Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
In this verse Peter reflects on an aspect of the work of the prophets under the Old Covenant. The prophets prophesied about “grace that was to be” ours. And then He says that they “inquired carefully” what “person” or “time” the Spirit was referring to. They also knew that He would “suffer” and that there would be “subsequent glories.”
He then goes on to say that they were serving not themselves, but us. They were not serving those of their time. They were serving us. And in what? They were serving us in the things that have now been announced through those who preach the Gospel.
The prophetic words of the Old Covenant prophets concerning Christ is a ministry that is directed towards us. We can invite this amazing prophetic ministry into our own lives. These prophets serves us through their work.
These prophets were extremely interested in what precise was the essence of this grace that they were prophesying about. This grace is so interesting that even the angels were interested in looking into exactly what this grace entails.
How does this relate to us as modern prophetic types? We can discover the New Covenant from the prophet’s perspective. We can combine this with an Apostolic perspective by looking at it from the the teaching of the apostles. When we combine these two we can see the New Covenant clearer than ever.
One of my favorite prophetic verses regarding the Messiah is Isaiah 53.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The prophet’s perspective of what Christ would do on the cross has significant theological implications as well as practical application in our prophetic practice of the New Covenant and what is it that the prophetic ministry must represent.
Let’s see John’s encouragement:
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
Combining these two we can have a very clear indication of the work that the Messiah had done. The iniquity was laid upon the Messiah and here John says that the forgiveness we receive is for His name’s sake. Our forgiveness is because of Him.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
We can make this practical in our prophetic ministries by knowing that the punishment of sin has been dealt with by the precious blood of Christ once and for all. The danger is that we might use the fear of punishment to motivate God’s people into holiness and obedience. This unfortunately is not an obedience to the New Covenant, but an obedience to the Law (whether internally or externally). As we represent and draw God’s people to holiness, we have to do it in God’s way. Fear of punishment is not the way to motivate believers. It is contrary to the teaching of the New Covenant. Instead it is seen as a loveless way. See what John writes concerning Christians, judgement day, fear of punishment and love:
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Our ministries must be ministries of love. When we use unbiblical ways to motivate or compel people, it is close to witchcraft. Paul in Galatians uses the word “bewitched.” Let us continue in love when ministering to the believers. We need an ever clearer prophetic representation of God in the earth. One that would shun a “service” of fear of punishment towards believers and one that would engage with them in a New Covenant understanding of Christ’s dealings with His Bride.