Lamb Slain Before the Foundation
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are
not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of
the world." (KJV)
There are actually two legitimate ways this passage of scripture can
be translated. One is as the KJV translated it; the other is as the New
American Standard Version translates it. It says, "And all who dwell on
the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from
the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been
slain." (Rev. 13:8 NASB) The questions is, which was done "from the foundation
of the world?" Were the names written in the book of life, or was the Lamb
slain? Both ideas are supported elsewhere in scripture.
Rev. 17:8 supports the idea that the names that are in the Book of Life
were entered there before the foundation of the world. It says, "The beast
that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and
to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose
name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the
world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come."
1 Peter 1:19-20 supports the idea that before the foundation of the
world, the decision was made for Jesus, the spotless lamb to be slain.
It says, "but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless,
the blood of Christ.  For He was foreknown before the foundation of
the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you." (NASB)
The NASB translation of this verse emphasizes WHO would benefit from
Jesus' death on the cross and the KJV translation emphasizes HOW God planned
to redeem those found in the Book of Life.
Since both thoughts occur elsewhere in scripture, let's take a moment
to think about both of them. First, think about what it means to be included
in the WHO.
This week I pulled several books on the atonement off my shelf to scan
their pages in preparation for this series of sermons. One of the books
was an old book. By old, I mean it was printed in 1903. Being a book lover,
I turned its thick pages with great reverence-partly because of its age,
but partly because the
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