Slain from the Foundation of the World
W E WANT TO inquire into what “Slain from the foundation of the world” means. We do know that the redemptive death of Jesus Christ the Lord (the slain Lamb), for the salvation of lost humanity was decreed from the very beginning of the creation of the world (see 17:8 where this is repeated. Some try to prove a predetermined individual election to “salvation” or “damnation.” According to the author of Revelation, a person’s name may be erased out of the Book of Life by disloyalty and failure to overcome [see Rev. 3:5]. Personally, I do not believe in predestination as the Calvinists teach. I have a trilogy on the refutation of “Once saved, always saved” free).
FIRST PETER (1:20) uses this very same phrase when writing of “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (v. 19), who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these times for you.”
Foundation (Greek: 2602—καταβολή, katabole, kat-ab-ol-ay= “a disposition, i.e., founding: (fig.) conception:-conceive, foundation.” (from 2598=kataballo, “to throw down;—cast down, lay.”
So, katabole is a casting down, and is used
(a) of conceiving seed (Heb. 11:11);
(b) of a foundation, as that which is laid down, or in the sense of founding; metaphorically, of the foundation of the world; in this respect two phrases are used:
1) “from the foundation of the world” (as also in Mt. 25:34) (in the most authentic mss. in 13:35 there is no phrase representing “of the world”) (see also Lk. 11:50; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; Mt. 25:34;
2) “before the foundation of the world” (see John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20. This phrase looks back to the past.
SOME SCHOLARS believe that katabole is speaking of the overthrow or disruption of the pre-Adamite world (Mt. 13:35= “…I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world”).Pascal
PASCAL has somewhere said that: “Christ is crucified to the world’s end.”
“Slain from the foundation of the world,” “crucified to the world’s end”—what do such expressions really mean to us?
The author of Hebrews uses the word “eternal” in reference to the work of Christ: “…having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12), and in verse 14: “…Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself…”
The word “eternal” certainly fits in, for it means: “timeless,” that is, “out of time relations,” and therefore not measurable on a calendar. “Universal” and “absolute,” are near synonyms. So, taken in this sense, the phrases we’ve read mean that the Cross of Christ is the explanation of the universe, and that the principles embodied in the Cross are in the constitution of things—the make of the world.
One Bible Theologian has put it: “In His Cross, Resurrection and Pentecost, Christ is the Son of God’s love with power. God’s love is the principle and power of all being. It is established in Christ everywhere and forever.” That is really grasping reality!
John 3:16 tells us that: “God so loved the world.” Love so universal is also ABSOLUTE and FINAL. He created both the earth and humankind (world), therefore they are His. The thing is DONE…it’s not to do. Jesus said it all in 5 words: “I have overcome the world,” meaning that as a man He conquered human nature. He became sin so men could make it in!
The Lamb that was Slain
IN VERSES 1-5 of cpt. 5 (Rev.), the seer weeps because no one is found to open the book, but the angel assures him: “Weep not; behold the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book.”
And as the seer looks to see a Lion (power), a Lamb (meekness) comes forth to open the seals. That Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.
PROF. FRIEDRICH HAUCK sees “foundation of the world” as it denotes time (see Mt. 13:35; Lk. 11:50; Heb. 4:3 and 9:26), but predominantly in the context of “salvation history,” does this phrase express the eternity of the divine plan of salvation, which was conceived before all ages, and which is fulfilled in the last time (see Mt. 25:34; Rev. 13:8; 17:8). He says that in the form πρὸκαταβολς κὁσμου, the phrase expresses the pre-temporality of the divine action (Jn. 17:24—love for the Son; 1 Pet. 1:20—the election of the Son; Eph. 1:4—the election of believers).
Also we need to note that the Rabbis spoke similarly of the divine foreordination “from the beginning of creation” (see Pesikt., 21, 145a; Midr. Est., 1, 1 (82a). From the beginning of the creation of the world God has prepared for each what is allotted to him or her. The same thought occurs with the variation “before” in Tanch. 26a: “Before God made man, He appointed every chastisement for him” Str.-B., 1, 982.
(Pesikt,=Pesikta (deRab. Kahana), collection of homilies; Midr.=Midrash, Jewish expositions or homilies on books of O.T.; Tanch.=Tanchuma, collection of homilies named after R. Tanchuma; Str.-B=H.L. Struck and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar Zum N.T. aus Talmud und Midrasch, 1922).
With all this in mind, we must see that καταβολή means: “from the sowing of the human race” (which some feel is somewhat alien to the Bible and that the parallel of κτίζειν suggests that the image is that of laying foundations).
I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST THE LORD WAS DIVINELY APPOINTED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD TO REDEEM FALLEN MANKIND BY HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS.
AS ALREADY STATED beforehand, verse 8 can be translated (or understood) in two ways. It was John the individual writing about whose name (many translations use singular) but the KJV uses “whose names.” The attention is given to “those,” not to the “Lamb.” I think the Amplified Bible says it best: “And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him (Beast) homage, every one whose name has not been recorded from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain (in sacrifice) from the foundation of the world.”
1) “Those whose names (or name) have been written before the FOUNDATION of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain” (as some translations say);
2) “Those whose names have been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain from the FOUNDATION of the world.”
The first parallels Rev. 17:8. A close parallel is Eph. 1:4 where the apostle Paul says that God has chosen us in Jesus Christ before the FOUNDATION of the world. As said before hand, some take this to mean eternal predestination: some are “chosen,” some are “rejected.” But a Bible study reveals that not to be the case (I cover all this in my trilogy on eternal salvation?/eternal damnation?—free. This view is the rendering of the RSV and newer translations).
The second speaks of Christ, the Lamb, slain from the FOUNDATION of the world. First Peter 1:19 is the parallel where Christ’s sacrifice was foreordained before the FOUNDATION of the world. The Jews of those days believed that:
Michael, the archangel, was created before the foundation of the world to be the mediator between Israel and God; and that Moses was created before the foundation of the world to be the mediator of the covenant between God and Israel. There would, therefore, be nothing unfamiliar to Jewish thought in saying that Jesus was created before the beginning of the world to be the Redeemer of mankind. We have in these two translations two equally precious truths.
The Book of Life is mentioned in Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 20:15 and 21:27. It was custom for ancient world rulers to keep registers of those citizens who lived in their realms of power; only when a person died or lost his/her rights as a citizen, was their name removed. So, the Book of Life is God’s register of those who belong to Him/His Kingdom.
Concordant Greek Text
LET’S READ how the Concordant Greek Text (CGT) records 13:8:
“And will be worshiping all the ones down homing on of the land of whom not has been written the name of him in the scrollet of the Life of the Lambkin of the One having been slain from down casting of system.”
If you remember, part of the definition of “katabole” was “founding;” “kataballo” was “throw down” or “cast down,” “lay down.”
So, foundation is understood as “origin” (there are Hebrew texts that explain this). It is also understood in the sense of “beginning” (as in Mt. 13:35; 25:34 etc.). The illustrative expression, “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation stone” (see Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11); of the doctrines of the apostles (see Eph. 2:20); the first principles of the Gospel (see Heb. 6:1, 2); the Christian faith (see 2 Tim. 2:19); of the righteous (see Prov. 10:25); the wise man is one who lays his foundation upon a rock (see Lk. 6:48); the godly minister, who builds on the true foundation—Jesus the Christ (see 1 Cor. 3:10).
Lamb Slain; Sin Slain!
THE LAMB OF GOD was slain to put away sin, that is, if men will repent!! The world’s career is to sin and keep on sinning. Rev. 12:11 states it like this: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.” That “word of their testimony,” is more than what is said, but what is lived. We have way too many “talkers” and very few “walkers.”
“We WERE reconciled to God through the death (and resurrection) of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). This, my dear friends, is THE BIG MIRACLE!!
Having sublime feelings and erroneous theories about salvation will not get us into the Kingdom; repentance and walking the Biblical walk is what it takes.
Paul, the disciple and apostle of Christ, engaged in an intense struggle to save his soul alive by working out a modus vivendi between his Christian experience and his rabbinic education. We born-again Gentiles do not have that struggle, but we do have the struggle—WAR!!—between the flesh and Spirit (see Gal. 5). But we must not be slothful in our “warfare” (see Eph. 6).
John 1:29--Romans 5:8
THIS TRILOGY involves the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the world; it involves God the Father and the Son working together for our salvation; it involves the repentant sinner receiving their free gift. We are reconciled to the Father thru the Son (see Rom. 5:10). God’s love was in Christ taking the lost world back into His favor (see Jn. 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:19).
It is time to join the Repentance Revolution. God, in Christ comes into our death in sin…it is time to forsake the Death Culture of our times.
REPENT AND LIVE!
LIVE AND OVERCOME!