Operation Footstool: Crushing the Opposition
Matthew 22:41–46; Psalm 110:5–7
Matthew Lesson #142
October 30, 2016
“Father, we’re thankful that we have this time to reflect upon Your Word, for we understand that nothing is more important in our lives than to think Your thoughts after You.
To be reminded continuously of how things are in the world You created, rather than in the world that so many people around us wish to create for themselves. That this is Your world, Your creation that has been ripped off by Satan, who is currently the god of this age, and therein lies the heart of the conflict.
Battle rages around us and will until our Lord returns, and even though there is much that goes on that is horrible and beyond imagination and the evil that continues in this world.
We know that You allow that in Your permissive will for a purpose and for a reason and that someday all will be resolved and You will execute justice on the unrighteous.
Father, we anticipate that time, but now is the time of grace, the time when we are witnesses of You and Your Word, and the time for us to grow spiritually and to learn to live in the devil’s world on the basis of Your truth.
Because as our Lord prayed, it is through Your Truth—Your Word—that we are sanctified.
Now we pray that You would help us to focus and concentrate this morning, as we go through this very important passage in Psalm 110, helping us to understand its significance to our thinking.
We pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.”
One of the timeless problems that has been voiced by human beings is the problem of suffering, the problem of evil, the existence of evil.
Those who are hostile to Christianity often think that they have somehow come up with a great argument against a loving and gracious, omniscient God by saying, “Well, how can you explain the problem of evil?
“If your God is so loving, how can He allow for sin and evil and suffering to exist in the world? So if He does, maybe He’s not so loving. And if He’s omnipotent and He continues to allow all of this, well, maybe He just doesn’t have the power to stop it.”
They think that they have found some great problem with Christianity, with the Judeo-Christian presentation of an almighty, of an all-knowing, of an all loving God. Problem is that they have no leg to stand on.
As I pointed out many times, the best thing to do is to say, “Well, you know that’s an interesting problem. How do you solve the problem of evil?” Because they have no answer.
They can’t even talk about categories of right and wrong and evil and good apart from a presupposition that a wholly righteous God exists and there are absolute standards.
The Scripture gives us answers to this. I think God in His mercy recognizes that this is an inherent problem for human beings down through the ages, so that the very first book that was written that is in the Bible is not the Book of Genesis—that was written approximately 1440 something BC by Moses—but the Book of Job.
The theme of the Book of Job is how to understand unjust suffering. Job loses his children, his homes, his property, his cattle, his camels, his sheep. Job loses his health.
The only thing that Job doesn’t lose is his wife, who really isn’t a treasure because she’s the one who says, “Well, just curse God and die!” Lovely woman. How about having some of our nasty little statements recorded for all eternity in the Scripture?
Job was written to help us understand this because as Job finally is wrestling with this problem with His friends, they say, “Well, Job, the reason you have all these problems is because you sinned,” and Job said, “But I’m righteous.”
In the first few chapters of Job, we have the curtain drawn back on the heavenly scene where Satan and the fallen angels are gathered before God. God keeps saying, “This is My righteous servant Job; there’s nothing wrong found in him, there’s nothing wrong in Job.”
Job wrestles with this as his friends say, “It’s something you did, it’s ultimately your fault. God’s just bringing the suffering in your life because you’re unrighteous.” Job understands it’s not.
Finally he challenges God, and God shows up and gives him a lot of rhetorical questions to get him to think.
The bottom line is that God is saying, “You’re never going to be able to understand the answer if I gave it to you. You can’t understand all these different dimensions of My creation, and if you can’t understand these things which are much less complex and much less difficult in understanding why I allow evil to exist, if you can’t understand the lesser, you’ll never understand the greater, so you just have to trust Me.
The timeless question that is voiced by the psalmist is, “How long, O Lord, will You let the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?”
We see the Bible teaches that there will be a resolution. Just as the first book talks about the problem of unjust suffering, what we see in the last book of the Bible—the Book of Revelation—is we understand how God resolves the problem of evil, unjust suffering and unrighteousness.
There are three things that God does in history that bring a resolution to the problem of sin.
The first is what He did on the Cross. On the Cross Jesus Christ died, the just for the unjust, that He might bear in His own body on the tree our sin, and that by believing in Him and Him alone, we can have eternal life.
It’s a grace gift. We don’t do anything to earn it, anything to deserve it. Scripture says, “He who knew no sin—perfectly innocent, the spotless Lamb of God—was made sin for us that the righteousness of God might be found in us.” That’s the first part of the solution.
The second part of the solution happens at the end of the Tribulation. It is known as the Campaign of Armageddon, where the forces of the world— the kings of the earth, all of the presidents, the princes, the businessmen and all of the powers that be—are arrayed against God and His Messiah, as depicted in Psalm 2.
Their goal is to destroy God and His Messiah, and God will destroy them. That’s the second part of the solution, as God then establishes His righteous kingdom on the earth.
The third and final part of the solution occurs at the end of that thousand-year perfect reign of Christ on the earth. When Satan, who has been incarcerated in the abyss for that thousand years is released, he is able to gather to himself an army of malcontents and those who have rejected God and His grace.
They are leading a rebellion against God and against Jesus, and they are going to be destroyed with fire and brimstone. All those who have rejected God and His grace are sent to the Lake of Fire for eternity—that’s the final part.
What we’re studying in Psalm 110 fits within the understanding of that resolution of the second part. We’ve been studying in Matthew, and we’re taking a few weeks to look at the background to Matthew 22:43-45, which is a quotation that reflects upon Psalm 110.
Psalm 110 begins with God the Father, Yahweh, saying to “my Lord”—David’s Lord, who is God the Son—‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”
This is “operation footstool”. In the last three verses, Psalm 110:5–7, which we’re studying today, we see how God will crush the opposition.
The passage we’re looking at just focused on the first verse of Psalm 110:1, where Jesus is responding after three hostile questions from the Pharisees that sought to entrap Him. He’s going to trap them in a very sophisticated manner, and uses Psalm 110:1.
He says: if David said this in the Psalm, where he calls the Messiah “LORD” in the passage, “The Lord said to My LORD, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies My footstool,’ ” Jesus said, “If David then calls him ‘LORD’—that’s the second LORD—how can this LORD who is superior to David by virtue of the fact that he calls Him ‘my LORD,’— how is He His Son?”
So we’ve taken our time to look at this Psalm in its entirety.
As part of the background, I want to just give you a prophetic framework here, a timeline. We are currently in what we call the Church Age, the age of grace that began on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33, and it extends until the Rapture of the church.
All those unbelievers who died during this period go to Hades, and at the Rapture of the church, which takes place at some unknown time in the future, all believers will be taken to be with the Lord.
Those who are dead in Christ will be caught up together with Him in the clouds, and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up as well. We will be taken to Heaven: this is the Rapture.
There is going to be a short interval there of a transition period before Daniel’s 70th week transpires. That’s known popularly as the Tribulation.
The Tribulation ends with this battle—the Campaign of Armageddon—and once it ends, the earth and humanity are saved from themselves, and Israel is rescued by the return of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will defeat and destroy the enemies of God.
Then there will be great judgment. He will then establish His throne on the earth and institute a thousand-year reign on the earth, known as the Millennium or the Millennial Kingdom or the Messianic Kingdom.
We looked at Matthew 22:46, and as Jesus quotes this, He is making a claim to be the Messianic King, the Son of David. The Pharisees understand that, and He is also, by quoting Psalm 110, warning them that they will be defeated because they are His enemies. They are therefore enemies of the Messiah, enemies of God, and He is telling them they will be destroyed.
The Pharisees would clearly understand all of Psalm 110. When He just quotes the first verse, they understand the rest of it, and they know that they have been overturned in their hostility to Jesus, and that just makes them even madder.
There are three divisions; we’ve studied the first two.
In the first division, we see that it is Yahweh, God the Father. If you look at your English text, “THE LORD” there, when it says, “The LORD said to My Lord,” that first “LORD” is in uppercase caps, and so that is always a translation of the name, the personal name of God, Yahweh.
- Yahweh will exalt the Messianic King to His right hand where He will await—the Messiah, the Messianic King, sits at the right hand of the Father in a position of passivity, awaiting—the defeat of His enemies and the establishment of His kingdom. Psalm 110:1–3
In the second division, which we studied last time,
- Yahweh vows to make the Messianic King a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4
That indicates His humanity because a priest is a go-between. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and man: the man Christ Jesus.” The fact that He is made a priest indicates His humanity.
Then the third division, which we are looking at this morning,
- Yahweh will give the Messianic King, a mighty and glorious victory over His enemies followed by a time of refreshment and exaltation to a position of honor and dominion. Psalm 11:5–7
That’s what the promise was, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool.” This is the focal point and we’re looking at these last three verses this morning.
There’s an order of events here. I’m just going to one run through these as way of review and reminder, as there’s a timeline.
- The ascension of the Messiah to Heaven.
That means that He has been on the earth. What this implies is that He’s been rejected, that He has come to the earth, but has been rejected. He ascends to Heaven.
- Seated at the right hand of God, and Revelation 3:21 says that He’s not seated on His throne, but “on My Father’s throne.” It is not His throne yet.
- Asks for the Kingdom, Psalm 2:8
The Father says, “Ask and I will give it to You;” He is requesting that Kingdom.
- Eventually, God the Father will give Him or grant Him that Kingdom. That’s pictured in Daniel 7:13–14, as the Son of Man comes to the Ancient of Days and is given dominion over man.
- Messiah then returns to the earth and defeats the kings of the earth through the power of Yahweh working in and through Him. Psalm 2:9, Revelation 19:19–21.
- Yahweh will extend the dominion of the Messianic King from Zion. That is Ground Zero for the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. Zion refers to Jerusalem, and it will spread out from there. Psalm 110:2a says “from Zion.” Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15; Daniel 7:27
These two verses say that it will be a rule of a rod of iron, as He imposes the discipline of God upon the enemies of God.
- The Messianic Ruler will establish His righteous rule in the midst of His enemies. It is a rule of a righteous scepter, Hebrews 1:8; Psalm 45:6–7
- The Messianic Ruler will then judge the surviving Gentiles. Joel 3:1–3; Matthew 25:31–46, referred to also here in Psalm 110:2b.
- The Messianic Ruler will return with an army of willing volunteers to conquer His enemies. Psalm 2:3
These are those who have freely made their decision to trust in Jesus as Messiah. It is due to their volition that they are in the heavenly army.
- The Messianic Ruler is identified as the begotten one. Psalm 2:7; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9
You won’t see that in your English text, but I went through the variant last week and pointed out that that is the more accurate version, that the Masoretes who translated the text were anti-Messianic prophecy, so they changed the vowels in the word so that it would change the Messianic significance of the passage.
- The Messianic Ruler is then designated a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4
That gives you a review, and we are now at Psalm 110:5.
We have some interesting things going on here, and this is why I talk so much about the importance of really observing the text of Scripture. Often if you don’t observe the text of Scripture very well, you will misinterpret the text of Scripture, and then you will misapply the text of Scripture.
I believe that the role of the pastor is to take people through what the text says to help them understand what they are reading and what they are seeing.
In Bible study methods, we talked about the fact that you ought to spend about 80% to 85% of your time in observation, then you’ll only have to spend about 10% of your time in interpretation—understanding what the text means—because if you observe it carefully, the meaning will become very apparent, it will fall out very obviously.
Then once you understand what it means, what it means to you will become readily apparent and sometimes terribly convicting: we’ve all experienced that.
As Howard Hendricks pointed out to us many years ago in Bible Study Methods and in His book on studying the Bible, the problem is that most people spend about 1% of the time observing the text, then spend about 5% of their time interpreting the text, and then they want to spend all their time just talking about what it means to me. We’re so self-absorbed.
You sit around many churches and you study the Bible and Sunday School, and the Sunday School teacher is nothing more than a facilitator who says, “What does that text mean to you? And Mary, what does that text mean to you?”
Nobody’s ever studied it. Everybody’s just thinking right off the top of their head—what their first thought is—and most of the time it’s wrong. You have to think about the Word.
If we spend most of our time understanding what it says, what it means becomes pretty obvious, and God the Holy Spirit takes care of making it clear to us how it should impact our own thinking in our own lives.
I want you to pay attention to this for just a minute: look at Psalm 110:5; it says “the Lord is at Your right hand.”
Let me ask you a question. Who’s the “Your?” “The Lord is at Your right hand. He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.”
We obviously have three people. We have the Lord, who in this case refers to Yahweh. The word there is Adonay in the text; it’s not uppercase in your text, it is lowercase.
It’s not the word Yahweh, but it refers to Him. That’s why I put that in there for clarification.
“The Lord is at Your right hand.” Who is the “Your?” Some people would think, “Oh that means me.” No, that’s not what this is talking about.
I want to point something out in terms of this text. It’s not too often we have a rather short Psalm. When you get more than six or seven verses, it’s hard put the whole thing on the screen where people can read it, but I want to point some things out to you in terms of what this passage is saying.
First of all, as we saw here in verse five, there’s going to be a significant shift in the pronoun. It’s going to shift from “Your” in the first stanza of verse five to “He,” a third person singular pronoun.
As we see in this slide that lists verses five through seven, we see that it’s “He” at the end of verse 5, “He” and “He” in verse 6, and “He” and “He” in verse 7.
Interesting, this shift: what does that mean? That’s where you get into interpretation. Look at the beginning of the Psalm. We notice in Psalm 110:1–4 that Yahweh is speaking to a Second Personage identified as “my Lord,” someone superior to David.
We have identified that Second Lord as the Messianic King or the Messianic Ruler; this is talking about the Messiah.
When we look at, “The Lord said to My Lord,” then He says something. The first LORD is God the Father, and He is speaking to God the Son, and He says, “Sit at My right hand.”
But “sit” is an imperative; it’s a second person plural, which we never say this in English: you look at your kid, and you say, “Stop doing that.” What you’re really saying is, “You stop doing that.”
But we never include the “you,” so when we have two imperatives here, “sit” and “rule,” they both imply “you.” That’s why I put them in there and why I put those in brackets.
“The LORD says to My Lord, ‘[You] Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.” That’s another opening statement.
I added these quotation marks to make this clear because here again, God the Father is addressing God the Son—“[You] Rule in the midst of Your enemies. Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning,”— here I have given the correct translation—“I have begotten You.”
The pronoun that we have from verse one through verse four, where He says that You are a priest forever is a second person singular pronoun: “You,” “Your.” But suddenly, when you get to the last three verses, it’s “He.”
It’s really clear in the first four verses that the Person that’s being addressed is the Second Person of the Trinity. For effect and for emphasis and to draw our attention to it, the end of the Psalm also addresses the Second Person of the Trinity, but addresses Him as “He”— what He will do. The text is difficult to understand apart from that.
We see here that in terms of the general structure, there is a statement: a declarative sentence; then you have these quotes addressed to the Messiah.
One in verse 1, one in verse 2, and then the third in verse 4, “The Lord has sworn and will not relent.” Then another statement addressed to the Second Person of the Trinity.
What this tells us is that in verse 5 there is going to be an important shift. In verse 1, “The LORD”—God the Father—“says to My Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand.’ ” But in verse 5 we have to identify who this Lord is because we have another situation, referring to the right hand.
What we see in the first four verses is the beginning of “Operation Footstool”, where the Messiah is told to sit and wait until the time comes when He will be given His kingdom and His dominion. So He is seated and waiting.
Psalm 110:5, “The LORD”—I identified this to let you know what it means; that’s not Hebrew. The Hebrew is Adonay, but it’s referring not to the Son, but it’s referring to the Father; it’s referring to Yahweh.
We have to understand the contrast that’s taking place here between verse 5 and verse 1.
We’re in verse 1. Yahweh says to the Messianic King, “[You] Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” In verse 1, the Messiah is at Yahweh’s right hand, but in verse 5, Yahweh—called Adonay—is at the Messiah’s right hand.
There’s a shift in scene that takes place here, and that’s very important.
I’ve tried to represent this graphically. In verse 1 we have the Father sitting on the Father’s throne, and according to Revelation 3:21, the Messianic Ruler, the Son, is seated at the Father’s right hand.
Then in verse 5 there is a shift in scene to the return of the Messiah to the earth to conquer His enemies. He is aided and empowered by the Father: remember in verse 1, the Father, “The LORD says to My Lord … ‘until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”
Yahweh is saying, “I’m the One who’s going to defeat them. I’m the One is going to conquer them. I’m the One is going to make that possible through You because the Father works through the Son.
Psalm 110:5 emphasizes the fact that it is Yahweh who is the One who empowers and enables the Messiah to defeat His enemies. It is Yahweh that is at the right hand of the Messianic King.
First of all, it must refer to Yahweh, God the Father, because the theme of the Psalm is that Yahweh defeats the Messianic King’s enemies. It’s not the Messianic King that’s going to defeat His enemies.
So if you take Adonay in verse 5, saying that Adonay is at Yahweh’s right hand, then you’re going to lose the significance of what is being said here. It fits the context best to understand this.
Second, the spelling of the word Adonay here is different from the spelling in verse 1, and it indicates that this too is a reference to Yahweh—God the Father. Remember, among Jews, they never read the proper name of God as Yahweh.
Whenever they see those consonants YHWH written in the text, underneath it are the vowel points for Adonay—they refuse to utter the name of God out of respect.
Instead they will always read “Adonay” instead of the proper name of God. But here Adonay is used to refer to God, as it is many times in the Old Testament.
Something that is very important is the very close relationship between the Father and the Son. We see the picture that it is the Father who said “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool,” and then when the King is sent forth to take His dominion, it is Yahweh who goes with Him to empower Him.
The executing agent of the conquest is the Son, but the power—the ultimate authority—comes from God the Father. But remember, as the divine Second Person of the Trinity, the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.
This takes us to important passages in the Scripture, such as John 14:10-11, where Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”
We’ve studied this before—it’s a word that you’re probably not all that familiar with—a Greek word called perichoresis. Perichoresis means that what is attributed to one Member of the Trinity is true of all Members of the Trinity.
This is why Jesus says in John 10:30, “I and My Father are One.” They are a unity: so what the Father thinks, the Son thinks; what the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.
There are times when the text is a little ambiguous because all three members of the Trinity are present and active. When we read in Psalm 110:5 that “the Lord is at Your right hand,” and we think about the relationship of the Father to the Son as the Son returns in conquest, we recognize that both the Father and the Holy Spirit are present because of the unity of the Trinity.
We also see in Scripture this emphasis that the Lord being at the right hand—as we saw in the first verse when God the Father says to the Son, “Sit at My right hand”—is a position of privilege, a position of respect and a position of honor. But here it takes on a different meaning: it’s the position of aid, it’s the position of empowerment.
We see this in Psalms, like Psalm 16:8, where David says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Being at David’s right hand is the position to empower and strengthen David against His enemies.
When the Lord says, “I am at Your right hand,” and God the Father is at the right hand of the Son when He comes, it is that position to aid and strengthen against His enemies.
Psalm 121:5 says, “The Lord is your keeper The Lord is your shade at your right hand.” He is the One who protects; He keeps you, He is the One who provides for you and gives you shade from the heat of the sun. He is the One who is at your right hand. So this phrase “the LORD” is talking about Yahweh, God the Father, “is at Your right hand.” It’s addressing the Son.
Then there’s a break in action. This is a literary device to shift our attention and to emphasize something, because from this point on, the writer of the Psalm is going to have six third-person singular pronouns. He hasn’t used a “He” yet; all of a sudden now He repetitively says “He.” Who is this “He?”
That’s the ambiguity that I’m talking about here. It’s not really clear. Is this the Father or is this the Son? Well, it could be either, but it’s both. It’s not talking about “they.”
It is “He” the Son who is going to execute this. But it is “He” the Father who is the One who is in Him and who empowers Him to defeat His enemies. The text is clear again and again that it is God who is the One who is destroying His enemies.
When we look at the second line, which is the first of the six statements, we see that this summarizes what’s going to take place at the Second Coming of Christ in the Campaign of Armageddon.
The first thing it mentions is, “He”—that is the Messianic King—“shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.”
The word there is machatz, which means to smash, to shatter, to utterly destroy their power, to thoroughly wipe out their kingdoms. They will be smashed completely by the power of God the Son, when He returns to the earth. We know from other passages that this is the meaning of the fact that He will rule with this rod of iron.
The word there that is translated “execute” is the same word that is used in Judges 5:26. In that episode that’s extremely violent, where Sisera, who’s the general of Jabin, the king of Hazor, who has led his chariot forces against the forces of Deborah and Barak, and they have defeated him.
Sisera has fled the scene, and he is worn out from the battle, and he seeks aid from someone he thinks will be an ally in the tent of Jael, and she says, “Come in, I’ll feed you. Take a nap, rest.”
He goes to sleep, and she grabs a tent peg, and she sneaks up on him while he is sleeping, and the text says that she pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, she split—that’s the word machatz—she just pulverized His head and struck it through his temples—very graphic.
The language that is used here in Psalm 110 is graphic language. War is violent. War is destructive. War is bloody. War is horrible. That’s the language the text used.
This is what Christ will do when He returns. The text says that He will smash kings “in the day of His wrath.” This is another important term. When you go into the book of Revelation, there are several significant uses of the term “wrath.”
We have the use of the term “wrath of the Lamb” in Revelation 6, which is early in the Tribulation.
Revelation 14:19, as we’re approaching the endgame of the Campaign of Armageddon, where it is about to begin, we are getting a foreshadowing of that, we’re told in this very graphic picture that is described in the heavens, that an “angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathers the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”
What does that remind does that remind you of? It ought to remind you of Julia Ward Howe’s apostate hymn “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Now as a good Southerner, I don’t like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, but that’s not why I have this opinion.
I have this opinion because of her total misinterpretation and misapplication of Revelation to the American War Between the States. She uses this imagery of the winepress and the wrath of God to apply it—very wrongly—to the American War Between the States. (Never sing hymns that have bad theology!)
By the way, she was a great pacifist after the war, and she was the first person to come up with the idea of celebrating Mother’s Day, and it was all based on pure pacifism, anti-war theology. (I’ve always had a problem with Mother’s Day since I learned that.)
This is imagery of the winepress, “where the grapes of wrath are stored,” in her language of the hymn.
Revelation 16:19, “Now the great city was divided into three parts”—this is Babylon that is about to be destroyed—“and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” This is the wrath of God the Father.
Revelation 19:15 says, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He himself will rule them with a rod of iron.”—that’s that smashing of the enemies—“He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and the wrath of Almighty God.”
So “treading out there where the grapes of wrath are stored” in the language of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is taking language that specifically and uniquely fits the end of the Tribulation and the Campaign of Armageddon and applies it to some trivial event in human history.
The reason I say that it’s trivial is because the Bible in at least three places indicates that what happens during the end of the Tribulation is a once-in-history event, an event that has never happened before. It’s unlike anything that has ever happened.
So to take anything that describes that end event and apply it to some trivial event by comparison, really does injustice to the Word of God and desensitizes people to the uniqueness of the Word of God.
In Psalm 110:5 we read, “The Lord is at Your right hand—at the right hand of the Messianic King—He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.” Psalm 2:2 talks about the kings of the earth coming.
In Revelation 6:15–16, which occurs earlier in the Tribulation—about a year and a half or two years into it—we’re told that the kings of the earth say to the mountains and the rocks, as they are being pulverized in what appears to be some sort of asteroid shower, so they are saying, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”
Here we have this picture that runs through the whole Tribulation period: the human leaders, the kings, the princes of power, the princes of industry are the ones who are shaking their fists.
They know that the suffering they’re enduring during that seven-year period is from God and from Jesus Christ, and they’re shaking their fists at Him as they resist Him. They’re showing their hatred of Him, and they’re resisting the wrath of the Lamb. This is why Jesus needs to subdue them with a rod of iron.
This is how this is pictured in Zechariah 14. You ought to read through the whole chapter of Zechariah 14. It describes what happens around Jerusalem at the close of the Campaign of Armageddon.
Zechariah 14:3, “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations”—it’s Yahweh who will fight against those nations, and again, this would include the Father and the Son—They go forth “and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.”
Zechariah 14:9, “And Yahweh shall be king”—notice it’s the Second Person who becomes king but He’s referred to as Yahweh here—“And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth. In that day, it shall be—the LORD is one ...”
That makes a lot more sense when we look at in light of the Gospel of John, where Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.” “… The Lord is one, and His name, One.”
Zechariah 14:12, “And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.”
I would imagine Hal Lindsey probably depicted that as some sort of nuclear event, and that’s just reading a lot into the text. God can make that happen without a nuclear bomb going off because the armies of the saints are there.
Israel has got to be preserved. This is not going to make a radioactive hole in the ground in the land that God is now bringing the Jews back to. This is just talking about a divine judgment where the enemies of God are virtually vaporized and incinerated.
If you saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, there was a great scene at the end where all of the Nazis and the bad guys are there, and they open up and look at the Ark of the Covenant, and the flesh just melts off their bones, and their eyeballs pop out. It’s very graphic. That’s what is being described here. This is what will happen at the Lord’s return.
Psalm 110:6 says three things, “He will judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies.” Actually, the implication here is that He is going to fill the valleys with dead bodies. The death and destruction at the conclusion of the Campaign of Armageddon is that Israel is strewn.
The valleys around Jerusalem—those of you who have been there, you can picture all those valleys because Israel’s very hilly—they will be filled with the corpses of the armies of the Antichrist and the false prophet.
Then thirdly, “He will execute”—that’s that word machatz again—“He will smash the head”— it’s singular in the Hebrew—“He will smash the head of many countries,” which is, I believe, a reference to the Antichrist.
It also reminds us, for those of you who remember the time we spent going through Hannah’s psalm of praise in 1 Samuel 2, that God gave her the insight into the fact that her son Samuel would be born, and that he would have a significant role to play in bringing about a king for Israel and the ultimate King who is the Messiah.
At the end of that psalm, she says, “The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces ...” She is prophesying about what will happen at the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Tribulation.
“The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His”—what’s the Hebrew word for “anointed?”—“exalt the horn of His Messiah.’”
The first thing that’s said here is He will judge among the nations. This is what happens to the surviving Gentiles. It’s called the “sheep and the goat judgment” that occurs at the end of the Tribulation, described in Joel 3:1–3 and Matthew 25:31–46.
Joel 3:1–2 says, “For behold, in those days and at that time”—at the end of the Tribulation—“when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem”—when I restore the saved Jews at the end of the Tribulation, bring them back to the Promised Land—“I will also gather all the nations”—that is the Gentiles, the Goyim; not represented as nations but as individual Gentiles—“I will bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat”— the Kidron Valley below Jerusalem.
“… And I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people”—one of the aspects of judgment is how they treat Israel. “On account of My people, My heritage Israel”—or My inheritance Israel or My possession Israel—“whom they have scattered among the nations”—they will be judged for that.
In the second line, He says, “He shall fill the places with the dead bodies.” The Campaign of Armageddon will just be beyond any battle that has ever happened on the face of the earth.
Ezekiel 39:12 says it will take seven months to bury all of the corpses left over from the Battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 14:20 depicts the violence: the bloodshed is so great that the blood will go up to the height of a “horse’s bridle, for 1600 furlongs” all around Jerusalem.
Psalm 110:6, “He shall execute the heads”—literally the head—“of many countries.” This is the death of the Antichrist.
When the Lord comes back in Revelation 19:19, “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth,”—the beast is the Antichrist, the kings of the earth are those who follow him—“and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
That’s the Lord Jesus Christ and the volunteers of Psalm 110:3 that come with Him.
Revelation 19:20, “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two we’re cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Other passages—like Isaiah 14— say that he is killed. So the Antichrist is killed. He’s brought back to life, so he’s not going in his mortal body. Then either he’s judged and sent directly to the Lake of Fire then, or this has just telescoped the events, and He will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire at the same time everyone else is at the Great White Throne Judgment.
In conclusion, Psalm 110:7, we’re given a very anthropomorphic view of the Messiah. At the conclusion, there is a time of refreshment, a time of rest, “He shall drink of the brook by the wayside.”
It’s a very human look at the Messiah. He is taking refreshment, He is resting. “Therefore, He shall lift up His head.” This is a picture of how the Millennial Kingdom will be: as a time of rest, as a time of refreshment.
It is depicted in Isaiah 35:6–7, “Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters”—that’s the resting by the waters or being refreshed by the waters, drinking by the brook—“shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitations of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”
One of the last pictures that we see of the Millennial Kingdom has to do with water. The free offer of water, which is a depiction of the free offer of God’s grace to everyone. Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires”—whoever desires to be saved; that’s volition, the volunteer army that comes with the Messiah; whoever wills—“let him take the water of life freely.”
There is no cost to salvation. No one has to work for it. It is a free gift. This is one of the great verses of God’s grace that the water of life is offered at no charge. There’s no condition, it is just accepted freely by faith alone in Christ alone.
“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity to be here this morning to reflect upon Your Word and to reflect upon the tremendously powerful image here of how You will bring to resolution the problem of evil and the problem of sin, the problem of injustice.
That it is not going to be done through some sort of political or economic system of social justice. It will only come about when the Lord Jesus Christ, the only perfect Ruler there ever has been or will be, who will bring resolution at the end of the Tribulation and establish His Kingdom with a perfect government and a perfect Ruler.
Father, we pray that if there’s anyone who is listening to or reading this message that has never trusted Christ as Savior, that they would take this opportunity to do so.
This offer is a free offer, like the offer of the water of life given freely with no strings attached. The instant we accept it by trusting in Christ as Savior, at that instant we have eternal life, which can never be taken from us.
We pray that any who are listening/reading who’ve never trusted in Christ would realize that that is the only hope of our salvation, that when we die and we stand before the gates of Heaven, and we’re asked why should we be allowed in, that our only answer would be, “Because I trusted in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation.”
We pray that You would make that clear to everyone of us in Christ’s name, Amen.”