Peter: The Disciple part 10a
Note: This week will be divided into three posts instead of the usual four. I briefly thought of creating two posts out of this one, but didn’t want to break up the continuity of the post. So the length of this post is longer than usual. Please accept my apology. The next two posts will post at 8:00 pm today and 8:00 am Sunday morning.
Prophecy and Scripture
I Peter 1:10-12; II Peter 16:20
For a Christian, when it comes to difficult moral decisions, the Bible plays a very helpful role. It reveals God’s dealing with humanity; it provides examples of those who have or have not made good decisions with their lives; and it provides guidance on the principles by which we should live. II Peter 1:19 describes the Bible as a lamp shining in dark places. But, Peter also comments on the role of prophets and also of those that were eyewitnesses as being the more sure words of Prophecy (II Peter 1:16-20). Peter also reveals two important principles by which he interprets scriptures.
I Peter 1:10-12: The Prophets’ Search for Salvation
Let’s look at these three verses one more time, then we will unpack them.
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you. 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into.
What salvation is being talked about? Of course, it is the life, sacrifice, death burial and resurrection of Christ, which all the prophets prophesied to. How were they able to prophecy to this? Because they received special revelation from God. But Peter is quick to point out that it went beyond just a special revelation from God. Oh, by the way, it was the pre-incarnate Christ that revealed these things to the Old Testament Prophets. What else did this group of Old Testament prophets do? They made a careful inquiry or search of the scriptures that were before them. In other words, they sat down and unrolled their scrolls, studies the scriptures that were written by the other prophets. They attempted to gain a more complete understanding of the will and testament of God, that had been given to them, by Christ Himself.
What Peter is saying is that through the study of the Bible and for us today the power of the Holy Spirit, that we will receive special insight and understanding of the words and will of God. And what is surprising is that this insight receive from personal Bible study, prayer and the Holy Spirit, gives us a better understanding of the plan of salvation than even the angels can comprehend. Why would this be? Because they have not experienced sin and all that it can bring upon each of us.
The angels can certainly be used as all heaven is used for our salvation, but they do not have the complete knowledge and understanding of the plan salvation that you and I can when aided by prayer, study and the Holy Spirit.
This is echoed by Paul where he states in Philippians 1:19 he says: “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Christ.” Paul further states in Romans 8:9 and Philippians 3:3; the “Spirit of life in Christ” in Romans 8:2 and a related expression, “Spirit of Holiness,” in Romans 1:4.
That Peter and Paul use these expressions to refer to the Holy Spirit is clear. I Peter 1:11 clearly shows it was he Spirit of Christ while in verse 12 the Holy Spirit is the active agent in divine inspiration and pointing one’s heart to God.
This makes it clear that throughout the Old Testament, it was Christ, the pre-incarnate Christ, that was the active agent leading people to God.
Two things were revealed by the prophets of old: they were the suffering of Christ and the subsequent glory of Christ. Throughout the Hebrew Bible these are the two strands that link all the Jewish Bible together. For the suffering of Christ can be seen clearly in the following passages: Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 52:12-53:12; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:7. We can see his glory from these passages: Psalm 110; Isaiah 53:12; Jeremiah 33:14, 15; Daniel 7:13, 14.
Peter assures those of us reading his letters today, that we occupy a very special place in history. For to us, that have received the full Cannon of Scripture, we see the fulfillment of what was prophesied in the Old Testament along with further evidence that Christ is indeed the promised Messiah, and that His words are forever sure, and that he will again come to receive us as his Children coming home at supper time. It further states that Christ will be the one that brings healing and salvation to those that have prayerfully studied God’s word and listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Peter makes it clear for us that first the spirit of Christ is revealed to the prophets and to us. Second the gospel message was preached by them and should be preached by us. Then the third part is that the Holy Spirit is working on the hearts of all the believers and upon all those that hear the gospel message.
The question is, are you praying? Are you Studying God’s Word? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit? And are you preaching God’s Word to others?