“The foundation of the world” is a familiar phrase from the New Testament. Still, how much do we know about it? What does it mean? Why is it employed by various biblical speakers and writers? To begin with, it is used ten times. Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, and the writer of Hebrews all use it. Some profound truths accompany this idea of a pivot point at the very beginning of history. How can a pivot point be at the beginning?
Christians often speak of eternity because the Bible often speaks of eternity. What Christians speak about less is the intersection of time and eternity. When we talk about Creation, the eternal is implied because we believe in an eternal Creator. Eternity always has been, is, and always will be. For us, time can only be experienced moment by moment. Granted, each moment experienced in time is also being experienced in eternity. Time has a beginning, a past, a now, a future, and an end. The Bible speaks of historical people and events. It also speaks of timeless truth, the eternal now. Prophetically, it informs us of the end times coming at an unknown, but certain, point at the end of the spectrum of time.
Time began at the beginning, and it has been winding down ever since. Birth and death help us to grasp the seemingly limited nature of time. Like time itself, we have a beginning and an end. We need the Bible, however, to grasp the concept of eternity. Because there was a time when we were not, eternity is far more conceptual for us. Time is our reality. It is personal, “I’m not going to waste ‘my’ time…” It is always pressing us, except when we lose track of time. This usually happens when eternity prevails upon us more than time. This may be experienced in periods of great joy and fellowship with people we love. It is a gracious foretaste of forever.
God is always operating in eternity, so the Bible teaches us of His knowing the beginning from the end. Jesus even carries the titles, “Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8; 21:6).” We recognize God as eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is never constrained by time, but He is the Creator of time and uses it for His purposes. Jesus incarnated at the fullness of time (Gal 4:4) and will come again at the consummation of the ages (Heb 9:26). The final day, known only to God the Father, is when Jesus Christ will come again (Mk 13:32).
Our pivot point of demarcation has God laying the foundation of the earth (2 Sam 22:16; Ps 18:15; Heb 1:10). Before that point, God was finishing all of His works (Heb 4:3), including the good works His chosen people would perform in time (Eph 2:10). The people God selected for His own possession and purpose (Dt 7:6; 1 Pet 2:9), were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
Therefore, we confess Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God (Is 9:6), who was loved by God His Father, with whom He shared the glory of the Godhead before he foundation of the world (Jn 17:24). This foreknowledge proves Jesus Christ was not just man, but became a man, took on flesh, at His divine/human conception and incarnation (Jn 1:14; 1 Pet 1:20). His eternal existence was known by God, and revealed by Him, to His creatures, who were made by Jesus Christ (Col 1:16), as co-Creator with God the Father (Gen 1:1) and God the Spirit (Gen 1:2).
Like a story, in the mind of an author before he writes the story down on paper, “before the foundation of the world,” was in the mind of God. The Creation of the physical universe was a blueprint before it was realized. God’s act of creation gave the story a physical realm in which to manifest.
The kingdom of God is eternal because God is the King of His kingdom (Dan 4:34). He is the sovereign ruler over all (Dan 4:35), and He eternally sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). The secret things belong to Him (Dt 29:29). Special revelation was progressive from Adam to Christ. From the foundation of the world, the blood of the prophets had been shed for their heralding God’s message, a message directed toward rebel humanity, at enmity with Yahweh (Lk 11:50).
Like the dawning of a new day, more and more light was shining for people to see. God has always chosen who will receive His revelation (Mt 11:25; 16:17; Jn 12:40; 2 Thess 2:13; Rom 9:23), and Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God in parables to keep some in the dark (Mt 13:13). In fulfilling the prophecy of parable speaking, Jesus uttered things hidden from before the foundation of the world (Mt 13:35). The revealed things belong to us (Dt 29:29), but they were revealed how and when God wanted them revealed (Heb 1:1–2).
As more light came to the disciples, until Jesus was speaking plainly to them on the night of His betrayal and arrest, He revealed to them that His people would inherit a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Mt 25:34). God is the architect and builder of all things, including the city of our eternal home (Heb 11:10). Jesus departed the earth to go and prepare a place in glory for His people (Jn 14:2–3).
God’s plan to redeem a people for Himself was there from the beginning (Gen 3:15), and Jesus suffered once from the foundation of the world to save them (Heb 9:26) and represent them in heaven. This was true because the Lamb’s book of life already had the names of all the saints written in it from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8).
God’s purpose is eternal (Eph 3:11), and it has unfolded just as He predestined for it to occur (Acts 4:27–28). Paul preached the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:27), including God’s predestination of us as His people (Eph 1:11), for whom Christ came and fulfilled God’s purpose for our benefit (Eph 3:11). His purpose, being eternal, is unchangeable (Heb 6:17). For those who are called according to His purpose, He has promised that all things are working together for good (Rom 8:28). Men will tell others with confidence, “It is as good as done;” but with God, it was done from before the foundation of the world, and it is good.
February 6, 2021