VI.B.5 The Cross as that Enduring Foundation

PART  VI – TRANSITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE MODEL

SUBPART B – MESSIAH-HEAD;  THE DEATH OF CHRIST

Article 5 – THE CROSS AS THAT ENDURING FOUNDATION  

By Daniel Irving

a.  When the Presumed Foundations of the Earth Fail

b.  The Enduring Foundations of the Earth

c.  The Foundation of Apostles and Prophets

d.  Inhabitants of Earth; Those Whose Confidence Remains in Flesh

e.  The Forsaking of the Eternal Covenant by Temporal Men

f.   The Temporal as Time to Prepare for that Enduring

Article 5 – THE CROSS AS THAT ENDURING FOUNDATION

a.  When the Presumed Foundation Fails

Isaiah’s 24th chapter speaks of the unstabling of the foundation in which earth’s inhabitants trust:

The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently.  The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard, and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again.                                                                                      Is. 24:19-20   (NASV)

Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface, & scatters its inhabitants.                           Is. 24:1  (NASV)

The prophetic symbolism of earth commences in the Genesis account which describes the primordial condition of the earth as being “without form and void”; characterized by “darkness”.

and the earth was without form, & void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.                                                                                    Gen. 1:2

Spiritualized, this is the condition of humanity prior to the new creation.  This lost condition of the soul is itself perceived by revelation.   The acute awareness of this fallen and darkened state of nature, when combined with the knowledge of Christ as the substance of eternal life allows the living God to fill the void with Himself in the Person of His Son.  The prophecy of Isaiah provides a spiritualized description of the first six days of creation absent the sanctification of all things within the seventh day – Sabbath – which is Christ.  Thus Isaiah’s prophecy exhorts that we “Behold”; that we see or perceive something vital.  Those having an awakened heart, ie. spiritual sight shall be able to see and perceive what is intended in this prophecy concerning the destruction of earthly things.  For this concerns not merely a physical destruction, but one spiritual.

What is meant when the Genesis account refers to the earth as without form, & void”?  The Hebrew word for “without form”[1] is also used in Scripture to mean; nothing,[2] for nought,[3] vain/vanity,[4] an “empty place”.[5]  The prophet Jeremiah then uses this same word when virtually repeating the Genesis account of earth’s origin when he speaks through the Spirit:

I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and voidand the heavens, and they had no light.      Jer. 4:23

Jeremiah’s prophecy as well invokes the Genesis account and proclaims that the heavens had “no light”.  Why would the heavens have no light?  They would have no light if they had lost their luminaries.  No sun, no moon, and no stars to act in their proper role as signs to be observed and a true witness of God through which He may enlighten men.  Who are the these missing luminaries?  They are the abdication of the true witness of God that should be the church.  For the previous verse reads:

For My people are foolish, they know Me not.   They are stupid children, & they have no understanding.  They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know.                                                                                      Jer. 4:22

The strong inference is that those entities that should be giving light, are not giving light.  And who should be set apart as living lights?  The Lord tells us:

You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.       Matt. 5:14

This city shall stand as an eternal compass for the world, guiding them into the ways and even into the presence of God; the true light that is Christ:

There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.                                                                                      John 1:9

Without the light of the church shining forth the path to Christ, the earth sits in darkness and stands in danger of incurring the final judgment of God upon its transgression.  Isaiah’s prophecy describes the spiritual defacing of earth because;“its transgression is heavy upon it, and it will fall, never to rise again.”  This judgment shall occur without respect to persons:

And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; As with the servant, so with his master; As with the maid, so with her mistress; As with the buyer, so with the seller; As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.”                              Is. 24:2  (KJV)

b.  The Enduring Foundations of the Earth

In the prophecy of Micah we read:

Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earthFor the Lord hath a controversy with His people, and He will plead with Israel.                                           Mic. 6:2

There is a foundation that is strong and that shall endure.  While the KJV renders it “strong” foundations, the NASV renders it “enduring” foundations.  The Hebrew word [6]actually means to persist in time or to have permanence.  Therefore enduring would seem the better English equivalent.  What are the “enduring foundations of the earth”?  Is the prophecy referring to a literal rock foundation or is the prophecy speaking allegorically? The foundation is spiritual, of course!

Who laid the true and spiritual foundations of the earth?  We are told that “the Lord” laid the foundations of the earth.  The 104th Psalm reads; O Lord, my God . . . [7]

[You] who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved forever.                                                                                      Ps. 104:5

No wonder then that the prophecy of Micah refers to these foundations as “enduring”.  For the foundations of the earth are eternal, even though the earth itself is not!  We know that the earth is temporal and shall pass away.  However there is something that occurred within the natural world that shall endure; a happening which constitutes the enduring foundation that was laid in the earth.   The Lord declared:

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.                                                                                      Matt. 24:35

We might therefore conclude that the “foundations of the earth” have more intimate relation to the Word of God than does the earth itself.  In fact, Job’s sanctification involved an apprehension of this foundation.  For as soon as God begins to speak with Job in his suffering, and tells Job to; “gird up [his] loins like a man”, the Lord questions Job as follows:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements?  Surely you know!   Or who stretched the line upon it?  To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid its cornerstone?                                 Job 38:4-5

The foundations have a cornerstone which we know to be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,  Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  Eph 2:20

In bringing Job into the knowledge of God, his attention is set upon the foundations that God has laid in the earth.  Why is Jesus Christ Himself named as the cornerstone of this foundation?  His incarnation in the world and his crucifixion upon the tree, laid the “foundation of the earth”.  Otherwise there is no enduring foundation!   But Christ walked in the earth as a man, shed His blood in the earth, died in the earth, and was resurrected and stood upon the earth again, this constituted an event working the nullification of natural principles upon which we presume the earth to be supported!  Therefore God questions Job with; “To what were its foundations fastened?”  But those trusting in natural principles shall fail of those true and spiritual principles that make for eternity and eternal life with God.  Jesus Christ Himself is the cornerstone of the “foundations of the earth”.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ                                                                                    I Cor. 3:11

c.  The Foundation of Apostles and Prophets

What does the prophecy mean by calling upon the “foundations of the earth” to hear the contention that the Lord has against His people?

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth& the heavens are the works of thine hands:           Heb 1:10

As to the church, its foundation is also very human in quality, as Paul writes concerning the church:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles & prophets, & Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;      Eph 2:20

To be built upon a foundation of the apostles & prophets, & Jesus Christ” necessarily requires that we be founded in conformity with the words of “the apostles & prophets, & Jesus Christ”.  Therefore the Lord said:

 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not,  shall be like unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, & the floods came, & the winds blew, & beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.                          Matt. 7:26-27

While the offices of apostle and prophet may differ in terms of their ministry, they are identical in one respect, and that is “Jesus Christ”.  But recall that as to the men who fill these offices, ie. as to Paul or Cephas, or Apollos:

. . . was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?  I Cor. 1:13

Men operating in the offices of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher are nothing in themselves.  So far as they are “in Christ” and operating under the agency of His Spirit, they partake in His divine nature as does the rest of the church; just as Christ shared in their humanity.  They comprise that “enduring foundation” that does not pass away, because they speak and operate at the unction and behest of that which cannot pass away, ie. His “Word”.  This foundation is therefore “enduring”, in that this foundation is so laid; “that it should not be moved forever”.[8]

So again, what are the “foundations of the earth”?   Simply the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, ie. the truth of Christ as delivered by God via the apostles and prophets.   The substance is Christ.  Therefore Paul also writes:

For this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles –  if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God  which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, by which when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles & prophets.        Eph. 3:1-5

The work is “Christ”, the life is “Christ”, and the substance is “Christ”, while the earthly-method of its proclamation and ministration is the holy apostles and prophets.  This is the “foundation” formed in the earth by the “dust of the earth”, ie. flesh and blood men, of whom Jesus Christ was Himself a member, and Who even is the cornerstone![9]

d.  Inhabitants of Earth; Those Whose Confidence Remains in Flesh

Prior to our establishment in Christ our confidence was in the flesh.  Rather than having our orientation toward God via the revelation of Christ, we had our orientation set upon material-things.  For instance, in the same chapter where Paul discusses what is the true (ie. “spiritual”) circumcision, he also says:

  Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,  why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances,        Col 2:20

Our death with Christ is death to this world as the object of our hope and our confidence.  Therefore along with the revelation of Christ is the discarding of what was our strength in this world, to take up a strength that operates on a very different principle; that being faith.  We discard the flesh as our governance, ie. that spirit which formerly allowed us to succeed in the world via natural strengths and by natural principles that do not (and neither can) subject themselves to God.

Those trusting in the flesh may maintain the advantage over men, but they are not open unto God.  They retain the foreskins of their heart, concealing themselves from close examination of their inward motives.  Therefore they have freedom to dissimilate, and the show they make in the flesh is a false representation of what is the true state-of-affairs within.  They may project such qualities as; sincerity, integrity, confidence, eloquence, etc., but they conceal something inwardly that is growing increasingly foul and corrupt; a foundation that is bound to collapse when pressed in judgment.  For our behavior and words (the mark of our hand and forehead) itself sits upon a spiritual-foundation; and that foundation is either founded in Law or in Grace.

The existing foundation of natural principles shall pass away with the material-world; but God has established an eternal foundation[10] in the blood of His Son.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven & earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.                 Mat 5:18

As to the material-creation, the “elements of the world” shall consume away by intense heat.  Peter writes:

  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;  in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, & the elements shall melt with fervent heat,  the earth also & the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation & godliness, Looking for & hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, & the elements shall melt with fervent heat?                        II Pet. 3:10-12

Peter uses the same Greek-word; stoy-khi’-on[11] for the English word “elements” that Paul used in reference to the; rudiments of the world”.[12]  Knowing that the former foundation is destined to perish along with its works, what is left – eternally-speaking – for man?   Only those things founded by God in Christ – accessible by means of faith in Him.  Those things pertaining to the kingdom of God as the work of the Holy Spirit in men.[13]

This foundation is made more firm to the extent we rely upon His justification at the expense of our own rights under the former covenant.  Therefore Paul exhorts the Colossians against misplacing their confidence in the; “the rudiments of the world”,[14] and uses the same Greek word he uses in his letter to the Galatians when he wrote;

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:                        Gal 4:3

Paul uses this Greek-word; stoy-khi’-on[15] again, when he tells the Galatians:

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,  how turn you again to the weak & beggarly elements whereunto you desire again to be in bondage?                    Gal 4:9

What formerly kept us in bondage were the; “weak & beggarly elements” of the world.  They were no true and enduring spiritual authority that should rule over men.  Paul also uses this term earlier in his letter to the Colossians:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy & vain deceit,  after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, & not after Christ.            Col 2:8 

Therefore the true spiritual governance of man must be given place.  The former things must pass away.

e.   The Forsaking of the Eternal Covenant by Temporal Men

Isaiah’s prophecy continues; “for the Lord has spoken this word.”  Again, these; “weak & beggarly elements” of the world constitute everything that is not of faith in Jesus Christ; which is the work of God.[16]  Thus we are warned against these things displacing what is the true and spiritual work of God; namely, whatever man has to do, say, or offer.  The prophecy reads; “for the Lord has spoken this word”.  And there is One Man whose word matters.  If we regard the word, opinions, philosophies, politics, or humanistic concerns of mankind, then we follow the lead of spiritual “women”, (prophetically and allegorically speaking) ie. the “deceived”,[17] and we shall perish with this world and its own philosophies, desires, and lusts. Therefore . . .

The earth mourns & withers, the world fades & withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away.                   Is. 24:4

The earth has chosen the way that is broad.  They have chosen the broad plain that leads to destruction upon which to wander.  Should they choose a leader and follow a path, that path would lead all the quicker to apostasy and to destruction.  Thus Job prophesied:

He takes away the heart of the chief of the people of the earthand causes them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.     They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them to stagger[18] like a drunken man.               Job 12:24-25

Men are no leaders in spiritual things.  Because of them; “the earth mourns & withers, the world fades & withers”.  For these leaders of men shall themselves be responsible for leading mankind to perdition.  Isaiah’s prophecy declares . . .

The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant.         Is. 24:5

What is the “everlasting covenant”?  This is the covenant having fulfillment in the work of Jesus Christ; the covenant signified by God unto Abraham pertaining to faith:

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee  in their generations for an everlasting covenant to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.                                  Gen. 17:7

O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.  He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.  He has remembered His covenant forever the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.  Which covenant He made with Abraham, & His oath unto Isaac;  & He confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, & to Israel for an everlasting covenant.               Ps. 105:6-10

This is the covenant in the blood of Christ:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,     Heb. 13:20

Through the breaking of the everlasting covenant humanity shall be relinquished of God:

Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty.  Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.        Is. 24:6

All things temporal shall be consumed as not wrought in that timeless principle of the love of God signified in the Lamb that was slain before the foundation.   Not only this, but all things having source in the material creation shall be consumed likewise.  For Peter writes that not only shall the material constituents be burned; “with fervent heat, [but] “also . . the works that are therein shall be burned up.”[19]  Anything founded in the natural principles of this life shall be destroyed.

f.  The Temporal as Time to Prepare for that Enduring

Recall the statement; “Before Abraham was, I am.”[20]  Christ is expressing His eternal attribute.  We accept that God is “omnipotent” (ie. all-powerful), that He is “omniscient” (ie. all-knowing), that He is “omni-present” (ie. exists everywhere), but we might forget that God is also omni-present in respect to “time”.  What to us is past, is present before God.  Not only this, but what is the unknowable future is also present before God.  Our existence – which James compares to a “vapor” -– is infinitesimal in respect to eternity.  This creation occupies a truly insignificant place in the eternal order but for the work of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, when God declares something to be “dead”, even though it appears to us as alive, what does this mean?  Whose perspective shall we accept?  By living in this world, we reside upon a host whose dead carcass is already a reality before God.  The choice given humanity is clear; Do we wish to place our confidence, our hope, our joy here in the temporal things of earth; the end of which is corruption and death?  What can our Creator do to awaken men to this the desperation of their spiritual condition?  In His mercy, He may show to the man that the temporal creation that is this life; “mourns & withers, the world fades & withers”.  Perhaps God will reveal to the man the spiritual reality that was expressed by the apostle John when he wrote:

And the world passes away, and the lust thereof:  but he that does the will of God abides for ever.           I John 2:17    

Therefore we can pray for the revelation of these things, ie. that God would reveal to our souls the very temporal and fading nature of this present life, that we might run to our Creator via the provision that He has made in His Son.

“. . . God sent His only begotten Son into the world, THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM.”         I John 4:9


[1] H8414   to’-hoo  From an unused root meaning to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), that is, desert; figuratively a worthless thing; adverbially in vain: – confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness.

[2] Job 6:18

[3] Isaiah 29:21, Isaiah 49:4

[4]I Samuel 12:21,  Isaiah 40:17, Is. 45:18, Isaiah 59:4

[5] Job 26:7

[6] H386  ‘êythân  ay-thawn’ From an unused root (meaning to continue); permanence; hence (concretely) permanent; specifically a chieftain: – hard, mighty, rough, strength, strong.

[7] Psalm 104:1

[8] Psalm 104:5

[9] See commentary on Revelation 13:16  “& he causes all” discussing the effect of this eternal foundation as nullifying the principle of sin and death.

[10] See commentary on Micah 6:2  “enduring foundations”

[11] G4747   stoicheion  stoy-khi’-on  Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4748; something orderly in arrangement, that is, (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): – element, principle, rudiment.

[12] Colossians 2:20

[13] See commentary on Micah 6:2  “enduring foundations of the earth”

[14] Colossians 2:20

[15] G4747   stoicheion  stoy-khi’-on  Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4748; something orderly in arrangement, that is, (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): – element, principle, rudiment.

[16] John 6:29  “This is the work of God, that you believe on the One that He has sent.”

[17] See commentary on Isaiah 3:12  “Women rule over them”

[18] This word “stagger” is the same Hebrew word translated “wander” earlier in the verse.

[19] II Peter 3:10

[20] John 8:58

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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