by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9 April 5, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
11 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.
12 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them.
12 To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven; which things angels desire to look into.
I. Peter's Focus Upon the Prophets.
A. He clearly presents them as "inquiring" and "searching" [See notes for March 29, 2009].
B. The primary object of the "inquiring" and "searching" is identified as the "salvation of your souls" and as "the unto-you grace".
C. The specific "search" had to do with "unto what or what sort of time" the in-you Spirit of Christ was declaring, bearing witness beforehand of the 'unto-Christ' sufferings and the 'after-these-things' glory." The "answer" they got was that the "time" was later. The question seems to be this: Why was this such an issue as to call forth such diligence in inquiry?
1. Part of the answer has to be the entire process of God in "bringing many sons to glory" in which He deliberately includes those "many sons" in the minutia of the process so that they may "live" in spirit by making a contribution to the overall success of the process. It is no accident that people all over the world dream of being "the one" who accomplishes a world-changing action. Even in "recruitment" by "Christian" organizations, the slogans are often "changing the world" or "making a difference" or some such appeal to the "vision" of the people being sought. There is a reason that people dream of doing something significant: they wish to be significant and they think (falsely) that being will arise out of doing. God, on the other hand, created people to be servants so that their spirits "live" when their service meets another's need. They do not become servants by doing; they do because they are servants. Nor do they become significant by service; they express their significance by serving.
2. But another part of the answer has more to do with the issue of the text: timing. It is a matter of fact that "hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12). This means that "prophecy" that is left undone for too long seems to be counter-productive. Even our current author (Peter) had to go out of his way in his second letter to "explain" why God was "deferring" the greatest of all of the prophecies so that his readers would not go into the "sick heart" malaise. But, how effective was he really? How is it that Jesus predicted the degeneration of "the love of the many" into "coldness" (Matthew 24:12) because the "servants" begin to say in their hearts "my Lord delayeth" and begin to be "lawless" (Matthew 24:48-51)? The answer seems to be thus: timing makes its impact for those who believe the hope-producing promises day by day without allowing them to be tarnished by the fact of the days passing without fulfillment. The prophets were seriously interested in the timing, but the thing that was revealed was that their current activity was being plugged into the greater matrix in order to bring benefit to others. In other words, "timing" was, essentially, replaced by a greater issue: whether, in fact, today's activities were of any use to God in His greater plan. A man who lives out his entire allotment of seventy years (Psalm 90:10) daily expecting the fulfillment of the promise is not injured by the continual deferment if he does not allow unbelief to creep in, but the man who lives his allotted time without such hope is seriously injured forever. It does not hurt to be constantly on the lookout, but it sure does hurt to not be. At some point, the "many sons" need to grow out of the self-interested focus upon what is to come so that they may grow into the other-interested focus upon making a contribution to the People and Plan of God today.