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THE FEET OF CHRIST
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation: that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” Isa. 52:7
Among the many beautiful and appropriate figures used to represent the “little flock” and their union with Jesus, is that of a human body—Jesus the head, and the true church the members of the body.
Sometimes, as in 1 Cor. 12:13-27, all the parts are represented in any assemblage of the church, the hand and foot, &c., as well as the various excellent qualities which belong to the head—hearing, seeing and expression. Thus the head of the church is present with the members of his body whenever two or three or more of them meet—in his name; and the body is complete and as effective for growth in Grace, Knowledge and Love (and far more so) as if hundreds of unbelievers and merely nominal christians were present. When thus spoken of the more able and intelligent ones are mentioned in contrast with the less brilliant by calling one class head (Eye, Ear, etc.,) and the other class feet. (vs. 21). Thus mentioned the word feet will be seen to mean the lowest members which require the especial assistance of the others.
But another sense in which feet may be understood, is as indicating the last part, or completion of the body. So to speak The Christ has been in process of development during the Gospel age—the head first and we, the living, representing the feet, last. This certainly is not an unreasonable deduction, and there are several texts which seem to indicate that the last members of the overcoming band, are mentioned especially under the term “feet”—not in the sense of degraded but as the last—or end of the “little flock.”
The Scripture above cited is of this character, and while Paul quotes a part of it (Rom. 10:15) “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things,” and while it has undoubtedly been true of all the members of the Body of Christ, that they were the bearers of glad tidings, and that to all who received the message their footsteps were welcome, yet it is true also that the proclamation of many of the sweetest notes of the glad tidings of restitution, are reserved until now during the sounding of the seventh trumpet. (Rev. 10:7, Rom. 16:25) when the mystery of God is finished, which he hath kept secret from the foundations of the World.
Truly ours is a choice and favored day compared with any age of the church, for though God’s Word has always been a lamp to enlighten “the body” all through the dark night, yet it is true, that in an especial sense it is giving light to the “feet,” as we read: “Thy word is a light to my feet.” Living in the time of the fulfillment of so much prophecy we walk in the blazing light of our lamp, and on us and our day the eyes of all “the body” throughout this age have anxiously rested; and of our day—”The day of the Lord,” and our gathering together unto him, both Paul and Peter wrote more frequently than of their own day. Hence it need not surprise us, if under the figure of “feet” the Prophets mention us.
There is one part of the text above quoted, which certainly was never applicable to any but the present members; this part Paul omits, because it was not applicable until now, viz.: “That saith unto Zion thy God reigneth.”
As we saw in the July number, in the application of Isa. 61 by Jesus, he used such part of the quotation as was applicable to his preaching and left unquoted the words—”the day of vengeance of our God,” because the proclamation of the day of vengeance was not due until our day, and therefore while the whole message referred to, has been proclaimed by the Christ, yet only the feet have been privileged to utter it all. So with the Scripture now under consideration; Jesus and the Apostles had a great and important part in proclaiming “the good tidings of good,” but only the feet of him have been privileged to say “unto Zion thy God reigneth.”
The beauty of the feet’s position, and the honor connected with their proclamation does not appear to the eyes of the World. Oh no, none of the members of the Christ have been of earth’s heroes or wise, but in their eyes “we are counted fools.” No, it is from the spiritual standpoint of God and of those who have ears to hear, that the tidings bearers are esteemed. We rejoice then in our privilege as being among those who announce to Zion these tidings that the kingdom began in 1878.
At present our tidings can only be received by faith in the same authority on which we base our statements—the Word of God—consequently, not many are now able to hear. But soon there will be abundant evidence of the truth of the statement in the crumbling and falling of the various systems of iniquity—both in the uprooting of the blasphemous heresies of the church, Roman Harlot, and Protestant daughters; and afterward, in the judgment and chastisement of the nations of earth, who through these false teachings, have established oppressive governments, which the harlot churches assure them are christian governments, telling the people they are of God’s appointment and are the “Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.”
Receiving their original right (?) of ruling, from Papacy, these kingdoms are to-day recognized and blessed by all the daughters. But these are all parts of that great system of Anti-Christ, or opposition to the real church and Kingdom of God mentioned by Paul (2 Thes. 2:8) which the Lord shall consume by the spirit of his mouth (truth) and destroy by the bright shining of his presence.
Truth, the spirit of the Lord’s mouth, may come through a thousand channels, even blasphemous infidelity may be one of the agencies, and we believe it is the truth uttered, though mixed with error and blasphemy, which is the secret of power against Babylon, for it strikes her on her time honored and festering sores of error. It is truth with respect to human rights and equality, which is now moving Communists, Nihilists and Socialists to resist oppressive governments, and which will in time overthrow them; and truth it is, which will prepare the world for the blessed reign and rule of the kingdom of God, though in the development of truth, in its various branches, both the nominal church and the world must pass a terrible baptism of trouble:—Yet in it all, truth will be conqueror and come off victorious, because now, the rule and government has been assumed by “Him whose right it is.” He has taken to himself his great power and his reign is commenced, consequently we may soon expect the wrath and angry nations of Rev. 11:18.
How clear it is then, that the declaration to Zion, “Thy God reigneth,” is due now before the feet are joined to the body in Glory, and before the judgments of the Lord go abroad; for then it will need no proclamation; it will be manifest to all by the outward signs that the kingdom is set up—even the tribes of the earth shall then see—recognize—that the great day of his wrath is come.
It is the feet of the Christ that bring the glad tidings, though others may echo and re-echo the glad song.
Again, David who often represents or personifies The Christ, says: Jehovah—”Brought me up out of a horrible pit (depth of confusion) out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.” (Psa. 40:2.) We might make a similar application of this scripture. The whole body of the Christ (except the head) was down in the pit of confusion and mire of sin; all through this Gospel age Jehovah has been lifting them up, or taking out a people for his name—separating such from the world and mire of sin; and last to be lifted up are the feet, and truly the feet have been placed upon the rock of truth.
While the whole body has had truth as a basis of faith and trust, yet undoubtedly the feet are more firmly established by it, than any previous part of the body, because we live in the time where the light of all past ages centres and the mystery of God is finished.
“How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word.”
Again, while it is true that all members of the body, sung a new song of praise to God when lifted from the depths of confusion and mire of sin, yet it is especially true of the feet—the song of praise breaks forth as soon as the feet touch the solid rock of truth and realize that—
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“There’s a wideness in God’s Mercy
Like the wideness of the Sea.”
They can now sing with double joy the restitution song—
“All nations which thou hast made
Shall come and worship before thee.”
And as we saw some time since (Article—”Having Harps of God,”) the position of the feet and their song are beautifully described in symbol, in—Rev. 15:2-4.
Again, we find a striking reference to the feet of the Christ in Psa. 91:11-12 “He [Jehovah] shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways: They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
This prophecy by David refers to the Christ as a whole; its personal application by Satan was rejected by Jesus as a misapplication of Scripture (Luke 4:12) but when we apply the reference to “foot,” to the feet or last part of the body of Christ, all is harmonious. The stone referred to, we understand to be the same as that of Isa. 8:14, viz.: That Jesus is the stone of stumbling.
Jesus at the first advent was a stone of stumbling before the feet of the nominal Jewish church, and they stumbled over him because, being out of harmony with God, they could not see in him the Messiah. In their pride of heart, they, especially the Pharisees and Doctors of Divinity, were sure that Messiah would come in their way, and own and accept of them as a people. They stumbled and were broken as an institution. But the real feet of the real Jewish church—the “Israelites indeed”—these received the present Messiah and were blessed and lifted up by that “stone” to the higher plane of the Gospel church. “To as many as received him, to them, gave he liberty to become sons of God.” (The Jewish house was the house of servants—the Gospel house a house of Sons.)
As there was a stone and stumbling there, in their “harvest,” or end of their age, so the parallelism which we find associating the Gospel age with its shadow, the Jewish age, demands that the stone should be present in the path of the Gospel church, to be either accepted or rejected; and if the parallelism continue (as we see it has) then we should expect that here the feet of the nominal church would stumble as its shadow did, and for the same reasons. And so we find it, the living generation of the nominal church—the feet, have failed to discern the presence of the Lord—”they knew not the time of their visitation”—and all but the true feet of the true body have stumbled as it is written, He shall be for a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to both the houses of Israel. To “Israel after the flesh” he presented himself in the flesh, and to the spiritual Israel he presented himself a spiritual body—to each on their own plane.
But we cannot for a moment doubt, that as Jesus at the first advent took special care to make himself known to every “Israelite indeed” and gave such, clear evidences (while to others he spoke in parables and dark sayings) (Psa. 78:2) so here at the second advent, every one wholly consecrated to God, (not to churches and creeds) and as such a part of the true feet, are to be made aware of that presence, and consequently do not stumble over it. This special care for all such, is what is referred to by the text considered—”He shall give his angels charge, &c., lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
Only the feet could stumble over such a stone, and the stone of stumbling was not in the path of the members of the body which preceded us. And when we look back and see how closely “the lamp” was put “to the feet” and how it was kept trimmed and burning that its light shone out brightly, revealing to us the stone which nominal Zion stumbles over and is shipwrecked upon, but which to us is a tried stone, elect, precious, the head of the corner or the chief stone of all in the glorious spiritual Temple, we thank God for His care over us, and rejoice that we are counted worthy to be members of that company, which in the eyes of the world has no beauty that they should desire it, but which is as a root out of dry ground—the feet of Him that bringeth glad tidings, that saith unto Zion Thy God reigneth.
— October And November, 1881 —