Monday, June 19, 2017

Under the footstool

Psalm 110 is a remarkable prophecy. It's quoted frequently in the New Testament, and arguably forms the basis of the doctrine of the epistles. Peter quotes Psalm 110 in Acts 2:34–35 to show that the ascended Christ has sat down at God's right hand. Hebrews takes up that same thought, quoting Psalm 110 to show that Christ's Priesthood is linked to Melchizedek's (Hebrews 5:6). Hebrews 9:24–28 goes on to point out that Christ is going to come back for us: His seat at God's right hand is not a permanent arrangement. He is there "until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Hebrews 1:13).

God has promised to put Christ's enemies under His feet (Psalm 110:1). But not all His enemies. We were His enemies too (Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:1–3), but instead of the footstool, God has chosen the throne (Ephesians 2:6; Revelation 3:21).

This is the grace of God: He takes us from under the footstool to put us on the throne.


Rodger said...

I have been thinking lately that Christ seated at the right hand is the inauguration of the rest of God (Hebrews 4); "His enemies... made His footstool" (9:13), the full settlement.

HandWrittenWord said...

Beautiful observations, Mark.

Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;
when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

Susan said...

Yes, "we were enemies" -"God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." We (His called out ones)are so blessed to be "above and not His footstool under His feet" and set apart from the great world-system of evil all around us, unto Himself!
Yes, so wonderfully true that we can "rest" in the anointed, risen exalted, glorified Christ Jesus!


Robert said...

There is only one place for the Bride and that is by His side.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoying these posts Mark. I have a question in relation to Rodger's comment on the rest of God.

Heb. 4:3 states that those who have believed enter into the rest of God (present tense), while Heb. 4:10 states that he who has entered into the rest has ceased from his work. Now I had taken this to mean something along the lines of what Romans states, "him that worketh not, but believeth..." A rest of conscience, as opposed to the fruitless trial of working for our salvation.

However, on closer inspection, Heb. 4:9 clearly states that it is a rest that is yet to come, and not present now; also one to be shared by all the people of God. Rather, the Holy Spirit is pointing it out today, in the hope of us entering into it. Further, Heb. 4:11 states that there is diligence required to enter into that rest; which I suppose could not be said if it referred to rest of conscience.

Finally, it is clear that the passage does not refer to salvation at all, but rest from labour. Yet how can it be said we already enter into it, and that thus we cease from work (Heb 4: 3, 10).

Could anyone please help me to understand what the rest refers to, and does it refer to the millenial rest or to the eternal rest in a new creation. Further, how is it that a believer today can diligently work towards entering into 'that' rest?

With thanks,

Susan said...

Great question, Peter! Well, there's a rest now and a rest later.
"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest," is the now rest - a foretaste of the later rest.
Here's what S. Ridout has to say concerning God's Rest:
Oh, we know what it is to have rest in believing in Jesus here; we know something, too, of what it is to have rest in bearing His light and easy yoke; but why do we groan? "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now." Why these sighs and groans?

We will not get the full thought of this rest until we see that it is primarily God's, and not ours. A perfect Being can only rest where all is in accord with His nature. Thus even the first creation was completed and all pronounced "very good" before God rested. So in the new creation. All must answer to the divine thought. Sin must be eternally banished; evil in all its forms obliterated. The results of sin too — the sufferings, sorrows, woes of life, and death "the last enemy," must be done away. All, too, must have the stamp of permanence, in contrast with the "change and decay" which prevail now.

All the perfections of God's being can then survey with delight His wide creation — the heavens nevermore to be disturbed in their harmony, or stained with the pollution of Satan's presence; the heavenly city the Bride, and the Lamb its light and glory; the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness — all will be the object of God's supreme satisfaction. Again will those words "very good" be spoken, and God Himself will cease from His labors.

The work of Christ is the eternal basis of this rest. There the righteousness of God was glorified and every attribute of the divine nature. That is why, after completing His work, our Lord sat down. He rests, waiting till His enemies are put beneath His feet. The final rest is the outcome of that accomplished work, and in spirit we can enjoy it now, though surrounded by so much that mars our outward rest.

But, dear brethren, we are made for God's rest, and until we enter into the sabbath of our God, we will be a weary people. We are in the wilderness; the brightest scenes of earth — nay I will not dishonor Christian life by speaking of earth's brightness — the joys of communion, the joys of fellowship one with another, are not these foretastes broken into or disturbed by the malice of the enemy? Is not the divided state of the people of God at present, and the unrest we all deplore, a witness that we are in the wilderness and have not entered into the rest of God? We are waiting for that rest, we are looking forward to that. Let us exhort one another that we do not settle down in our souls to any rest short of that eternal rest of God which He has prepared for us. "There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of God."
"Rest, Lord, in serving Thee,
As none have served below;
Oh, through that blest eternity
What tides of praise shall flow!"

Rodger said...

Yes, good questions, Peter. First of all, I would say that rest from labour is salvation; but then, I take "salvation" to be a very comprehensive term, taking in all the complications of the fall, answered by the exceeding glory of God's grace. That we should share His rest? How tremendous!

Yes, it is obviously future rest in Hebrews 4, or else why the exhortations in vss. 1 & 11. Also, the writer makes an extended argument in vss. 3-10, which I think has three elements: (a) there is. rest of God, (b) people can enter into God's rest, and (c) no one has yet entered into that rest. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" (vs.9).

As for it being millennial rest, or the eternal day, I take Christ's enemies being made His footstool, and the rest of God to be very broad in scope, and coming in by stages. That is why I said Christ being seated at the right hand is, to my mind, the inauguration of the rest of God. But when we come to 1 Corinthians 15 we have the full, and final enactment.

Does that help? Please forgive the rapid note of reply.

Rodger said...

A comment on vs. 3: "The present tense of verse 3 is not historical but absolute, a usage most frequent in Scripture and in ordinary speech too, especially as to principles of truth. Believers are the enterers into the rest of glory: not all men, nor yet all Israel, but "we that believed"; for the past participle adds to the definiteness of the class accepted for the blessing, not simply those who believe as if they might later or when they pleased. There is no thought of an actual entrance now; for the whole argument shows the rest here is future, whatever rest may be for faith to apprehend before God shares His rest with all that are His own. This Epistle always regards the believer as on the way." (W. Kelly)

Rodger said...

As to being diligent to enter His rest (vs. 11), the whole context puts it as a matter of faith or unbelief. Faith in Hebrews is vigorous, or not at all. There is always the language of moving forward, pressing in towards the things God has spoken of, revealed to faith. By diligence, I understand that God would have me really living with entering His rest as my objective, my aimed-for destination. Everything in me that does not morally correspond to the scene of His rest, is actively exposed by His word (vs. 12), in His presence (vs. 13). It is then, over and again, that I find out my weakness, and my constant need of support (vss. 14-16). No doubt the Israelite who (in faith) was most diligently seeking to enter the land, was also most attentive to the tabernacle, and the service there.

As it was raised by my comment, I felt responsible for Peter's questions, but I do look for further help from you all.

Rodger said...

(By "inauguration" I meant that what has unsettled everything is sin. Christ at the right hand of God tells us that the matter of sin has been dealt with, and now God will unfold His settlement of all things. "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." Hebrews 10:12-13)

Rodger said...

"Everything, dear friends, proves to us that our rest is not here. Fearing, because I am in the desert with a heart prone to depart from God, is not rest. Having to conflict with Satan is not rest. Labour is not rest. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." Then there is also the diligence and activity of the new man in its own portion. It is of real importance for our joy, that we should be diligent in our own portion. The church needs to know that it has its own proper portion, its own peculiar sphere of labour. "Much food is in the tillage of the poor; but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment." When we are poor in spirit, and are labouring to enter into God's rest, there is a reality found to be in the riches which are in Christ Jesus, that many a saint has no conception of. Have we not a sphere in which our life has its portion? The men of this world have their own pursuits, they have that which occupies and engages them; and has the life of God in us no resources to strengthen it, no riches in Christ to feed on? - Yes, "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle." We have a sphere in which the divine life communicated to us can exercise its own faculties, and find its own resources. The church has its own joys, its own interests, its own treasures, its own sphere of life, its own field for the affections, its own topics - its own world, in short, in which there is fruit unto God. Have you, dear reader, consciously this portion, and is it the delight of your soul to search out therein the riches of Christ? the goodness that is in God? All that I have yet got of Christ's riches, is only in order that I may become the more enriched, a means by which to attain those riches which are unsearchable."

clumsy ox said...

My views on the rest in Hebrews 4 have changed pretty significantly over the past twenty years.

Hebrews 4:8 is helpful here. Jesus (Joshua) was unable to give them rest. That's an interesting statement, because Scripture tells us that Joshua did, in fact, lead the people into rest (Joshua 21:44; Joshua 23:1). We understand from this apparent contradiction that the rest in Hebrews and the rest in Joshua aren't really the same thing. In fact, the rest in Joshua really prefigures the rest in Hebrews.

I think this helps us understand that there are [at least] two rests. We won't enter completely into God's rest until we get to the new heaven and new earth. I'd suggest this is the teaching of Romans 8:19–25. "We are saved in hope," we're still hoping for the redemption of the body. As long as we're in these mortal bodies, we can't enter into everything God has for us.

That doesn't mean the call to labour to enter into God's rest is futile. On the contrary, we're told that the key to entering it is to "cease from our own labours" (Hebrews 4:10). This takes us back to John 15.

It seems to me the New Testament view of the Christian life is that we are living here and now (in fallen bodies in a fallen world) like we will in the new heaven and new earth. Not that we don't long actually to see them, but we should be living in light of them even now.

Now I'm starting to sound like an article a dear friend pointed me to many years ago: Now and Then, by CHM.

Not sure my comments help.

HandWrittenWord said...

Back to John 15 indeed, as Mark aptly pointed out.

Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
(Revelation 19:10)

Susan said...

Rest in Him now while waiting for God's complete rest later:
“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

"Oh, the unspeakable sweetness of this rest! Rest from judgment. and the fear of it; rest from legal effort and the need of it; rest in the joy of a known salvation, and rest in the conscious love of Him who, at the cost of His own life, made heaven the certain abode of all who trust in Him." John Wilson-Smith

Robert said...

'Rest in Him now while waiting for God's complete rest later'. That's it in a nutshell Susan!

God will only rest upon a finished work. He rested after the finished work of creation: Gen 2;1,2. He rested on the finished work of propitiation: John 19:30. He will yet rest on the finished work of new creation: Rev 21:6.

Continual unbelief, which is the setting of Hebrew 3&4, refuses to rest upon what God has done. A man or woman who will not rest upon a work that God Himself has finished make themselves perpetual enemies of Christ.

There is a marked difference between the unbeliever and the weak saint. The saint in the wilderness feels the harshness of the journey home but turns to the word of God 4:12, come sin to the presence of God 4: 13 and looks by faith to a Man who has passed through the heavens. Israel had priests and on high priest. We (believers of this church age) have a great high priest. He understands everything about is apart from our sin. We are surrounded by people in the world who understands our sin and will do all they can to encourage us in it. How good it is to know a Man who wants to make us like Himself - 'without sin'

HandWrittenWord said...

Excellent, Robert!

Susan said...

I second that, HWW!

Rest in His perfect love.

“Tis the treasure I’ve found in His love that has made me a pilgrim below.”