In the end, God will make his enemies his footstool (Hebrews 10:13). For most of my life I saw this as an allusion to the way God will condemn and humble his enemies “under foot”— as ancient warlords put their feet on the necks of conquered enemies.
What I didn’t notice until recently is that the backstory of Old Testament Scripture likens the footrest of a royal throne to (1) the sacred Ark of the Covenant, (2) to the Temple of God, (3) to the holy (set apart for God’s purposes) city of Jerusalem, and even (4) to the whole world itself (each of these are pictured as places of God’s presence and worship)— and (5) to the enemies of God.
Here’s the Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry for Footstool: a royal symbol (see 2 Chron. 9:18), most often used figuratively for the Ark (1 Chron. 28:2), the Temple (see Isa. 60:13), or even Zion (Lam. 2:1). Elsewhere and in response to this view, the entire earth is described as God’s footstool (Isa. 66:1; cf. Matt. 5:35; Acts 7:49). The term is also used to represent vanquished enemies in Ps. 110:1 (cf. Matt. 22:44; Acts 2:35; Heb. 10:13).
As in so many other words of Scripture, I think I’m now seeing— between what is said and not said— enough white space to hope our self-sacrificing God will in the end—make enemies and strangers who didn’t bow the knee in life— his footstool in a way that is merciful— rather than merciless
I realize that for some this might seem like nothing more than wishful thinking or another reckless attempt to twist Scripture. But for those who have lost ancestors or descendants to the grave without assurance of their salvation, this might be one more reason to hope that— in the end—all will be well—for those we love.
Hope that—as in the beginning, the “rest” of our God is a hint and reminder that— in his judgment— when his work is done— it is good.