from the foundation of the world?
-by Tony Warren
In Revelation chapter thirteen, verse eight, Jesus is referred to as, 'The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.' Since Christ went to the cross at an appointed and specific place in time (which was about 2000 years ago), some Christians are unsure just what this phrase actually means. This is understandable, as the language there is somewhat difficult.Revelation 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
When the verse is carefully studied and all things are considered, it becomes clear that God is speaking about the 'eternal election of Grace,' which spans time. Note that God is defining those unsaved who do not have their names written in the Lamb's book of life. This 'book of Life' signifies God's record of those who will be regenerated or raised up unto new life in Christ Jesus. In Him are these Saints under the immutable purpose of God for his Elect.
Christ being slain from the foundation of the world illustrates not only that He was foreordained to be slain, but also that the efficacy, or the beneficial effects of that death, is the same as if that sacrifice had been made before the creation of the world. Thus, Old testament saints are washed clean in Christ's blood the same as we are today. In other words, the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice is not limited by time. God had already chosen who He would Save before creation, and had thus already ordained the Saviour to shed His blood for them, to make this possible. their Salvation wasn't something which could be thwarted, it was something which was as good as 'done' from the time that God ordained it.
1st Peter 1:18-20
We are not redeemed by corruptible things, but by the blood of Christ who was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Because God had already proposed to shed Christ's blood for our redemption, and in His eyes, that makes it as good as an accomplished act, from that time forward.
From the foundation of the world He had predetermined that we would be accepted in the beloved, through the shed blood of Christ. And though so many theologians in our day teach the falsehoods of a 'free will' doctrine cannot discern this, it always get's back to the eternal Election of grace. The bottom line of God seeing Christ slain from before the foundation of the world. As illustrated in Timothy:
2nd Timothy 1:9
We might ask, how is something given us before the would began, when we were born this century? And the answer is, because before the world began, God looked through time, that He knew our existence. And He predetermined and proposed our doing and our conforming to Christ. He justified us, and then He saw it all done. He is not a man that He had to wait until time passed to know it, He is Omniscient God. And so in God's eyes, it was as good as accomplished. Nothing in time could ever change it! The same truths as put forth in passages like Romans:
Those whom He looked through time and foreknew, He also predestinated 'to be' conformed to the image of Christ, and He called them, and justified them, and He also Glorified them. So there is no possibility of failure. It is difficult for us to comprehend these things because we see through a glass, darkly, and thus do not understand fully time, when God is from everlasting to everlasting, timeless.
And more than just a declaration of the eternal Election of Grace, it is truly a word of 'assurance' to the Saints of the security of the Child of God. For if Jesus' blood had not been proposed and shed from the foundation of the world for us, then we would have reason to worry, because it wouldn't be an absolute. But God having predestinated us before, and saw it as accomplished, our Salvation is totally secure. All Glory goes to God that He has in Christ's blood, from the foundation of the world, already provided our redemption, gave our strength, looked after our welfare, and filled every need and provision. Therefore, it is not possible that God's Elect will not persevere.
If it were possible! But, Glory, Praise and Thanks be unto God, it is not possible for God's Elect to be deceived. And the reason is because God, before the foundation of the world, saw as good as accomplished, a Lamb slain for their redemption. He slew Christ for us before the Foundation of the world, thus we are confident that we a sealed (secured) that He will conform us to the Image of Christ.
We have confidence God's work in us is accomplished because He is not an idle bystander, but the author or leader, and the finisher of our faith. There is no possibility that He will come up short, or that He died in vain paying for the sins of anyone. Every person for whom Christ died, has no sin, and will persevere. Not one is lost!
In the Old Testament 'types' portraying our Savior's sacrifice, the blood of animals took away no one's sins (Hebrews 10:4), but were merely to bear testimony to Christ, the true Lamb that really cleansed them from sin. Because God regarded Christ as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, He looked upon the Old Testament elect as redeemed, forgiven, justified! As Righteous Job cried:
His Redeemer lived because the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice was upon Job even then. Before Christ went to the cross, the Old Testament Saints were justified by Christ's righteousness just as we are today. This is a very important truth for us to understand, because this can only be because the efficacy of the cross reaches all the way back to Job or Abel, just as it reaches all the way forward to us today. If it din not cover them who didn't live in Christ's day, how could it cover us who don't live in Christ's day? we are both hundreds of years away from the cross, but in truth, it's as if the sacrifice was made for us today.
He was offered once, for all. Old Testament Saints as well as new. For them, as well as for us. When God says He was slain before, He is saying that the effect of His sacrifice, is just the same as if He were sacrificed in any time period in which man lived. When we become Saved today, it means Christ was sacrificed for our sins. 2000 years ago, He had our sins in His flesh. And when He went to the cross with them, He purged them from us by His death and resurrection. From Abel, to those who live today, we are under this Covenant of Grace which transcends time, and reaches back to the Old Testament times.
The Covenant of grace for the Elect existed before the law. Moreover, the law that was given later, cannot disannul it, because it's written in the blood of Christ from before creation. i.e., Salvation has always been by faith in the blood of Christ. It was never of keeping the law, which not one of us could possibly do. It was always a Covenant of Grace, which the law couldn't disannul.
Christ's sacrifice was not limited by time, and this truth is very important to the faithful. Time (thus the timekeepers, the Sun, Moon, and stars) was created for man, not for God. He is infinite! So though time must unfold for man, God, being omniscient and omnipresent, sees these things as completed. He is outside of time! Those who are under the blood of Christ, He predestinated it, willed it, and saw it accomplished from the foundation of the world. But though God saw it done, the redemption still had to occur in the fullness of time 'for the Elect' who live in time. This is why we have the language of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World. It is portraying the timelessness of Christ's Sacrifice, to make possible 'The eternal election of Grace.'
Copyright ©2001 Tony Warren
Created 6/6/01 / Last Modified 6/8/01
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