1Pe_1:10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
THE same “salvation” that is made known to us, was revealed from the beginning. It was gradually unfolded to the world by many succeeding prophets. It is indeed exhibited as with meridian splendour in the New Testament. Yet by comparing the predictions of the prophets with the writings of the Apostles, we attain at once the fullest evidence of its divine original, and the deepest insight into its mysterious doctrines.
The truth of this observation will appear, while we consider,
The substance of the prophecies—
Though many things contained in them related only to the times wherein they were written, yet much of them undoubtedly relates to future and distant periods.
The grand scope of them in the general is “the grace that should come unto us”—
[The Gospel is called “grace,” because it is the highest expression of God’s kindness towards our guilty world. It declares the wonderful provision which he has made for our recovery, and calls us to receive his blessings as a free unmerited gift. It represents every part of our salvation as the effect of his grace, and requires us now, as well as hereafter, to give him all the glory of it.]
More particularly Christ is the sum and substance of the prophecies—
[God himself tells us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy [Note: Rev_19:10 and Joh_5:39.]:” the prophets “testified plainly of the sufferings of Christ.” So minutely did they describe the smallest and most improbable circumstances of his death, that their writings appear rather like a narration than a prophecy [Note: See Psa_22:8; Psa_22:16; Psa_22:18; Psa_69:21 and Isaiah 53.]: nor did they speak less accurately respecting “his glory that should follow.” Every step of his exaltation, from his resurrection to his future coming to judge the world, is distinctly marked [Note: Psa_68:18; Psa_2:6.]; and the triumph of his Gospel over the benighted Gentiles is proclaimed with confidence and exultation [Note: Psa_2:8. Compare Rom_15:9-12.].]
As in this light they deserve the deepest attention, so do they also on account of,
The importance of them—
The words before us mark the importance of the prophecies in a variety of views:
They were dictated by “the Spirit of Christ”—
[The Holy Ghost was the agent whom Christ employed from the beginning [Note: Compare 1Pe_3:18-20.]: through him did Christ inspire the prophets, and enlighten the world [Note: 2Pe_1:21.]. Thus were all the prophecies clearly of divine original; and can any thing more strongly mark their value and importance?]
The Prophets themselves “inquired and searched diligently” into their meaning—
[The inspired men did not understand the precise import of their own prophecies. They only knew that they “ministered to the Church in distant ages;” but they studied the word, and sometimes with good effect, to gain an insight into the intentions and purposes of God [Note: Dan_9:2.]. And if they judged their predictions so important while they were involved in obscurity, shall they be less valuable to us who have seen their accomplishment?]
The Apostles, in declaring their accomplishment, received miraculous testimonies from the Holy Ghost—
[They, “who first preached the Gospel, reported those things as done, which the prophets had beforehand testified” as to be done in due time; and their word was accompanied “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven [Note: Heb_2:4.].” Nor was this divine seal ever more immediately set to their ministrations than when they expressly referred to the prophecies as fulfilled in Jesus [Note: Act_10:43-44.]. Nothing surely could put a greater honour on the prophecies than this.]
The very Angels “desire to look into them”—
[The angelic figures over the ark were formed looking down upon it [Note: Exo_25:20.]. This intimated the interest they feel in the work of redemption. They arc indeed made wiser by the revelation given to the Church [Note: Eph_3:10.]. Though they dwell in the presence of God, they desire to know more of this mystery. Though they have no personal interest in it, they long to comprehend it. Can we then, whose interest in it is so great, have low thoughts of any part of those Scriptures which exhibit and illustrate it?]
What a mercy is it to live under the full light of the Gospel!
[Those things, which the patriarchs saw only in types and prophecies, we are privileged to enjoy in their substance and accomplishment. Well therefore does Christ say to us, “Blessed are your eyes, blessed are your ears;” but if our light be greater than theirs, our obligations to follow it are proportionably increased; and if we neglect to improve it, surely both prophets and angels will appear against us to condemn us.]
In searching the Scriptures we should attend particularly to what is said of Christ—
[Many read the Scriptures without ever discovering the fulness and excellency of Christ; but as “they testify of him,” so we are most concerned in what relates to him. Let us then fix our eyes diligently on that ark of God; let us treasure up in our minds whatever is spoken of “his sufferings and glory;” and, “mixing faith with what we read,” let us seek to be made wise unto salvation.]