Chapter 8b

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"The Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world…" (Rev 13:8).

"Now, O, Father, Glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was…" (John 17:5).

"God Who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of the Eternal Covenant… " (Heb 13:20).

It was just after the last supper, where the Lord Jesus had taken bread and "brake it, saying, this is My body which is broken for you… In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood: this do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me" (1 Cor 11:23-26).

The Lord and His eleven disciples were on their way from the supper room to the garden of Gethsemane. As they passed along through the outer court of the temple, which was always open at midnight on the eve of the Passover, the Master continued to speak to them in the silence of the night.

Wondrous words He spoke, so tender and full of love and understanding of their mingled feelings of sorry and perplexity, as He speaks of "going away," all of which did not fully dawn upon them.

The noise in the garden is hush still that midnight hour, as a man kneels and pours out his heart and soul to His Father. The words He utters are a prayer that reverberates back into the eons of eternity and the ineffable communion of the Godhead.

"Having completed the work which Thou hast given Me to do… glorify thou Me Father with the glory which I had with thee before the cosmos was…" (Joh 17:4,5).

It was no ordinary man who speaking such words, but very God Himself veiled in human flesh. The man who knelt and prayed that night was "before the world was." He was not only Divinity but Deity. Before there was an earth, a sun, a moon, stars and galaxies, He was with God. For verily it says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God" (Joh 1:1).

He was "originally in the form of God," but considered it not something to be grasped to be an equality with God, but emptied Himself… being made in the likeness of men… becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Phi 2:6-8).

It was now the eve of the cross. The eternal covenant "before the foundations" made between Father and Son "before the world was," which necessitated His obedience unto death, was now about to be sealed with His blood.

The "Lamb slain before the foundation of the world," was now about to be slain in that same world of which He Himself was the very Creator. This fact is hard to comprehend, nevertheless that is what happened. The very God, Himself, who created all things, came to this earth to die.

The purpose of the eternal covenant , made far back in that distant period of time, described as "the beginning," was now about to be fulfilled. The Eternal Son has offered Himself to accomplish a work WITH ISSUES SO VAST, as yet our finite minds can grasp but little of its vastness. The Covenant, concerning this sacrificial work has been written in the eternal records, for the Son had said, "Lo, I am come…" "In the roll of the book it is written of Me" — "I delight to do Thy will, O My God" (See Psalm 40: 6-8 and Hebrews 10:7).

What was that will? What was the subject of the covenant? A snapshot is given in the Epistle to the Colossians, in the words,

"For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things upon the earth, of things in the heavens" (Col 1:19,20).

What this passage clearly indicates, is that the heavenly hosts themselves, i.e. the unfallen angels, stood in need of Christ's atonement. And again, in Hebrews 9:23.

"It was necessary, " let us notice the strong tone of the obligation… It was NECESSARY "that the copies of things in the heavens should be cleansed with these (i.e. Jewish sacrifices), but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices…"

It is therefore crystal clear that the covenant made far back in eternity involved the Cross, and that "Before the world was" there existed some condition "in the heavens" which made a cleansing necessary, and some "reconciliation" which only the blood of the cross could effect. Therefore the Son of God became "the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world." The Cross was decreed in the Eternal counsel before ever the world was made, and the angels/man created. It concerned realms beyond our earth planet, "things in the heavens;" as well as man, and "things on earth."

All that the covenant involved, and all that the "work" meant in cost, and sacrifice, the Son undertook to fulfill. The scriptures collective hints on this subject suggests that the Father invested the Son with special powers for the carrying out of His work, and that the earth itself was created for this very purpose. Hence the apostle describes Him as Primeval Creator of all creation; because "In Him were all things created, in the heavens, and upon earth, the visible and the invisible… all things have been created through Him and for HIM…" (Col 15:16). And again, "All things came into being through Him" (Joh 1:3).

The first chapter of Hebrews in the light of this passage in Colossians is full of meaning, for we seem to read again of the covenant period, and covenant conditions. There was a time far back in the timeless past, when the Father appointed His Son, "through Whom He made the ages," "Heir of all things" (Heb 1:2) when "He was anointed… with the oil of gladness" above His fellows, because "He loved righteousness and hated iniquity."

And when the Father said to Him, "Thy throne O God is forever and ever." Then, at that moment in time when the Son, who was "very God of very God," became incarnate, the command went forth in heaven, "Let all the angels of God worship Him," and all the hierarchic host of heaven worshipped at His birth. In such a birth in human form He had stripped Himself of His glory, but not of His Divine Nature. A "Child" was born, who was at the same time "Mighty God, and Everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6).

If we follow His steps, and listen to His words as He walked on earth as man, we find language used by Him which can only be understood in light of the eternal covenant, indicating that He was carrying out some purpose agreed upon with His Father, "I must be about my Father's business," He said at the age of twelve; and later "I must work the works of Him that sent Me." Nor in His hour of trial, when on the eve of the cross, could He use the authority He had to ask for the service of angels to deliver Him, for how else could the covenant be fulfilled, so He said, "thus it must be" (Mat 26:54).

Again the language of One who had come from God, and Who was co-equal with the Father, is used again and again: "I have come down out of heaven." "The Bread of God is He who cometh down out of heaven." What if ye behold the Son of man ascending where He was before?" And "Before Abraham existed 'I AM," using the very language Jehovah used in the revelation of Himself to Moses.

The Father's delight in, and witness to the Son, is also full of testimony to the joy He has given to His heart in the Commission He had undertaken. "This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased" (Mat 3:17) spake the voice from heaven at his baptism in the Jordan, and repeated again on the mount of transfiguration (Mat 17:5). The Son also found His strength in the Father's love. "The Father loveth the Son…" He said, and again in His last supper prayer, "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world."

We see, therefore, that the cross was no afterthought in the counsels of Deity, but the very center, or crux of an eternal covenant between Father and Son, made "before the world was" and that it was necessitated by some condition in the invisible world, of which we have but glimpses; as well as clearly necessitated by the after fall of the new human race placed upon the created earth, but foreseen and provided for in that same covenant of the Godhead.

This is to be seen in the statements made by the apostle, that the whole plan of salvation for fallen man was embodied in the eternal covenant. It was the outcome of the eternal nature of the Deity as LOVE. God the Father "so loved the cosmos that He gave His only begotten son…" And the Son so loved that He gave Himself. The grace of God was given "IN Christ, before times eternal" (2 Tim 1:9). Christ crucified as the "wisdom of God: was fore-ordained before the worlds to our glory" (1 Cor 2:7). We were chosen IN Christ "before the foundations of the world" (Eph 1:4). Peter also says that Christ as the Lamb of God was "foreknown before the foundation of the cosmos" (1 Pet 1:20).

"All things" had to be "reconciled" unto the Father, and "peace" made by the blood of the cross, on earth and in heaven. What could there be to "reconcile," or make "peace" about in the heavens? And what had taken place that only Deity could deal with, and not one of the great Archangels of God? Again we have only glimpses given in various parts of Scripture, but these are sufficient to enable us to understand.

The angels of God had fallen, the "third part" of the stars were drug down by the tail of the dragon (Rev 12:4). Adam and Eve fell from heaven. Man could never remove the effects of the fall and the enmity that existed against the Creator. How painful the shock of this revolt in heaven must have been we can but dimly fathom. There was something to "reconcile" and some "peace" to restore which we cannot define or know.

Morover, the fallen angels themselves had to be dealt with. Heaven and earth must be rid of their presence, and that of the misguided ones who had chosen to follow the way of independence and rebellion. They must not only be cast down from heaven, but after their physical death, their souls cast into hell and eventually the lake of fire.

Christ provided a way back to God for those who were both predestined, and in cooperation with that election, chose to repent and return home to their Father.

The Son—the Only begotten of the Father—undertook the work which no angel of God could do. The Cross of Calvary was set up on earth, upon which the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world" must die, was decreed. Potentially from that moment, the "Lamb" was already "slain," and forming the basis, so to speak, of all the dealings of the Holy God with the after created universe. The principles of vicarious sacrifice was wrought in to the very foundations of the after-created planet earth, and life out of death made to interpenetrate all its laws, both in nature and in the world of men—not only for teaching, in line upon line, the principle of vicarious sacrifice, but also to foreshow the meaning of the cross of Golgotha, when the Lamb slain from the foundation of the cosmos should be slaughtered before the eyes of men.

That the basis of the cross already existed in the counsels of the Deity is also to be seen in Eden (Gen 3:21) when the first blood was shed to provide a covering for the fallen pair, before sending them forth to live and toil on the sin-cursed earth.

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And then, when the fullness of time came God sent forth His Son (Gal 4:4). Who, at Calvary was "delivered up" by "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Act 2:23) entered alone upon the conflict with the malignant foe, a conflict the issues of which concerned heaven, and earth, and hell. An "hour" was permitted to the "power of darkness: (Luk 22:53) in which to do its worse number on the sacrificial Lamb, and an "hour" also in which fallen man was allowed to manifest the depth of the fall.

"Bearing the sins of the cosmos" upon Him, the Son of God hung upon the accursed tree of man's knowledge. The crucifixion-crime of fallen men, urged on by the invisible demons of Satan, was on the part of the Deity a manifestation of the Lambhood nature of God; a propitiation for the sins of the whole cosmos; and an utter overthrow of the usurper Satan and all the minions of evil. On the part of the men who crucified Him, it was no less a crime for which they were responsible because that tragic death was foreknown of God, and that it was decreed in the counsel of eternity, that "God manifest in the flesh" should permit them to slay Him. These men were murderers at heart, just as Cain was "of the wicked one" and slew his brother who was righteous while his works were evil.

In the sight of God, this was the same as they who slew the Christ, although He did not die from crucifixion—but by His own voluntarily laying down His life when He dismissed His spirit (Mat 27:50).

At last from the darkness surrounding the figure on the cross came a mighty shout of triumph. "It is finished" He cried—the work was done. He had put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; He had conquered the foe. "He disarmed the Principalities and powers (who fought against Him and were cast out of heaven) and put them to open shame" (Col 2:15).

He had been "obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross—wherefore God also highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the Name which is above every Name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, OF THINGS IN HEAVEN, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phi 2:11).