Does this mean God only knew it would happen, or that he had planned it?
ESV - 23 This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
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God's determinate counsel in delivering Christ to die as a sacrifice on man's behalf includes many parts of His character: God's wisdom, power, virtue, mercy, love, wrath against sin, etc. 'Determinate' in Acts 2:23 is the greek 'horizo' (where we derive the english 'horizon'). This refers to God limiting or 'horizoning' all aspects of Creation and the plan of salvation. [While in english the word 'determine' might seem like destiny or forcing an action, the greek 'horizó' is to limit or to bound.] God set up the scene (creation, physical laws of nature), spiritual laws (justice, mercy, the punishment for sin, etc), the players (angels, man), the plan of salvation (redemption via the blood of Christ for those who believe), etc [Psa 139:16, Jn 1:3, Jon 1:9, Psa 95:5, Acts 4:24, Rom 6:23, Prov 10:16, Neh 9:6, II Kings 19:15, Is 63:5, Heb 2:10, etc.] This was all by the power and decree of God, such as "Let there be light" (Gen 1:3, II Cor 4:6, John 1:9). As sovereign king, all of God's subjects are under the physical limits and spiritual laws that God has put into place. God is true Sovereign: He can delegate tasks, punish sin, work evil for good, place limits, etc. God is active, nations rising and falling at His purpose, and the eternal plan enacted by His counsel. [See the related topic https://ebible.com/questions/3317-how-does-god-s-sovereignty-work-together-with-free-will#answer-17091 for more on God's sovereignty and how God allows men free (albeit limited) operation under His rule]. As for God's counsel or resolved plan, God determined by His own will that salvation would come through Christ alone, and that only through faith in Christ could man be reconciled to God. This meant that Christ would have to suffer and die for us [Acts 3:18, Heb 2, II Cor 5:18-19]. This was not something men thought of, would have thought of, or could achieve by their own power, but rather was God Himself reaching out to man. God in His wisdom determined that He would chose a people for Himself, not by works or ethnicity, but by faith in Christ (Acts 2:23, Gal 3:28, Rom 3:22.) He determined He would choose both Jew and Gentile (John 10:16, Rom 11.) He determined that His own right arm would bring salvation (Is 63:5.) Scripture often references God as having planned something, then bringing it to pass (Is 37:25-27, Gen 50:20, Gen 41:32, Is 46:11). Jesus had to die via God's plan/foreknowledge/counsel that salvation would come through Christ. Hence, Christ was delivered by the plan of God over to men who put him to death (Acts 4:27-29, Acts 2:23, Luke 22:22). Jesus willingly submitted to the Father’s will in this (Heb 5:7-9, Phil 2:5-8.) Foreknowledge and God's will/counsel/purpose/resolve/plan go hand-in-hand. God by His foreknowledge and counsel set the process by which men are saved; faith in Christ (Jn 3:16, Jn 6:29.) God makes known the end from the beginning; He is outside of time (Is 46:10.) He created time for His gracious purpose regarding man, that they might come to repentance and be saved through faith (Tit 1:1-3, Eph 2:5-8, Rom 2:4, I Pet 1:10-12, Heb 1:1-3.) Often in scripture the concepts of God's foreknowledge and determination are combined, such as in the term 'predestined'. [For a more detailed examination of foreknowledge, predestination, and election, see the related eBible topics https://ebible.com/questions/3273-how-are-predestination-and-election-connected-with-foreknowledge#answer-16960 and https://ebible.com/questions/265-what-is-predestination-is-predestination-biblical#answer-15328] In summary, God both set-up the way for man to be reconciled to God through Christ, and knew exactly how it would play out. Christ was born at the opportune moment in history for the plan to be enacted and prophecies fulfilled, just as He will return once more at the opportune time to bring salvation to those who wait for Him (Heb 9:27-28). Even men engaged in the grossest wickedness cannot thwart or overturn the plan of God.
The Bible makes it very clear that God is sovereign. It also states that God directs our paths. He has written the story of mankind in order to bring to pass His will and plans. Why? To receive glory. We are His vessels, made for life or damnation according to Romans. God planned and ordained that Jesus should be lifted up and crucified for us who would be chosen for salvation. Jesus Christ, according to Scripture sustains the entire universe and controls its comings and goings. Every heart beat, every breath, every life and every death is in His hands. The Bible also says that He sets up rulers and kings and moves them where He wants them to go. This is sovereignty. Sovereignty also dictates that we must follow His plans for us--we truly have no choice. This was the same with Christ as He followed the will of the Father and made Himself obedient even unto death...remember "Nevertheless"?
The Bible tells us He (Christ), was "the Lamb slain from the beginning, when the foundations of the earth were laid". This tells us that the Father's eternal plan for humanity's Salvation was laid from the start. God in his Almighty knowledge knew all before it happened to Man kind, and how it would be resolved and propitiated through Christ's Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Proclamation to evil spirits in Hades, and Ascension into Heaven.
God both knew it would happen and that He planned it. It was predetermined before the foundation of the world. God knew that Adam and Eve would sin and bring sin on the human race. But God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. If there had been any other way than Jesus life, death, and resurrection to save sinners, then Christ died in vain. God knew that there was nothing man could do to save himself, and so made a way that we could be saved by Christ as our perfect sacrifice for sin. He took all of our sins upon Him who knew no sin, and gave us His perfect righteousness as a free gift. Our bodies still have to die because of sin in the flesh, but our spirit is saved because of Christ who has joined His spirit with our spirit when we first believed. Those who have put their faith in Christ alone can never be lost. John 6:37-40. God also in HIs foreknowledge knows who will trust in Him and who will not. But salvation is made available to all men so no one has an excuse.
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