1 Peter 1:12
To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to us they did minister the things, which are now reported to you by them that have preached the gospel to you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Unto whom it was revealed.—As 1Peter 1:11 expanded and expounded the words “inquired and searched,” so the first part of 1Peter 1:12 expounds the words “prophesied of the grace in reserve for you.” That is to say, the revelation here spoken of is not a special revelation sent in answer to their laborious musings, but rather the very thing which occasioned them; the perplexity consisted in feeling that God had a further meaning for their words. And the exact limits of the revelation are mentioned: they were shown that they spoke for the benefit of futurity, and no more! What a “trial of faith!” What a sublime disappointment! (Hebrews 11:40.)

Unto us.—Far the better reading is, unto you. It is a distinct characteristic of this Epistle, that “we,” “us,” “our,” are so seldom used (in the best text) where they might have been expected. Where St. Paul throws in his own sympathy, and puts himself on a footing with those whom he addresses, St. Peter utters his lofty pastoral from above. There are but four places in the Epistle (1Peter 1:3; 1Peter 2:24; 1Peter 3:18; 1Peter 4:17) where he associates himself thus with his brethren, and one of those (1Peter 2:24) is really a quotation, and one (1Peter 3:18) at best a very doubtful reading. The same tendency may be observed in his speech (Acts 15:7), where the right reading is “made choice among you.

The things.—In the original simply them; so that a semicolon might better follow than a comma, and which things be put instead of “which.” The most natural thing is to suppose that the pronoun represents the preceding “sufferings in reserve for Messiah and the glories after.” In what sense, then, could the prophets “minister,” either to themselves or to us, the sufferings and glories of Messiah? The word is one which signifies a servant bringing to his master the things which he needs—commonly used (e.g., John 12:2) of serving up a meal; and the prophets are said to serve the Messianic sufferings and glories to us, to wait upon us with them, to present them to our use and study and comfort. (Comp. 1Peter 4:10.) When it says, however, that they ministered them “not to themselves but to us,” we must not suppose that they derived no comfort from their predictions (see John 8:56): the “not” must be taken in the same sense as in “I will have mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13).

Which are now reported unto you.—Rather, which things (i.e., the gospel story) now (in contrast with the days of the prophets) were (not “are”) openly declared to you (in all their details, in contrast with the dim and vague way in which they were seen before). Such is the force of this compound Greek verb in John 4:25; Acts 19:18; Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27.

By them that have preached.—More correctly, through those who preached; the difference being that St. Peter is referring to the first bearers of the gospel to those parts, not to all who from that time to the date of the Letter had preached. This is a point well worth noticing. The phrase seems to show that St. Peter himself was not of the number. Perhaps half the churches which received the Letter looked to St. Paul as their founder. (See last Note on 1Peter 1:1.) Here, then, we find the Rock-Apostle authoritatively setting his seal to the teaching of his junior colleague, just as he does in the Second Epistle (1Peter 3:15). It seems to imply that these Jewish Christians were beginning to feel a reaction from St. Paul’s evangelical teaching; and the Apostle of the Circumcision is called in to enforce what the Apostle of the Uncircumcision had taught. The revolt of the Hebrew Christians in Asia from evangelical teaching appears again at a still later period (Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9). It was, perhaps, only with Jewish Christians that such an appeal from St. Paul to St. Peter would be made, and need not imply superiority throughout the whole Church. St. Peter’s perfect concurrence with St. Paul here is a sufficient contradiction to the Tubingen theory of their irreconcilable divergence—only the Tubingen school reject the Epistle on the ground that it makes the Apostles too harmonious!

With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.—The magnificent phrase seems meant to contrast the full effusion of the Spirit now, with His limited working in the prophets (1Peter 1:11). But it contains more teaching than this. The tense of the participle “sent” is such as might without violence be rendered “sent once and for ever,” “sent in a moment.” Now, remember that almost undoubtedly some of the recipients of the Letter (see last Note on 1Peter 1:1) were eye-witnesses of His being “sent” to St. Peter and the rest on the Day of Pentecost. St. Peter, then, here claims for St. Paul (and St. Silas perhaps) the very same inspiration with which himself was furnished. And as here he claims full inspiration for St. Paul’s preaching, so he does afterwards for his writing (2Peter 3:15).

Which things the angels.—The “which things” here is grammatically parallel to the “which things” of the last sentence, and therefore would mean “the sufferings of Messiah and the glories after.” But logically we have to go back to the beginning of 1Peter 1:10 : “Do I say that prophets, who had the mysteries of our redemption on their lips, yet pored in vain to catch the detailed meaning which you catch? Nay; angels (not “the angels”), who were present at every detail, and bore an active part in it all (see Matthew 1:20; Matthew 4:11; Matthew 28:2; Luke 1:26; Luke 2:9; Luke 22:43; John 1:51),—angels, of whom He ‘was seen’ (1Timothy 3:16),—covet now to exchange places with you that they may gaze into the mystery.” The word which has here shrunk into our word “to look into,” means really, to bend aside to see. In its literal sense it occurs in John 20:5; John 20:11, and in Luke 24:12 (a verse not found in the best text), of people standing at the side of the cave so as not to get in their own light, and stooping sideways to peer in. Metaphorically it is used in James 1:25, where see Note. It seems to mean a strained attention to something which has caught your eye somewhat out of your usual line of sight. Here then, the intention is to show that we are in a better position to understand the mysteries of redemption, not only than prophets, but also than angels; and they covet to stoop from their own point of view to ours. And why so? Not because of the inherent mysteriousness of the union of the two natures in Christ, for of that they are as intelligent as we, or more so; but because they are incapable of fully understanding human nature, flesh and blood, with its temptations and pains, its need of a Saviour. In Francia’s great picture, the two angels kneel by weeping Mary and dead Christ without a trace of grief on their countenances. The Son of God Himself only became capable of entering into our infirmities through becoming flesh, and experiencing the same (Hebrews 2:16; Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15). Several passages show us that the tragedy of human history is by no means enacted only for the benefit of the actors, but as a lesson (possibly, as Archbishop Whately pointed out, only a single illustration out of many in one lesson) for the instruction of unfallen spirits (1Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:10; 1Timothy 3:16). Our present passage has impressed itself on Christian lyrics as much, perhaps, as any in the New Testament. Charles Wesley well strikes the meaning in many of his poems: as—

“Ask the Father’s Wisdom how,

Him that did the means ordain;

Angels round our altars bow

To search it out in vain;”

or again—

“Angels in fixt amazement

Around our altars hover,

With eager gaze adore the grace

Of our Eternal Lover.”

Though very possibly the divine intention of the cherubim over the mercy-seat (Exodus 25:20) may have been to symbolise that which is here said, yet it is not to be thought that St. Peter was consciously thinking of the symbol.

1 Peter 1:12. Unto whom — So searching; it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us — Not so much for their own benefit as for ours, to whose time the accomplishment of their prophecies was reserved; they did minister the things which are now reported unto you — Performed the office of foretelling the things, the accomplishment whereof has been declared unto you. In other words, that they did not so much by their predictions serve themselves or that generation, as they have served us, who now enjoy what they only saw afar off. With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven — Confirmed by the inward powerful testimony of the Holy Ghost, as well as the mighty effusion of his miraculous gifts. Which things the angels desire to look into — To obtain a more perfect insight into, and knowledge of, as being matters of their admiration and delight, because in them the manifold wisdom of God is displayed, and by them the salvation of men is procured and effected, which they rejoice in. The expression, the angels desire to look into, is literally, to stoop down to. “But stooping being the action of one who desires to look narrowly into a thing, it properly means to look attentively. The omission of the article before αγγελοι, angels, renders the meaning more grand. Not any particular species of angels, but all the different orders of them, desire to look into the things foretold by the prophets, and preached by the apostles. See Ephesians 3:10. This earnest desire of the angels to contemplate the sufferings of Christ, was emblematically signified by the cherubim placed in the inward tabernacle, with their faces turned down toward the mercy-seat, Exodus 25:20. To that emblem there is a plain allusion in the word παρακυψαι here, to stoop. The apostle’s meaning is, If our salvation, and the means by which it is accomplished, are of such importance as to merit the attention of angels, how much more do they merit our attention, who are so much interested in them!” — Macknight.

Here is a beautiful gradation: prophets, righteous men, kings, desired to hear and see the things which Christ did and taught, Matthew 13:17; but what the Holy Ghost taught concerning Christ, the very angels long to understand.1:10-12 Jesus Christ was the main subject of the prophets' studies. Their inquiry into the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow, would lead to a view of the whole gospel, the sum whereof is, That Christ Jesus was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. God is pleased to answer our necessities rather than our requests. The doctrine of the prophets, and that of the apostles, exactly agree, as coming from the same Spirit of God. The gospel is the ministration of the Spirit; its success depends upon his operation and blessing. Let us then search diligently those Scriptures which contain the doctrines of salvation.Unto whom it was revealed - They were not permitted to know fully the import of the predictions which they were made the instruments of communicating to mankind, but they understood that they were intended for the benefit of future ages.

That not unto themselves - We are not to suppose that they derived no benefit from their own predictions; for, as far as they understood the truth, it was as much adapted to sanctify and comfort them as it is us now: but the meaning is, that their messages had reference mainly to future times, and that the full benefit of them would be experienced only in distant ages. Compare Hebrews 11:39-40.

Unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you - Not unto us by name, but their ministrations had reference to the times of the Messiah; and those to whom Peter wrote, in common with all Christians, were those who were to enjoy the fruits of the communications which they made. The word reported means announced, or made known.

By them that have preached the gospel unto you - The apostles, who have made known unto you, in their true sense, the things which the prophets predicted, the import of which they themselves were so desirous of understanding.

With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven - Accompanied by the influences of the Holy Spirit bearing those truths to the heart, and confirming them to the soul. It was the same Spirit which inspired the prophets which conveyed those truths to the souls of the early Christians, and which discloses them to true believers in every age. Compare John 16:13-14; Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44-45. The object of Peter by thus referring to the prophets, and to the interest which they took in the things which those to whom he wrote now enjoyed, seems to have been, to impress on them a deep sense of the value of the gospel, and of the great privileges which they enjoyed. They were reaping the benefit of all the labors of the prophets. They were permitted to see truth clearly, which the prophets themselves saw only obscurely. They were, in many respects, more favored than even those holy men had been. It was for them that the prophets had spoken the word of the Lord: for them and their salvation that a long line of the most holy men that the world ever saw, had lived, and toiled, and suffered; and while they themselves had not been allowed to understand the fall import of their own predictions, the most humble believer was permitted to see what the most distinguished prophet never saw. See Matthew 13:17.

Which things the angels desire to look into - The object of this reference to the angels is the same as that to the prophets. It is to impress on Christians a sense of the value of that gospel which they had received, and to show them the greatness of their privileges in being made partakers of it. It had excited the deepest interest among the most holy men on earth, and even among the inhabitants of the skies. They were enjoying the full revelation of what even the angels had desired more fully to understand, and to comprehend which they had employed their great powers of investigation. The things which are here referred to, εἰς ἅ eis ha - unto which) are those which the prophets were so desirous to understand - the great truths respecting the sufferings of Christ, the glory which would follow, and the nature and effects of the gospel. In all the events pertaining to the redemption of a world they felt a deep interest.

The word which is rendered "to look," (παρακύψσαι parakupsai,) is rendered "stooping down," and "stooped down," in Luke 24:12; John 20:5, John 20:11; looketh, in James 1:25; and look, in the place before us. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It properly means, to stoop down near by anything; to bend forward near, in order to look at anything more closely - Robinson, Lexicon. It would denote that state where one, who was before at so great a distance that he could not clearly see an object, should draw nearer, stooping down in order that he might observe it more distinctly. It is possible, as Grotius supposes, that there may be an allusion here to the posture of the cherubim over the mercy-seat, represented as looking down with an intense gaze, as if to behold what was in the ark. But it is not necessary to suppose that this is the allusion, nor is it absolutely certain that that was the posture of the cherubim. See the notes at Hebrews 9:5. All that is necessarily implied in the language is, that the angels had an intense desire to look into these things; that they contemplated them with interest and fixed attention, like one who comes near to an object, and looks narrowly upon it. In illustration of this sentiment, we may make the following suggestions:

I. The angels, doubtless, desire to look into all the manifestations of the character of God, wherever those manifestations are made:

(1) It is not unreasonable to suppose that, to a great degree, they acquire the knowledge of God as all other creatures do. They are not omniscient, and cannot be supposed to comprehend at a glance all his doings.

(2) they doubtless employ their faculties, substantially as we do, in the investigation of truth; that is, from things known they seek to learn those that are even unknown.

(3) it is not unreasonable to suppose that there are many things in relation to the divine character and plans, which they do not yet understand. They know, undoubtedly, much more than we do; but there are plans and purposes of God which are yet made known to none of his creatures. No one can doubt that these plans and purposes must be the object of the attentive study of all holy created minds.

(4) they doubtless feel a great interest in the welfare of other beings - of their fellow-creatures, wherever they are. There is in the universe one great brotherhood, embracing all the creatures of God.

(5) they cannot but feel a deep interest in man - a fallen creature, tempted, suffering, dying, and exposed to eternal death. This they have shown in every period of the world's history. See the notes at Hebrews 1:14.

II. It is probable, that in each one of the worlds which God has made, there is some unique manifestation of his glory and character; something which is not to be found at all in any other world, or, if found, not in so great perfection; and that the angels would feel a deep interest in all these manifestations, and would desire to look into them:

continued...

12. Not only was the future revealed to them, but this also, that these revelations of the future were given them not for themselves, but for our good in Gospel times. This, so far from disheartening, only quickened them in unselfishly testifying in the Spirit for the partial good of their own generation (only of believers), and for the full benefit of posterity. Contrast in Gospel times, Re 22:10. Not that their prophecies were unattended with spiritual instruction as to the Redeemer to their own generation, but the full light was not to be given till Messiah should come; it was well that they should have this "revealed" to them, lest they should be disheartened in not clearly discovering with all their inquiry and search the full particulars of the coming "salvation." To Daniel (Da 9:25, 26) the "time" was revealed. Our immense privileges are thus brought forth by contrast with theirs, notwithstanding that they had the great honor of Christ's Spirit speaking in them; and this, as an incentive to still greater earnestness on our part than even they manifested (1Pe 1:13, &c.).

us—The oldest manuscripts read "you," as in 1Pe 1:10. This verse implies that we, Christians, may understand the prophecies by the Spirit's aid in their most important part, namely, so far as they have been already fulfilled.

with the Holy Ghost sent down—on Pentecost. The oldest manuscripts omit Greek preposition en, that is, "in"; then translate, "by." The Evangelists speaking by the Holy Spirit were infallible witnesses. "The Spirit of Christ" was in the prophets also (1Pe 1:11), but not manifestly, as in the case of the Christian Church and its first preachers, "SENT down from heaven." How favored are we in being ministered to, as to "salvation," by prophets and apostles alike, the latter now announcing the same things as actually fulfilled which the former foretold.

which things—"the things now reported unto you" by the evangelistic preachers "Christ's sufferings and the glory that should follow" (1Pe 1:11, 12).

angels—still higher than "the prophets" (1Pe 1:10). Angels do not any more than ourselves possess an INTUITIVE knowledge of redemption. "To look into" in Greek is literally, "to bend over so as to look deeply into and see to the bottom of a thing." See on [2612]Jas 1:25, on same word. As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze upon and desire to fathom the depths of "the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels" (1Ti 3:16). Their "ministry to the heirs of salvation" naturally disposes them to wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love, justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can know it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they personally have not the direct share in it that we have. "Angels have only the contrast between good and evil, without the power of conversion from sin to righteousness: witnessing such conversion in the Church, they long to penetrate the knowledge of the means whereby it is brought about" [Hofman in Alford].

Unto whom; unto which prophets.

It was revealed; viz. by the Spirit of Christ that was in them.

That not unto themselves; who lived before Christ’s coming in the flesh.

But unto us; not only apostles, but believers, who live since Christ came.

They did minister; declare and foretell. The preaching of the word is called a ministry, Acts 6:4 2 Corinthians 4:1 5:18.

The things; the whole doctrine of the gospel concerning Christ’s person, offices, benefits, kingdom, and the whole New Testament state.

Which are now reported unto you; viz. as fulfilled, and actually exhibited now, which were only foretold by the prophets.

By them that have preached the gospel unto you; the apostles, and other gospel ministers assistant to them: the sense is: The prophets under the Old Testatnent did, by the Spirit, foresee and foretell Christ’s passion, resurrection, ascension, the effusion of the Spirit, the enlargement of the church by the calling of the Gentiles, &c.; but did not live to see their own prophecies, and God’s promises, fulfilled, Hebrews 11:13, as you now do. They did spread the table that you might feed at it; they had but a taste by faith, and at a distance, of those things you feast upon in their accomplishment; yet they did not grudge to declare these things, being instructed by the Spirit, that what they spake of should not be fulfilled in their time, but in the generations to come; that so ye, by comparing what they said should come to pass with what you have now been assured is come to pass, may be confirmed and established in the belief of the truth, being the same held forth by the prophets formerly, and gospel ministers at present.

With the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven: Christ promised to send the Spirit, Luke 24:49 John 14:26 15:26 16:7; and actually sent him, Acts 2:1-47: the apostles, not of themselves, but acted by this Spirit, have declared unto you the fulfilling of those things, which the former prophets, by the instinct and power of the same Spirit, (the Spirit of Christ, which was in them), did foretell would in their proper season come to pass.

Which things; the things before said to be reported by them that preached the gospel.

The angels desire to look into: it seems to be an allusion to the cherubims that stood above the ark, with their faces toward the mercy-seat, which was a type of Christ. The word signifies a bowing down the head, and stooping to look iuto a thing. Luke 24:12 John 20:5; and implies a prying, or looking narrowly into it; which argues an earnest desire to know it. The angels thus look into the mysteries of the gospel, as desirous to see the accomplishment of them, admiring the manifold grace and wisdom of God in them, Ephesians 3:10, and rejoicing in the salvation of sinners, which is the end and effect of God’s revealing them. Unto whom it was revealed,.... The salvation they searched and inquired into, and the grace of it; the time of its being wrought out, and what sort of times they would be when Christ should come, both to the church, and to the world, among Jews and Gentiles; as also what cruel sufferings the Messiah should undergo, and what great glory should be put upon him afterwards:

that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister. The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read "unto you"; and so do some copies. Not that they were ignorant of the things they searched into, and were revealed unto them, and they prophesied of; as the Jews sometimes say (c) of them,

"that they prophesied, and knew not what they prophesied of;

though it is not to be supposed that they had such clear and distinct ideas of things as saints have now under the Gospel dispensation; yet they knew much of the grace of the Gospel, and had the comfort of it, and a view of interest in the great salvation, and saw the day of Christ afar off with pleasure: nor that they did not minister, and were not useful to the saints of the age in which they lived; for their prophecies concerning Christ, and salvation by him, were particularly calculated for their spiritual refreshment and comfort, and the support of their faith and hope under afflictive circumstances; but then they were not to have their accomplishment in their times; for though they sometimes speak of them, because of the certainty of them, as if they were already done, yet they knew they were not to be brought about until the last days; and therefore what was written by them, was written for our learning and instruction chiefly and principally, on whom the ends of the world are come; and though they were both profitable to themselves, and others that lived with them, yet they are more so to the saints under the Gospel dispensations, who are able to compare prophesies and facts together: even

the things which are now reported unto you; as accomplished facts; such as relate to the person and offices of Christ, and salvation wrought out by him; to his incarnation, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension into heaven, and session at the right hand of God; of all which there is a true and faithful report made in the Gospel:

by them that have preached the Gospel unto you; meaning himself, and the rest of the apostles, who had been called, and qualified, and sent out by Christ to preach glad tidings, and publish peace, which they had done in the several parts of the world, both to Jew and Gentile:

with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; by Christ from the Father, particularly at the day of Pentecost, when the apostles had an extraordinary and plentiful effusion of the Spirit, qualifying them to preach the Gospel to which they were called and sent: and thus, as the great salvation is commended, from the concern that the prophets of old had in it, so from the preaching of it by the apostles, who were influenced and guided by the same Spirit of Christ as they were, and in a far greater manner; and this salvation is still more commended from the great regard the blessed angels have unto it:

which things the angels desire to look into. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "into whom"; either into the Holy Spirit, and the things of the Spirit, which he testified in the prophets, and published by the apostles; or rather into Christ, his person, offices, and grace, the allusion being to the cherubim on the mercy seat, a type of Christ, which looked to one another, and to the mercy seat, Exodus 25:20 and was true of them in the days of Christ's flesh, when they ascended and descended on the son of man, John 1:51 and when he rose from the dead, and went to heaven; for then was he seen and gazed on by angels, as he now is, 1 Timothy 3:16 or "into which things": so the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read; namely, the sufferings of Christ, and the glories following; the great mystery of redemption and salvation by Christ; the several doctrines of the Gospel, in which the glory of the grace, wisdom, righteousness, truth, and power of God is displayed; things they are highly delighted with, take pleasure in the contemplation of, and desire to have a greater knowledge of, and acquaintance with: they sung glory to God in the highest at the incarnation of Christ; they rejoice at the conversion of a sinner; and disdain not to be ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation; and learn of the church the manifold wisdom of God; which may serve greatly to commend the excellency of Gospel truths, and engage us in the study of them,

(c) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 119. 2.

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 {f} sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

(f) He alludes to the prophecy of Joel, which was exhibited upon the day of Pentecost, in the Apostles, as it were in the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, which this same prophecy Peter declares; Ac 2:6

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 1:12. οἷς ἀπεκαλύφθη] is linked on by way of explanation to ἐρευνῶντες: “to whom it was revealed,” i.e. “in that it was revealed to them.” This is to be taken neither as an antithesis to the searching, nor as the result of it, but as an element accompanying—and stimulating—it; see Wiesinger and Schott in loc.

ὅτι οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς ὑμῖν (ἡμῖν) δὲ διηκόνουν αὐτά] ὅτι is not causal here (Luther: “for;” so also Luthardt and Hofmann). Opposed to this is the circumstance that if ὅτι κ.τ.λ. be taken as a parenthesis, and the ἃ νῦν ἀνηγγέλη κ.τ.λ. following be joined with ἀπεκαλύφθη (Hofmann), this sentence is strangely broken up; if, on the other hand, ἃ νῦν κ.τ.λ. be united with what immediately precedes (Luther), ἀπεκαλύφθη is plainly much too bald. Nor can it be denied that ὅτι naturally connects itself with ἀπεκαλύφθη, and ἃ νῦν is joined with διηκόνουν αὐτά. ὅτι states, then, not the reason, but the contents of what was revealed to the prophets.[74]

ΔΙΑΚΟΝΕῖΝ, both in the N. T. and in the classics, is frequently a transitive verb joined with the accusative, and that in such a way that the accusative denotes either the result of the ΔΙΑΚΟΝΕῖΝ, or the thing to which the service is directed (1 Peter 4:10). Here, where ΑὐΤΆ is the accusative dependent on ΔΙΗΚΌΝΟΥΝ, the latter is the case; for that which is announced to the Christians is not the result of the prophets’ ministrations, but that to which they were directed. That “they did their part in bringing to pass by their ministration the salvation which is now preached” (Wiesinger, and Schott also), is a thought in no way hinted at here, and in which: “did their part” is a purely arbitrary addition. The ministration of the prophets consisted not in the bringing to pass of the salvation, but in the proclaiming of that which was revealed to them (Brückner); and this is what is conveyed by αὐτά.

They exercised this ministration, ΟὐΧ, etc., “not for their, rather for your (our) benefit,” i.e. in such a way that its application was to you (us), not to themselves.

On δέ after the negation, as distinguished from ἈΛΛΆ, cf. Winer, p. 411 [E. T. 621].[75] The difference in the reading ὑμῖν or ἩΜῖΝ does not essentially affect the meaning, since by ὙΜῖΝ, though the readers of the epistle are indeed addressed in the first instance, all the rest of the Christians are naturally thought of as included. Still, the idea expressed in the ὙΜῖΝ or ἩΜῖΝ ΔΈ is not without difficulty. Taken strictly, the ΟὐΧ ἙΑΥΤΟῖς alone was known to the prophets—and along with this likewise, that it was for others, i.e. for those who lived at the time of its fulfilment. But as these others are the Christians, the apostle directly opposes ὑμῖν δέ to ΟὐΧ ἙΑΥΤΟῖς—that is, inserts the definite for the indefinite.

Wiesinger, Schott, Brückner join ΑὐΤΆ closely with the which follows: “the same as that which now is proclaimed to you;” this is, however, incorrect. ΑὐΤΆ is nowhere in the N. T. construed thus with a relative to which it is antecedent; it applies rather to what has been formerly mentioned; here, therefore, doubtless to that of which the ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ testified beforehand to the prophets, and what they prophesied of the ΧΆΡΙς, of which the readers had been made partakers. It is less fitting to limit the reference to the ΤᾺ ΕἸς ΧΡΙΣΤῸΝ ΠΑΘΉΜΑΤΑ, Ἃ Κ.Τ.Λ. being joined to it in a somewhat loose way.

It is entirely arbitrary for Hofmann to assert that “Peter does not speak of any prophecies in general, but of the written records in which were contained the prediction of the prophets, who had foretold the extension of grace to the Gentile world;” there is nothing here to lead to the supposition that the apostle makes any reference to written records,—and predictions with regard to the heathen.

By means of the following Ἃ ΝῦΝ ἈΝΗΓΓΈΛΗ Κ.Τ.Λ., the apostle insists that what the prophets foretold is that which is now proclaimed to the readers.

ΝῦΝ emphasizes the present, in which the facts of salvation are proclaimed as having already taken place, as contradistinguished from the time when they were predicted as future.

ΔΙᾺ ΤῶΝ ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΑΜΈΝΩΝ ὙΜᾶς (ἘΝ) ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ ἉΓΊῼ] For the construction of the verb ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ, c. acc, cf. Galatians 1:9; Winer, p. 209 [E. T. 279].

If the reading: ἘΝ ΠΝ. be adopted, the Holy Spirit is conceived of as the power, as it were, encompassing and swaying them; if the other reading, as the moving and impelling cause. Like prophecy (1 Peter 1:11), the preaching of the gospel proceeds from the illumination and impulse of the Holy Spirit.

ἈΠΟΣΤΑΛΈΝΤΙ ἈΠʼ ΟὐΡΑΝΟῦ] refers to the events of Pentecost; since then the Holy Spirit has His abode and is at work in the church.[76] Though the same Spirit was already in the prophets, 1 Peter 1:11, He had not yet at that time been sent from heaven. Who the individuals were who had preached the gospel to the readers, Peter does not say. No doubt the form of the apostle’s expression does not compel us to think of him as excluded from the τῶν εὐαγγελ.; yet it is very probable that Peter, had he intended to include himself, would somehow have given this to be understood.

εἰς ἃ ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι] The relative clearly goes back to ἃ νῦν ἀνηγγέλη. It is arbitrary to understand (with Schott) by that which the angels desired to see, “the nature and origin of the moral transformation wrought by the proclamation of the gospel;” or, with Hofmann, to give it this reference, “that Christ has died, and been glorified in such a way that now He can and should be preached to the heathen as having died, and been glorified for them;” it includes not only the παθήματα and δόξαι of Christ (Wiesinger), but the whole contents of the message of salvation (Brückner), which, as it is a testimony to the facts of redemption, is also a preaching of the σωτηρία founded on them, which is ἑτοίμη ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ (1 Peter 1:5), and which the believers will obtain (1 Peter 1:9).[77]

ἐπιθυμοῦσι must not be taken as an aorist (Irenaeus, c. Haer. iv. 67; Oecumenius: ὧν τὴν γνῶσιν καὶ ἔκβασιν καὶ αὐτοὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι ἐπεθύμησαν), for the question is not as to what the angels did at the time of the prophets, but as to what they are now doing. That after which they long is the παρακύψαι εἰς αὐτά. On the inf. aor. after ἘΠΙΘΥΜΟῦΣΙΝ, see Winer, p. 310 f. [E. T. 416].

ΠΑΡΑΚΎΠΤΕΙΝ, properly, “to bend to the side so as to examine a thing,” means when joined with ΕἸς not only: “to look towards,” but: “to look into anything,” and that in order to obtain a more accurate knowledge of the object in question.[78] The παρά of the verb indicates that the angels stand outside the work of redemption, inasmuch as it is not for them, but for man (cf. Hebrews 2:16). The addition of this clause brings prominently forward the idea, not that the work of salvation is a mystery,—concealed even from the angels,—but that that which has been proclaimed to the readers is something so glorious that even the angels had a wish and a longing to see what was its fashion, and what the course of its development (cf. Ephesians 3:10). Nor is it implied in ἐπιθυμοῦσι that “the angels cannot attain to a knowledge of the economy of salvation” (Schott). It is more than doubtful whether there be here any reference to Exodus 25:20, as several interpreters assume. Beza: alludit Ap. ad duos illos Cherubim opercula Arcae insistentes, conversis in ipsam arcam oculis. Piscator: videtur respicere ad Cherubim super arcam foederis, tanquam ad typum.

[74] Luthardt interprets: “for there the object was a future one, from which the veil had to he removed by single acts of God; here, it is a present one, which accordingly the messengers simply proclaim, in the power of the now ever present Spirit of God,”—how much is imported here! Steinmeyer admits that ὅτι is not to he taken αἰτιολογικῶς, but denies at the same time that it states the argumentum τῆς ἀποκαλύψεως; he assumes an inversion, which is to be resolved thus: οἷς ἀπεκαλύφθη (sc. ταῦτα, namely τὰ παθ. κ. δόξαι Χρ.) οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς, ἀλλʼ ὅτι ὑμῖν διηκόνουν αὐτά, and then interprets: h. e. quibus manifestata sunt, non in ipsorum commodum, sed quia nobis ea ministrare jussi erant. But is ὅτι then not still αἰτιολογικῶς? And on what ground should an inversion so very harsh be adopted?

[75] Schott’s singular assertion, that “οὐδέ does not cancel ἑαυτοῖς simply, and put ὑμῖν in its place, but that δέ adds only something new to the preceding which remains standing” (in spite of the οὐ!), is based on a misconception of what is said by Hartung, Partikellehre, I. 171, to which Schott appeals. “Others than those addressed are not excluded; the latter only are indicated as those for whom the prophecy was intended;” thus Hofmann, too, incorrectly.

[76] Weiss’s assertion (Die Petrin. Frage, above mentioned, p. 642) that, “if there be here an allusion to the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Paul could not have belonged to those who had preached the gospel to the readers,” is without foundation, as it is not said here that the εὐαγγελισάμενοι ὑμᾶς belonged to those who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, but only that they preached in that Spirit, which was sent from heaven at Pentecost; and this applies to Paul no less than to the other apostles, etc.

[77] The Vulg. translates εἰς ἅ by in quem (i.e. in Spiritum sanctum).

[78] Although Hofmann may not be wrong in asserting that παρακύπτειν is used also to denote a cursory glance at anything (cf. Dem. 4:24, in Pape, s.v.), yet in connection with εἰς it is chiefly employed in cases where a more accurate knowledge is implied; precisely as Pape also interprets παρακύπτειν, “to stand beside a thing, and to bend down so as to see it more distinctly;” cf. further, Sir 21:23 (Sir 14:23), and in the N. T. besides Jam 1:25, also John 20:11 (Luke 24:12; John 20:5).12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us] The better MSS. give “you” instead of “us,” obviously with a better sense and in closer agreement with the “you” of the following clause. What is meant, still keeping to the line of interpretation here adopted, is that the prophets who had these previsions, at once of the coming sufferings and coming glories of the Church, had not carried on their ministering work for themselves, bounded, i.e., as by local and personal interests, but with a view to those even of the most distant members of the great family of God. The vision of the heavenly Jerusalem was for the dwellers in Pontus and Asia, in Rome or Corinth, as much as for those who lived within the walls of the earthly city.

which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel] The Greek verbs are in the aorist, and therefore point to something in the past, but English idiom hardly allows us to combine present and past by saying “which now were reported.” Here, it is believed, St Peter speaks of St Luke, St Paul, and the other labourers by whom the provinces of Asia Minor had been evangelised. They too, he recognises, were as fully inspired as the prophets of whom he had just spoken.

which things the angels desire to look into] Better, angels, without the article. See note on 1 Peter 1:10. The word for “look” is the same as that used by St James (James 1:25), and implies, as in Luke 24:12, John 20:5; John 20:11, the earnest gaze of one who bends over a given object and scrutinizes it thoroughly. The words fit in, perhaps, with either of the two interpretations, but considering the part assigned to angels in the records of the Gospels, in connexion alike with the Nativity (Matthew 2:13; Matthew 2:19; Luke 1:11; Luke 1:26; Luke 2:9-15), the Passion (Luke 22:43), the Resurrection (Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:12) and the Ascension (Acts 1:10-11), it is more natural to refer them to sufferings and glories that were still future than to those of which they had already been spectators.1 Peter 1:12. Οἷς, to whom) searching.—ὅτι) that.—οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς, not to themselves) Matthew 13:17; Psalm 102:19; Daniel 12:13.—ἡμῖν, to us) The times defined by the seventy weeks of Daniel exactly extend to the time of Christ’s appearance on earth, and to the faithful then living: this is the force of unto us. And these weeks came to an end during the time of Peter. See Ord. Temp. p. 366 (Edit. ii. 314).—αὐτὰ) those things: for prophets is understood with ministered, as is evident from the answering clause, not to themselves. Compare διακονέω with an accusative, ch. 1 Peter 4:10. and εἰς ἃ have reference to αὐτὰ.—νῦν, now) The Latin expression is hodie, to-day.—ἐν, with or in) The Evangelists were infallible witnesses.—ἀπ ̓ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) that is, from God.—ἐπιθυμοῦσιν, desire) It was not so soon revealed to angels; at any rate, not to all. A well-regulated curiosity is a virtue, not only in prophets, 1 Peter 1:10, but also in angels.—ἄγγελοι, angels) The revelation from heaven increases in weight.[9] Prophets, and righteous men, and kings, desired to see and hear the things which Christ spake and did, Matthew 13 : but angels desire to look into the things which the Comforter teaches concerning Christ.—παρακύψαι, to look into) It became known to us by hearing, to angels by sight, which is greater: 1 Timothy 3:16. And yet it affects us more intimately: it is for angels παρακύπτειν, to take a side-glance at; the force of ΠΑΡᾺ is to be noticed.

[9] Here reaches its climax, viz. in the fact of its being the object of angels’ curiosity.—E.Verse 12. - Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things. It was revealed to them, whether in answer to their search as in the case of Daniel, or as part of the original revelation made to them, that the vision was for many days (Daniel 10:14). Compare St. Peter's quotations from the prophetic Scriptures in Acts 2:17, 31; Acts 3:24. The best manuscripts read here, "unto you." The prophets, doubtless, like Abraham, rejoiced to see the day of Christ; they saw it by faith, and were glad (John 8:56); but they saw it in the far distance; they desired to see and hear what the apostles saw and heard, but the time was not yet (see Matthew 13:16, 17). They did minister the things; i.e. they were made the instruments of revealing them; they presented them to the devout for their spiritual food and support. Which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost lent down from heaven; rather, which were now reported to you through them that preached the gospel unto you (literally, evangelized you) by the Holy Ghost. St. Peter claims for those who evangelized Asia Minor (St. Paul and his companions) the same authority which was possessed by the ancient prophets; they preached as fulfilled the great truths which the prophets foretold as future. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets; the same Spirit worked and preached through the apostles; nay, he dwelt in them in fuller measure, for he had been sent down from heaven on the great Day of Pentecost, and it was by his aid that the apostles and evangelists preached. Which things the angels desire to look into. The salvation which God's elect receive is so full of glory and mysterious beauty, that not only did the prophets of old search diligently, but even an gels (there is no article) desire to look into it. The verb παρακύψαι means "to stoop sideways;" it is used of persons standing outside a place who stoop in order to look in. "The παρά of the verb," says Huther, "indicates that the angels stand outside the work of redemption, inasmuch as it is not for them, but for man (cf. Hebrews 2:16)." The same verb occurs in James 1:25; John 20:5, 11; Luke 24:12, in which last place it is used of Peter himself, when he stooped to look into the empty sepulcher on the morning of the Lord's resurrection. St. Paul has a similar thought in Ephesians 3:10, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." The attitude of the golden cherubim, whose wings covered the mercy-seat and whose faces were toward it (Exodus 25:20), seems to imply the same rapt, reverent attention. Did minister (διηκόνουν)

Imperfect tense, were ministering. See on Mark 9:35. The term is applicable to any kind of service, official or not. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:3.

Desire (ἐπιθυμοῦσιν)

The word commonly denotes intense desire. It is used by Christ in expressing his wish to eat the passover (Luke 22:15); of the prodigal's desire to satisfy his hunger with the husks (Luke 15:16); and of the flesh lusting against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).

To look into (παρακύψαι)

A very graphic word, meaning to stoop sideways (παρά). Used by Aristophanes to picture the attitude of a bad harp-player. Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight. It occurs in James 1:25, describing him who looks into the perfect law of liberty as into a mirror; and in Luke 24:12; John 20:5, John 20:11, of Peter and John and Mary stooping and looking into the empty tomb. Possibly the memory of this incident unconsciously suggested the word to Peter. The phrase illustrates Peter's habitual emphasis upon the testimony of sight (see Introduction). Bengel acutely notes the hint in παρά, beside, that the angels contemplate the work of salvation from without, as spectators and not as participants. Compare Hebrews 2:16; Ephesians 3:10.

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