God is with you, Part 4
1 Peter 1v10-12
The Prophets spoke about us
24th March 2017
When we started looking at this letter, we noticed that Peter said several things to assure the Christians who would read it that they were now included in Israel. He said we're God's elect – God's chosen people. He called us the Diaspora, like the Jews. He said we're sprinkled with blood, just like the ancient Israelites. And so on. It's wonderful that God now includes us among His holy people, but now Peter says something even more amazing.
1 Peter 1v10—12
Peter says here that the Old Testament prophets were serving you and me when they prophesied.
Of course, not all Old Testament prophesies were about the coming of Jesus Christ, or about you and me. Some were about Edom, or Moab, or Lebanon, for example. Those prophesies still have useful things to teach us, but they weren't about Jesus, or about us. But many Old Testament prophecies were about Jesus, and about us. Peter says the prophets spoke of the grace that was to come to you, that is, to us. Let's remember just a few examples of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus and about us:
Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus:
Isaiah also prophesied about the Holy Spirit coming on Jesus:
Jesus confirmed that this was about Him in Luke 4:21 when he told his synagogue "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing".
Isaiah prophesied the trial and death of Jesus, and its purpose in atoning for our sin, in this wonderful passage:
Jeremiah prophesied the New Covenant that Jesus inaugurated, and that we participate in:
This is a great example of a prophesy that was originally addressed to Israel and Judah, but which actually applies to all of us who believe in the redeeming blood of Jesus, because we too are now the Israel of God.
Joel prophesied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church:
Of course, there are many more Old Testament prophesies that I could have quoted.
Peter says that the prophets searched intently and with the greatest care, "trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow". A prophet is like a postman delivering a message from God. When a person prophesies, he doesn't always know exactly what the prophesy means; a true prophesy is a message from God, not from the prophet. But the prophesies we just read are so momentous that of course the prophets wanted to know what the meant.
They wanted to know when Jesus would come, when the Holy Spirit would be poured out, when the Gentiles would be included among God's people. They studied the scriptures they had, and they asked God in prayer. And God revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. The main beneficiaries of Old Testament prophesies are Christians. Which means we need to study the Old Testament as well as the New.
When the Old Testament prophets spoke, they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. The Old Testament prophets preached the gospel. They didn't fully understand the Gospel, and it wasn't as clear in their day as it became when Jesus arrived on earth and began to explain it. But that's what they were doing.
They were predicting that Jesus would come, that He would preach, that He would heal the sick, that He would die to pay for our sin, that He would rise again, and that He would ascend into heaven (Daniel 7). And they predicted that Gentiles would be included in God's people through faith.
Of course, the Old Testament prophets didn't fully understand. Even the angels don't fully understand. Peter says Even angels long to look into these things. God choose how much He will reveals to each person. Even we, who have the Old and New Testaments, and have received the Holy Spirit, don't fully understand, but we have seen and understood things that the old prophets couldn't grasp.
God purposed, even in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah, to include us in His people. Actually, Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us… before the creation of the world. How privileged, how blessed does this make you feel?
We are the purpose of God's eternal plan. Knowing we would sin, God purposed to send Jesus to die in our place, to raise Him to life again, and to reveal His truth to us by the Holy Spirit. He sent the Old Testament prophets ahead of time to tell us it would happen. He sent the New Testament apostles to preach and to write about what Jesus did, and what His death accomplished – our salvation. He sends the Holy Spirit now to show us that these things are true.