The Threefold Office of Christ

Prophet, Priest and King

In the Old Testament the several offices were distinct. The prophet, as such, was not a priest; and the king was neither priest nor prophet. Two of these offices were at times united in the same person, as Moses was both priest and prophet, and David prophet and king. Nevertheless the offices were distinct.


But in Christ these three offices are united. The Messiah was predicted as Prophet, Priest, and King. 

We as fallen men, ignorant, guilty, polluted, and helpless, need a Savior who is a prophet to instruct us; a priest to atone and to make intercession for us; and a king to rule over and protect us.

We are enlightened in the knowledge of the truth; we are reconciled unto God by the sacrificial death of His Son; and we are delivered from the power of Satan and introduced into the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel is His scepter. He rules the world by truth and love.



Moses, speaking of Christ, said, “ The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me .” Prophet – as a revealer of the will of God. He was to be the great teacher of righteousness; a light to lighten the Gentiles as well as the glory of His people Israel.

When, therefore, the Messiah was predicted as a prophet it was predicted that He would communicate God’s mind and will to men. And when our Lord appeared on earth it was to speak the words of God. “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 11:24). “Jesus of Nazareth which was a prophet mighty in deed and word” (Luke 24:19).

How Christ executes the Office of a Prophet:

As the eternal Word – He is the source of all knowledge. He was, and is, the light of the world. He is the truth. In Him dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and from Him radiates all the light that men receive or attain.
Under the old dispensation, or before His advent in the flesh, He made known God and His purposes and will, not only by personal manifestations of Himself to the patriarchs and prophets, but also by His Spirit, in revealing the truth and will of God, in inspiring those appointed to record these revelations, and in illuminating the minds of His people, and thus bringing them to the saving knowledge of the truth.

While on earth He continued the exercise of His prophetic office by His personal instructions, His discourses, parables, and expositions of the law and of the prophets; and in all that He taught concerning His own person and work, and concerning the progress and consummation of His kingdom.
Since His ascension He performs the same office not only in the fuller revelation of the gospel made to the Apostles and in their inspiration as infallible teachers, but also in the institution of the ministry and constantly calling men to that office, and by the influences of the Holy Ghost, who coöperates with the truth in every human heart, and renders it effectual to the sanctification and salvation of His own people. Thus from the beginning, both in His state of humiliation and of exaltation, both before and after His advent in the flesh, does Christ execute the office of a Prophet in revealing to us by His Word and Spirit the will of God for our salvation.

It was declared that He should be a Priest. “ Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec .” He was to be a Priest upon His throne Zechariah 6:13). He was to bear the sins of the people, and make intercession for transgressors.
Christ is truly, not figuratively, a Priest.

He is duly appointed to act for men in things pertaining to God; consequently, from the nature of His office, is the only mediator between God and man.

He was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people. His function is to reconcile men to God; to make expiation for their sins; and to present their persons, acknowledgments, and offerings to God.
He makes intercession for His people. Not merely as one man may pray for another, but as urging the efficacy of His sacrifice and the authority of His office, as grounds on which His prayers are answered.
That Christ is a Priest in the true sense of the term, is evident,

The sense in which Christ is a priest must be determined by the use of the word and by the nature of the office as taught in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament a priest was a man selected from the people, appointed to act as their mediator, drawing nigh to God in their behalf, whose business it was to offer expiatory sacrifices, and to make intercession for offenders. The people were not allowed to draw near to God. The High Priest alone could enter within the veil; and he only with blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people. All this was both symbolical and typical. What the Aaronic priests were symbolically, Christ was really. What they in their office and services typified was fulfilled in Him. They were the shadow, He the substance. They taught how sin was to be taken away, He actually removed it.

We have in the New Testament an authoritative definition of the word, and an exhibition of the nature of the office. In Hebrews 5:1, it is said, “Every high priest . . . is ordained for men (for their benefit and in their place), in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” A priest is a man appointed for others, to draw near to God, and to offer sacrifices. Such a priest Christ is declared to have been.
Christ is not only called a priest in Hebrews, but the Apostle throughout that Epistle proves,
That He had all the qualifications for the office.
That He was appointed by God.
That He was a priest of a higher order than Aaron.
That His priesthood superseded all others.
That He performed all the functions of the office, — mediation, sacrifice, and intercession.
That such was the efficacy of His sacrifice that it needs not to be repeated. By the one offering of Himself He hath obtained eternal redemption for us.
The effects or benefits secured by the work of Christ are those which flow from the exercise of the Priestly office in our behalf. Those benefits are, Expiation of our guilt (cancellation of our sin debt);
The propitiation of God (Jesus Christ sent as the atoning sacrifice for sin);
Our consequent reconciliation with Him, whence flow all the subjective blessings of spiritual and eternal life. These are benefits which are not secured by teaching, by moral influence, by example, or by any inward change wrought in us. Christ, therefore, is truly a Priest in the full Scriptural sense of the term.

His royal office is rendered so prominent in the Messianic prophecies that the Jews looked for Him only as a king. He was to reign over all nations. Of His kingdom there was to be no end. He was to be the Lord of lords and the King of kings.

He as the God-man is our Lord and King. We belong to Him by the purchase of His blood.

A Sceptre (Ruler)

In the Book of Genesis the Messiah is set forth as the Shiloh to whom is to be the gathering of the people. In reference to Him it was said in Numbers 24:17, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob; and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel. “

The Promised Kingdom (Davidic Covenant)

In 2 Samuel 7:16, we have the record of God’s formal covenant with David, “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.” In fulfilment of that promise Isaiah predicted that a virgin should bear a son and call His name Immanuel, on whose shoulder should be the government, whose name should be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7)

The Kingdom Established in The Earth

In the second Psalm God declares in reference to the Messiah, I have “set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. . . . . Ask of me and I shall give Thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The whole of the 45
th, 72d, and 110th

Psalms is devoted to the exhibition of the Messiah in His character as King.

The Kingdom is Everlasting

In Daniel 7:12, 14, it is said, “One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

The prophet Micah 5:2, said, “Thou, Bethlehem, Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” After the captivity the people were cheered with the hope that the promised King was soon to appear. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech. 9:9.)

Christ is The King Eternal

In the New Testament Christ is set forth as a King, in harmony with the predictions which foretold His advent. The Angel Gabriel, in announcing to the Virgin Mary the approaching birth of the Messiah said, “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, prepared the people for His coming, saying, “Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2.)

And our Lord himself, when He entered upon His personal ministry, went everywhere preaching “the gospel of the kingdom of God.” (Mark 1:14.)

According to Scriptures, it is certain that Christ is the King Eternal: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17.)