The Great Inquiry
1 Peter 1:10 “Of which salvation the
prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who
prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
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.”
1. The Old Testament Works
2. The New Testament Grace
3. The Dispensational View
1. The Old Testament Works
Verse ten: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:”
There is something very important to understand here concerning these next three verses.
It is something that divides the men from the boys.
Now, I remind you, it is important to approach God’s word with the believing heart of a child.
Furthermore, we need to accept God’s word for what it says and where God says it and not try to distort or wrest it our own hurt and to the hurt of others. Amen.
Something else! We need to take that old
King James Bible [the Authorized Version of 1611, or
any of its revisions] as the very
word of God every time … all the time.
If we will do this thing then God promises us to open the Book to us and show to us the things he desires to reveal to us about HIM, and about us, in the grand scheme of the ages.
Look with me in John chapter sixteen, verse
thirteen, and we will see the promise that was made
to us, was not made to them who
lived in the Old Testament. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not
speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” [John 16:13]
And again in First Corinthians chapter two verse ten: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:10]
Now, we can see here that the Old Testament
prophets have made a great inquiry into the things
that we now experience and
understand to be the Dispensation of Grace.
Now, we need to remind ourselves that the grace of God has been experienced by various men and women … all down through time.
• First, remember how Noah found grace in the
eyes of the Lord in the saving of him, and of his
family, from the destruction of
the antediluvian world by the world-wide flood. See Genesis chapter six, verse eight: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the
Lord.” [Genesis 6:8]
• Also, Lot found grace in saving him in the
destruction of the cities in the plain. We can
read of this instance of God’s grace
in Genesis chapter nineteen in verse nineteen. [Genesis 19:19]
• Next, God showed Moses grace when HE “spake unto Moses face to face” in Exodus chapter thirty-three in verses eleven and twelve.
“And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.” [Exodus 33:11-12]
Now, even though the grace of God was shown to various men and woman at various times down through TIME [in the Old Testament], it does not mean that those times were characterized by grace. A careful study of the BOOK would reveal that the works of men were the dominant thread involved in their salvation. [Therefore, God was interested in the works of a man.]
In First Samuel chapter eight, we learn that God was most interested in what a man [or a nation] will do [or will not do].
To see this, let us read from verse seven and eight: “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.” [1 Samuel 8:7-8]
We see here that the DOINGS of men are the WORKS of men.
The emphasis in the Old Testament in placed on the works of a man.
Here is what we see in the Bible. Are you ready for this? Here is the pattern. We see a FAITH + WORKS pattern in the Old Testament salvation. This is clearly seen in the book of Ezekiel in chapter eighteen. Let us now look there. I will not be able to read the whole chapter here, for the sake of time, so let’s zero in right away on verse seventeen.
In verse seventeen, we will see that the Bible shows that the salvation found in the Old Testament was based on something more than just having faith. Something was to be connected to that faith for the Old Testament saint. Let us now read verse seventeen: “That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.” [Ezekiel 18:17]
To “live” in the Old Testament
[“he shall surely live”] was
conditioned by the believing in the
“judgments” of God plus the doing
[“executed”], or the walking [“walked”] in the “judgments” of God.
Now, let me throw this in as an observation.
The very presence of the faith plus works salvation
in the Old Testament of the Bible
has messed up today’s Methodists, Assemblies of God, and Nazarenes into thinking that the New Testament salvation must therefore be the same as the Old Testament salvation.
These folks think the believer that has come by faith … must now by works keep his own salvation … in order to stay saved.
They see certain passages in the New Testament [in Matthew, Hebrews chapter six and ten] that lead them to this conclusion. For instance, in Matthew chapter twenty-four, verse thirteen: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Matthew 24:13]
FAITH plus WORKS!
They have taken this verse out of context and have misapplied it to themselves. Sad … so sad!
2. The New Testament Grace
Now, the last part of verse ten: “who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:”
It is by rightly dividing of the word of God, and
by applying the logic of faith [that is, believing
what the word says … where it says it] that will
SAFELY guide you and I to the New
Testament truth of the FAITH + NOTHING
salvation for the New Testament saint
in this CHURCH age.
Here, let me state it a different way to you. It is only by GRACE through FAITH … minus our WORKS that true salvation consists of … for the last two thousand years of time.
For the all time statement by the Holy Spirit [DOCTRINE]
for this in the Bible, go to the book of the
Ephesians in chapter two,
verse eight and nine: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:8]
It couldn’t be stated more clearly!
3. The Dispensational View
Verse eleven: “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.”
This speaks here, of a “manner of time.”
Not all of TIME since TIME began has TIME elapsed in the very same manner.
[TIME has not been homogeneous.]
What do I mean by this? I mean by this, that God has progressively revealed HIS word over a thirty-five hundred period of time, and more than this, God has set up over this thirty-five hundred period of time … various households, or economies in His dealings with man.
We see different economies or households of God
[by the Holy Ghost illuminating our heart] through
the differences between the Old
Testament salvation and the New Testament salvation.
Now, we are ready for verse twelve: “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.”
The Old Testament prophets saw something in the
future [prophecy] that was in a totally different
dispensation [or economy] for a
totally different people.
The Spirit of God “revealed” to them “the things” which is the New Testament gospel and the attendant so great salvation.
The Old Testament saints would not experience
this so great salvation while they lived. They
would need to die first, and go to
Abraham’s Bosom [to PARADISE] to wait for Jesus come to them.
The BOOK shows that Jesus Christ descended into hell to preach to them this New Testament gospel, and to bring them [captivity captive] into Heaven [after His spending three days and three nights in “the lower parts of the earth”].
Proof text for this? It is located in the
book of the Ephesians chapter four, verse eight
through ten: “Wherefore he saith, When
he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” [Ephesians 4:8]
Brethren, the next dispensation [after this
present dispensation of grace – the Church Age] will
be “the dispensation of the
fullness of times”.
This will be the Kingdom of Heaven which will be the one-thousand-year kingdom where Jesus Christ will rule this earth.
We can see this prophesied in the Ephesians
chapter one, verse ten: “That in the
dispensation of the fullness of times
he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” [Ephesians 1:10]
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Let it come!