Jesus died and rose again at the foundation of the world, thereby shedding His blood. Thereby performing the work of faith in the atonement. Thereby becoming the first born from the dead.
Thereby---through the resurrection---being declared the Son of God.
Jesus’ death at the foundation of the world also meant the death of the Testator, and the activation of the will making the inheritance available for all named within the Lamb’s book of life.
Once we understand this fact, we then understand how Abel, Noah, Abraham, and all the Old Testament saints could have experienced salvation. Their sins could be remitted (Hebrews 9:22) because the Lamb was already slain at the point of the world’s foundation (Revelation 13:8).
And these Old Testament saints could be counted righteous because Christ’s glorious act of obedience was already done on their behalf, before the world even was (Romans 5:19). These Old Testament saints could be justified by the work of Christ thousands of years before the cross, because that work was finished at the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3). A man like Moses could be resurrected from the dead, and yet, NOT be the firstborn from the dead because Jesus had experienced His resurrection at the foundation of the world (Colossians 1:18). Abraham could be justified by faith with all necessary accompanying works, because Christ showed forth His faith by His works when He died from the foundation of the world (James 2:14-26).
Once we have the proper key in understanding, which is, that Jesus actually made payment for the sins of His people at the foundation of the world, we then have beautiful, and wonderful harmony within the whole Bible.
NUMEROUS PROBLEMS & DIFFICULTIES
On the other hand, however, when we try to force Christ’s payment for sin into the time frame of 33 AD, we find inconsistency after inconsistency with other Scriptures.
First, there is difficulty with direct statements of the Bible that say the Lamb was slain, and works were finished at the world’s foundation (Revelation 13:8, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 9:24-26)--theological jargon is exercised in order to try and explain them away.
Second, there is difficulty with a gospel for O.T. saints that lacks shed blood. And despite the fact that the Bible says that “without shedding of blood there is no remission”, again, proponents of Christ making payment on the cross use theological commentary to assist us in ‘understanding’ why this is not a problem.
Third, there is the difficulty that arises because the Bible says Abraham was counted righteous due to His faith (Romans 4:5). His faith can only be the faith of Christ. And yet, the Bible says that faith without works is dead (James 2:17,20,26). That is, Christ must have performed some works in order for His faith to be of worth. But again, the role of Christ’s faith in imputed righteousness to O.T. saints is diminished, thus taking glory away from the One Whom it is due, and the error is compounded as the faith is accredited to Abraham, and a mere man is lifted up (in the place reserved solely for Christ).
Fourth, there is the problem that Jesus was not the first born from the dead (Colossians 1:17,18) as the Bible clearly says, but apparently Moses was resurrected before Jesus. Because Moses died and appeared on the mount of transfiguration with Jesus, before He went to the cross in 33 AD. Again, additional theological pondering is needed to provide answer to this dilemma. I haven’t heard the response as yet, but I’m sure it will be something along the lines of Christ’s resurrection was so certain, that it was as though (i.e. more in principle) it had happened already and therefore He was the first born from the dead.
Fifth, there is the major problem of Christ being declared (or, given the name of) the Son of God through the resurrection of the dead (Romans 1:3, 4). Yet, the Bible says that the Son created the world; and Christ was often called the Son of God BEFORE He went to the cross in 33 AD.
Again, more language of ‘in principle’ must be applied.
Sixth, there is the problem concerning the Biblical statement that many were made righteous by the obedience of One (Romans 5:19). Obedience requires action. You cannot be obedient simply through words (see: Matthew 21:28-31). Its impossible to show forth obedience in something done in principle only. Again, God says that many were made righteous by the obedience of One---this includes the O.T. saints. But how could they have been made righteous by Christ’s obedience when He had not yet obediently performed it (according to the doctrine of payment of sins occurring at the cross in 33 AD)?
Seventh, the Bible is the book of the covenant. The covenant is like a will that God Himself wrote. In the Bible the will of the Testator (Jesus) is laid out for us. But the will (covenant) is not activated until there is the death of the Testator (Jesus). Aspects of the covenant (including salvation by faith/work of Christ) could not be in force until the Testator died (Hebrews 9:16,17).
CHRIST SLAIN AT FOUNDATION OF WORLD--MAKES HIM PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS
Since most of the Bible is the Old Testament, and since the things stated above are found practically everywhere in the Old Testament, we begin to see just how egregious a problem this is for people that are refusing the Bible’s teaching on this matter, and stubbornly clutching on to what was taught them by church theologians of the past---it is a doctrine that touches upon imputed righteousness, Christ’s obedience and work of faith, the proper order of things which the Bible says, ought to give Christ the preeminence:
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Preeminence means BEFORE ALL. The opening up of the Scriptures at the time of the end on this topic, brought preeminence to the Lord Jesus Christ. He gets the glory because this doctrine, more than perhaps any other doctrine, shows Jesus was first. First to die. First to rise from the dead. Firstborn from the dead. First in works. First in faith. First in obedience. First in righteousness.
The true teaching of the Bible on this matter, that Christ died and resurrected at the foundation of the world, provides beautiful and perfect harmony with the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as the entire Bible.