Monday, December 24, 2012

Assumption of Moses

Why is there an emphasis on the "foundation of the word" in the New Testament?


The phrase "foundation of the world" does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament. "Foundation of the earth" does appear in the OT but there is a distinction between "earth" and "world". "The Assumption of Moses" or the "Testament of Moses" as it is also called, is an ancient text that was sometimes quoted by the early Church Fathers. Only a fragment of it exists today.
From Assumption of Moses, Chapter 1
...For He has created the world on behalf of His people. But He was not pleased to manifest this purpose of creation from the foundation of the world, in order that the Gentiles might thereby be convicted, yea to their own humiliation might by (their) arguments convict one another. Accordingly He designed and devised me, and He prepared me before the foundation of the world, that I should be the mediator of His covenant...
Here, Moses is talking to Joshua about the why God created the world - it was for his people Israel. This purpose was kept a mystery so that the Gentiles might be convicted.

There are many New Testament passages that use the phrase "foundation of the world". I think it is likely they are alluding to a text outside of the Old Testament. The Assumption of Moses uses this phrase and it could have easily been utilized by the false teachers to support their teachings.

False Teaching:

Gentiles could not inherit the Kingdom of God because the world had been created for Israel from the "foundation of the word".

New Testament Response:

Numerous New Testament writers show that Gentiles had been included in God's plan from the "foundation of the world".
Matthew 25:34
Then the King will tell those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
See also Mat. 13:35, Luk. 11:50, Jhn. 17:24, Hbr. 4:3, 9:26, 1 Pet 1:20, Rev. 13:8, 17:8
It's interesting that Moses is mentioned as a mediator in the Assumptions of Moses and Paul calls Christ the only mediator in his letter to Timothy (in Ephesus).
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Related Verses in Ephesians:

Eph. 1:4