Calvary as Theophany: Part 2, The Lamb Who Was Slain from the Foundation of the World

So, Calvary is not an event in the life of God, a moment of change or transition in how God feels about us. Calvary is, rather, a window into the heart of God--an unveiling, a revelation, an apocalypse, a theophany. Calvary shows us--finally, decisively, conclusively, and unambiguously--that God is love. 

A text that can function as the thesis statement of this perspective comes from Revelation 13.8:

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.
Here Jesus is described as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." 

Now, before unpacking this, I do want to note that there is some interpretive choice here. Many translations follow the KJV, attaching the temporal marker "from the foundation of the world" to the Lamb. But other translations attach it elsewhere in the sentence. For example, from the ESV: "Everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." That's a huge change, so big, in fact, it is the complete opposite of the reading I'm going to provide. 

All that to say, I'm aware of the hazards of building a theological edifice out of a single, contestable line of Scripture. But I do want to share how the description of Jesus here in Revelation 13.8 as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" fits with the notion of Calvary as theophany.

Specifically, if Jesus eternally is and was, before the world began, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" then Jesus has already died for you before you were even created. Again, what we see on Calvary isn't new, isn't a change. Calvary simply reveals how God has always felt about you. Because Jesus is the Lamb slain before creation existed you were always loved, always forgiven. The love we see on Calvary created all things, the blood of Jesus is baked into the world, covers the entire world, right from the start. Calvary doesn't make that happen, Calvary reveals this truth to us. 

We ask the question, "How does God feel about me?" We point to the cross. There, see, God is pouring out his life and love for you. Jesus shows you how God feels about you. This is how God has always, eternally, felt about you. Look! The Lamb who was slain: He was hanging on the cross for you before the world even existed. There is no before or after. God has always loved you. Calvary is simply who God has always been.

Now, I can see you scratching your head: Does this mean, then, that before we were ever born, we were already saved, already forgiven? 


Well, yes and no. One more post to go...

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