By Larry Ray Hafley
“Of which salvation (the salvation of your ouls-LRH) 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” (1 Peter 1:10-12).
A Panoramic Passage
The text above is like 1 Timothy 3:16 and John 3:16. They are panoramic portrayals of the divine mind and scheme of redemption. Each is the gospel in a succinct summary. If these three Scriptures were truly understood, if their general, overall truth was rightly perceived, many specific and particular errors of teaching could be avoided. No premillennialist properly comprehends the thrust of 1 Peter 1:10-12. If he did, he would not be a premillennialist. From center to circumference, the evolution of salvation is described. One would do well to appreciate the unfathomable riches of these words.
Five different words are used to denominate the eternal and universal plan of God. These terms are: (1) salvation-v. 10; (2) grace-v. 10; (3) the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow-v. 11; (4) the things now reported; (5) the gospel. Substitute the word “gospel” for the word “grace” in verse 10. The sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow is, if one may say so reverently, merely another way of saying “the gospel.” What is the gospel if it is not the sufferings of Christ and His subsequent exaltation and coronation (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:1)? These five items are synonymous.
From the premise above, a number of facts are clearly seen.
First, the gospel system of salvation was not something unforeseen. Later on in the context, Peter declares that Jesus “was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20). That says the very same thing as verses 11 and 12. Observe the parallel expressions. The testimony of the Old Testament prophets concerning the sufferings of Christ is, for all practical purposes, equivalent to the statement that Christ “was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” The fact that He “was manifest in these last times for you” is equal to “the things which are now reported.” In other words, Peter is embellishing the worth of faith with the sublime fact of its divine and eternal origin. Those now suffering have reason for hope. Your salvation rests upon the definite design of God from all eternity. Your persecution is transient and temporary, therefore, faint not. This is Peter’s theme and thesis.
Second, the revelation of these precious promises is all of God. The Old Testament prophets wrote about the gospel scheme. They detailed its salient features, and they strained to see what they were writing was all about. Their efforts to peer through the fabric of God’s cloth were futile. The very fact that they defined what they did not understand shows the truthfulness of Peter’s more famous utterance, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21). Just as the Spirit of Christ “in them” testified then, so He revealed the gospel to those of Peter’s day through the apostles and prophets (Cf. Eph. 3:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:12), From the beginning introduction to the final production, it was the revelation of the Spirit.
Obviously, men are precluded as inventors of the gospel and of its salvation. They could not have devised and developed it. Even the angels desire to look into its manifold wisdom (Eph. 3:10; Matt. 13:17; 1 Pet. 1:12). Further, as the Old Testament prophets are regarded and respected as the oracles of God, as are the apostles to be received. Their message is the unveiling of the Old Testament prophecies of grace. Because the same Spirit directed or moved the “holy men of God,” they are all to be accepted.
Third, for the reasons outlined, the gospel is the truth which was received through the Spirit (1 Pet. 1:22). God told His people in the Old Testament that men, flesh, could not support them. His word would endure; it would abide though all else would perish. Thus, lean upon the word of the Lord (Isa. 40:6-8). Peter makes a New Testament application of this principle of truth in 1 Peter 1:23-25. He could Dot make this parallel if the gospel was not of the same origin or source as the testimony of the Old Testament. As the Old Testament word was authoritative and reliable by reason of its source, so is the salvation promised in the gospel as preached by the apostles “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” “Wherefore (in view of these facts-LRH) gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pe., 1:13).
Truth Magazine XX: 41, p. 642
October 14, 1976