10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
What they [the Old Testament prophets] looked for was as to what time or if they could not find that, what kind of time would usher in this particular unique salvation. The answer to their question would throw light upon the character of that salvation. There are two words referring to time, chronos which speaks of time contemplated simply as such, the succession of moments, and kairos which speaks of a limited period of time, with the added notion of suitableness. Both words appear in the answer of Jesus, ” It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:6-7), the times (chronos), the seasons (kairos). … The seasons (kairos) represent the critical epoch-making periods when all that has been maturing through long ages comes to a head in grand decisive events which constitute the close of one period and the beginning of another. — Wuest, page 30.
That the Messiah should suffer puzzled the Prophets. They spoke by inspiration but could not understand the utterances of the Spirit though them. They were, however, told by the Spirit that their prophecies belonged to the future. The Holy Spirit, through the prophets of the New Testament, completed and explained these great prophesies. — Williams, page 998.
desire (v.12) = a strong, passionate desire
to look into (v.12) = to look with head bent forward, to stoop and look into. It’s the word used for when Peter, John, and Mary looked into the empty tomb (Luke 24:12; John 20:5, 11).
Most commentators do a great injustice to the Word of God when they contend that Peter was writing to the Church, the Body of Christ. This system of interpretation is a product of Acts 2 dispensationalism, which routinely confuses the ministries of Peter and Paul. Sadly these teachers are like sheep following one another down the wrong path. If we consistently rightly divide the Word of truth, there is little question that Peter was ministering to the remnant in Israel who were scattered abroad after the stoning of Stephen. Consequently, Peter’s epistles closely follow the earthly ministry of Christ which is deeply rooted in the Prophetic Program.
The salvation spoken of here by the Apostle Peter has nothing to do with the Mystery. Today we proclaim the gospel of reconciliation wherein God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their sins unto them. …
Notice that Peter says to his hearers “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently.” Who exactly were these prophets? There is a general consensus that these are the Old Testament prophets who announced the salvation of God according to prophecy. While the prophets of old understood the Messiah would come one day to bring salvation to Israel, that was the limit of their understanding. They “inquired and searched” their own writings as to what the prophecies meant. In particular, who was being spoken of, the manner in which they would be redeemed, and when they could expect the Messiah’s arrival. Therefore, we must take great care not to anticipate revelation; that is, not to assume that what Peter received by further revelation was understood by the prophets. Clearly the Old Testament saints were never required to place their faith in the coming death of Christ, simply because this truth was purposely withheld from them. …
Perhaps the best evidence of this is found in the actions of the chosen nation, when Christ “came unto His own, but His own received Him not.” Israel was not looking for a lowly Savior who would go about Palestine doing good, healing the sick, raising the dead, and dying for the sins of the nation. She was anticipating the glory—for the Messiah to split the eastern sky, conquer her enemies, and set up the kingdom. But the prophetic order was clear, for the Spirit had “testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). According to the providence of God, this is why the kingdom was only preached “at hand” before the death of Christ. The first legitimate offer of it was not until shortly after the day of Pentecost (Acts 3:19-20). — Sadler, pages 55-57.
Interestingly, there was one thing that was shown to the prophets. Peter says, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.” In other words, the Spirit of Christ within them revealed to them that the unveiling of their prophecies would not take place in their day. Rather the fulfillment of their words was given to a future generation in Israel. To which Peter adds, “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” (1 Peter 1:12).
The pronoun “us” used in conjunction with the phrase, “the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven” marks the general time frame for us. It was Peter’s generation, specifically the little flock at Pentecost, who witnessed that the one spoken of by the prophets was Christ. — Sadler, page 57.