These two verses open to us the sovereignty of God in all things: creation, providence, but especially in salvation.
God’s work: perfect, eternal and immutable
I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him. God’s work is perfect and eternal. He never needs to add to it or take from it, and if God Himself needs neither to add or take away from His work, how much less men or angels?! “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)” And again, “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (1 Samuel 15:29)”
God’s will: done in heaven from eternity
“That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been.” Things done on earth are things that have already been done in heaven. God’s will is done in heaven. His will is established before time began. He always does His will. His will is what must be done and what is actually done. God always does all of His thoughts (Psalm 33:11). He determines what shall be done, not according to what He sees, nor according to what He sees might be or could be, but according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself. (Ephesians 1:7-11; 3:11; Psalm 135:6). He always acts; He never reacts. God does not respond to men. “God works all things together for good to them that love Him, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
God’s will is history and God requires it to be done
“And God requireth that which is past.” God holds all created men and angels accountable for their past. But the context of Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 is the eternal God, whose will must be done. God holds Himself to fulfill His own will. He requires that His will, established before the events of time, be brought to pass. The basis of our prayers, the basis of our strong consolation, is that God’s will is immutable, He has spoken, God has sworn, and in Christ He accomplished and will bring to fulfillment all that He purposed and promised.
“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)”
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)
The Lamb slain from the Foundation Of The World
Nothing comes to pass in time that has not already been done in heaven. God said that Christ is “the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). God required that He be slain. Before the world, God did not spare His own Son. Before time, Christ laid down His life for the sheep, for His brethren, for His friends. Christ was indeed slain, according to the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God. In His death, even the wrath of man praised Him (Psalms 76:10). Men, by their own wicked intent and by their own hands took and killed the Son of God. But in so doing, they were only working out “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:28)
When Jesus cried with His last words, "It is Finished!" He made an end of sin, He established everlasting righteousness, He obtained eternal redemption, He forever sanctified and perfected those whom His Father gave to Him before the world began, and whose names were written in that book of Life. God required this and Christ’s death earned it. Nothing could be added to it. Nothing could be taken from it. Nothing was required from man, and nothing could be added or taken from it by man. God did it by Himself, by His Son, so that men should fear before Him.
When Christ came into the world, He had a purpose in coming. It was to do the will of God. That will was established in eternity (Revelation 13:8). God prepared Him a body. Christ delighted to fulfill His Father’s will. It was in His heart from eternity. That will was to “lose nothing but raise [them] up again at the last day (John 6:39)” Therefore, the death He accomplished was rewarded with life to His own. That is why it is called the “Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World.” Those whose names are written there are given to Christ, and are the ones for whom He was slain and to whom Life in Him is secured by His death.
The Lamb of God is the Word of God. In His heart, the will of God was inscribed from eternity. There was never a time when He did not have God’s will on His heart. He always delighted in that will. He agreed to it. He longed to fulfill it. He spoke it and He completed and brought it to pass. He was sent by His Father and He also came of His own will. He was offered, and He also offered Himself. He was given and He also gave Himself. All that was in His heart, was there from eternity, because He is the Word of God, He is the Mediator between God and man, He is the Surety and Captain of His people.
The subject of eternity has been the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The subject of history is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (John 1:29). The subject of the present time is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Corinthians 1:17; 2:2; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 1:1-3). The subject until the end of time will be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Romans 1:16; Psalm 110:1-3). And the subject when time shall be no more, will be the same subject that was in God’s heart from eternity: The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World (Revelation 22:3)!
That which has been is that which shall be, and there is nothing new under the sun. God requires that which is past. The gospel is the looking glass in which the object seen is Christ and His mighty accomplishments for sinners to the glory of God. Creation itself is the shadow of salvation and the canvas on which the gospel is displayed. All things were made by Christ to bring about this end. All things are upheld by Christ for this purpose to bring to pass what is in His heart. All things were given to Him as the Heir of all things. And He who is the Heir of all will bring about all of God’s will, because it is in His heart. His Father fully trusts His glory in the hands of His Son. The purpose of God in Christ is the salvation of His people. In this Christ cannot fail. God requires it. God staked Himself to accomplish it, and Christ has accomplished it.
By His death, Christ has done all the will of God. Because it is done, He sits enthroned, ruling and reigning to subdue all things under His feet. And He does indeed bring all things about by the power of His word, by His own Spirit. The Spirit of Christ brings the benefits He earned to His people according to the will of God the Father (Ephesians 1:3-11). We now believe and receive what has already been accomplished. Faith does not make things happen, but sees what has already been, and asks, seeks and knocks at the Throne of Grace that God would do His will on earth as it is in heaven. “Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet, a light unto my paths”, because by it, God shows us His will, His work, His glory, and all is found in His Son!
The Word of God is our bread, our daily life. It tells us what God has promised, what Christ has done, and therefore what will be. The eternal counsel and will of God has been established from eternity and shall be brought to pass in time. He chose, He redeemed, and He will seek and find all of His sheep and bring them all without fail to glory. “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)