Q23: What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A: Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet (Acts 3:22), of a priest (Heb. 5:6), and of a king (Ps. 2:6), both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.
I. The truth expressed in this answer touches upon man’s original constitution.
A. Man originally had true knowledge (Col. 3:10), holiness and righteousness (Eph. 4:24); thus in effect he was a prophet, priest, and king.
1. Knowledge: Adam, while he was without sin, was able to understand God’s revelation of Himself in the world.
a. Adam named the animals, showing that he studied the animals, for names are really true descriptions (Gen. 2:20).
b. Adam (post-Fall) named his wife Eve (i.e., “life-giving”), because she was the “mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20).
(1). In the highest sense, Adam was a prophet, for a prophet is one who can see the truth of God (prophets were called “seers” [1 Sam. 9:9]).
2. Holiness: Adam, while he was without sin, was wholly consecrated to God.
a. This concept is carefully developed in the system of worship in the OT.
(1). The high priest, the Levites, the tabernacle, the sacrifices, and the ceremonies all conveyed being “set apart” to the Lord.
(2). Adam, in the heart sense of devotion to God, was truly a priest, for he desired to do God’s will.
3. Righteousness (obedience to God): Adam, before he sinned, was a king.
a. Adam ruled over the world that God had given him dominion over.
(1). Because he knew the Lord’s will (prophet), and desired to serve Him (priest), he was able also to do the works of righteousness as king of creation.
II. The necessity of Christ exercising these offices.
A. Consider our misery by sin, ignorance, and bondage. Christ as our: Prophet must teach us; Priest must make atonement; King must deliver and subdue us.
B. Consider the salvation which the elect were to be made partakers of. Our Redeemer became a: Prophet to reveal the things that concern our salvation; Priest to purchase life and eternal redemption; King to apply salvation by the power of the Spirit.
C. Consider Christ as Mediator of the covenant. Christ had to be a: Priest to satisfy law and justice; Prophet to reveal grace; King to bring us to submit and yield.
D. Consider the work of conversion. Christ had to become a: Prophet so that we could see our misery; Priest to sprinkle the conscience; King to bring us to yield by the sword of the Spirit.
III. This answer relates to the OT’s preparation for man’s redemption. OT history centers on those men chosen by God to be prophets, priests, and kings. In the OT anointing with oil was performed for prophet and king (1 Ki. 19:16), and priest (Ex. 29:7), signifying their calling, authority, and that God would help them.
A. The OT promises the coming of the Servant (Isa. 42:1-4; cf. Matt. 12:15-21) who would be a prophet like Moses, a priest like Melchizidek, and a king like David—the Lord’s anointed.
1. Prophets: God appointed Moses as prophet in special sense, promising that other prophets would follow him until the last great Prophet came (Deut. 18:15-20; cf. Acts 3:22-23).
2. Priests: God appointed Aaron as High Priest, commanding that his sons assume the office also (Ex. 29:29); this succession of priests would also end when Christ came (Heb. 7:23-28).
3. Kings: God appointed David as king, and promised that a son from his house would always sit on the throne (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Pss. 2; 72; 110).
a. At first these three offices seemed to have merged: Abraham was a prophet (Gen. 20:7), he offered up sacrifices (Gen. 13:4), and he also seems to have been a king (Gen. 14:1-2, 13, 17-24).
b. There were unfaithful men in these offices, and by this God instructed men that salvation would never be fully and perfectly accomplished until the Messiah came.
B. Christ was not anointed with material oil, as the prophets, priests, and kings under the OT, but rather with the oil of the Spirit (Ps. 45:7; Isa. 61:1).
1. This anointing signified:
a. His being set apart to the Mediatory work, and to these offices (Jn. 10:36).
b. His being fully furnished with gifts and qualifications suitable to these offices, in respect of His human nature, to which the Spirit was given, not by measure (Isa. 11:1-2; Jn. 1:16).
(1). He was solemnly inaugurated to these offices at His baptism (Matt. 3:17), at His transfiguration (Matt. 17:5), and at His exaltation (Acts 2:36).
(2). He was solemnly called to these offices (Heb. 5:4-5).
IV. When Christ exercised these offices.
A. In the OT. As Christ is the Redeemer of the church in all ages, so did He execute these offices in all ages of the church.
1. Prophet: Christ was the great Prophet of the OT church (Jn. 1:18). He brought the glad tidings of salvation to sinners in all the discoveries of them from the first gospel promise until His incarnation. He was that Angel who prophesied to the church in the wilderness (Ex. 23:20; cf. 1Pet. 3:19).
2. Priest: Christ was Priest, interceding, on the ground of His future sufferings, for His people (Zech. 1:12).
3. King: Christ was King, the Captain of the Lord’s army, who led, guided, and protected God’s people.
B. After His incarnation. Christ especially executes these offices after His incarnation in both His state of humiliation and exaltation (Phil. 2:8-9).
1. Prophet: Christ was a prophet while on earth, and still is revealing by His Word and Spirit the will of God for the salvation of His people.
2. Priest: He was a priest in His state of humiliation, as well as He is in His state of exaltation. He offered His sacrifice on the earth (Eph. 5:2), and continues to be an interceding priest forever (Heb. 7:25).
3. King: He was a King in His state of humiliation (Matt. 2:2; 27:11; 1 Cor. 2:8), and continues to reign as King of kings (Rev. 19:16).
V. The truth expressed in the answer further pertains to the saving work of Jesus Christ, in both His state of humiliation and exaltation.
A. Humiliation: when Jesus came, He not only completed (or fulfilled) each of these three offices, but united them in one great work of redemption.
1. Prophet: Christ spoke as no man ever spoke (Jn. 7:46; cf. Matt. 7:28), and Himself fully revealed God (Heb. 1:3).
2. Priest: Christ offered one final and perfect sacrifice (Heb. 7:23-28).
3. King: Christ claimed complete authority over men as Savior and Judge (Matt. 28:18; Jn. 5:26-27).
B. Exaltation: Jesus continues to exercise these offices from heaven.
1. Prophet: He gave us the Scriptures by the Spirit (1 Pet. 1:10-11) and applies them to the heart (Acts 16:14).
2. Priest: He applies the benefits of His sacrifice through the Word (Ja. 1:18) and seals them through the sacraments, perpetually (Heb. 7:25).
3. King: He now possesses all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18), subduing hearts unto Himself and destroying the works of the devil.
VI. The truth expressed in this answer, lastly, touches upon the conversion of Sinners.
A. Christ becomes our Savior only in terms of these three offices.
1. Man became ignorant (Eph. 4:18), guilty, and sinful (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).
2. Man can only be saved when his ignorance is replaced by true knowledge, his guilt by righteousness, and his sinfulness by holiness.
B. Three things necessary for man’s conversion.
1. Knowledge: he must know by the Word through the Spirit his own sin and misery, and that the work of Jesus is the only remedy (Jn. 16:8).
2. Righteousness: he must feel his need for the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and that His sacrifice is truly sufficient (Lk. 18:13).
3. Holiness: he must cease to live a life of slavery to sin, by receiving Christ and resting upon Him alone for salvation (Rom. 6:2, 14).
a. Man is saved when Christ becomes his prophet, priest, and king.
A. Use, of knowledge.
1. How great and glorious is the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore all these offices at once perfectly.
2. Man has great need of Christ in all of His offices.
B. Use, of testing.
1. You cannot take Christ unto yourself savingly unless you do so in all of His offices.
2. Do you claim Him as Priest to atone for your sin, while not heeding Him as Prophet by obeying His law?
C. Use, of exhortation: sinners and saints.
1. Sinners. Your sin cannot be so bad that there is no remedy in Christ. He is a full and suitable Savior.
a. Are you under spiritual darkness? There is knowledge to be had from the Light of the world.
b. Are you under the guilt and condemnation of sin? There is righteousness to be had from the Priest and solace for your conscience.
c. Are you a slave to sin and Satan? He is the King who came to destroy the works of Satan and the dominion of sin.
2. Saints. Give yourselves up daily to Christ in all of His offices: humbling yourselves to be taught by Him as Prophet, not leaning upon your own wisdom; casting yourselves upon His righteousness alone as Priest, renouncing your own righteousness as filthy rags; yielding to Him as King with a hearty and cheerful obedience to all of His laws and commandments, seeking not your own will.