MYSTERY OF SALVATION
Leslie M. John
Prophets spoke the future events by the inspiration from God, saying ”thus says the LORD”, not knowing what they spoke of concerning that which was to come much later. Prophecies are traced back from the New Testament assertions to connect to what was said in the Old Testament period. When such connection is made and seen it is evident that most of the prophecies, except that of eschatology, are fulfilled. There are many prophecies concerning the last days and the future, which are yet to be fulfilled. Except for Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Son of God, none of the prophets, who spoke prophecies knew what they were speaking; not even Daniel. The angel said to him to seal the prophecies and it is not for him to know but to those who are in the last days.
”But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4-9).
Peter writing his first epistle, predominantly to dispersed Jews among Nations, infuses confidence in them and comforts them that they should rejoice in the Lord. Peter’s address is applicable to Gentiles who received salvation based on 1 Peter 1:18, 2:10, 4:3
”Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
Peter says that the trials and manifold temptations, which they were facing, were of short duration and their future is bright. The trial of their faith was much more precious than that of gold that perishes. A noticeable point is that Peter uses the word ”Precious” several times in his epistles. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Lord Jesus Christ and our hope is precious. Obviously, he was addressing those who have already received salvation of their souls, and yet undergoing severe trials and temptations. God does not tempt us but surely He will test us. Even if our faith is tried with fire, it stands the test, and will be found more precious than that of gold, which perishes. Our firm stand for Christ in faith brings praise and glory to the Lord, even at His second coming. Addressing Gentiles, who have not seen Jesus, Peter says that they love Him and rejoice with unspeakable joy, full of glory to receive the reward of their faith, which is salvation of their souls. (cf. 1 Peter 6:9)
The salvation by grace that Peter was explaining about was not known to Prophets, who, even without knowing what it was all about, diligently searched as to what it was.
Referring to His death and resurrection, when Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days i will raise it up”, His disciples did not understand, but when he was risen, they remembered that he had said this to them beforehand, and then “they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said”. (cf. John 2:20-22)
The prophets prophesied of the grace that was to come to them and searched as to the time-phase such grace period would come. They did not speak for themselves, but they spoke for those who were there then and received preaching with the help of Holy Spirit. Even angels desired to know of that salvation by grace through faith would come about. (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-13)
“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired 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).