Summary: Tragically, our limited human reasoning concludes that -- If God is a God of absolute justice, then He must be sitting up in heaven waiting to clobber us. That would have some validity, However, among those qualities of God’s essence, is also Love.
God’s plan for the human race has been and always will be redemption. This plan of God was in place even before God formed the world on which mankind lives this temporal life.
It is important to know and understand this fact, not only to understand the person of God, BUT also to have a proper concept of the plan of redemption, God’s justice, His love and many other aspects of God’s essence.
Revelation 13:8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
A question has come up, because I often say that “Christ was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world..,” But the Scripture text of Rev 13:18 says “from the foundation of the world”. Therefore, the questioner ask, was it before or at the foundation of the World?
I don’t always give the background and the details for some statements of this nature, because if I did, the series would be much, much longer than it already is.
However, to answer the question, please allow me to, as quickly as possible, show the background for stating that it was “before” the foundation, rather than at the time. And yes, it is an important distinction. I’ll not try to show its importance at this time, but it will show itself, as we move along.
We need to look at the Greek definition of the phrase “foundation of” as used in Rev 13:8 and other passages that speak of being redeemed before the foundation of the world. Before we look at the Rev 13:8 definition, let’s look at the more general use of this English word “foundation”.
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
Foundation [1 Cor 3:10-13] = (Greek) Something put down; The substructure (of a building, etc.)
Our English trained minds most generally think of “foundation” in this manner. However, there is another Greek word translated to the English word “foundation” in Rev 13:8 and elsewhere.
Foundation of [Rev 13:8] = (Greek) A conception; A disposition
Conception = 1. Formation of a viable zygote by the union of a male female; 2. Something conceived in the mind; A concept, plan, design, idea, or thought. 3. Archaic. A beginning; A start.
In Rev 13:8 and similar verses, the thought is not putting down the foundation or the beginning, BUT instead, it is from the time something was conceived in the mind. At times, this Greek word is translated “conceive” instead of “foundation”, as in…
Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive (same Greek word as foundation in Rev 13:8) seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
Also, notice that in some other passages where this Greek word is used, the translators use the phrase before the foundation rather than from the foundation.
Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
As you file this passage away in your mind, in the “folder” marked “foundation”, please note several connected subjects to that fact. There was a specific reason we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
In this passage, we were chosen THAT we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Almost every word in this passage is filled with meaning. I can only take the time to point to some.
(1) God chose us “in Christ”