“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith e in my name? Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?” (D&C 132: 8-11).
An infinitely wise Father has ordained the unfolding of His “work and glory” (Moses 1: 39) in orderly fashion. Ordaining is done by laying hands upon the head of the appointed (Acts 13: 1-3) and bestowing authority and a holy calling:
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. . . . Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1: 6, 9).
To understand the meaning of foreordination, first it is essential to conceive the glorious reality of premortality–a truth taught in the Bible:
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4, 7).
Who were the “sons of God” that shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth was laid? In a spirit realm prior to this earth life, you and me and all of humanity were spirit sons and daughters of God. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught that His Father is also our “Heavenly Father” (Matt. 6: 14, 26, 32).
The necessary reality of premortal existence is implied in this Bible verse:
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven” (John 3: 13).
So when the scriptures declare that we are the “offspring of God” (Acts 17: 29) and the “children of God” (Roman 8: 16, 17), and further speaks of “the Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12: 9), latter-day saints know that these Biblical verses refer to our premortal heritage as spirit sons and daughters of God.
This conclusion is not merely arrived at by the literal logic of written words; instead, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are crystal clear that “We Are Children of God” because living prophets and apostles have declared it.
With a conception of the reality of our premortal existence, two specific Old Testament verses have rich meaning:
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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” (Jeremiah 1: 4, 5).
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. . . . [And] formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him” (Isaiah 49: 1, 5).
From heavenly beginnings, the Father foreordained certain of His spirit children (Eph 1: 3, 4) to come to earth at particular times and places to bring about His purposes. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah were foreordained to be prophets to preach the word of truth to the children of Israel.
In premortality, Jesus Christ was the “firstborn” spirit child of the Father–a truth taught in the Bible:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, . . . Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col. 1: 13-15).
Jesus Christ was foreordained by the Father to be born of Mary, to proclaim His gospel of salvation, to suffer in Gethesemane, and be slain for the sins of the world. Correctly conceiving premortality and foreordination lends deep meaning to the following phrase from the book of Revelation: “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13: 8).
Jesus, the Son of God, was foreordained by the Father to fulfill His mortal mission as the Messiah–the Great Deliverer, the Savior of the World. This is precisely why He is called the Christ, He has been Anointed to His holy calling, He was “chosen” (Moses 4: 2) from the foundation of the world.