Does 1 Peter 1:20 teach that Jesus was a plan?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus is not God and had no pre-existence. Instead, they teach that he was created and that his existence before his conception and birth was merely a plan of God. Often, the INC uses 1 Peter 1:20 to teach that he was only a plan. Is this what 1 Peter 1:20 teaches?
1 Peter 1:20 (ESV) - 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
When we look at this verse and its surrounding context, we see that is not what the verse is teaching at all.
This verse does not say that Jesus didn't exist.
First, we should notice that nowhere does this verse say that Jesus did not exist or that he came into existence. The word "manifest" refers to the fact that Jesus became known to the people to whom he was a savior.
The verse says that the cross was a plan.
The INC teaches that this verse says that Jesus was a plan, but the clear message of this verse is that cross was a plan. Foreknowledge refers to the deep and intimate understanding of a person. God foreknew Jesus in that he was so intimately familiar with the person of Christ that he knew how and when he would be a savior for man.
The fact that he "was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you" refers to the fact that Jesus appeared (not was created) to save us. Additionally, The preceeding context is all about men's anticipation of him as a savior! He was not only foreknown but prophecied and therefore anticipated by those who knew God's revelation in the Old Testament.
1 Peter 1:10-12 (ESV) - 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Peter uses the passover lamb to show that the cross was a plan.
Even the previous verse talks about Christ's role as a savior. Specifically, it calls him the passover lamb.
1 Peter 1:19 (ESV) - 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
It is only reasonable that we understand God's plan regarding Christ to be the same as the plan regarding the passover lamb.
Exodus 12:5-6 (ESV) - 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
The lamb was not killed immediately, but it was planned that he would be killed at a very specific point in time. In the same way, the cross was planned to happen at a very specific point in time. The fact that the lamb's death was planned does not mean that the lamb didn't exist until the fourteenth day when it was killed. Likewise, the fact that Jesus' death was planned does not mean that he didn't exist until he became a savior.
When the INC teaches that Jesus was merely a plan using 1 Peter 1:20, they abuse the verse. 1 Peter 1:20 does not teach Jesus was a plan. It teaches that the cross was a plan. The INC has a very low view of Jesus, calling him a plan.
INC members should repent of their unbelief and submit their thinking to scripture. The true gospel is found in a Jesus who is powerful enough to save; a Jesus who is God.