Christ for Us: Prophet, Priest, and King

When we think of Christ, we should think of him as the Anointed One, as that is what “Christ” means; it is the Greek equivalent of Messiah.  As the Anointed One, we should think of him as Prophet, Priest, and King.  It was, after all, these three offices in the Old Testament that received anointing with oil (Lev. 8:12, 30; 1 Sam. 9:15-16; 10:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings19:16). Such anointing symbolized that God had called and consecrated the individual(s) for the specific office or duty.

In the Old Testament, we see God’s prophesied chosen Servant referred to as the Anointed One (Ps. 2:2; 45:7-8).  When we jump to the New Testament we see Jesus fulfilling these prophecies of the Anointed One.  At His baptism, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:13-17; cf. Acts 10:37-38) and this anointing consecrated and empowered Him for His ministry.  Further, in Acts 2:36, referring to the exalted Jesus sitting at the right hand of God, Peter proclaims that God has made Him both Lord and Christ/Messiah (i.e. Anointed One).  So, when we think of Jesus as the Christ/Messiah we should think of Him as our Prophet, Priest, and King.

As the Anointed One He fulfills these three offices for the good of his people, the Church.  The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith brings this truth out clearly.  The following is from Chapter 8, “Of Christ the Mediator,” paragraphs 1, 9, and 10:[1]

1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; Head and Savior of His Church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom He did from all eternity give a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

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.

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 of 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.

Notice how the Confession relates these messianic offices to Jesus’ role as mediator between God and man.  The offices of prophet, priest, and king are subsumed in the office of Mediator.  In other words, his work as Mediator involves him being the Prophet of God (Jn. 3:31-36), the High Priest of God’s people (Heb. 3:1), and the King over his redemptive kingdom (Col. 1:13-14).  These offices are fulfilled by Christ for the good of his people.  What Christ is, he is for us.  Geerhardus Vos brings this out wonderfully in his definitions of these offices:

What is the prophetic office of Christ?

His activity, which He performs as the authoritative representative of God, to reveal the counsel of God for the salvation of His people in connection with His other mediatorial work.[2]

What is Christ’s priestly office?

His appointment and authorization by God to satisfy for all who are His through sacrifice and intercession before God.[3]

What is the kingly office of the Mediator?

His official appointment and activity on behalf of God to rule and protect His church.[4]

In future posts, I will elaborate on these messianic offices, tracing out the biblical evidence and discussing the theological significance.

Series Links:

Jesus as Prophet

Jesus as Priest


[1] Paragraphs 9 and 10 are not found in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

[2] Vos, Geerhardus. Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, translated and edited by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. (MI: Lexham Press, 2014), 91.

[3] Ibid., 94.

[4] Ibid., 175.

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