JEHOVAH'S FOOTSTOOL MADE GLORIOUS.
Charles Taze Russell
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
GOD'S FOOTSTOOL DEFILED AND ABANDONED BECAUSE OF SIN.--THE PROMISED REVIVAL
OF ITS GLORY.--THE PURCHASED POSSESSION TO BE RESTORED.--ITS BRIGHTEST
JEWEL.--THE REESTABLISHMENT OF JEHOVAH'S FEET "ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES."--THE
RESULTANT BLESSINGS.--THE FOOTSTOOL FINALLY GLORIOUS INDEED.
"Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool."
"And I will make the place [footstool] of my feet glorious."
"And his [Jehovah's] feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of
Olives." -- Isa. 60:13; 66:1; Zech. 14:4; Matt. 5:35; Acts 7:49.
God's footstool has been anything but glorious for the past six thousand years: sin, pain, crying, mental and physical suffering and death have made it one vast charnel house in which now, conservatively estimated, at least fifty thousand millions of humanity wait for the time to come when the curse of divine justice shall be lifted; and the light of divine favor, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, shall rise as the Sun of righteousness,--
"Chase away sin's dismal shadows,
Light the gloom with healing ray."
To this end God has made abundant provision. The ransom for Adam, and for all who suffered loss through him as his children, bought the whole world, and secured for each member of our race an opportunity for a trial for everlasting life under favorable conditions; but it did more, it purchased back Adam's Paradise home (lost by his transgression), and his dominion as earth's king, representative of God, his Creator and Father.
Hence we read, "And thou, O Tower of the flock [Christ], the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall
it come, even the first dominion." (Micah 4:8.) The Apostle
Paul also, speaks of the "redemption of the purchased possession." (Eph. 1:14.) Our Lord in one of his parables referred to
this also, showing that he purchased not only mankind, the treasure, but
also the field, the world, the earth from under the curse: and that all
who join with him, as members of the Kingdom class, share in that purchase
of the field and the treasure. -- Matt. 13:44.
The entire work of the Millennium will consist in re-ordering and making glorious God's footstool. Paradise, when lost through sin, was but a "garden" in a corner of the earth; but inasmuch as the race of Adam has multiplied to fill the earth, in accordance with the divine intention (Gen. 1:28), and inasmuch as they all have been redeemed, it will be necessary to provide a Paradise sufficiently large to accommodate all: and this will imply that the entire earth shall become as the Garden of Eden for fruitfulness and beauty and perfection. And all this is promised as the grand future consummation of the divine plan. -- Acts 3:20, 21; Rev. 2:7; 2 Cor. 12:4.
But the richest jewel of the Lord's glorified
footstool in the close of the Millennium will be mankind, in whose perfection,
liberty, and likeness to God, in moral and intellectual graces, will be
reflected the very image of Divinity. And most gloriously will the
perfect man reflect honor upon his Maker and his wondrous plan for his
creation, redemption and restitution. And with that wonderful plan
will always be intimately identified first the Lord Jesus, Jehovah's "Word,"
and second the Bride, the Lamb's wife and joint-heir in disbursing the
blessings secured by the ransom.
This beautifying and glorifying of the Lord's "footstool" will not be completed until our Lord Jesus, as the Father's honored agent, "shall have
put down all [conflicting] rule, and all authority and power. For
he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet, before he delivers
up the Kingdom at the close of the Millennium." -- I Cor. 15:24-28.
The period of the reign of Sin and Death
is represented as the time when God "remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger" (Lam. 2:1); but following the beginning
of the Millennium, the people are prophetically called upon to -- "Exalt
the Lord our God and worship at his footstool, for he is worthy." (Psa. 99:5.)
And this thought, that the establishment of the New Jerusalem, the Church
of God glorified, as the new government in the earth, will mean the beginning
of the restoration of divine favor to Jehovah's footstool, is clearly set
forth through the Prophet Zechariah (14:4, 5).
JEHOVAH'S FEET ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.
This prophecy is generally misunderstood, and applied to the feet of our
Lord Jesus, at his second advent: and indeed, those who thus err generally
go farther and assert that it will be the feet of flesh, pierced with the
nails of Calvary;-- not realizing that our Lord gave his human nature,
complete and forever, as our ransom; and that he was raised from the dead,
by the Father's power, a glorious spirit-being -- "the express image
of the Father's person."
But a glance at the preceding verse (3)
shows that the Prophet's reference is to the return of Jehovah's feet;
for the statement (referring to the trouble by which the Kingdom will be
established) is: "Then shall Jehovah go forth and fight against
those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle [in olden times for
Israel]. And his feet will stand in that day upon the Mount
of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of
Olives shall be divided in its center, from east to west, and there shall
be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove northward
and half southward."
As soon as any recognize the fact that the feet mentioned are Jehovah's feet, they will not dispute that this language is symbolic, and refers to the Lord's reestablishment of his dominion in the earth, which has long been comparatively abandoned to the "god of this world" Satan;-- except as the Lord was represented first by the typical Tabernacle, secondly by the Temple at Jerusalem, and lastly by the present tabernacle condition of the Church of Christ, during this Gospel age. Surely, no one will err and get the thought that Jehovah literally rests his feet upon this earth as a "footstool."
And if the placing and resting of Jehovah's "feet" is symbolic, and signifies the return of divine favor and dominion to earth, so, we may be sure, other features connected in the same prophecy are symbolic: the Mount of Olives, its peculiar division, its valley, the flight of the people, the waters of life from Jerusalem (Compare verse 8 with Ezek. 47:1-9), etc., are all symbolic statements, -- pictures of grand spiritual truths.
The olive is a symbol full of meaning:
in olden times it was the source of artificial light, its oil being generally
used for this purpose. (Exod. 27:20.) Indeed, in the Hebrew the olive
tree was called shemen or oil tree. Olive oil was also used as the basis of many of the
precious ointments of olden time -- such as that used in anointing the
priests and kings, typifying the holy spirit upon the antitypical "royal
priesthood." (Exod. 30:24) And from time immemorial the olive
branch has been used as a symbol of peace. -- Gen. 8:11; Neh. 8:15.
If then the olive be the symbol of light,
peace and divine blessing through the holy spirit, and if mountain be considered as elsewhere the symbol for a Kingdom, the significance here of the term Mount of Olives is easily seen to be -- the Kingdom of Light, Peace and Divine Blessing. And the standing or establishment or fixing of Jehovah's "feet" upon it, signifies that the divine favor and law will be reestablished in the earth by and through the holy Kingdom.
This application of the term Mount of Olives, is in full accord with the
Apostle's statement (Rom. 11:17, 24) in which he compares Fleshly Israel
with the original cultivated olive tree, and Gentile converts to wild olive
branches grafted in where the natural branches had been broken off. (Compare
Jer. 11:16, 17.) And he explains that the root of the tree is in
the promise of God, -- the Abrahamic promise, that the seed of Abraham
should eventually bless all the families of the earth, etc. Eventually
the same root or promise will bear two kinds of branches -- the ingrafted
wild olive branches, and the reingrafted natural branches: when fleshly
Israel shall have his blindness turned away, and shall look with the eye
of faith upon the Savior crucified and pierced eighteen centuries ago;--
a sacrifice for sin. We remember also that fleshly Israel was God's
typical Kingdom or mountain for a long time, and that spiritual Israel
of the Gospel age is called to be the real Kingdom of God, as our Lord
declared, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure
to give you the Kingdom."
Moreover, from these two Kingdoms (even before Jehovah's glory rests upon them, to make them his channels
of blessings to the whole world of mankind) has proceeded all "the light of the world" during all the darkness of the past: for are not these
the representatives of the Old and the New Testaments, the old and the
new Covenants? Do not these correspond to the Lord's two witnesses
and to the two olive trees of Zechariah (4:3, 11, 12) distinctly mentioned
also in Revelation (11:4)? -- in that these two parts of the mountain symbolize
the outcome of those covenants, the results of the witnessing -- the Kingdom
in its heavenly and its earthly phases?
Here we see, then, that the two halves of the Mount of Olives signify the two parts of the Kingdom of God, distinctly separated according to a divine order or arrangement. The separation indicates no opposition between the two parts of the Kingdom. It is, on the contrary, for the purpose of producing the "Valley of Blessing" between -- to which all who desire divine aid may flee and find succor under the blessed protection of both the heavenly and the earthly phases of the Kingdom.
The Prophet David (Psalm 84) seems to have been given a foreview of this
great "Valley of Blessings," close to Jehovah's "feet,"
when he sings first of the saints of the Gospel age and then of those blessed
in the next age, saying:--
"How lovely are thy dwelling places
O Jehovah of hosts!
My soul desired, yea, it even fainted
For the courts of Jehovah.
My heart and my flesh shout with joy
Unto the living God.
Even as the sparrow hath found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young: (so
I have found) thine altars, O Lord of Hosts,
My God, my King.
Happy are they that dwell in thy house:
They shall be continually praising Thee. Selah.
"Happy is the man whose strong confidence is in thee,
Whose heart reflecteth (wholly) on the paths of (righteousness).
Passing through the valley of mourning,
They change it into a place of (joy) springs -- [Valley of Blessings].
The Autumn rain brings them blessings [Joel 2:28]:
They go from strength to strength
That each of them may he presented (perfect)
Before God in Zion."
The Eighty-fifth Psalm also pictures the return of divine clemency and blessing under the Millennial Kingdom -- the Olive Mountain (Kingdom) of two parts.
The removal of one part of the mountain to the north and the other to the south is significant; the North is the
direction of the group Pleiades, the celestial center of the universe,
the supposed seat of divine empire. This would seem to indicate the
"change" of the Gospel Church at this time, from human to spirit
conditions as "partakers of the divine nature:" and the removal of the
other half of the mountain would seem to signify the complete restitution,
to perfect human conditions, of those ancient worthies accounted worthy
to constitute the earthly representatives of God's Kingdom.
The valley thus produced would be one full of light -- free from shadows:
for the sun would stream through it from east to west. This speaks
symbolically of the Sun of Righteousness and its full light of divine truth
and blessing scattering the shadows of sin, ignorance, superstition and
death, and healing and restoring the willing and obedient of humanity who
will flee to this valley of blessings, the valley of mercy. The valley
of mercy, between and under the care of the spiritual and human phases of the Kingdom of Light and
Peace (the establishment of Jehovah's feet) will surely be a "Valley of
Blessings" to all who enter it with broken and contrite hearts.
We must remember, further, that while it is to Israel only that it is said,
"Ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains," yet as a name
Israel signified "The people blessed of the Lord," "The
people of God," "The Lord's people." (2 Chron. 7:14.)
And while, as we have seen, the first or spiritual blessing of the Kingdom
shall come to spiritual Israel, and the second or earthly blessing shall
begin with Israel according to the flesh, yet it will not stop there; for
whosoever will may become an Israelite: by exercising the faith and obedience
of Abraham, all mankind may become Israelites indeed, -- "the people
of God." And hence the Prophet Isaiah declares that when Israel
is called back to divine favor, at the establishment of the Kingdom, it
will include "Every one that is called by my [Jehovah's] name: for I have created him for my glory; I have formed him, yea, I have made him." (The name Israel will then apply to all who are God's people.) -- Isa. 43:7; Rom. 9:26, 33; 10:13.
"And [thus] will Jehovah my God come in, and all the holy ones shall
[thus] be [united] with him." (Zech. 14:5.) When God's time
shall have fully come, when the lease of power to the Gentiles shall have
run out, when the sacrificing of the great Day of Atonement (the Gospel
age) shall have ceased, when the High Priest shall have finished making
atonement, not only for his own "body," the Church, but also
for his "house," and for "all the people," and he shall
come forth to bless all the people, then Jehovah's curse, or sentence of
death, shall be lifted from the earth, his footstool tabernacle will again
be recognized, and its beautifying in righteousness and truth and in the
holy spirit of love shall begin and progress, until, in the end of the
Millennium, all the willingly righteous shall have reached perfection,
or been reunited with Jehovah, and all the unwilling shall have been destroyed.
-- Acts 3:23; Rev. 20:9.
Carrying the picture further, the Prophet declares, respecting that day in which gradually the earth shall be made glorious as Jehovah's footstool:--
"And it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be
bright nor the darkness thick; but the day shall be the one foreknown to
the Lord -- neither full day nor night: but it shall come to pass that
at its close [evening] it shall be [clear] light." -- Zech. 14:6,
Some confounded 'the "day" here described
with the "day of Vengeance" which is "a day of clouds and thick darkness
with no light in it" (Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15) and the translators have, seemingly,
generally tried to harmonize the translations. But not so; the day
here referred to by Zechariah as only partially bright is the Millennial
day, although in it the Sun of Righteousness will arise and shine, to scatter
earth's miasma of sin and superstition and death. It will nevertheless
be only partially bright, because it will throughout be dealing with generation
after generation of the fallen race as brought from the tomb, and in various
stages of restitution toward perfection. But how refreshing it is
to be assured that in that day of the reestablishment of Jehovah's feet
upon his footstool, there shall be no more "thick darkness;" and that at
the close of that Millennial Day, instead of growing darker, the world
will only have reached the high noon of its "light of the knowledge of
Jehovah;" and that its sun shall never set.
The reference to the rivers of living waters
flowing from Jerusalem, during this Millennial Day of the reestablishment
of Jehovah's feet upon his footstool (Zech. 14:8, 9), reminds us of the
corresponding testimony of Ezekiel (47:1-12) and of John's Revelation (22:1,
2) which, under this same symbol of living waters proceeding from the throne
of the Millennial Kingdom, show us the restitution blessings under the
symbols of "waters of life," to which whosoever will may come and drink
freely, and fruitful trees of life everlasting whose leaves will heal the
repentant peoples of earth of all imperfections.
Ah yes! "In that day the Lord shall be King over all the earth;"
his Kingdom shall have come as his faithful have long prayed; and by the
end of that day his will shall be done on earth even as it is done in heaven.
God's footstool shall then be glorious indeed: as it is written:--
"AS TRULY AS I LIVE, THE WHOLE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE GLORY
OF JEHOVAH." -- Num. 14:21; Isa. 11:9; Habak. 2:14.
"No place shall be in that new earth
For all that blights this universe;
No evil taint the second birth --
There shall be no more curse.
Ye broken-hearted, cease your moan;
The day of promise dawns for you;
For he who sits upon the throne
Says, 'I will make all things new.'
"We mourn the dead, but they shall wake!
The lost, but they shall be restored!
O! well our human hearts might break
Without that sacred word!
Dim eyes, look up! sad hearts, rejoice!
Seeing God's bow of promise through,
At sound of that prophetic voice:
'I will make all things new.'"