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Bible verses about Before the Foundation of the World
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Acts 3:19-21   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These verses tie several things together. II Timothy 1:9 says that God's purpose began before time. Could God plan His awesome purpose without an end result in view? Would He name His message of salvation after something that was going to happen in the middle, or would He name it after the goal toward which He was working?

Peter calls God's purpose "the restoration of all things," another descriptive phrase for the good news of the Kingdom of God. God will put the Kingdom of God on earth, governing through His law. These verses explain not only the end toward which God is moving, but also that God has been prophesying of this since the world began. God too is looking toward the goal.

God's purpose began before time, but He has revealed this purpose to mankind since at least the days of Enoch, who lived long before Noah. In Jude, Enoch is quoted as saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints" (Jude 14). We must take God's word at face value: From the beginning He has prophesied of the culmination of His purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!


 

Ephesians 1:3-6   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

His Word declares that in His love He predestined us "according to the good pleasure of His will." It does not say that He predestined us according to what He foresaw we would become, that He chose us because we were from a particular ethnic group, or that He picked us because of some mark of intelligence, character, looks, ability, or any other quality. Just as in Deuteronomy 7:7-8, His calling of us occurred out of the good pleasure of His will. He gave to us the same privileges and opportunities as He did to Jacob rather than Esau, and they were extended on the same basis - by God's election following the counsel of His own will and not by our works.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Three


 

Ephesians 1:3-4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

He did not necessarily choose us as individuals before the foundation of the world, but He did decide that He would have a church, a group of people impregnated by His Spirit, a unique Family of His who would be in the image of His Son. The word "choose" suggests taking a smaller number out of a larger. In this case, the larger is the population of the earth, and the smaller number is that tiny remnant God has been working with - His church, His group, His family. The word "holy" implies the choosing had a moral aim in view. In other words, God was choosing a small number out of a large number, and the reason He was choosing this smaller number is to make this small number holy - holy as He is. He had a moral purpose in mind.

The apostle is saying we have been called, elected, become a part of this small group with a definite purpose in mind - that we should become holy. In order for us to become holy, God had to reveal some things to us, which Paul discusses in verses 5-12.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

Ephesians 1:3-5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God has predestined us from the beginning! What deep meaning is contained within this! Did God have us planned even before He created Adam and Eve? He might have! It can mean that. Predestination may not be general at all but very specific - that the great Mind that created everything had us in mind so long ago.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 3): Ephesians 4 (A)


 

Ephesians 1:3-4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"For I am the LORD. I do not change" (Malachi 3:6). He has never deviated from His purpose from the foundation of the world. Once He had planned what He would do, He set out on to fulfill His purpose, and He has never strayed from it. Genesis 1:26 suggests this strongly: "Let Us make man in Our image." What is He doing? He is reproducing Himself. If He is creating man "in His image," then He is reproducing Himself!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)


 

Ephesians 1:4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse proves beyond dispute that God had the church in mind before the foundation of the world. "The foundation of the world" was laid in Adam and Eve's sin, so God had the church in mind before our first parents were ever offered to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or of the Tree of Life. God, from the very beginning, right up to this time, has had the church firmly in mind. He has been looking forward to the church, its formation, its growth, and its birth into His Family.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

Ephesians 1:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What the Father is doing has nothing to do with the way we are or were. It has everything to do with His initiating and choosing us because He wants us, not because of anything that we may have done.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

Ephesians 1:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This gives us a picture of what happening on earth. We can see what God is doing in a great, large scope, considering it over perhaps billions of years of time because verse 4 says that He did this before the foundation of the world. Some translations say "before the foundation of the creation." If we take the word to mean "creation," how old is the earth? Scientists say several billions of years—time beyond most people's thinking. Nevertheless, when He began to plan these things, God took into account that mankind might sin, and there would have to be something to redeem him, to buy him back, from his character flaws, his bondage to sin.

God has been planning this a long time. If the whole human lifetime is nothing but the blink of an eye compared to a thousand years, how much has God invested in terms of time? This is part of the cost we need to consider regarding Passover. This is no little thing that God is working out. We are so important to God that we are beyond value! We cannot compute it! He has billions of years invested in us! He has been thinking, planning, working things out so He can bring us into His Kingdom! It is awesome to consider!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

1 Peter 1:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Peter comments on God's operations in this sphere of His work. The King James Study Bible has an interesting note about the intent of this verse: "This is not merely advanced knowledge of, but when connected to 'before the foundation of the world,' [Ephesians 1:4] it means God determined in eternity past to bring certain ones of His creation into a special relationship with Him and each other at specific times" (emphasis added).

Consider the construction of a large building. As a new building is erected, the workers follow blueprints made by architects, engineers, designers, and draftsmen. Every detail of what is being built—where it sits on the property, perhaps ten thousand individual dimensions, water pipes, sewer lines, specifications of the foundation, composition of the flooring, steel columns, girders, electrical lines, conduit, brackets to support pipes, roofing materials, the color and composition of paints both inside and out, etc.—is determined, designed, and drafted on the plans before the actual construction began.

In principle, is this not a human form of God knowing the end from the beginning? Does this not compare to God appointing beforehand or predetermining when, where, and who does what? If men can do this on a small scale, why cannot God do this on an immensely more massive and complex scale with His vastly superior mind? Is not God's intellect of such magnitude that He can easily do this (Romans 11:33-36)? Does He not have sufficient time to plan, prepare, and bring these things to pass (Isaiah 57:15)? Dare we even think of Him as getting tired or wandering from the purpose He established for Himself (Psalm 121:3-4)?

Even so, do not get the impression that He does not react to how we use our free moral agency. If He did not react, chapters like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 would not be necessary, for in these chapters He definitely says, "If you do this, I will do that." They obviously depict Him reacting to our choices. He contemplates and judges what we do. However, this in no way negates the fact that the Bible reveals Him as the Prime Mover in His creation, always in control even in what we consider bad circumstances that directly affect us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Sovereignty and the Church's Condition (Part One)


 

 




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