Before the Foundation of this World

A Way of Life, Bruce R. McConkie

Abraham, our father, who also was present in this council, was privileged to see in vision the hosts of preexistent spirits. “Among all these,” he said, “… were many of the noble and great ones,” whom he described as being “good.” (Abr. 3:22.) Abraham saw that God the Eternal Father “stood in the midst” of those mighty ones and said, “These I will make my rulers; … and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” (Abr. 3:23.)

And as with Abraham, so with all the prophets, and for that matter so, to one degree or another, with the whole house of Israel and with all the members of the Lord’s earthly church—all are participants in the blessings of foreordination.

To Jeremiah the Lord said: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5.)

All those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in this life were, as Alma teaches, “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God,” because they were among the noble and great in that premortal sphere. (Alma 13:3.)

And Paul says that through this law of foreordination, which he calls the doctrine of election, there came to the whole house of Israel “the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” (Rom. 9:4.) He says that the faithful members of the Church, those “that love God” and “are called according to his purpose,” are foreordained “to be conformed to the image of his Son,” to be “joint-heirs with Christ,” and to have eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. (Rom. 8:17, 28.)

He says also of members of the Church that God “hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love,” and that we were foreordained to become the children of Jesus Christ by adoption, thus gaining a “forgiveness of sins” in this life and an inheritance of eternal glory in the life to come. (Eph. 1:7.)

Our revelations, ancient and modern, abound in pronouncements relative to the law of foreordination, both as it applies to specific individuals called according to the foreknowledge of God to special labors in mortality and as it applies to the blessings promised that host of valiant souls who are born in the lineage of Israel and who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and come into his sheepfold on earth.

Christ himself is the great prototype of all foreordained prophets. He was chosen in the councils of eternity to be the Savior and Redeemer. Of him Peter said he was “a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:19–20), as the one who should come in the meridian of time to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. For 4,000 years all the prophets testified of his coming and proclaimed his goodness and grace.

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Source: Excerpt from Bruce R. McConkie’s April 1974, General Conference address, God Foreordains His Prophets and His People. Bruce R. McConkie (1915-1985) served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1972 until his death. Prior to his call to full-time service in the Church, McConkie served as an assistant city attorney (1939-42), in military intelligence (1942-46) where he acquired the rank of Lt. Col (one of the youngest in Army Intelligence to hold that rank), and for a time as a reporter for the Deseret News until his call into the First Council of the Seventy in 1946.