“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Hebrews 1:13, KJV 1900)
In October 1977, the music group Queen released a song titled, “We Are The Champions.” The song is about engaging in a long battle but never giving up and achieving the final victory. It is often played by sports teams that have won the big game and have become the champions.
In indicating the supremacy of Jesus over the angels, the author of Hebrews again attributes a verse from the Psalms to Jesus the Messiah. He points out a significant contrast of Jesus to the angels. God never said that an angel would sit at His right hand until He made their enemies a footstool (Psalm 110:1). No, on the contrary, the author indicates that the angels are all ministering spirits sent to serve for the sake of the elect.
There are a couple things to note when we look at this verse as it relates to Jesus. First, the word for footstool in the Greek text is hupopodion, which is a compound of hupo meaning under and pous meaning foot. The picture here that many have is one of the Lord sitting back in a lounger with his feet propped up. This is not the picture. What is pictured is the Lord being victorious over His enemies.
The Psalm, from which the verse is taken is clearly Messianic and it speaks of many things. One of these reinforces this point. In the Psalm, we see the Messiah sitting in the highest position of authority, having been victorious over his enemies and executing judgment on the nations. The image of the footstool therefore is not a picture of the Messiah sitting back and resting His feet. Rather it is one of the victorious Messiah placing his feet triumphantly on His defeated enemies and placing them in absolute subjection to His judgment.
Here we must ask several questions. Who are the enemies? When will this take place? How do we fit into this picture? First, the enemies of which the author speaks are the enemies of God. Now, I must say this. There are no neutral people seen in this picture. One is either for God or against God. There are only those of true saving faith and those who are not. Here are the Lord’s words on this. “He that is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30, KJV 1900). We who have believed are with the Lord and those who have not are against Him.
When will this take place? In one sense, Jesus won the victory at Calvary when He defeated sin, death and Satan. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20). Yet, the time when the enemies will be placed in subjection is at Jesus’ second coming. Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
So, what about us as believers? I mentioned before that we who believe are in Christ. Our life is hidden in Him. Being in Christ and already seated with Him in the Heavenly places (Eph 2:6), we have joined in the glorious victory also. Paul writes that “we are more than conquerors through him that loves us” (Romans 8:37, KJV 1900). Yet, there is a still a day when we will realize this in full, when He comes again. Then we who believe will reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12). Yes, in Christ, we are the champions.