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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Foresight

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FORESIGHT.—The interest of the student of the Gospels, and of the life of Jesus which forms their substance, in the topic of this article, is twofold. Jesus is represented in the Gospels as at once the object and the subject of the most detailed foresight. The work which He came to do was a work ordained in the counsels of eternity, and in all its items prepared for beforehand with the most perfect prevision. In addressing Himself to the accomplishment of this work Jesus proceeded from the beginning in the fullest knowledge of the end, and with the most absolute adjustment of every step to its attainment. It is from this double view-point that each of the Evangelists depicts the course of our Lord’s life on earth. They consentiently represent Him as having come to perform a specific task, all the elements of which were not only determined beforehand in the plan of God, but adumbrated, if somewhat sporadically, yet with sufficient fulness for the end in view, in the prophecies of the OT. And they represent Him as coming to perform this task with a clear consciousness of its nature and a competent control of all the means for its discharge, so that His whole life was a conscientious fulfilment of a programme, and moved straight to its mark. The conception of foresight thus dominates the whole Evangelical narrative.

It is not necessary to dwell at length upon the Evangelists’ conception of our Lord’s life and work as the fulfilment of a plan Divinely predetermined for Him. It lies on the face of their narratives that the authors of the Gospels had no reservation with respect to the all-embracing predestination of God (cf. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iv. 54–56); and least of all could they exclude from it this life and work which was to them the hinge upon which all history turns. To them accordingly our Lord is by way of eminence ‘the man of destiny,’ and His whole life (Luke 2:49; Luke 4:43) was governed by ‘the δεῖ of the Divine counsel.’ Every step of His pathway was a ‘necessity’ to Him, in the fulfilment of the mission for which He had ‘come forth’ (Mark 1:38, cf. Swete), or as St. Luke (Luke 4:43) in quite Johannine wise (Luke 5:23-24; Luke 5:30; Luke 5:36; Luke 5:38, Luke 6:29; Luke 6:38-40 et passim) expresses it, ‘was sent’ (cf. Matthew 10:40, Mark 9:37, Luke 9:48; Luke 10:16; Matthew 15:24; Matthew 21:37, Mark 12:6, Luke 20:13, cf. Swete on Mark 9:37). Especially was all that concerned His departure, the accomplishment of which (Luke 9:31, cf. Luke 9:51) was His particular task, under the government of this ‘Divine necessity’ (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:54, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25; Luke 22:22; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:7; Luke 24:44, John 3:14; John 20:9, cf. Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28, and Westcott on John 20:9). His final journey to Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21), His rejection by the rulers (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25), His betrayal (Luke 24:7), arrest (Matthew 26:54), sufferings (Matthew 26:54, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25), and death (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22) by crucifixion (Luke 24:7, John 3:14), His rising again (John 20:9) on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22; Luke 24:7; Luke 24:44)—each item alike is declared to have been ‘a matter of necessity in pursuance of the Divine purpose’ (Meyer, Matthew 24:6), ‘a necessary part of the destiny assigned our Lord’ (Meyer, Matthew 26:56). ‘The death of our Lord’ thus appears ‘not as the accidental work of hostile caprice, but (cf. Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18) the necessary result of the Divine predestination (Luke 22:22), to which Divine δεῖ (Luke 24:26) the personal free action of man had to serve as an instrument’ (Meyer, Acts 4:28).

How far the several events which entered into this life had been prophetically announced is obviously, in this view of it, a mere matter of detail. All of them lay open before the eyes of God; and the only limit to pre-announcement was the extent to which God had chosen to reveal what was to come to pass, through His servants the prophets. In some instances, however, the prophetic announcement is particularly adduced as the ground on which recognition of the necessity of occurrence rests. The fulfilment of Scripture thus becomes regulative for the life of Jesus. Whatever stood written of Him in the Law or the Prophets or the Psalms (Luke 24:44) must needs (δεῖ) be accomplished (Matthew 26:54, Luke 22:37; Luke 24:26, John 20:9). Or, in another form of statement, particularly frequent in Mt. (Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:15; Matthew 2:23; Matthew 4:14; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:17; Matthew 13:35; Matthew 21:4; Matthew 26:56) and Jn. (John 12:38; John 13:18; John 15:25; John 17:12; John 19:24; John 19:36), but found also in the other Evangelists (Mark 14:49, Luke 4:21), the several occurrences of His life fell out as they did, ‘in order that what was spoken by the Lord’ through the prophets or in Scripture, ‘might be fulfilled’ (cf. Matthew 2:17; Matthew 26:54; Matthew 27:9, Luke 24:44; in John 18:9; John 18:32, Luke 24:44 declarations of Jesus are treated precisely similarly). That is to say, ‘what was done stood … in the connexion of the Divine necessity, as an actual fact, by which prophecy was destined to be fulfilled. The Divine decree expressed in the latter must be accomplished, and to that end this … came to pass, and that, according to the whole of its contents’ (Meyer, Matthew 1:22). The meaning is, not that there lies in the OT Scriptures a complete predictive account of all the details of the life of Jesus, which those skilled in the interpretation of Scripture might read off from its pages at will. This programme in its detailed completeness lies only in the Divine purpose; and in Scripture only so far forth as God has chosen to place it there for the guidance or the assurance of His people. The meaning is rather that all that stands written of Jesus in the OT Scriptures has its certain fulfilment in Him; and that enough stands written of Him there to assure His followers that in the course of His life, and in its, to them, strange and unexpected ending, He was not the prey of chance or the victim of the hatred of men, to the marring of His work or perhaps even the defeat of His mission, but was following step by step, straight to its goal, the predestined pathway marked out for Him in the counsels of eternity, and sufficiently revealed from of old in the Scriptures to enable all who were not ‘foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken,’ to perceive that the Christ must needs have lived just this life and fulfilled just this destiny.

That the whole course of the life of Jesus, and especially its culmination in the death which He died, was foreseen and afore-prepared by God, enters, thus, into the very substance of the Evangelical narrative. It enters equally into its very substance that this life was from the beginning lived out by Jesus Himself in full view of its drift and its issue. The Evangelists are as far from representing Jesus as driven blindly onwards by a Divine destiny unknown to Himself, along courses not of His own choosing, to an unanticipated end, as they are from representing Him as thwarted in His purposes, or limited in His achievement, or determined or modified in His aims or methods, by the conditions which from time to time emerged in His way. The very essence of their representation is that Jesus came into the world with a definite mission to execute, of the nature of which He was perfectly aware, and according to which He ordered the whole course of His life as it advanced under His competent control unswervingly to its preconceived mark. In their view His life was lived out, not in ignorance of its issues, or in the form of a series of trials and corrections, least of all in a more or less unavailing effort to wring success out of failure; but in complete knowledge of the counsels of God for Him, in perfect acquiescence in them, and in careful and voluntary fulfilment of them. The ‘Divine δεῖ’ which governed His life is represented as fully recognized by Himself (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 4:43; Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25; Luke 24:7, John 3:14; John 12:34), and the fulfilment of the intimations of prophecy in His life as accepted by Him as a rule for His voluntary action (Matthew 26:54, Luke 22:37; Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44, John 20:9, Mark 14:49, Luke 4:21, John 13:18; John 15:25; John 17:12; cf. Matthew 13:14; Matthew 15:7; Matthew 24:15; Matthew 26:56, Mark 7:6). Determining all things, determined by none, the life He actually lived, leading up to the death He actually died, is in their view precisely the life which from the beginning He intended to live, ending in precisely the death in which, from the beginning, He intended this life to issue, undeflected by so much as a hair’s-breadth from the straight path He had from the start marked out for Himself in the fullest prevision and provision of all the so-called chances and changes which might befall Him. Not only were there no surprises in life for Jesus (cf. art. Amazement, p. 48), and no compulsions; there were not even ‘influences,’ as we speak of ‘influences’ in a merely human career. The mark of this life, as the Evangelists depict it, is its calm and quiet superiority to all circumstance and condition, and to all the varied forces which sway other lives; its prime characteristics are voluntariness and independence. Neither His mother, nor His brethren, nor His disciples, nor the people He came to serve, nor His enemies bent upon His destruction, nor Satan himself with his temptations, could move Him one step from His chosen path. When men seemed to prevail over Him they were but working His will; the great ‘No one has taken my life away from me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:18), is but the enunciation for the supreme act, of the principle that governs all His movements. His own chosen pathway ever lay fully displayed before His feet; on it His feet fell quietly, but they found the way always unblocked. What He did, He came to do; and He carried out His programme with unwavering purpose and indefectible certitude. So at least the Evangelists represent Him. (Cf. the first half of a striking article on ‘Die Selhständigkeit Jesu,’ by Trott, in Luthardt’s ZKWL [Note: KWL Zeitschrift für kirchliche Wissenschaft und kirchl Leben.] , 1883, iv. 233–241; in its latter half the art. falls away from its idea, and ends by making Jesus absolutely dependent on Scripture for His knowledge of God and Divine things: ‘We have no right whatever to maintain that Jesus received revelations from the Father otherwise than through the medium of the sacred Scriptures; that is a part of His complete humanity’ (p. 238)).

The signature of this supernatural life which the Evangelists depict Jesus as living, lies thus in the perfection of the foresight by which it was governed. Of the reality of this foresight they leave their readers in no doubt, nor yet of its completeness. They suggest it by the general picture they draw of the self-directed life which Jesus lived in view of His mission. They record repeated instances in which He mentions beforehand events yet to occur, or foreshadows the end from the beginning. They connect these manifestations of foresight with the possession by Him of knowledge in general, in comprehension and penetration alike far beyond what is native to man. It may perhaps be natural to surmise in the first instance that they intend to convey merely the conviction that in Jesus was manifested a prophet of supreme greatness, in whom, as the culminating example of prophecy (cf. Acts 3:22-23), resided beyond precedent the gifts proper to prophets. There can be no question that to the writers of the Gospels Jesus was ‘the incarnate ideal of the prophet, who, as such, forms a class by Himself, and is more than a prophet’ (this is what Schwartzkopff thinks Him, The Prophecies of Jesus Christ, p. 7). They record with evident sympathy the impression made by Him at the outset of His ministry, that God had at last in Him visited His people (Mark 6:15, Luke 7:16, John 4:19; John 9:17); they trace the ripening of this impression into a well-settled belief in His prophetic character (Matthew 21:11, Luke 24:19, Matthew 21:46, Luke 7:39, John 7:40); and they remark upon the widespread suspicion which accompanied this belief, that He was something more than a prophet—possibly one of the old prophets returned, certainly a very special prophet charged with a very special mission for the introduction of the Messianic times (Matthew 16:14, Mark 6:15; Mark 8:28, Luke 9:8; Luke 9:19, John 6:14; John 7:40). They represent Jesus as not only calling out and accepting this estimate of Him, but frankly assuming a prophet’s place and title (Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24, John 4:44, Luke 13:33), exercising a prophet’s functions, and delivering prophetic discourses, in which He unveils the future (Matthew 24:21, Mark 13:23, John 14:29; cf. Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:44, and such passages as Matthew 26:32; Matthew 26:34, Mark 16:7). Nevertheless it is very clear that in their allusions to the supernatural knowledge of Jesus, the Evangelists suppose themselves to be illustrating something very much greater than merely prophetic inspiration. The specific difference between Jesus and a prophet, in their view, was that while a prophet’s human knowledge is increased by many things revealed to him by God (Amos 3:7), Jesus participated in all the fulness of the Divine knowledge (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22, John 16:15; John 18:4; John 16:30; John 21:17), so that all that is knowable lay open before Him (John 17:10). The Evangelists, in a word, obviously intend to attribute Divine omniscience to Jesus, and in their adduction of instances of His supernatural knowledge, whether with respect to hidden things or to those yet buried in the future, are illustrating His possession of this Divine omniscience (cf. Muirhead, The Eschatology of Jesus, p. 119, where, in partial correction of the more inadequate statement of p. 48, there is recognized in the Evangelists at least a ‘tendency’ to attribute to our Lord ‘Divine dignity’ and ‘literal omniscience’).

That this is the case with St. John’s Gospel is very commonly recognized (for a plain statement of the evidence see Karl Müller, Göttliches Wissen und göttliche Maeht des johann. Christus, 1882, § 4, pp. 29–47: ‘Zeugnisse des vierten Evangeliums für Jesu göttliches Wissen’). It is not too much to say, indeed, that one of the chief objects which the author of that Gospel set before himself was to make clear to its readers the superhuman knowledge of Jesus, with especial reference, of course, to His own career. It therefore records direct ascriptions of omniscience to Jesus, and represents them as favourably received by Him (John 16:30; John 21:17; cf. Liddon, Bampton Lectures, ed. 4, 1869, p. 466). It makes it almost the business of its opening chapters to exhibit this omniscience at work in the especially Divine form (Luke 16:15, Acts 1:24, Hebrews 4:12, Psalms 138:2, Jeremiah 17:16; Jeremiah 20:12; cf. Swete on Mark 2:8) of immediate, universal, and complete knowledge of the thoughts and intents of the human heart (cf. Westcott on John 2:25), laying down the general thesis in John 2:24-25 (cf. John 6:64; John 6:70, John 21:17), and illustrating it in detail in the cases of all with whom Jesus came into contact in the opening days of His ministry (cf. Westcott on John 1:47), Peter (John 1:42), Philip (John 1:43), Nathanael (John 1:47), Mary (John 2:4), Nicodemus (John 2:3), the woman of Samaria (John 2:4). In the especially striking case of the choice of Judas Iscariot as one of the Apostles, it expressly explains that this was due to no ignorance of Judas’ character or of his future action (John 6:64; John 6:70; John 13:11), but was done as part of our Lord’s voluntary execution of His own well-laid plans. It pictures Jesus with great explicitness as prosecuting His whole work in full knowledge of all the things that were coming upon Him (John 18:4, cf. Westcott), and with a view to subjecting them all to His governing hand, so that His life from the beginning should run steadily onward on the lines of a thoroughly wrought-out plan (John 1:47; John 2:19; John 2:24; John 3:14; John 6:51; John 6:64; John 6:70; John 7:6; John 8:28; John 10:15; John 10:18; John 12:7; John 12:23; John 13:1; John 13:11; John 13:21; John 13:38; John 14:29; John 16:5; John 16:32; John 18:4; John 18:9).

It is difficult to see, however, why St. John’s Gospel should be separated from its companions in this matter (Schenkel says frankly that it is only because there is no such passage in St. John’s Gospel as Mark 13:32, on which see below. Whatever else must be said of W. Wrede’s Das Messiasgeheimnis, etc., 1901, it must be admitted that it has broken down this artificial distinction between the Gospel of John and the Synoptics). If they do not, like St. John (John 16:30; John 21:17), record direct ascriptions of precise omniscience to Jesus by His followers, they do, like St. John, represent Him as Himself claiming to be the depository and distributer of the Father’s knowledge (Matthew 11:21-30, Luke 10:22-24). Nor do they lag behind St. John in attributing to Jesus the Divine prerogative of reading the heart (Matthew 9:4, Meyer; Mark 2:5; Mark 2:8; Mark 8:17; Mark 12:15; Mark 12:44, Swete, p. lxxxviii; Luke 5:22; Luke 7:39) or the manifestation, in other forms, of God-like omniscience (Matthew 17:27; Matthew 21:2, Mark 11:2; Mark 14:13, Luke 5:4; Luke 19:30; Luke 22:10; cf. O. Holtzmann, War Jesus Ekstatiker? p. 14 and p. 15, note). Least of all do they fall behind St. John in insisting upon the perfection of the foresight of Jesus in all matters connected with His own life and death (Matthew 9:15; Matthew 12:40; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 20:18; Matthew 20:22; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:2; Matthew 26:21; Matthew 26:34; Matthew 26:50, Mark 2:19; Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33; Mark 10:39; Mark 10:45; Mark 11:2; Mark 14:8; Mark 14:13; Mark 14:18; Mark 14:30, Luke 8:34; Luke 9:22; Luke 9:44; Luke 9:51; Luke 12:50; Luke 13:35; Luke 17:25; Luke 18:31; Luke 19:30; Luke 22:10; Luke 22:21; Luke 22:34; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:44). Nothing could exceed the detailed precision of these announcements,—a characteristic which has been turned, of course, to their discredit as genuine utterances of Jesus by writers who find difficulty with detailed prediction. ‘The form and contents of these texts,’ remarks Wrede (Messiasgeheimnis, etc. p. 88), ‘speak a language which cannot be misunderstood. They are nothing but a short summary of the Passion history—“cast, of course, in the future tense.” ’ ‘ “The Passion-history,” ’ he proceeds, quoting Eichhorn, ‘ “could certainly not be more exactly related in few words.” ’ In very fact, it is perfectly clear—whether they did it by placing upon His lips predictions He never uttered and never could have uttered, is another question—that the Evangelists designed to represent Jesus as endowed with the absolute and unlimited foresight consonant with His Divine nature (see Liddon, Bampton Lectures, ed. 4, p. 464 ff.; and cf. A. J. Mason, The Conditions of our Lord’s Life on Earth, pp. 155–194).

The force of this representation cannot be broken, of course, by raising the question afresh whether the supernatural knowledge attributed by the Evangelists to our Lord may not, in many of its items at least, if not in its whole extent, find its analogues, after all, in human powers, or be explained as not different in kind from that of the prophets (cf. e.g. Westcott, ‘Additional Note on John 2:24; A. J. Mason, Conditions, etc. pp. 162–163). The question more immediately before us does not concern our own view of the nature and origin of this knowledge, but that of the Evangelists. If we will keep these two questions separate we shall scarcely be able to doubt that the Evangelists mean to present this knowledge as one of the marks of our Lord’s Divine dignity. In interpreting them we are not entitled to parcel out the mass of the illustrations of His supernormal knowledge which they record to differing sources, as may fall in with our own conceptions of the inherent possibilities of each case; finding indications in some instances merely of His fine human instinct, in others of His prophetic inspiration, while reserving others—if such others are left to us in our analysis—as products of His Divine intuition. The Evangelists suggest no such lines of cleavage in the mass; and they must be interpreted from their own standpoint. This finds its centre in their expressed conviction that in Jesus Christ dwelt the fulness of the knowledge of God (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22, John 8:38; John 16:15; John 17:10). To them His knowledge of God and of Divine things, of Himself in His Person and mission, of the course of His life and the events which would befall Him in the prosecution of the work whereunto He had been sent, of the men around Him,—His followers and friends, the people and their rulers,—down to the most hidden depths of their natures and the most intimate processes of their secret thoughts, and of all the things forming the environment in which the drama He was enacting was cast, however widely that environment be conceived, or however minutely it be contemplated,—was but the manifestation, in the ever-widening circles of our human modes of conception, of the perfect apprehension and understanding that dwelt changelessly in His Divine intelligence. He who knew God perfectly,—it were little that He should know man and the world perfectly too; all that affected His own work and career, of course, and with it, equally of course, all that lay outside of this (cf. Mason, Conditions, etc. p. 168); in a word, unlimitedly, all things. Even if nothing but the Law of Parsimony stood in the way, it might well be understood that the Evangelists would be deterred from seeking, in the case of such a Being, other sources of information besides His Divine intelligence to account for all His far-reaching and varied knowledge. At all events, it is clearly their conviction that all He knew—the scope of which was unbounded and its depth unfathomed, though their record suggests rather than fully illustrates it—found its explanation in the dignity of His person as God manifest in the flesh.

Nor can the effect of their representation of Jesus as the subject of this all-embracing Divine knowledge be destroyed by the discovery in their narratives of another line of representation in which our Lord is set forth as living His life out under the conditions which belong naturally to the humanity He had assumed. These representations are certainly to be neglected as little as those others in which His Divine omniscience is suggested. They bring to our observation another side of the complex personality that is depicted, which, if it cannot be said to be as emphatically insisted upon by the Evangelists, is nevertheless, perhaps, equally pervasively illustrated. This is the true humanity of our Lord, within the scope of which He willed to live out His life upon earth, that He might accomplish the mission for which He had been sent. The suggestion that He might break over the bounds of His mission, in order that He might escape from the ruggedness of His chosen path, by the exercise whether of His almighty power (Matthew 4:3 f., Luke 4:3 f.) or of His unerring foresight (Matthew 16:22 ||), He treated first and last as a temptation of the Evil One—for ‘how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be’ (Matthew 26:54 ||)? It is very easy, to be sure, to exaggerate the indications in the Evangelists of the confinement of our Lord’s activities within the limits of human powers. It is an exaggeration, for example, to speak as if the Evangelists represent Him as frequently surprised by the events which befell Him: they never predicate surprise of Him, and it is only by a very precarious inference from the events recorded that they can ever be supposed even to suggest or allow place for such an emotion in our Lord (cf. art. Amazement, p. 48). It is an exaggeration again to adduce our Lord’s questions as attempts to elicit information for His own guidance: His questions are often plainly dialectical or rhetorical, or, like some of His actions, solely for the benefit of those ‘that stood around.’ It is once more an exaggeration to adduce the employment in many cases of the term γινώσκω, when the Evangelists speak of our Lord’s knowledge, as if it were thereby implied that this knowledge was freshly born in His mind: the assumed distinction, but faintly marked in Greek literature, cannot be traced in the usage of the terms γνῶναι and εἰδέναι in their application to our Lord’s knowledge; these terms even replace one another in parallel accounts of the same instance (Matthew 22:18 || Mark 12:15; [Matthew 9:4] || Mark 2:8, Luke 5:22; cf. Matthew 12:25, Luke 6:8; Luke 9:47; Luke 11:17, John 6:61); γνῶναι is used of the undoubted Divine knowledge of our Lord ([Matthew 11:25] Luke 10:22, John 10:15; John 17:25, Matthew 7:22; cf. John 2:24-25; John 5:42; John 10:14; John 10:27); and indeed of the knowledge of God Himself (Luke 10:22; Luke 16:15, John 10:15 [Matthew 11:27]): and, in any event, there is a distinction which in such nice inquiries should not be neglected, between saying that the occurrence of an event, being perceived, was the occasion of an action, and saying that knowledge of the event, perceived as occurring, waited on its occurrence. Gravely vitiated by such exaggerations as most discussions of the subject are, enough remains, however, after all exaggeration is pruned away, to assure us, not indeed that our Lord’s life on earth was, in the view of the Evangelists, an exclusively human one; or that, apart from the constant exercise of His will to make it such, it was controlled by the limitations of humanity; but certainly that it was, in their view, lived out, so far as was consistent with the fulfilment of the mission for which He came—and as an indispensable condition of the fulfilment of that mission—under the limitations belonging to a purely human life. The classical passages in this reference are those striking statements in the second chapter of Luke (Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52) in which is summed up our Lord’s growth from infancy to manhood, including, of course, His intellectual development (cf. art. Children, p. 302), and His own remarkable declaration recorded in Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, in which He affirms His ignorance of the day and hour of His return to earth. Supplemented by their general dramatization of His life within the range of the purely human, these passages are enough to assure us that in the view of the Evangelists there was in our Lord a purely human soul, which bore its own proper part in His life, and which, as human souls do, grew in knowledge as it grew in wisdom and grace, and remained to the end, as human souls must, ignorant of many things,—nay, which, because human souls are finite, must ever be ignorant of much embraced in the universal vision of the Divine Spirit. We may wonder why the ‘day and hour’ of His own return should remain among the things of which our Lord’s human soul continued ignorant throughout His earthly life. But this is a matter about which surely we need not much concern ourselves. We can never do more than vaguely guess at the law which governs the inclusions and exclusions which characterize the knowledge-contents of any human mind, limited as human minds are not only qualitatively but quantitatively; and least of all could we hope to penetrate the principle of selection in the case of the perfect human intelligence of our Lord; nor have the Evangelists hinted their view of the matter. We must just be content to recognize that we are face to face here with the mystery of the Two Natures, which, although they do not, of course, formally enunciate the doctrine in so many words, the Evangelists yet effectively teach, since by it alone can consistency be induced between the two classes of facts which they present unhesitatingly in their narratives. Only, if we would do justice to their presentation, we must take clear note of two of its characteristics. They do not simply, in separated portions of their narratives, adduce the facts which manifest our Lord’s Divine powers and His human characteristics, but interlace them inextricably in the same sections of the narratives. And they do not subject the Divine that is in Christ to the limitations of the human, but quite decisively present the Divine as dominating all, and as giving play to the human only by a constant, voluntary withholding of its full manifestation in the interests of the task undertaken. Observe the story, for example, in John 11, which Dr. Mason (Conditions, etc. p. 143) justly speaks of as ‘indeed a marvellous weaving together of that which is natural and that which is above nature.’ ‘Jesus learns from others that Lazarus is sick, but knows without any further message that Lazarus is dead; He weeps and groans at the sight of the sorrow which surrounds Him, yet calmly gives thanks for the accomplishment of the miracle before it has been accomplished.’ This conjunction of the two elements is typical of the whole Evangelical narrative. As portrayed in it our Lord’s life is distinctly duplex; and can be consistently construed only by the help of the conception of the Two Natures. And just as distinctly is this life portrayed in these narratives as receiving its determination not from the human, but from the Divine side. If what John undertakes to depict is what was said and done by the incarnated Word, no less what the Synoptics essay is to present the Gospel (as Mark puts it) of Jesus Christ the Son of God. It is distinctly a supernatural life that He is represented by them all as living; and the human aspect of it is treated by each alike as an incident in something more exalted, by which it is permitted, rather than on which it imposes itself. Though passed as far as was befitting within the limits of humanity, this life remains at all times the life of God manifest in the flesh, and, as depicted by the Evangelists, never escapes beyond the boundaries set by what was suitable to it as such.

The actual instances of our Lord’s foresight which are recorded by the Evangelists are not very numerous outside of those which concern the establishment of the Kingdom of God, with which alone, of course, their narratives are particularly engaged. Even the few instances of specific exhibitions of foreknowledge of what we may call trivial events owe their record to some connexion with this great work. Examples are afforded by the foresight that the casting of the nets at the exact time and place indicated by our Lord would secure a draught of fishes (Luke 5:4, cf. John 21:6); that the first fish that Peter would take when he threw his hook into the sea would be one which had swallowed a stater (Matthew 17:27); that on entering a given village the disciples should find an ass tied, and a colt with it, whose owners would be obedient to our Lord’s request (Matthew 21:2 ||); and that on entering Jerusalem to make ready for the final passover-feast they should meet a man bearing a pitcher, prepared to serve the Master’s needs (Mark 14:13). In instances like these the interlacing of prevision and provision is very intimate, and doubt arises whether they illustrate most distinctly our Lord’s Divine foresight or His control of events. In other instances the element of foresight comes, perhaps, more purely forward: such are possibly the predictions of the offence of the disciples (Matthew 26:31), the denial of Peter (Matthew 26:34 ||), and the treachery of Judas (Matthew 26:21). There may be added the whole series of utterances in which our Lord shows a comprehensive foresight of the career of those whom He called to His service (Matthew 4:19; Matthew 10:17; Matthew 10:21; Matthew 20:22; Matthew 24:9 f., John 16:1 f.); and also that other series in which He exhibits a like full foreknowledge of the entire history of the Kingdom of God in the world (cf. esp. the parables of the Kingdom, and such passages as Matthew 16:18; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:24; Matthew 21:43; Matthew 24:14; Matthew 26:13, Luke 19:11, John 14:18-19). It is, however, particularly with reference to His own work in establishing the Kingdom, and in regard to the nature of that work, that stress is particularly laid upon the completeness of His foreknowledge. His entire career, as we have seen, is represented by all the Evangelists as lying plainly before Him from the beginning, with every detail clearly marked and provided for. It is especially, however, with reference to the three great events in which His work in establishing His Kingdom is summed up—His death, His resurrection, His return—that the predictions become numerous, if we may not even say constant. Each of the Evangelists represents Him, for example, as foreseeing His death from the start (John 2:19; John 3:14, Matthew 12:40; Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 12:49; Luke 5:34; cf. Meyer on Matthew 9:15; Matthew 16:21; Weiss on Mark 8:31; Denncy, Death of Christ, p. 18; Wrede, Messiasgeheimnis, p. 19, etc.), and as so ordering His life as to march steadfastly forward to it as its chosen climax (cf. e.g. Wrede, p. 84: ‘It is accordingly the meaning of Mark that Jesus journeys to Jerusalem because it is His will to die there’). He is represented, therefore, as avoiding all that could lead up to it for a time, and then, when He was ready for it, as setting Himself steadfastly to bring it about as He would; as speaking of it only guardedly at first, and afterwards, when the time was ripe for it, as setting about assiduously to prepare His disciples for it. Similarly with respect to His resurrection, He is reported as having it in mind, indeed, from the earliest days of His ministry (John 2:19, Matthew 12:40; Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22), but adverting to it with paedagogical care, so as to prepare rather than confuse the minds of His disciples. The same in substance may be said with reference to His return (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38; Mark 9:1, Luke 9:26-27).

A survey in chronological order of the passages in which He is reported as speaking of these three great events of the future, cannot fail to leave a distinct impression on the mind not only of the large space they occupy in the Evangelical narrative, but of the great place they take as foreseen, according to that narrative, in the life and work of our Lord. In the following list the passages in which He adverts to His death stand in the order given them in Robinson’s Harmony of the Gospels:

John 2:19; John 3:14, Matthew 12:40 (cf. Matthew 16:4, Luke 11:32), Luke 12:49-50, Matthew 9:15 (Mark 2:19, Luke 5:34), John 6:51; John 7:6-8, Matthew 16:21 (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22), Luke 9:31, Matthew 17:17 (Mark 9:12), Matthew 17:22-23 (Mark 9:31, Luke 9:44), Luke 9:51, John 7:34; John 8:21; John 8:25; John 9:5; John 10:11; John 10:15, Luke 13:32; Luke 17:25, Matthew 20:18-19 (Mark 10:33, Luke 18:31), John 12:28, Matthew 20:26 (Mark 10:38), Matthew 20:28 (Mark 10:45), Matthew 21:39 (Mark 12:8, Luke 20:14), John 12:23, Matthew 26:2, John 13:1; John 13:33, Matthew 26:28 (Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20), Matthew 26:31 (Mark 14:27, John 14:28), John 15:13; John 16:5; John 16:16; John 18:11, Matthew 26:54 (John 18:11), Luke 24:26; Luke 24:46.

The following allusions to His resurrection are in the same order:

John 2:19, Matthew 12:40 (Luke 11:30), Matthew 16:21 (Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22), Matthew 17:9 (Mark 9:9), Matthew 17:23 (Mark 9:31), John 10:18 [John 16:16], Matthew 20:17 (Mark 10:34, Luke 18:33), Matthew 26:32 (Mark 14:28) [Matthew 28:6 || Luke 24:8], Luke 24:46.

The following are, in like order, the allusions to His return:

Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:27 (Mark 8:38; Mark 9:1, Luke 9:26-27), Luke 10:40; Luke 17:22, Matthew 19:28; Matthew 23:39; Matthew 24:3 (Mark 13:4, Luke 21:6), Matthew 24:34-37 (Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32), Matthew 24:44; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 26:64 (Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69).

The most cursory examination of these series of passages in their setting, and especially in their distribution through the Evangelical narrative, will evince the cardinal place which the eschatological element takes in the life of the Lord as depicted in the Gospels. In particular, it will be impossible to escape the conviction that it is distinctly the teaching of the Evangelists that Jesus came into the world specifically to die, and ordered His whole life wittingly to that end. As Dr. Denney puts it (expounding John 10:17, on which see also Westcott’s note), ‘Christ’s death is not an incident of His life, it is the aim of it. The laying down of

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Foresight'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/f/foresight.html. 1906-1918.

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