“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, 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. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you…” (1 Peter 1:10-12 NIV).
Our text from 1 Peter 1:10-12 explains why God’s prophets failed to grasp the full meaning of His revelation concerning the Messiah: their work involved service to a future generation.
For instance, consider the following excerpt from the book of the Biblical prophet Daniel. After Daniel received a prophetic vision of the future, the angel Gabriel was sent to provide him with a further explanation. Yet despite the additional detail offered by God’s angelic messenger, Daniel chapter eight closes with the following words…
“‘The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.’ I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding” (Daniel 8:26-27 NIV).
These passages hold implications that should not escape our attention. Here in 1 Peter 1:11-12, the great apostle tells us that the Old Testament prophets did not grasp the full significance of what God had spoken to them. Much like the prophet Daniel, “It was then disclosed to them that the services they were rendering were not meant for themselves and their period of time, but for you” (1 Peter 1:12 AMPC).
In a sense, what was true of these prophets is also true of us: our lives serve future generations as well. You see, the prophets are long gone, but their words continue to speak to us today. Their lives served future generations, just as the lives of those who preceded us served our generation. That service was rendered to us by parents, ministers, teachers, and mentors, along with a multitude of others who have played a role in shaping our lives.
Those individuals served us by investing in us, for better or worse. This portion of Scripture should thus prompt us to consider the investments we are making in others with the limited time we have now. We’ll continue our consideration of this idea next.