The phrase, “the foundation of the world” is found 10 times in the Bible. Every occurrence is in the New Testament. The Greek word for foundation is katabole, and according to Strong’s Concordance, it means: a deposition, i.e. founding; figuratively, conception: conceive, foundation. In fact, in Hebrews 11:11 it is translated, “through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed”. So the word speaks of beginnings or origins.
Thus, as we ponder some of the passages where this phrase, “the foundation of the world” is found, it unlocks some of the golden mysteries of the divine purposes of God. Observe:
When Jesus prayed His great high priestly prayer in John 17, He spoke of The Father loving Him “before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24) That statement indicates that Jesus is not a created being. Contrary to those who teach that Jesus is somewhat lesser than deity, Jesus is not a part of the created order, for He Himself is the very source and origin of all creation (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16,17).
That very same phrase reveals that the purpose of the cross and its work of atonement was not God’s “plan B”, or an afterthought. Peter very precisely writes under the inspiration of The Holy Ghost that Jesus, “verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:20-21) Before there was a universe or existence as we know it, God’s plan of redemption was set in place.
And what else happened “before the foundation of the world”? We see that God chose us in Christ then. We see that He, “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” We read that God did all of this, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3- 6) Redemption is the eternal plan of God for the salvation of His people.
The Scripture also speaks of a book of life that contains names which were written in it “from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). Those who have come to the saving knowledge of Christ by trusting in His vicarious sacrifice were written in that book. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!” Is your name in that book, my friend?
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). “For ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ” (Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32)