“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.”
searching what, or what manner of time
In this verse Peter picks up the second of the two verbs of verse 10, “searching.” The prophets scrutinized their own writings to find the content and timing of the coming of the Messiah.
“What” refers to time (or subject) and “what manner of time” refers to what kind of time. They wanted to know the kind of time that would usher in the period of the Messiah and the character of this salvation.
The prophets searched “what manner of time.” They wanted to know when Jesus was going to come, which is set forth in Daniel chapter nine. The Messiah was the subject of their studies.
There are two Greek words for time. One is chronos from which we get the word chronology. This refers to a succession of moments. The other word is kairos, which is time with an emphasis upon kind of time. This latter word is used in this verse. Kairos carries the notion of suitableness and is often translated “season,” which may refer to the epoch of Christ.
Both Greek words occur in Acts 1:6 to 8, which says, “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times (chronous) or seasons (kairous) which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’” The kairos is an epoch-making season. This has to do with the kind of time, not the time of time. It’s the period when all that was maturing through the ages comes to a climax in the coming of Christ.
The prophets wanted to know the relation of the coming of Christ to the economy of God in the sufferings and glory of Christ.
God rewards study of Scripture with revelation of His future plans.
Christians today often knock the study of the future. However, the spirit of the Old Testament prophets was to understand God’s revealed plan for the future. Three quarters of the Bible deals with the future, so God obviously wants us to place focus on this area of study.
Some Christians exclusively study prophecy. This is a distortion. Some Christians completely neglect prophecy. This is also a distortion. What interest do you have in prophecy? Does it match the desire and search undertaken by the Old Testament prophets?