Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the three holy roles played by Christ in the salvation of mankind.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study the word of God. And we thank Thee particularly for the way in which the Holy Spirit has taught us the doctrines of the word, and we pray again as we consider some of the great truths that concern our Lord Jesus Christ and his saving work that we may be responsive to the Spirit’s teaching. And that in clarity, Thou would unfold to us office of prophet and priest and king. And help us Lord to by the Spirit to put into practice the great lessons that we learn. And may others see in us the Lord Jesus and come to know him whom to know his life eternal. We commit the hour to Thee for Thy blessing upon us.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] The subject for tonight is “The Offices of Christ, or Prophet, Priest and King.” And I want to read a few verses. You will recognize them as verses which have to do with the prophet and the priest and the king. And the first verse is perhaps the most important verse in the Bible on the subject of the prophet, and it’s found in the Old Testament in the Book of Exodus chapter 7. And it is verse 1 of Exodus 7, and so let’s read that verse, and then we’ll move on to the New Testament for a verse or two on the subject of priest, and conclude with one from Matthew on king. Exodus chapter 7 in verse 1.
“And the Lord said unto Moses; See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”
I’m going to read that again because the first time I think I read this text, I did not really realize what this implied about the office of prophet. Now, I think you can see that if Moses is pharaoh’s God, in the sense that he brings the word of God to pharaoh, and if Aaron is his mouthpiece, for remember in the context that is why Aaron was Moses’ mouthpiece, Moses could not speak very well he said, so since he did not believe that God could give him a mouth to speak, God allowed Aaron to become his mouthpiece. And so Aaron then becomes the medium for the communication of the word of God.
“And the Lord said unto Moses; See, I have made thee a god to pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”
So the prophet is a mouthpiece of God. A prophet is one who brings revelation from God. Now, that is implicit in that text, and that text is extremely important. It is, by the way, the first time that the word “prophet” occurs in the Bible. And you know that often the first occurrence of a word in the Bible is significant for all of the rest of the Bible. And I think that is true in the case of this text on the “prophet.”
Now, let’s turn over to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is the great epistle of priesthood in the New Testament, and let’s read verses 1 through 4 of chapter 5. This sets forth the requirements for a priest. And will you listen now reading with chapter 5 1st verse through the 4th. The Epistle to the Hebrews. The epistle of our Lord’s high priesthood.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he also himself, or he himself also, is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”
And now, one final verse on the subject of king. Matthew chapter 16 in verse 28. Matthew chapter 16 in verse 28. Our Lord is speaking. It is just after his revelation of the fact that he must go to Jerusalem and die. He is in the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi. He is going to be teaching his disciples in the light of his absence from the world after his death and resurrection and ascension. And he says in the 28th verse,
“Verily I say unto you; there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Now, the office of prophet. This is Roman I in our outline – “The Office of Prophet.” Last time, we discussed the covenants of God, and we tried to point out that the work of God is presented in the New Testament and in the Old Testament as a covenantal work. That is, there are eternal agreements between the persons of the Trinity that effect and affect our salvation, that those agreements are the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ. And when we read in the Bible about the purpose of the ages, or the eternal purpose, we are reading about the historical outworking of the agreements in the trinity that concern man’s salvation.
Now, in the outworking of God’s great plan of salvation, our Lord assumes mediatorial offices. Now, by mediatorial offices, I mean offices which have to do with works that are carried out by him as the mediator between God and man. He is the great prophet who brings to men the word of God. He is the great priest who offers the sacrifice that reconciles men to God. And he is the great king who will rule as the son of God upon the earth and establish the kingdom of God; finally turn the kingdom over to God so that throughout all the ages of eternity, the Godhead may rule. But it is through the mediation of our Lord as king that that will come to pass.
So his mediatorial work is exhibited by his prophetical, by his sacerdotale, or priestly, and regal offices. And we want to consider these offices in the order of the blackboard tonight.
The Office of Prophet. What was a prophet? In the Old Testament, we go of course, for our illustrations of Bible doctrine, and we learn that in the Old Testament, a prophet was a person who was the mouthpiece of God. And that text in Exodus chapter 7 in verse 1 is our classic text. You may turn to it again. Notice, “See, I have made thee a god to pharaoh.” Moses, a god to pharaoh. “Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” It follows then that a prophet is one who takes to men a message from God; just as Aaron was the prophet of Moses, who was the god of pharaoh, and took the message of Moses to people. So the prophet is the messenger of God, who takes the message of God and brings it or them, to men.
Now, the New Testament is in thorough harmony was this. The word for prophet is a word that really means “to speak forth.” It is the Greek word prophemi. For those of you who do not know Greek too well, we’ll just transliterate it like that. P-R-O-P-H-E-M-I. Prophemi. Now, this words means “to speak forth.” Pro means forth, and phemi means to speak. So the prophet is one who speaks forth. Now, the prophet is not necessarily one who prophesies. That is, who merely speaks of the future. It is true that the prophet does foretell but he doesn’t always foretell. He may, just to use a word that may help you to remember, he may also forthtell. That is, he may be the mouthpiece of God about the present, as well as the future. The key point is the fact that he is speaking forth from God and in that sense he speaks for God. So he speaks for God in the present. He speaks for God with regard to the future. A characteristic trait then about a prophet is not that he’s prophesized of something that is to come, but he’s the mouthpiece of God.
In the early church, for example, they had prophets who stood up in the church meetings. For in the early church, as in some churches today, there is freedom in at least one meeting a week for a man to stand up and exercise his spiritual gift. And in the early church there were prophets, Agabus, for example, is referred to more than once in the Book of Acts. He was a man who stood up, a prophet. And he gave revelation from God. It was something not found in the Bible. It was revelation, not illumination on the revelation. Any teacher does that. That’s what I’m doing right now hoping to give you by the spirit’s illumination of me teaching on the revelation which is complete in the Bible. But in those days the revelation was not yet complete. So the prophets, men who had a message from God, were able to stand up at a meeting and speak God’s word. Agabus got up and warned Paul about some things that were going to happen. So that the prophet is a man who speaks for God.
Now then, let me just ask you a question. In the light of what I’ve said, are there prophets today? You might even hear Billy Graham say on TV, “What we need in the twentieth century is prophets.” Do you believe that? All right Chris. She’s shaking here head. I assume you mean, no. Well, that’s the right answer. I hope I’m assuming right. We do not have any prophets today because we have no new revelation being given from God today. New revelation. Something not found in the Bible. Now of course, we may have a man who’s a great teacher of the word. He may be used of God to tell us things about the Bible that we have not known before, and we may say as we sit under his teaching, “My, isn’t that wonderful the Holy Spirit is teaching me tremendous things about holy Scripture.” But it’s found in the word of God. It’s right there in the Bible. It’s just that you haven’t seen it up until this time, but it’s not new revelation. We’re not adding chapters to the Bible. There’s no 29th chapter of the Book of Acts being written, or the 30th, or 31st. So a prophet then, is one who speaks forth for God, whether in the future or the present is unimportant. He is a man who gives revelation, revelation. Not teaching, but revelation. Something new revealed from God.
Now, Jesus Christ was a prophet. And we want to take a look now at some of the exhibition of our Lord’s prophetic ministry. And I think that perhaps the simplest way for us to do it, in the light of the time that we have, is to make a few comments on the discourses in the Gospel of Matthew. So will you turn to the Gospel of Matthew, and we will look at several discourses which our Lord gave which indicate that he was a prophet. There are three great discourses in the Gospel of Matthew. Perhaps you can tell me what they are. What are they? Number 1. Yes. Sermon on the Mount. That’s the first. Now, if you miss, it’s all right because actually, there are about five famous discourses of our Lord, and you may not know the three that I’m particularly interested in. What’s another one? The Olivet Discourse. No. The Upper Room discourse is one, and I was thinking of the synoptics. I should have qualified it. And I’m thinking of the Book of Matthew, and of course, the Upper Room is where? John. Right. That is a discourse of course, but we said “The Olivet Discourse.” I’m writing in such a hurry. I hope I spell that right. Discourse. D-I-S-C-O-U-R-S-E. Now, what else? There’s one in here I’m looking for. What other great chapter in the Gospel of Matthew contains a very well known and important discourse of our Lord? Can you remember? Sermon on the Mount. Olivet Discourse. Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5 through 7. Olivet Discourse, chapters 24 and 25. And this one is one chapter, famous chapter. Come on. Look it up. Yes. Please. Huh? Thirteenth? That’s it. What is it? All right, the great chapter on the parables. What shall we call that? Well, we’ll just call it? Let’s just call it the “Parables of the Kingdom.”
These are three great discourses. They are related to each other in this way. This is precept. Don’t you just love alliteration? This is parable. And this is prophecy. Now, let me say just a few words about these three great discourses. One of these was given on the mountain. And let’s turn to that one. Matthew chapter 5, chapter 6, and chapter 7. What a marvelous prophetic teaching this is. Now, the thing that makes Matthew chapter 5, 6, and 7 prophecy is not that it has to do with the future, but that it is new revelation.
Now, just for a moment. Where do you find teaching like this anywhere in all of the word of God? Well of course, you don’t find it. This is new. Everyone who reads Matthew chapter 5, 6, and 7 recognizes immediately that this has the stamp of new revelation upon it. It is true, our Lord turns to the Old Testament and gives us a different interpretation of it, a deeper interpretation of it than has ever been given before. But he gives us truth in addition to the truth of the Old Testament. It is new revelation. New revelation. Thus, it is a prophetic discourse. The entire Book of Revelation is prophecy. John calls himself a prophet, remember, in that book because he gives new revelation. So here, new revelation.
What is Jesus trying to say in Matthew chapter 5, 6, and 7? Well, he was trying to set forth the way of life for those who are the king’s followers during the period of the offering of the kingdom. He’s trying to give to the disciples of John the Baptist, who have been baptized by him, and who are waiting for the king a way of life by which they are to regulate their lives until the king comes and is here in person during his kingdom. And notice at the conclusion of this 7th chapter, the response that he received. Verse 28 of chapter 7, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” That was the thing that came home more than anything else to the people. Jesus did not teach as the scribes. Now, how did the scribes teach? Well, they taught like this. They read a passage from the Bible, and they said Rabbi Hillel says such and such on this. Rabbi Shamai says such and such on this. Rabbi Binjackama says such and such on this. Now we move on to the next text. And they read the text and Rabbi Hillel says such and such. And Rabbi Shamai says such and such. And Rabbi so-and-so said this. But when Jesus came, he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. And you sense immediately, that there is something that is qualitatively different about the teaching of our Lord. Now the essence of it, so far as we’re concerned, is that he spoke as God’s prophet. It’s no wonder that people were astonished when they listened to his teaching. He was not like a scribe.
Now, then the next discourse in the thirteenth chapter is the Sermon out of the House or, as we have called it over here, the Parables of the Kingdom. We read in verse 1 of chapter 13, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.” Four public parables are followed by four private parables and Jesus in his discourse sets forth the form which the kingdom takes from the king’s rejection to his reception. We know that the two great points of the New Testament are these: first the cross and then the coming of our Lord to the earth to set up his kingdom. Now, these two great events are in the Bible, the first coming and the second of our Lord. Now, I’m not trying to omit the rapture which occurs before this, of course, when the church is called up to meet the Lord. But that event is not as significant for New Testament revelation and Old Testament revelation as the advent which ushers in the one- thousand-year kingdom of our Lord.
But these are the two great events. The first, and the second coming. The king was here, and he was crucified. The king is now in heaven, and this period of time, from the first to the second advent, is the period of time that is covered by the eight parables of Matthew chapter 13. Some, by the way, see only seven there. It’s unimportant. But the parables tell us the story of the kingdom while Jesus is in heaven. The kingdom exists in mystery form, as some have put it. But at least those tell what is going to happen during this time. You read that chapter and you’ll discover, for example, that Jesus said it’s going to be a time of seed sowing. It’s going to be a time in which the tares and the wheat shall grow together. There’s going to be a great separation at the end of that time. Some are going into the kingdom, and some are going where they shall be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, or as the preachers over in South Carolina say, “Great weeping and snapping out of teeth.” That is a reference to the fact that there is to be a judgment before the time of the kingdom. So that discourse has to do with the time between the advents.
Now, if you turn on the Matthew chapter 24 and 25, this is the great Sermon on the Mount, and some have you’ve heard Bill McRae give an excellent exposition of this recently. I need not say much about it. This is our Lord’s greatest prophetic discourse in the sense of prophecy, and it’s the longest answer that he ever gave to any question. In verse 3 we read, “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately saying ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?’” And the rest of chapter 24 and 25 is an answer to three questions that Jesus asks. Those three questions are: When shall these things be? You’ll notice it in verse 3. “Tell us, when shall these things be?” That question is answered in verses 4 through verse 28. And he tells us details which answer that question. The second question is not found in Matthew but in the Lukan account. Which you turn over just for a moment to Luke chapter 21. You may remember that each of the synoptics record the Sermon on the Mount, but it’s Luke chapter 21 and verse 7. And in verse 7 we read, “And they asked him saying; Master, but when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” Now, that sign. “What is the sign when these things are about to be, or to come to pass?” is a question that Luke only gives, I’m not going into the technical side of this. You’ll just have to accept my statement of it. It has to do with the sign that indicates that these great events that are to transpire during this period of time. What is the sign that shall have to do with the beginning of those great events? And the answer is given us in verse 20 of Luke chapter 21, where we read, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” And that, I think, is a reference to the destruction at the city Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Now, the final question is also found in Matthew 24 and verse 3. And will you look back at that for a moment? “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately saying ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?’” Now that sounds as if that were two questions, but it is really one. In the Greek text, there is just one article between these words “coming and the end of the age,” and so that lets us know that there is just one question, and that the “coming” is the end of the age, and the “end of the age” is the coming. So the last question is: What is the sign of thy coming and consummation of the age? And that question is answered in verse 29 through verse 31 where we read, “And immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.” What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age? Well, here it is. “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” Now, the sign is probably our Lord himself. Of course, no special thing, it is just he.
So here in the third of the great discourses, we have three questions and Jesus answers them. And when he finishes this, he finishes his greatest prophetic discourse. As you know, when you just take these three discourses out, the Sermon on the Mount, the Parables of the Kingdom, and the Olivet Discourse, and if we were to judge our Lord by just these three discourses, we would conclude that never man spake like this man. He was the prophet “par excellence.” He gave us revelation from God, new revelation from God.
Now, have you noticed this? That in the Old Testament, when the prophets spoke, what did they characteristically say? What did they use to introduce their statements with? Someone. “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Right. “Thus sayeth the Lord.” What’s the characteristic word by which Jesus introduces his discourses? “Verily, verily I say unto you.” If you notice the claim of the authority, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” No one ever studied the Old Testament like our Lord did. “Thus sayeth the Lord.” But he does not say, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” He says, “Verily, verily I say unto you.” Do you know that there is no evidence anywhere in Palestinian Judaism of anyone ever saying, “Verily, verily I say unto you,” except Jesus. It’s one of those fantastic claims that he made in which we must of course, ponder and consider, and either reject or accept, because he has made the claim, in essence, to be speaking as the Lord.
So he is the prophet. He’s the one who authoritatively tells us about God. No one ever has told us about God like our Lord, and it was new revelation of him. It is not all new. Jesus was not all new. It’s not as if he came and gave us a book that contradicted the Old Testament. He did not. He told us the true meaning of the Old Testament, but in telling us the true meaning of the revelation of God, he gave us much new revelation from God. Very interesting to listen to the comments of Jewish men when they read the New Testament. One of the most famous of the Jewish scholars who read the New Testament said that, “Jesus is responsible for a lot of things that are new but primarily what he taught was found in the Old Testament. There was, however, one thing that was absolutely new and that was the idea of a God going out after those who were lost. He said that, “In all of Judaism, Judaism has no picture of a God who goes out after the lost.” Now that I think, is probably true of Judaism. It is not true, however, of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament actually, from the time in the Garden of Eden when man sinned and God came saying, “Where art thou?,” to the time when Jesus said, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost,” the whole story of the Bible, is the story of a God who goes after the lost. But it is significant, I think, that Jesus gave us an interpretation of the Old Testament which was absolutely supreme, and he gave us new revelation. He is the prophet “par excellence.” And if you really want to know God, we must know our Lord.
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews said that, “God spoke in many parts and in many ways by the prophets under the fathers, but in these last days, he has spoken unto us by his son — or in son.” The revelation of Jesus Christ is a son-wise revelation. It’s God’s word to men. Jesus is the prophet of God.
Now then, our Lord is not only a prophet, but he is also a priest. So, the Office of Priest. When we think of the office of prophet, we of course, think of our Lord’s earthly ministry. But that is not the end of his earth, his ministry of prophet. As a matter of fact, he probably is responsible for the revelation that comes to John the Apostle, is he not? Because, in the Book of Revelation, John says that it was given to him by our Lord.
But now, the office. If we can think of his life, his earthly life, as the time in which he preeminently exercised his prophetic office, when does he exercise his priestly office? When does he exercise his priestly office? Mike? Every day? When did he begin to exercise his priestly office? Well, let’s consider that in a moment. But first, what is the priest? The prophet is God’s representative with man. God’s representative with man. The priest is man’s representative before God. Just as the prophet takes the things of God and brings them to man, so the priest is the divinely appointed representative for man who stands before God representing men. The classic passage is Hebrews chapter 5, verses 1 through 4. So let’s turn there. This passage, together with chapter 7 and verse 25 of the Epistle to the Hebrews suggests that the priest had three functions. First of all, the function of mediation. Notice the first verse, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.” He’s the mediator for men. Second, the office atonement, “That he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, for sins.” So he offers, or makes atonement.
Now, I’m speaking the word “atonement” in the theological sense, you’ll understand. Not in the sense of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament when the Old testament speaks about atonement that really means a covering of sin. The sin is not done away with in the Old Testament. Why? Well because, our Lord had not yet died. The covering of sins was a temporary thing. It was a covering until our Lord should come and really put down the price which was his blood. So atonement, which means a “covering,” an “at-one-ment” between God and men on the basis of a work that is to come is the teaching of the Old Testament. Isn’t it interesting that in the New Testament the word “atonement,” which is so common in the Old Testament, is not found once, not once. Why is “atonement” not found? Well because when Jesus Christ came and died sins were not atoned for. They were not covered. They were removed entirely.
One of the prophets says, “He removes sins from us as far as the east as from the west. He casts them into the depths of the sea. He puts them behind his back.” And all of those expressions are incomplete because in the New Testament we are told that Jesus removes them entirely. He will remember them no more. So we do not have the word “atonement” in the New Testament. I know we have it one time in Hebrews chapter 5, verse 11, but if you look at the marginal notes, you will discover that the word is “reconciliation” at that place. But in the Old Testament, the priest offered atonement. In the New Testament, Jesus is our priest, offers the sacrifice that takes away sin.
And the third office of the priest is to intercede. Notice the 25th verse of chapter 7. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” So intercession, the priests in the Old Testament stood for men before God. They made intercession for men. If we had time, we could look at the illustrations.
Now, there are several things to keep in mind about our Lord’s priestly work. Let me ask you a question. Was Jesus a priest while he was upon the earth? Let me put it this way. I might confuse you. Was Jesus a priest like Aaron? Was he a priest while he was upon earth? What do you think? No, he was not a priest while he was on earth. Why was he not? Do you remember? The priests came from what tribe? Levi. What tribe did our Lord belong to? Judah. He cannot be a priest. Did you know that? He was not a priest. Now, Hebrews chapter 8 and verse 4 says, “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.” And our Lord of course, lived during the time of the exercise of the Aaronic half-priesthood, and the Levitical priesthood. He did not qualify. He was not a priest while he was on the earth. Our Lord’s priesthood in the Book of Hebrews is said to be after the order of not Aaron, but what? Melchizedek. Melchizedek.
Now, Melchizedek was a priest before Aaron ever was a priest. And he was a priest who, by his typical experience in the Old Testament, was a priest forever, typically. And Jesus is a priest forever. He’s an eternal priest. Aaron was not an eternal priest. Why was not Aaron an eternal priest? He died. What about Eleazar? Why wasn’t he an eternal priest? He died. What about Eli? Why wasn’t he an eternal priest? He died. All the priests of the Old Testament died, but our Lord lives forever. He’s not that kind of priest. Furthermore, Melchizedek was not only a priest. He was a, what? A king. A king. Now, the priests of the Old Testament were not kings because the kings came from what tribe? Not Levi. Judah. So we didn’t have priest kings. But when our Lord comes of the tribe of Judah, to which is promised the Davidic kingship, but a priest after the order of Melchizedek who lives forever. We have a king priest, and that’s what we shall have. A king-priest. Now of course, that has tremendous practical significance because you see, a priest represents us with God, and a king has the power to carry out the desires of his heart. That’s why he’s a king priest, typically.
Now, let me just briefly run through some ways in which our Lord’s priesthood is better than Aaron’s. You needn’t put them down. Just enjoy them. The Aaronic priests were dying priests. He is an eternal priest. And listen. When you listen to what I’m going to say, remember that this is what he is for you by the word of God. Not by my word, by the word of God. He is my priest. I’m so glad I don’t have Aaron as my priest. If I had lived in Aaron’s day, I would liked to have had Aaron as my priest because he was the priest of God then, appointed to be a priest for men. But, I have one better now.
Second, the Aaronic priests were not confirmed by an oath. He was. God swore that he should be our priest. The Aaronic priests were priests of a legal covenant providing a temporal redemption. He is the priest of a new covenant, and a better covenant, providing an eternal redemption. Aaron can help me out year by year. Year by year, but he couldn’t do anything for me eternally. The Aaronic priests ministered in the earthly sanctuary. He ministers in the genuine, the heavenly sanctuary. The Aaronic priests were priests with infirmity. He was a perfected priest, infinitely compassionate. The Aaronic priests were priests offering impotent sacrifices. He offered one potent sacrifice that forever removed sin. The Aaronic priest was only a priest. He’s a king priest having not only affection, but power as well.
One of the greatest illustrations of our Lord’s priestly work is his “walking upon the water” experience. You’ll remember that he sent the disciples across the Galilean Sea and then he went up into a mountain to pray. And while they were battling the elements on the sea, Jesus saw them toiling in their rowing because the wind was contrary. And he went to them in the midst of their distress and delivered them, and, of course, in Peter’s case delivered him from sinking.
Well now, that is a picture of what our Lord is for us today. The church is, in a sense, in the midst of the Galilean Sea, stumbling with the elements of this life. Our Lord is at the right hand of the Father praying for us. And whenever we’re about to sink all that we need to do is to look off to our great high priest and call out for deliverance. And the same one who delivered Peter is able to deliver us. And he not only has us upon his heart, as the priests of old who went in before God with the names of the tribes upon their breastplate, but he has us upon his shoulders. That is, he has the strength to do all that his heart desires. And so we have a great high priest, and Jesus is our priest “par excellence.” He has told us about God as no one ever did and he has offered an offering that forever removed sin. And he ministers on the basis of that once and for all sacrifice, dispensing to all whom he serves the benefits of his salvation. I’m so thankful I have a great high priest at the right hand of the throne of God. He doesn’t pray for the world, he said. He said, “He prays for me.” Wonderful to know that.
And now, the Office of King. We needn’t say too much about this. The New Testament in the Bible is full of the fact that the Messiah is to come and is to reign as king. There are three types or three ways in which we may look at our Lord’s kingdom. There is a sense in which God rules over all of human activity from eternity past to eternity in the future. And so there is a sense in which we can speak of our Lord as king over an eternal kingdom. He’s king over all of the things that have ever happened and all the thoughts and activities of all men. But then he has promised in the Bible a mediatorial kingdom. He has promised the manifestation of his rule upon the earth. Jesus came to promise that kingdom. He said when he came, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand.” It had been promised by the Old Testament. Jesus came to confirm those promises. And the Jews were rightfully looking for an earthly kingdom, but they wrongly expected it to come without a cross. And so Jesus had to come and point out to them that the cross precedes the kingdom. The reason the cross precedes the kingdom, of course, is that man’s sin must be cared for before there can be any kingdom of God upon the earth with men participating in it. So he came as the king, announced that the kingdom was at hand, called upon men to repent, and prepare themselves for it. As you know, what happened was that the nation did not respond as a whole, a little handful did. And it was necessary for our Lord to go to the cross as he had planned to die, to be buried, to be resurrected, to ascend to the right hand of the Father, and there he waits for the consummation of the purposes and plans of God. The key to the fulfillment of the promises of the kingdom is the attitude of the nation to our Lord. And when the time comes that the nation, as a nation, turns to him, he shall come and establish the kingdom upon the earth. They shall look upon him whom they fear and shall mourn for him. And then that one day, there shall be the national repentance, and then follows, the institution of the kingdom and our Lord is king.
So he is prophet. He is priest. He is king. He was prophet in his earthly ministry and through the Old Testament in his pre-incarnate appearances as the servant or messenger of Jehovah. He was priest in the offering that he offered on Calvary’s cross and he entered into the exercise of it at his resurrection. And there as a priest after the order of Melchizedek, he serves. He is a king but his kingdom and the expression of it will not be seen until he comes again at his second advent. At that time, he shall carry out his ministry as king. Well, our time’s up. We’re going to have to stop. Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for these great offices of prophet, priest, and king. And we thank Thee that we have a sure revelation given by one who is God himself. We thank Thee for the great saving work which the priest has accomplished in which he administers from the right hand of our God. And we thank Thee for the hope of the kingdom when our Lord shall be vindicated and with him all who have put their trust in him, both Jew and Gentile. To the glory of God, hasten the day when the rapture of the church takes place and the great events of the future unfold. For we desire the glory of him that has loved us and given himself for us.
This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.