God’s purpose for man was determined long before earth was prepared to sustain him. And while the plan was initially mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis, many details were shrouded in mystery until the earthly arrival of Jesus.
“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables… saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.’” Matthew 13:34-35
A parallel phrase for ‘the foundation of the world’ is ‘the beginning of the creation’, or absolute beginning. That confirms the truth that God’s plan for man was devised long before his creation.
Several times the Apostle Paul spoke of the mystery kept through many generations and reserved for God’s chosen. The mystery would not be revealed to those of the world but rather for the glory of God’s elect.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew…” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8a
The mystery revealed to the church was the gift of redemption made possible by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…who has saved us…not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed…” 2 Timothy 1:8-10a
Paul used the same term ‘before time began’ when writing to Titus confirming that God promised eternal life to His elect before time began.
And to the church at Colosse he wrote:
“…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.” Colossians 1:26
And in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus he expounded on the origin of God’s plan and its contents.
“To me…this grace was given…to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God…to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church…according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 3:8-11
The term eternal means without beginning or end. Recall Melchizedek was described as having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
The Prophet Isaiah revealed much about the eternal aspect of God.
“Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.” Isaiah 41:4
The Hebrew for ‘first’ encompasses two aspects, i.e. beginning as related to time, and preeminence. The term ‘last’ means the One to bring the termination of the age.
“…I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 46:9-10
“Indeed before the day was, I am He…” Isaiah 43:13a
The Psalmist also spoke of the eternal attribute of God.
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2
Therefore, there was much activity before the earth was prepared for man and there will be much more activity after the end of this age.
And since Jesus is deity, He is likewise the ‘first and the last’.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13
In both Hebrew and Greek ‘end’ and ‘last’ can be used interchangeably.
Thus, God’s plan for His elect was devised before time began and will never end. His plan was not made known to the Prophets; rather His plan was a mystery until revealed with the arrival of Christ and the establishment of the ‘church’.
The fulfillment of God’s plan for man is still in its early stages.