Revelation 13:8
And all who dwell on the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
Sermons
Christ Sacrificed in EternityD. Thomas Revelation 13:8
Safety in Times of Worldly OppressionR. Green Revelation 13:1-10
Admiration of the BeastF. D. Maurice, M. A.Revelation 13:1-18
His Deadly Wound was HealedThomas Fuller, D. D.Revelation 13:1-18
The Domain of AntichristD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 13:1-18
The Domain of AntichristD. Thomas Revelation 13:1-18
The Two Wild Beasts; Or, the World and its WisdomS. Conway, B. A.Revelation 13:1-18
The Two Wild Beasts; Or, the World and its WisdomS. Conway Revelation 13:1-18
Christ Sacrificed in EternityD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 13:7-8
Eternal AtonementR. D. Hitchcock, D. D.Revelation 13:7-8
The Lamb SlainAmerican National PreacherRevelation 13:7-8
The Place of the Cross in the WorldG. Matheson, D. D.Revelation 13:7-8
War with the SaintsW. Burkitt, M. A.Revelation 13:7-8


The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. From this wonderful declaration we conclude -

I. THAT THE THINGS THAT ARE TO HAPPEN IN THE UNIVERSE IN THE MOST DISTANT FUTURE ARE TO GOD AS FACTS ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED. As a fact in this world's history the crucifixion of Christ was enacted about eighteen centuries ago, and yet here it is declared to have occurred before all time, before any creature existed, when he lived alone in the solitudes of eternity. Two things are here disclosed:

1. That God's intelligence is infinite. He knows not only all that has been, and all that is, but all that ever will be. All the generations that are yet to appear on this earth, with their commerce, politics, literature, religions, are facts to him. All the worlds and systems which are yet to be launched into immensity are to him realities. The slaying of Christ on Calvary was a fact to him ages before his purpose became realized to men.

"Eternity, with all its years,
Stands open to thy view:
To thee, great God, there's nothing old appears;
To thee there's nothing new."

2. That God's purposes are unfrustratable. Christ's death was according to God's eternal decree. It was his "determinate counsel," and after millions of ages it was accomplished. What God has purposed must come to pass - the conversion of the world, the resurrection of the dead, the transactions of the judgment day, etc., all are inevitable things. "Heaven and earth shall pass away."

II. THAT SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE IS AN ETERNAL PRINCIPLE IN THE CREATION. Here it is in the mind of God before all worlds. Christ was slain before the "foundation of the world." Self-sacrificing love is a new and a rare thing to us, the men of this little planet, because we have fallen from the eternal order of things; but it is an old and common principle in God's creation.

1. It is the root of the universe. What is the creation but love going forth in infinite gifts? Every life that breathes, every plant that blooms, every star that shines, is a gift of love.

2. It is typified in all material existences. Where is there a thing to be found throughout the vast domain of nature that is made for itself? All existences work, live, and die for the good of others. "The several kingdoms of nature depend on and, therefore, help each other. The mineral is the solid basis on which is spread out the vegetable - the body that its vesture clothes. The vegetable directly nourishes the animal. The tree does not grow for itself; it cradles the birds, and feeds animated races, and shades the traveller until he blesses it. Of all the thousand and ninety species of plants that botany has classified, not one, from the vast oak to the weed that springs out of its mould, and the moss that clings to its bark, but takes its appointed place in a related family. The atmosphere would lose its salubrity but for the salt and bitter sea. The ground would catch no fertilizing streams if the clouds did not kindly drop them from the sky. The flowers wait for the falling light before they unveil their beauty. All growing things are buttressed up by the vast ribs of everlasting granite that sleep in sunless caverns. Heat, electricity, magnetism, attraction, send their subtle powers through nature, and play through all its works, as unseen and silent as the Eternal Spirit they bear witness of. Everything helps, and everything is helped."

3. It agrees with the moral constitution of the soul. The soul is so formed:

(1) That it can recognize nothing morally praiseworthy that does not spring from it. Disinterestedness must be the soul of any conduct it can heartily commend.

(2) Its conscience can approve of no act of its own that is not inspired by it. Our consciences have not a single smile for the avaricious and self seeking.

(3) Its happiness can only be realized as it is controlled by it. "He that seeketh his life shall lose it, and he that loseth it shall find it." Self-oblivious benevolence is the fountain of human joy. This eternal principle of self-sacrificing love we must have in us before we can be saved; it is, in fact, salvation. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." The flesh and the blood here stand for the vitality of Christ. And what was this moral life, the moral essence of Christ, the soul of his soul, the moral blood? Self-sacrificing love. And this we must get into us or die.

III. THAT REDEMPTION IS NO AFTER THOUGHT IN THE ARRANGEMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE. It is true that the slain Lamb of Calvary came to meet and master an evil - the world's depravity. He came to "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." But it was all according to the eternal order of things. Miserably narrow and God-degrading ideas of Christ's work are popular in the pulpits of some of the sects. Sometimes it is spoken of as an expedient which the Almighty took a long time to contrive in order to overcome a state of things that had sprung up in his kingdom. Like some human king, he had a great deal to do in order to hit upon the best plan to harmonize his attributes, to reconcile mercy to justice, to maintain the order of his government, and, at the same time, save and forgive repentant rebels. And sometimes it is so spoken of as if the original system which God established with humanity was defective, did not work well, broke down, and thus not only disappointed the Creator, but taxed his wisdom greatly in order to invent an expedient that should meet the difficulty. Away with such notions! They are repugnant to reason, they are an insult to Omniscience, they are a libel on the gospel, they are obstructive to Christianity.

1. God foresaw the fall from eternity. This is an undeniable fact. Why did he not prevent it? Ah! why?

2. God ordained the remedy from eternity. Redemption was no after thought; it is an essential part, and, perhaps, a primary part of the original scheme of the universe. All that are redeemed to moral order, rectitude, and peace by Christ, are so redeemed "according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

IV. THAT OUR PLANET WAS PROBABLY FORMED FOR THE SPECIAL PURPOSE OF BECOMING THE THEATRE OF GOD'S REDEMPTIVE LOVE TO MAN, This is saying more than that Christ came into the world. There are men who argue from the littleness of this planet the absurdity of this. But material magnitude is nothing to God; spiritual existences and moral facts are vitally interesting to him. But the text leads us beyond - leads us to believe that this world was made for the express purpose. As God had the idea of redemption before the "foundation of the world," and as the idea is being worked out here, is it not probable that this idea guided him in its formation? Small in bulk as our planet is when compared with that of other orbs that roll in splendour under the eye of God, it has a grand moral distinction. Its dust formed the fruits that fed the body of the Son of God. Here he lived, laboured, suffered, and was buried, and here his grand work is being carried on. If it be moral facts that give importance to places, is there a more important spot than this earth? - D.T.







To make war with the saints.
Observe —

1. A war proclaimed; the beast makes war upon the saints, by bloodshed and persecution, and by the force of those weapons overcomes them; that is to outward appearance and in the opinion of the world. But really do the saints overcome him by their patience under sufferings, and by adhering to the truth.

2. The large extent of the beast's power that was given him, namely, over all kindreds, tongues, and nations. Christ's flock is a little flock, compared with antichrist's herd: how wrong a note then is multitude of the right Church?

3. That as the power of the beast is universal, so is the worship also. "All that dwell on the earth shall worship him."

4. We have a number excepted, "Whose names are written in the book of life." Christ has His number of faithful ones, who are not defiled by antichrist's pollutions; a number whose conversations are in heaven.

5. The title here given to our Lord Jesus Christ, He is styled "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

(W. Burkitt, M. A.)

The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world
I. THE THINGS THAT ARE TO HAPPEN IN THE UNIVERSE IN THE MOST DISTANT FUTURE ARE TO GOD AS FACTS ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED.

1. God's intelligence is infinite.

2. God's purposes are unfrustrable.

II. THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE IS AN ETERNAL PRINCIPLE IN THE CREATION.

1. It is the root of the universe.

2. It is typified in all material existences.

3. It agrees with the moral constitution of the soul, which is so formed —

(1)That it can recognise nothing as morally praiseworthy that does not spring from it.

(2)Its conscience can approve of no act of its own that is not inspired by it.

(3)Its happiness can be realised only as it is controlled by it.

III. REDEMPTION IS NO AFTERTHOUGHT IN THE ARRANGEMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE.

IV. OUR PLANET WAS PROBABLY FORMED FOR THE SPECIAL PURPOSE OF BECOMING THE THEATRE OF GOD'S REDEMPTIVE LOVE TO MAN. Small in bulk as our planet is, compared with that of other orbs that roll in splendour under the eye of God, it has a grand moral distinction. Its dust formed, its fruit fed the body of the Son of God. Here He lived, laboured, suffered, and was buried, and here His grand work is being carried on. If it be moral facts that give importance to places, is there a more important spot than this earth?

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The prevalent opinion no doubt has been that the atonement is simply an historic fact, dating back now some fourteen hundred years; and that only the purpose of it is eternal. But Johann Wessel, the great German theologian, who died only six years after Martin Luther was born, got hold of the idea that not election only, but atonement also is an eternal act. And this, it seems to me, is both rational and Scriptural. Eternal election, profoundly considered, requires eternal atonement for its support. Both are eternal, as all Divine realities are eternal. And so the relationship of God to moral evil stands forth as an eternal relationship. Not that evil is itself eternal; but God always knew it and always felt it. It may help our thinking in this direction to remember that there is a sense in which creation itself is eternal; not independently eternal, but, of God's will, dependently eternal. There must nothing be said, or thought, in mitigation of the ethical verdict against moral evil. The hatefulness of it, no matter what its chronology may be, is simply unspeakable. Wrong doing is the one thing nowhere, and never, to be either condoned or endured. Nor should any attempt be made to get at the genesis of moral evil. The beginning of it is simply inconceivable. The whole thing is a mystery, and must be let alone. Moral evil is not eternal; or there would be two infinities. Nor is it a creature of God; or God would be divided against Himself. And yet it had the Divine permission, whatever that may be imagined to have been. Practically, historic sin finds relief in historic redemption. Apparently, there was little, if any, interval between the two. But the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world suggests a far sublimer theodicy. We are taken back behind the human ages, behind all time, into awful infinite depths, into the very bosom of the Triune God. Trinity is another name for the self-consciousness, and self-communion of God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are vastly more than the revelation of God to man; they are the revelation of God to Himself, and the intercourse of God with Himself. They suggest infinite fulness and richness of being. Our scientific definitions of God do not amount to much. What we need is to see God in the life, both of nature and of man. God creates, governs, judges, punishes, redeems, and saves; but love is the root of all. This yearning, grieved, and suffering God is the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Son of God, Son of Mary. This sinless child should have had no sins of His own. His sorrows could have been only those old eternal shadows of permitted sin. The Cross on which He died, flinging out its arms as if to embrace the world, lifted up its head toward the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Our hearts now go back to Calvary; and from Calvary they go up to God. One word more. This stupendous idea of eternal atonement carries with it the idea of universal atonement. Whatever it was, and is, it must needs have been infinite. No magnitude of sin, no multitude of sinners, can bankrupt its treasury of grace. "God so loved the world," is its everlasting refrain. "He that will, let him take the water of life freely."

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

American National Preacher.
I. THE DESIGNATION here given to the Saviour. He is called "the Lamb." This is a most appropriate title, since we look upon a lamb as the emblem of innocence, gentleness, and submission; qualities of goodness in which the blessed Redeemer was pre-eminent, and fairer than the children of men.

II. THE SLAUGHTER. "The Lamb slain." The slaughtered Lamb was a prominent element in the Jewish ritual, and a standing type of the Lamb of God, whose obedience unto death procured the life of the world. There were three remarkable instances of this under the Old Testament dispensation. The first is the case of Abraham in offering his son Isaac. St. Paul tells us that this was a figure of the death and resurrection of Christ. The second distinct instance of the typical allusion, is the paschal lamb. This is shown by the observation of St. Paul, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast. The third instance in which this animal is used as a type of Christ was on the daily sacrifice.

III. THE DATE of this transaction — "from the foundation of the world." How is this to be understood?

1. He was slain in the purpose of God. Contingency with man is certainty with God. Purpose and accomplishment are the same with Him.

2. Not only in purpose but in type is the doctrine true.

3. He was so in effect.

(American National Preacher.)

The Lamb is said to have been slain from the foundation of the world. It was not the result of an accident; it was not the result of an emergency; it was something involved in the plan of the creation itself — a design of its being. Its first stone was laid with a view to the development of the sacrificial life. Was St. John, then, an optimist, or a pessimist? In the worldly sense of these words he was something different from either, and something which admitted a truth in both. On the one hand he holds with the worldly optimist that all things do work for the highest good; the universe is to him the product of love. But on the other hand, just because it is the product of love, he could never admit that it is a field for self-gratification. He found in it a sphere that, from the beginning to the end of the day, disappointed every selfish hope, wrecked every ship that sailed only for its own cargo. And why so? Because to him the essence of God was love. If God be love, the highest good must be to be made in the image of love. St. John asked himself how that could be done on the Greek principle of self-indulgence, or the Jewish principle of s physical Messiah. He felt that if the end of life were simply to wear purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day, and if life itself were amply suited to such an end, then life was incompatible with love. This world, in short, is to St. John a development and an upward development; but it is a development of self-sacrifice. The Apocalypse has been called a sensuous book; it is to my mind the least sensuous book in the Bible. It describes the process of the ages as a process of self-surrender. This, then, is the meaning of the passage, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." It means that Christ was all along the goal of creation, and that creation is a making for Christ. More particularly, it means that the line of this world's progress has been a development of self-sacrifice. It seems to me that in this last point the writer of the Apocalypse has come nearer to a philosophy of history than all who went before him. If you take any other line of progress you will fail, in my opinion, to prove that there has been an advance in the march from the old to the new. Shall we take intellect? Do we feel that the amount of mind force is greater in the modern Englishman than it was in the ancient Greek? It would be difficult to feel it, and it would be impossible to prove it: are Plato and Aristotle inferior to the best intellects among us? Shall we take imagination? Have we reached the architectural conception which planned the pyramids? Have we outrun the triumphs of Greek sculpture? Have we surpassed the poetry of Homer? Have we sustained the fame of the mediaeval painters? Have you ever considered how much of invention is itself due to the spread of the unselfish principle? Why have the great ages of discovery been the ages after Christ? Is it not just because Christ has been before them? Is it not because the spirit of sacrifice has awakened man to the wants of man? The times of self-seeking were not the times of invention. St. John says creation is moving toward a type — a lamb slain, and it is moving toward that type in a straight line — the line of sacrifice. It is climbing to its goal by successive steps which might be called steps downward — increasing limitations of the self-life. To what extent did St. John see this? He saw in visible nature a series of gospel pictures; everything seemed to live only by losing itself. He saw the waves of the sea of Patmos passing into waves of light; he beheld the waves of light passing into eddies of the sea. It seemed to him that even in that lonely spot God had inscribed upon the walls of nature the image of a cross. By and by, before the eyes of the seer there flashed a higher order of creation, and it was clothed in the same garb — the robe of sacrifice. He passed from the pictorial representation of sacrifice in nature to its actual, though involuntary, representation in animal life. The very reference to a slain lamb is a reference to an animal sacrifice. How did St. John reconcile himself to that spectacle of an involuntary sacrifice of the animal life prescribed by the Old Testament? He said it was a type of Christ. If sacrifice be the law of the highest being, it is desirable to reach it. You can only reach anything by a repeated experience of it. There passed before him the natural sacrifices of the human heart. I believe that the cares of the heart prevent every man from living the full amount of his natural years. What is the difference, then, between the sacrifice of the animal and the sacrifice of the man? It is an inward difference; the obligatory has become the voluntary. What has made it voluntary? It is love, a force to which in the animal world nothing exactly corresponds, a force which adds to the sacrifice, and at the same time helps to bear it. And yet merely natural love is far from having reached the goal. It is noble; it is beautiful; but it is not the topmost triumph. The mother's love, the brother's love, the husband's love, the son and daughter's love, are each and all the search for something kindred to ourselves. St. John looks out for a vaster type — a love that can come where there is no kindred, no sympathy. He seeks a love that shall strive for the survival of the unfittest — the blood of a spotless soul that can wash the sins of the absolutely impure. This is to John the perfect type of altruism — the Lamb that was slain. It is the progress towards this type that constitutes to St. John the philosophy of history.

(G. Matheson, D. D.)

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