One of God’s most remarkable qualities is His power to foresee human events. In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says this power sets Him apart from all other gods:
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’
God’s capacity to foresee enables Him to forecast and shape human events in dramatic ways. Because all human history unfolds before the eyes of God, our creator was able to provide a means of salvation for His creation.
After Jesus’s resurrection and ascension, Peter informed the Jews of Jerusalem:
Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross (Acts 2:22-23).
The miracles Jesus performed testified that He was from God. Rather than embracing Him, the Jewish people conspired with their leaders to put Him to death on the cross. However, they crucified Jesus according to “God’s set purpose and foreknowledge.” The Jews did not avoid God’s will by crucifying Jesus, they fulfilled His will; a will He purposed long before the event took place. How long before? In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks of “a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (2:7-8). In this case, the wisdom of God is the crucifixion of Jesus (see 1:18-24). Mankind did not understand this wisdom because it was hidden from us. God hid it from us for our protection. If we knew it was God’s will that Jesus be crucified, mankind would not have crucified him. The cross, the mysterious wisdom of God, was “destined for our glory before time began.” Before man and beast roamed the earth, before God hung the celestial bodies in the heavens above, before land and sea were separate and the world was without form and void, God envisioned saving us through the cross of Jesus Christ. The plan of salvation is older than anything else in this realm.
As God looked forward into human history, He foresaw mankind’s disobedience. He knew man would sin and He knew there was only one way to atone for that sin: blood (Hebrews 9:22). But it could not be blood from anyone. This blood had to be willingly offered by a person who was exposed to temptation but remained sinless. Because of human weakness, none of us could fit the bill. Therefore, God in His wisdom appointed a part of Himself to take on flesh and offer an unblemished sacrifice. Jesus became God’s offering for sin. “He was chosen before the creation of the world,” as God’s Lamb (1 Peter 1:19-20). Thus, in Jesus Christ “eternal life…[was] promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2). God’s grace was given “before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
The crucifixion of Jesus was not a mistake; it did not defy God will. Christ’s crucifixion fulfilled God’s intended purpose. When God inserted Jesus Christ into human history, He saw a new end for humanity. Where sin and death once dictated human destiny, God now saw eternal life made possible through the cross. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul rejoices, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”