In preparation for this blog “EV Mission talk” I am beginning a preliminary study that will look at the following 10 Biblical foundational principles for missions
1. Origins and Identity – God – Christ – Church – Missionary- what is missions? what is a missionary?
2. Biblical mandate – Biblical, Theological, Cultural: What did Jesus send us out to do?
3. Historical and cultural context – worldview drives values
4.Theological & Philosophical considerations and confusion: indigneous concepts, poverty, liberation, global partners.
5. Western and Non-western perspectives and expectations
6. The local economy and the need for a multicultural perspective
7. The players: who sends who? Where? How long, and why?
8. Treasure heart principle - the use of Kingdom resources
9. A call for collaboration between the Seminary, Church, Missionary and Agency...
10. The end game – What are we really trying to accomplish?
The big idea is that God created our world and all of life to glorify Himself. Through the revelation of Himself, (His image and nature) both through His creation, (general revelation) and His Word (Special revelation), one discovers that our primary purpose as human beings is to glorify God through a journey of transformation that conforms us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. As we journey from creation (Gen 1) to the His new creation (Rev. 21), we glorify God through our engagement in worship and mission, as we seek to know God, and to make Him known! In fact, one (worship or mission) cannot fully be realized without the other! We worship God as we go out in mission, and our mission moves us to worship. It is through our relationship of mission and worship that we glorify God!
So before we can start a dialogue on mission, we need to understand the context. Where and when does missions begin. We will start with the word “foundation” and two little prepositions pro and apo, Before, or “from/since” My first statement in regards to the origins of missions is that it began both before and from the foundation of the world! Before Adam and Eve fell, before men worshiped, before Christ came into the world, missions was on God’s mind.
For this post only I will cross posted with EV Bible Talk evbibletalk.blogspot.com in order to show the relationship between the two. Future posts in EV Mission Talk will reference but not include all the background study.
Here is part 1 of EV Bible Talk: Before/From the Foundations of the world (prep. Pro & Apo)
πρὸ (ἀπὸ) καταβολῆς κόσμου (pro [apo] kataboles kosmos)
The word “foundation” καταβολῆς (kataboles) also translated as “creation” (NIV)” only appears in the N.T. in the phrase “the beginning of the foundation of the world”* the only variation is with the preposition “Before” πρὸ (pro) and “Since, or from” ἀπὸ (apo) (*with the exception on Heb 11:11 which uses the accusative case καταβολὴν (katabolen) in the sense of sowing seed or begetting with the prep εἰς lit. to sow into life)
Consider the context of these passages
"...so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 'I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.'" (Mat 13:35 NAS)
"Then athe King will say to bthose on his right, 'Come, you cwho are blessed by my Father, dinherit ethe kingdom fprepared for you gfrom the foundation of the world'". (Mat 25:34 ESV)
"...in order that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation," (Luk 11:50 NAS)
"Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world." (Joh 17:24 NAS)
"...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love (Eph 1:4 NAS)"
"For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, 'As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,' although His works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Heb 4:3 NAS)
"Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Heb 9:26 NAS)
"For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you" (1Pe 1:20 NAS)
"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 NAS)
"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." (Rev 17:8 NAS)
What is the difference between “Before” πρὸ (pro) and “Since, or from” ἀπὸ (apo)? Consider the definitions and implications of the verses.
πρὸ (pro) Before, Prep. w/ Genative Before: marker of a point of time prior to another point of time, earlier than, before (BDAG lexicon)
A. Basic Uses (with Genitive only)
1. Spatial: before, in front of, at
2. Temporal: before
3. Rank/Priority: before
So when looking at Pro: one has to determine the use of "before" with the nuance of “Spatial, Temporal or Rank” for example, in considering 1, 2 and 3, The BDAG chose 2 (temporal). As a “marker in time. Others may emphasize 3 “Rank” as in the choosing of one over another for salvation. There are theological implications here, but both conclusions recognize the point that God’s Love and sacrifice were intentionally highlighted as part of God’s plan in the beginning.
Look again at the context of pro (Before) as they relate to the foundation of the world…
The Love of the Father to the son (implied to the disciples)- Jn 17:24 (Before)
Chose us, the believer (context of predestination) (before) Eph 1:4
Christ foreknown (context of blood shed) (before) 1 Pet 1:20
ἀπὸ (apo) Basic sense ‘separation from’ someone or something., fr. which the other uses have developed. In the NT it has encroached on the domain of Att. ἐκ, ὑπό, παρά, and the gen. of separation; s. Mlt. 102; 246; Mlt-Turner 258f. (BDAG)
The basic force of ἀπό in classical Greek was separation from. “In the NT it has encroached on the domain of Att. ἐκ, ὑπό, παρά, and the gen. of separation . . . .”37
1. Separation (from place or person): away from
2. Source: from, out of
3. Cause: because of
4. Partitive (i.e., substituting for a partitive gen.): of
5. Agency (rare): by, from
Here the BDAG looks at 1 (separation) as the general use of the word. Also the idea of 2. (source) can add a nuance of context. For example in Heb 4, the source of the Sabbath, as it related to it’s purpose in creation provides a context for the finished works of Christ in Heb 4:3. Could God have had an understanding of the gospel when he rested on the seventh day of creation? Could His plans be that sure in the begging of time regarding their outcome, even before sin and death entered the world? Is His word that sure? What does it mean His works were finished since the foundation of the world?
The New Living Translates 'They will never enter my place of rest,' " even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. (Heb 4:3 NLT)
Consider the separation or source with the word apo (from or since) in the following passages as they relate to the foundation of the world…
These things (re: the Kingdom) – Mat:13:35, the Kingdom (25:34) (since)
The blood of the prophets shed – Lk 11:50 (from)
His Works finished (context Sabbath rest) (From) – Heb 4:3
Suffer (context Christ’ death sufficient one time) (since) Heb 9:25
The names written in the book of life (of the Lamb who was slain) (from) Rev 13:8, 17:8
Part one will conclude where part two will pick up with a short definition of the word “foundation” καταβολῆς (foundation NASB), (Creation NIV) the act of laying someth. down, with implication of providing a base for someth., foundation. Readily connected with the idea of founding is the sense beginning (BDAG)