There are many verses that indicate that the Lord has known us, even before we were ever born, and we will deal with a few examples of this, but the list is even longer. God is outside of time, and he is not limited in what he does or knows like we are. He doesn’t learn new things. And not only that, he controls all things as well, even who is born, where they are born, when they are born, and what they will do. That is the whole concept behind the prophecies in the Bible. He knows the players, sends them into the game, and he controls and brings about the situations that will fulfill his prophecies and his desired purposes.
For example, Pharaoh was created and raised up by God for the very purposes that came about in the Exodus from Egypt. He was placed in history at that particular moment. Paul even refers to this in Rom 9.17. In Isa 45.1, Isaiah actually names a Persian king named Cyrus (Koresh) about 200 years before he was born and tells us what he was going to do, and that Yehovah was the one who raised him up to his throne to bring these prophecies to come to pass. Dan 8.5-8 is a prophecy about Alexander the Great and what would happen to him, all according to God’s plan for him. Josephus tells us about the time Alexander enters Jerusalem and he says he had a vision of the high priest and when he met him it was exactly what he saw in the vision. Then it says Alexander was shown the book of Daniel and how one of the Greeks was predicted to defeat the Persians (see Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapter 8.4-5). Alexander’s success wasn’t because he was such a great general, it was because it was predestined to happen by the God of Israel. Dan 8 goes on to describe many historical kings that would come along and what they would do in relation to the people of Israel. It is the Lord who raises kings or presidents to power, and it is the Lord who deposes kings and presidents (Dan 2.21).
In Jer 1.5 it says that God knew Jeremiah before he was ever formed in his mother’s womb. In Psa 139.13-16 the doctrines of the omniscience and omnipresence of God are described. In Psa 139.16 it says that God’s eyes saw the writer’s “unformed substance” and it was written in a scroll containing all the days ordained for him, “when there were none.” Eph 1.4 says that God chose a believer in him before the foundation of the world, and compare this with Rom 8.29-30 and you will see that everything was “set” before we ever drew our first breath. Paul was set apart before he was born in Gal 1.15. That is why we are saved by God’s grace and not by works. He saved us before we had any works and ordained to save us before the world was. Acts 13.48 says, “and as many as he had appointed to eternal life believed.”
There are many verses that teach us that God knew us and planned out our lives before we were ever born, and that applies to the unbeliever as well, and there is no doubt about that. Pharaoh, Esau, Nebuchadnezzar, and Pilate for example all came along in history according to the plan of God. We could mention Judas, who was specifically born to do what he did; the birth of Isaac was predicted a year before, and even given the name he was to be called; Jacob and Esau had their life planned by the Lord before they were born; John the Immerser is another one named before he was born, and what he was going to do. Yeshua told Nathanael that before Phillip called him, he saw him under the fig tree, which is an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom (John 1.48). The greatest example of these concepts is Yeshua himself. When Yeshua called his talmidim to follow him, he knew who they were and where they were going to be and he went looking for them. So, God ordained and knew us before the universe was ever created, by name, and what our lives would be, and no human being is an accident with the Lord and everyone has a specific role in God’s plans. Everyone that played a role in the life of Yeshua was ordained to be born and live at that time, even Yeshua’s enemies.
For an in-depth study on this concept and the concept of “Election” see our study called, “The Sovereignty of God and the Elect” on this website.