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Monday
May182009

Theological Term of the Week

threefold office(s) of Christ
Christ’s mediatorial work through which he accomplishes salvation seen as his fulfilling the duties of the offices of prophet, priest and king.

  • From scripture, Christ as prophet:
    Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:19-26 ESV)
  • From scripture, Christ as priest:
    We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV)
  • From scripture, Christ as king:
    …[H]e raised [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church…. (Ephesians 1:20-22 ESV)
  • From the 1689 London Baptist Confession, Chapter 8, Of Christ the Mediator:

    9._____ This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other. (1 Timothy 2:5)

    10.____ This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom. (John 1:18; Colossians 1:21; Galatians 5:17; John 16:8; Psalms 110:3; Luke 1:74, 75)

  • From Of Christ’s Offices in General by Thomas Boston:
    [T]hree sorts of persons used to be anointed under the law, viz. Prophets, (1 Kings 19:16); priests, as Aaron, (Exo 29:7); and kings, as David and others. But all these offices meet in Christ, who was anointed for the execution of them. Hence he says himself (Isaiah 61:1), “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” He is anointed to preach good tidings unto the meek, as a Prophet; to bind up the broken-hearted, as a Priest; and to proclaim liberty, as a King. He was not anointed with material oil, as the p rophets, priests, and kings, under the Old Testament dispensation were, but with the oil of the Spirit; “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me (says he), because the Lord hath anointed me.” And God is said to have “anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” (Psa 45:7). Now, this unction signified, (1.) His being set apart to the Mediatory work, and to these offices: the Father “sanctified him, and sent him into the world,” (Joh 10:36). (2.) 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, &c.), but in fulness, not of sufficiency only, but abundance, not the fulness of a vessel, but of a fountain, in order to communicate liberally unto his people, (Joh 1:16). He was solemnly inaugurated to these offices at his baptism (Mat 3:17); at his transfiguration (Mat 17:5); and at his exaltation, (Act 2:36). And he was as solemnly called to these offices (Heb 5:4, 5): “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron: so also, Christ glorified not himself, to be made an high Priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.”

Learn more:

  1. Matt Perman: Christ as Our Perfect Prophet, Priest and King
  2. Luther’s Smaller Catechism: The Office of Christ
  3. Kim Riddlebarger: The Triple Cure: Jesus Christ - Our Prophet, Priest and King
  4. S. Lewis Johnson: The Offices of Christ, or Prophet, Priest and King (mp3)

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it. I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

This is one of my all time favorite studies! Well worth taking the time to read through all Rebecca's reference articles if you've never made an in depth study of the offices of Christ.

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim from Hiraeth

I'll be doing each office individually, too.

May 19, 2009 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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