentioned above, a footstool is where you rest your feet. What does it mean that God will find a resting place in His enemies? It becomes even more fascinating when we realize that the temple of God was also called His footstool!
“Let us go into His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool.” (Psalm 132:7)
God’s Temple is where He dwells, where He is able to rest. And yet, does God actually dwell or find rest in earthly sanctuaries?
“David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands;” (Acts 7:46-50; see also Matthew 5:34,35)
In Isaiah God sarcastically makes fun of this foolish idea.
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?’” (Isaiah 66:1)
Some people have a hard time grasping that God doesn’t dwell in temples made of stone. He never actually intended to. The reason God ordained the building of Temples in previous ages is b/c He was teaching us in type and shadow about the true temple.
“…who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the Tabernacle; for, ‘see,’ he says, ‘that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.’” (Hebrews 8:5)
“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Hebrews 9:24)
The true temple as we all ought to know is the Body of Christ – US! The New Testament makes it very clear that WE are the true Temple of God, not some building of stone.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them;’” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
God dwells in His people and (as with His enemies) He is slowly bringing everything within us (everything that resists Him) into subjection until He can truly rest in us. Even more amazing is that we are not only individual temples of the living God, but together we make up a corporate temple, a building made without hands, a temple made up of living stones.
“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4,5)
“You…are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
God is removing all opposition within His corporate Body as well, so that one day we will be a perfect resting place for His Spirit. But here is the connection I am trying to make: we are the temple of God, and the temple is God’s footstool where He finds rest – therefore when it says that Christ’s enemies are being made into a footstool for His feet it is telling us that they will be temples of the living God!
Christ And Warfare
If that isn’t convincing enough, listen to the Old Testament’s description of building God’s temple and how it is connected to putting His enemies under His feet.
“Then King David rose to his feet and said, ‘Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, “You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.”’” (1 Chronicles 28:2,3)
“Then Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying, ‘You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, “Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.”’” (1 Kings 5:2-5)
So God couldn’t build His Temple, where His Spirit could dwell until He had put all His enemies under His feet. The temple is His footstool b/c He can rest upon it and there is no rest in war. God is waiting until all the warfare is accomplished before He can rest. He cannot rest while there is anything that is at enmity with Him. He has no peace as long as there are still enemies that need to be reconciled. But once they have been subjected to Him then He can rest; and so He makes His enemies into a footstool by placing them under His feet, by subjecting them. They become His servants through subjection and are no longer working against Him b/c now they are working for Him.
We are being made into a footstool of God, a holy dwelling place, and we wont be fully completed until Christ’s enemies are brought into subjection and also made part of His footstool. They too will be part of this holy temple in which holiness and righteousness dwell!
All those verses we just looked at, concerning David not being able to build a temple for God until all his enemies had been put under his feet, are “types and Shadows of the good things to come.” For David is a type of Christ in His spiritual warfare to subject all His enemies under His feet. Christ must be a warrior before He can be a prince of peace. He must subdue all things before He can institute an age of rest (sabbath means rest and was required every 7 days, 7 years, and 7 sets of 7 years – and the 7th millenium from Creation will also be an age of rest, after Christ has put all His enemies under His feet).
God will convert all of His enemies into His friends by loving them to death! So before the Body of Christ can be completed as a Divine Temple, a footstool, a place where God can dwell and rest, He must finish His warfare against His enemies. But once the warfare is accomplished this temple will be finished! That is the end game! Listen to one last reference to putting all things under His feet!
“…then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet…For He has put all things in subjection under His feet…When all things are subjected to Him, then…God will be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
God will be All in All when His enemies are put under His feet! B/c they will be part of His Temple where He dwells! He will fill all with all of Himself! And so Scripture declares,
“A man’s enemies will become the members of His household.” (Matthew 10:36; and Micah 7:6)
Can you hear it? Its beautiful and glorious and a thousand other words that the human voice cannot articulate. All I can do is echo what the Angels said when Christ was born and they declared that the Gospel truly was Good News of Great Joy which would be for All people (Luke 2:10),
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
Almost without exception any time there is a reference to judgment it is not without hope. Every warning and threat of judgment comes with a promise of restoration. God will make His enemies a footstool for His feet, but His footstool is His Temple, where He will rest, for His enemies will become part of His dwelling place.
In the next series we will begin looking at all of the Scriptures that positively and clearly declare God’s plan to save all mankind. I find it to be the most exciting and convincing proof of Universal Reconciliation. If you have enjoyed anything I have written so far, then you are really REALLY going to enjoy the next series! 🙂
Thank you for reading.
Luke, your insight and perspective are refreshing. Though I need much more time to fully study what you’ve written, it seems Biblically solid and in-line with God’s Word (off the top of my head). After reading this post, I am near tears because what you write is so consistent with God’s love and open arms, that I am more in awe of Him than before I read it. I am planning on giving this to some JW I am studying with so they can see God’s grace from a completely different view (than the Watchtower). I look forward to reading more of your posts! Blessings for you.
Thank you Christine! I’m so happy that you are blessed by it! I’m also sorry that it took so long to reply. I have not had time to write or check this blog in a while. 🙂 God bless you!