The Offices of Christ

by Elmer Towns
 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:16


     In a small business establishment, it is often necessary for an individual to assume multiple roles. He may be in charge of accounting but also be responsible for office staff, or he may also be the sales manager. The same thing is often true in churches. A Sunday school teacher may also serve as an usher, choir member, bus worker, deacon, songleader, or one of hundreds of other responsibilities. This practice of wearing two hats will help us to understand the three offices of Christ. The term "Christ" is a Greek word; its Hebrew equivalent in the Old Testament is "Messiah." These terms could be translated "the anointed One." This title of our Lord recognizes three anointed offices that belong to Christ: (1) Prophet (Deut. 18:15-19); (2) Priest (Heb. 9:14-16); and (3) King (Acts 17:7).


     When Israel was preparing to enter the Promised Land, God instructed them not to learn or practice the false religions of Canaan. Rather than be satisfied with these illegitimate means of gaining spiritual insight, God promised to give the nation prophets who would speak for him. Though each prophet had a message from God for the people, their presence would also serve as a reminder of another promise God made. "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" (Deut. 18:15). This "Prophet" was none other than Jesus Christ himself.

     The prophets of God were often unpopular among their own people because of their message of judgment. Many times the people would rebel against God's message that judged their sin. The prophet was simply doing his job. He represented God before the people and gave them God's message.

     If God had a message to give to the world today he could do it any number of ways, for God could do anything. But God has chosen to limit himself to a strategy of using people who know the message to tell others who do not know. In the Old Testament, he would reveal a message to his prophets, who in turn would give the message to the nation. Some of these men described this revelation in terms of vision (Isa. 1:1, Ezek. 1:1). Others simply acknowledged the coming of the Word of the Lord (Jer. 1:4; Jonah 1:1). Commonly, these men simply announced with authority, "Thus saith the Lord" (Obad. 1). Nahum and Habakkuk described their message in terms of a "burden" (Nah. 1:1; Hab. 1:1). These men knew they were speaking on behalf of God.

     Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh. This will be one of the titles Jesus holds when he returns: "His name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13). Jesus consciously said and did the will of the Father while here on earth. He told the religious leaders of his day, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 5:19). Later in the same conversation Jesus said, "I can of mine own self d nothing; as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hat sent me" (John 5:30).

     Prediction-Foreteller. When we think of prophecy, we usually think of predicting future events. In the role of foreteller, Jesus made several "prophecies” during his ministry; John 14:26 (coming of the Holy Spirit); John 14:2, 3 (his return); and, Matthew 16:21 (his death, burial, and resurrection).

     A Preacher to people-"Forth-teller." In his wisdom, God has always "sought for a man among them" (Ezek. 22:30) whenever he chose to communicate his message. When people can identify with the messenger, they will respond to the message. To minister to man, Jesus came as a man. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Jesus became a man, so men could identify with him and his message.

     A Hindu heard the message of the gospel but could not understand why Jesus became a man. As he left the meeting, he encountered an anthill in danger of being burned. Concerned about the ants, he tried to rescue them but they ran from him in fear. Suddenly the Hindu realized why Jesus came as a man. just as an ant was the only one who could warn ants, so Jesus became a man to relate the message of God to other men.

     Jesus taught the people the things concerning God. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, acknowledged, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: fqr no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him" (John 3:2). When Jesus taught, "the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority" (Matt. 7:28, 29). Several extended discourses of Jesus are recorded in Scripture, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), the Olivet discourse (Matt. 24-25), and the Upper Room discourse (John 13-16). In these messages of Jesus, the major theme dealt with teaching men how to live for God.


     A second office appointed by God in the Old Testament was that of the priest, whose main function was to represent man before God. The job of Israel's high priest was to appear before God to make intercession for the people. The priest was the one who offered the sacrifice upon the altar. The priest did teach the people (Lev. 10:10, 11; Deut. 33:10; Mal. 2:6, 7), but that was not his main priority. Because God is a just but forgiving God, the priest could present his forgiveness to the people if they met God's conditions. The priest was usually a channel of forgiveness while the prophet was usually a channel of judgment. The people would have chosen to see a priest over a prophet any day.

     Jesus is our great high priest. The Bible teaches, "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" (Heb. 7:25). As our high priest, Jesus is constantly interceding for us. He understands the problems we encounter in life, having experienced the same when he lived on earth. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). The priesthood of Christ is superior to that of Aaron in that it was after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:10).

     The priesthood of Jesus is superior in that other priests have died., whereas Christ "ever liveth" (Heb. 7:25). His priesthood is more secure in that God swore with an oath concerning it (Heb. 7:21). The Old Testament priests could only offer typical offerings that pointed to a complete offering for sin yet future. As Jesus hung on Calvary, he offered the actual sacrifice for sin. "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).


     When God finally allowed Israel to have a king, the earthly sovereign was responsible to represent God. The king was the leader of the nation and filled the third "anointed" office. Christians were persecuted in the first century when they taught the kingship of Christ (Acts 17:7). They recognized that Jesus alone must be the single supreme Ruler in their lives. This idea was offensive to Rome, who believed their Caesar was both god and king.

     Jesus is king. The kingship of Christ is seen in his deity. Because he is God, he is also king. In heaven "they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints" (Rev. 15:3). The Romans considered their Caesar to be a god. Christians, on the other hand, recognized Jesus alone to be their king.

     Jesus has a kingdom. Every king has a domain over which he rules. Jesus is no exception. Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), but he never denied that he had a kingdom. It was the custom of the Romans to identify the crime of a condemned man on the cross upon which he died. Jesus was executed as "the King of the Jews" (John 19:19). His kingdom continues on earth today as his Word is preached (Acts 8:12; 14:22; Col. 1:13). When he returns to this earth, he will do so to establish his earthly kingdom. Revelation 20 describes his kingdom as a thousand-year reign of peace on the earth, often called the millennial kingdom.

     Jesus has subjects. Christ is now a ruler to those who submit their lives to him. Someday, "At the name of Jesus every knee [shall] bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And ... every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil. 2:10, 11). Today, those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior recognize the kingship of Christ in their lives. Jesus told a parable equating the Christian with a servant. He concluded, "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10).

     One of the unique differences between the Christians of the New Testament and those of today is their attitude toward their relation with Christ. They saw him as a supreme ruler and themselves as slaves in comparison. Perhaps if we had a similar biblical conviction today, we would see similar biblical results.


     One of the many titles of our Lord is that of Christ or Messiah. As God's anointed One, Jesus holds three offices. As the great prophet of God, he speaks to us for God. The wise Christian will heed what he says. Jesus is also our great high priest. As such he is constantly on duty in heaven, interceding on our behalf. Because of his work on Calvary, we too can have direct access to God in prayer. Finally, Jesus holds the office of king. As his subjects, we are responsible to serve him. Part of serving our king includes serving as a prophet, speaking to men on behalf of God, and as a priest, speaking to God on behalf of men.


     Monday: Deuteronomy 18:9-22

     Tuesday: John 1:35-51

     Wednesday: Acts 3:12-26

     Thursday: Hebrews 4:1-16

     Friday: Hebrews 5:1-10

     Saturday: Hebrews 9:11-22

     Sunday: Acts 17:1-10

Taken from: What The Faith Is All About by Elmer Towns