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Doctrine of Christ: The Three-Fold Office of Christ

August 29, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Isaiah 61

Scripture: Isaiah 61


We are continuing our study on the ...The Doctrine of Christ.

Last week we concluded our discussion on why we need a mediator

  • Why we are unable to approach God on our own
  • Why we cannot have anyone else approach God on our behalf
  • Why, the only mediator, must be Christ
    • Both God and Man

That Christ alone in the Perfect Mediator. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Christ alone can intercede on our behalf.

If you do not have Christ

  • You do not have intercession. You do not have a mediator with God.


Turn with me, if you will, to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 8, Article 1.

Again, we’ve spoken about Christ as Mediator.

We see in the confession that Christ was chosen and ordained

by God to be the mediator between God and man.

Today, we are going to investigate how Christ fulfills His role as Mediator.

He does this through what is known as the Three-Fold Office of Christ

  • As Prophet
  • As Priest
  • As King

Christ performs these offices together, in unison

  • He does this alone.
  • There are no others that hold all three offices together as Christ does.
    • There were kings and priests (as Melchizedek)
    • There were kings and prophets (as David)
    • There were priests and prophets (as sometimes the high priests)
  • But Christ alone perfectly fulfilled these three.
  • This was reserved for Christ,

Three-Fold Office as Shown in the Old Testament

The Scripture assigns this threefold office to Christ:

  • As Prophet (Deut 18:15,18; Isa 61:1,2)
    • as the Wisdom of the Father and the Word (Logos) through whom God addresses us
  • As Priest (Ps-110:4) - ordained after the order of Melchizedek
  • As a King ( 2; 110:1; Isa 9:6,7) - sits at His right hand

These three offices are described not only separately, but also together

  • Isa-09:6
    • Prophet: He is called “Counsellor” (in respect of prophecy)
    • Priest: “Father of eternity” (in respect of priesthood)
    •  King: “Prince of Peace,” upon whose shoulders the government is placed (in respect of his kingdom).
  • Isa-61:1: a threefold end of the anointing of Christ is pointed out
    • Prophet: “to preach good tidings unto the meek” (which belongs to a prophet)
    • Priest: “to bind up the broken-hearted, and to comfort all that mourn” (which belong to a priest)
    • King: “to bring liberty to the captives, and to exercise the vengeance of God” (which belongs to a king).

Three-Fold Office as Shown in the New Testament

These three offices are often joined together in the New Testament

  • John-14:6 -> Christ is said to be “the way, the truth, and the life”
    • the Way -> leading, the Truth -> teaching, the Life -> saving.
    • The Way in his priesthood, when by his own blood he opened a way for us to heaven (Heb-10:20)
    • The Truth in his prophetic office because he reveals to us the word of the gospel, the only saving truth
    • The Life in his kingly office by which he quickens and protects us through his efficacy
    • the Way in death, the Truth in the word, Life in the spirit.
  • Heb 1:2,3 -> God is said to have spoken to us by his Son
    • as by a supreme Prophet who,
    • after having purged our sins as a Priest,
    • sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high as a King.

Westminster Larger Catechism Q: 25

Q. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?

A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin,[w] the want of original righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually;[x] which is commonly called Original Sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.[y]

Three-Fold Misery of Man

William Whitaker, Cambridge Puritan Theologian, during the mid-late 1500s, describes the three-fold misery of man in this way:

  1. The guilt of their sins, which themselves are never able to expiate, or satisfy
  2. The blindness of their minds, the cure whereof is too difficult for any
  3. Their bondage and captivity to sin and Satan

Francis Turretin, then, applies this to the Three-Fold office of Christ

  • Ignorance/ blindness -> healed by the Prophet by teaching/ showing (Q.43)
  • Guilt -> taken away by the Priest and secures reconciliation (Q. 44)
  • Bondage -> removed by the King, subdues rebellious affections (Q. 45)

 The Cross Work of Christ

Finally, in our discussion addressing the nature of the three-fold office and how it directly applies to addressing the three-fold nature of sin, we should again mention that these three offices are fulfilled by Christ at once.

Consider the cross-work of Christ...

The cross-work of Christ is central to these three offices, the Christian faith, and the proclamation of it.

  • The cross is where Christ offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice (Priest)
  • The cross teaches us the mystery of salvation (Prophet)
  • The cross is where He triumphed over principalities and powers (King)]
    • along with the crown of thorns and the title "King of the Jews"


Thus, we are beginning to gain a deeper understanding of what it means when we speak of Christ as Mediator.

The Son of God is not only "a" mediator.

The Son of God is "the" only mediator

  • He is our Prophet – greater than Moses (Acts 3:22)
  • He is our Priest – after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:5, 6)
  • He is our King – a kingdom that shall never end (Luke 1:33)

With Christ as our mediator, what does the Christian have to fear?

  • In living, we should ask ourselves and make our decisions based upon this:

“Are you more concerned with your temporal salvation and comfort?”

Or.............“Are you more concerned with your eternal salvation and security?”

Let’s close by reminding ourselves of John 3:16

“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Quickly, we need to make sure we understand this verse correctly.

  • This does not mean that God loved every single person in the world without exception.
    • If that were true, then He would not condemn some men to hell
    • If that were true, then all men would be given faith
  • Rather, it limits everlasting life to those that believe in Him, to all those of the promised seed of Abraham (Gen 12:3, 22:18, 26:4; Rom 4:16)
    • And to all those seed of faith that is in the world, the location of the world

Jesus has spoken as being given to the world – to give everlasting life to all those who believe – to all those for whom Christ mediates as a prophet, priest, and king.

This should, in the words of B. B. Warfield:

“arouse in our hearts a wondering sense of the marvel and mystery of the love of God for the sinful world”

And give us great assurance and comfort that God has made a way when there was no other way, a certain way, a sure way, a perfect way for his chosen to be brought fully, safely, and completely to eternal life.

Christ alone can do this as mediator.

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