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1 Peter 1:10-12 meaning

Peter explains the paradox of the salvation of the believer’s soul as something so special the prophets spoke about it without understanding it, and the angels, who cannot experience it, became curious to see it how it was lived out in the life of a believer.

Having introduced the concept about the salvation of the believers’ life on earth in 1 Peter 1:9, Peter continues, As to this salvation. the prophets of the Old Testament were the ones who prophesied of the grace to come to you (v. 10).

Salvation has three tenses for any believer:

·      Past tense — a believer has been saved/delivered from the penalty of sin through faith in Jesus (John 3:14-15)

·      Present tense — a believer is delivered continually, each day, from the power of sin and its adverse consequences through walking daily in the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:6)

·      Future tense — every believer will be delivered in the future from the presence of sin when they receive a new, resurrected spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). Each believer who overcomes will be rewarded with a share of Christ’s inheritance (Revelation 3:21).

In the previous section, Peter spoke of the “outcome” or result “of their faith” which was “the salvation” of their “souls” (1 Peter 1:9). This salvation is part of God’s plan of redemption. Each believer has the opportunity to walk in faith and redeem their spiritual lives from futility, both now and in the age to come.

The concept of grace in the phrase which speaks of the prophets prophesying of the grace to come to you is from the Greek word “charis.” “Charis” means favor and is used ten times in this letter (1 Peter 1:2, 10, 13, 2:19, 20, 3:7, 4:10, 5:5, 10, 12). In this context, grace refers to the divine favor that would come to us in Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to die for the world because He loves us (John 1:16-17).

Even though the prophets did not understand everything they prophesied about the grace/favor that would come through Christ, that did not stop them from being curious enough to ask questions. They made careful searches and inquiries (v. 10). The Greek word translated made careful searches is “exezetesan,” meaning to exert a lot of effort. The Greed word translated and inquiries is “exeraunesan,” meaning to seek diligently in order to learn. These prophets were straining to learn and to know about the Christ/Messiah/Anointed One who they were prophesying would come and bring redemption.

These curious prophets were seeking to know what person or time their prophecies referred to (v. 11). We now know that both the person and the time referred to Jesus. Peter wants his readers to know it was the Spirit of Christ within them that was indicating these details (v. 11), meaning to make known something that was previously unknown about the promised Messiah. This means that the Spirit of Christ was prophesying through these prophets about Himself.

Peter intentionally tells us it was the Spirit of Christ who was working within them as they predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow (v. 11).

This confirms how the Bible is the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter further explains this concept of divine inspiration in his second letter, “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21).

The Spirit of Christ within these prophets predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. This means the central message from these inspired Old Testament prophets focused first on Christ’s sufferings. “The sufferings of Christ” predicted by these prophets include:

  • His persecution from Jewish leaders (Isaiah 53:3),
  • His betrayal by Judas (Zechariah 11:13),
  • His abandonment by His disciples (Isaiah 53:12),
  • His painful beating and scourging during His trials (Isaiah 53.2-5),
  • His crucifixion (Psalm 22:16),
  • His separation from God (Psalm 22:1), and
  • His physical death (Isaiah 53.5-12).

These prophecies were not only about the sufferings of Christ, they were also about the glories to follow, which include:

  • His resurrection (Psalm 16.10),
  • His ascension (Psalm 68:18),
  • His second coming to earth to rule over His Messianic Kingdom (Ezekiel 39:21-19, Revelation 19:6-16),

·      To reign eternally as King over the New Heavens and New Earth (Isaiah 65:17, Revelation 3:21, 5:12-13, 19:6, 20:4, 21:1), and

·      Restoring humanity to its original design to steward creation in harmony with God, nature, and one another (Hebrews 2:5-10, Revelation 3:21, 5:10).

In prophesying “the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow,” It was revealed to them (the Old Testament prophets) that they were not serving themselves, but you (v. 12). Somehow God let these prophets know their prophecies were for the future, that they would minister to the people who would come to know Jesus in the future.

After He rose from the dead, Jesus explained to His disciples about many Old Testament prophecies that applied to Him (Luke 24:27, 44-45).

It was in these things, referring to the sufferings of Christ and glories to follow, which now have been announced to you (v. 12). The you here refers to those receiving this letter from Peter. This means sometime in the past this information had been proclaimed through those who preached the gospel to you (the letter’s recipients) (v. 12). Peter here acknowledges that he is repeating things they have already heard.

The term gospel means “glad tidings” or “good news.” Those having the gospel preached to them have heard from the people in the past who proclaimed this good news about the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

The means of announcing and preaching this good news ultimately came by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven (v. 12). It was the heaven-sent Holy Spirit who inspired the Old Testament prophets to write and the New Testament preachers to proclaim the good news of the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

This concept of suffering followed by glory are things into which the angels long to look (v. 12).

Angels are amazed at these things. They, like the prophets, are also longing to understand. However, in the case of the angels, they have observed details regarding Jesus and are still seeking understanding. This passage in Ephesians says something similar:

 “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places”
(Ephesians 3:10).

We see in this verse from Ephesians that the angels are watching believers (the church) to understand the many-faceted wisdom of God. This is in spite of being in God’s presence for eons of time. It is in spite of learning directly from God. We can infer that one reason the angels are having to learn of God through the church is because we who believe can live by faith, whereas angels cannot. Faith is, by definition, believing what cannot be seen (Hebrews 11:1). The angels see, so they cannot have faith.

It also stands to reason that we will not be able to have faith in the next age. That would lead us to conclude that our opportunity to walk by faith in this life is an incredible experience we should grasp with great gratitude. When we walk by faith, we learn of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we take advantage of a great privilege that angels do not enjoy.

It is through the church that the angels, (“the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places,”) learn about the grace and wisdom of God not only displayed in the “suffering of Christ and the glories to follow,” but also displayed in the life of suffering believers who will experience glories in heaven. Peter will speak of this at length in Chapter 3. When believers walk by faith and come to know God by faith, they are gaining insights that are not available to the angels and likely will not be available to us once we are in heaven and know by sight (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Each believer in this era can know of Jesus historically, receive Him by faith, and come to know Him through a walk of faith. This is such an amazing opportunity that angels study and strain to know and understand. Peter is setting forth a perspective that will lead us to conclude that even difficulty is a great opportunity. To know God is the greatest experience of life (John 17:3). And each believer has in this life the privilege to come to know God by faith.

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