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„Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne and earth is my foot-stool.” Isa. 66:1 [Literal Hebrew trans]
The word feet is sometimes used in Scripture, as in this text, to represent permanent establishment, or rest. Stephen, after quoting the above (Acts 7:49), adds the words: „What is the place of my rest„—residence?
Jehovah used his footstool before sin entered, but since then he has removed his presence and allowed sin to reign and Satan to be „The prince (ruler) of this world.” (John 14:30.) In a typical way he established his presence among the Israelites in the Tabernacle and Temple, and in a higher and better sense, his presence has been in the Gospel church as in a shifting tent or Tabernacle, all through the Gospel age, but soon the Temple glory or his presence in the Glorified church—head and body—will be manifested to the world. And in that glorious reign of the Christ complete, typified by Solomon’s peaceful reign, and under the shadow of that glorious temple with all its attendant power and glory, of which that made with hands was a type, all the families of the earth shall be blessed, and brought into complete harmony with God and all sin and every opponent of right, having been destroyed—then the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth; the wilderness shall sing and the solitary place be glad. Then, all the ends of the earth (people) shall have remembered and turned to the Lord, and the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth.
Thus it is that Jehovah prepares and cleanses his footstool to place his feet there, that his presence may abide with the restored race of men and be their joy and blessing; and thus we read the declaration of Jehovah (Isa. 60:13): „I will make the place of my feet glorious.”
In harmony with this same thought we find in Zech. 14:3,5, a description of when and how, Jehovah will establish his feet, or residence. This Scripture as well as some of those above quoted, which we have applied to the Father—Jehovah—are often misapplied to our Lord Jesus; and while Jesus and his church will doubtless be the active agents of Jehovah in subduing all things (Phil. 3:21), yet the fact remains, that the work here mentioned is Jehovah’s, and the Hebrew text leaves no question about it.
We will quote and apply this prophecy: „Then shall the Lord [Jehovah] go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” The scene is laid in „the time of trouble,” probably near its close, (perhaps, as we read the prophecy, about 1914 A.D.) It is surely during „the day of the Lord” (verse 1) when the first return of Israelites to Palestine will have taken place [a second and greater returning mentioned by the prophets evidently will not take place until after the time of trouble.] The Israelites will have been in comparative peace and security there and measurably free from the trouble which, meantime, will have been disturbing and overturning and impoverishing the nations of the earth. Their wealth and prosperity excite the cupidity of the nations, which we read come up against „my people Israel dwelling safely in their own land … to take a spoil and a prey.” (Ezk. 38:8,12.)
The battle at first goes against Israel, as described in verse 2; then, the time having come for a manifestation of God’s justice against the nations and his favor to his anciently favored people, He manifests his power and fights against the nations, not by Jesus and the saints appearing on a mountain with carnal weapons, but we read „as he (Jehovah) fought in the day of battle.” Jehovah fought Israel’s battles anciently without being seen by other than the eyes of their understanding.
Thus the Angel of the Lord slew (with death) the hosts of the Assyrians (Isa. 37:36); put to flight the Midianites (Judges 7:21), and „smote great nations and slew mighty kings.” (Psa. 35:10.) And „as” he fought for Israel then, so he is to do again at their deliverance. The deliverance will be so great and marked, that they will recognize God’s power and favor, and being blessed by being brought to a condition of nearness to God, in prayer and supplication, they will come to a full recognition of the fact, that as a people, they had rejected and pierced their Redeemer. „They shall look upon (recognize) him whom they have pierced,” and shall all mourn because of Him. (Zech. 12:8,10.)
Verse 4: „And His (Jehovah’s) feet shall stand (be established) in that day upon the Mount of Olives.” This is another picture of the establishment of Jehovah’s dominion. As the above description showed us how it will be manifested to Israel that God’s arm is ruling, now we get the inside or spiritual view of the kingdom’s establishment, and appropriately, symbols are used in the description. The feet of Jehovah standing or resting—the Mt. of Olives—its location to the east (or sun-rising) of Jerusalem (the peaceful habitation)—the division of the mountain into two parts—the valley formed into which Israel will flee, &c.; these all we understand to be symbols; as also the reference in verses 6 and 7 to the day of the Lord being a dark day. It remains dark until the close of this period of trouble, or until the evening of that dark day, then—”at evening it shall be light;” that is when the day of wrath is over the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings—blessing and restoring morally and physically.
A mountain is a symbol of a kingdom, and Mt. Olivet would signify Kingdom of Light and Peace. Then, in this „day of the Lord,” already begun, Jehovah will establish himself in a Kingdom of light and peace. This, we believe, will be accomplished through his representative, Jesus, who takes his great power and reigns. The organization of his church—the dead by resurrection and the living members by change to the same condition (spiritual bodies), we understand to be the organization of the kingdom whose exaltation to power, invisibly smites and consumes evil systems and governments. (By the teaching of the Word, we understand that this organization of the kingdom began in 1878, and will be complete when the living members are „ready.”)
This kingdom once established is Jehovah’s foothold, and is to be the source of government from which shall emanate the laws, etc., for the guidance and blessing of mankind. (Another figure being Mt. Zion.)
The division of the mountain into two parts represents the two phases of the kingdom of God: one the higher, spiritual, invisible kingdom, composed of Jesus and the Gospel church; the other the earthly phase of the kingdom, composed of perfected fleshly beings, visible to humanity—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets, and all those of past ages justified by their faith.
The valley represents a place of favor and protection, made and guaranteed by both the heavenly and earthly phases of kingdom power; and into this place of protection and safety Israel is represented as fleeing. Then they shall recognize him whom they have pierced.
The earthly phase of the kingdom will thus be seen to be essentially Israelitish, and according to the promises of God, ungodliness shall be turned from Israel (Rom. 11:26) and they shall come to the inheritance of the land, and promises vouchsafed to Abraham; and then the fleshly seed of Abraham will be used as the agents of Jehovah in carrying to the world the blessings purchased by Christ, the higher, spiritual seed of him whom Abraham typified—Jehovah.
This earthly part of the kingdom is to spread and increase until it fills the whole earth and is under the whole heaven, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it—by coming into harmony with its laws.
These two parts of the kingdom will be in perfect harmony; the earthly being under the control and direction of the heavenly. The law shall go forth from Mt. Zion, the spiritual phase, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” the earthly phase. (Isa. 2:3.)
Though in due time there will be an earthly element of the kingdom visible to humanity, which shall be a praise in the whole earth, yet in the
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inception of the kingdom it will not have this double character. [Jehovah’s feet stand on the Mount of Olives as one at first, before its division.] And so we read that when demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, Jesus answered and said: The kingdom of Heaven cometh not with observation, neither shall ye say, Lo here! or lo there!
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for behold it will be in your midst. (Luke 17:20.) That is to say—the kingdom of God will be among but invisible to men in its coming. It is only after it has come and done a work, that the visible phase is due—during the Millennial age.
It is for this kingdom in both its phases (especially the spiritual, where our inheritance is) that we pray „Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Oh, may the time soon come when Jehovah’s feet will be established and his footstool made glorious!
— October And November, 1881 —