Doctrine of Christ: The Office of Prophet
September 5, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Deuteronomy 18:15–22
We are continuing our series on the Doctrine of Christ by looking at Christ as he fulfills the Office of Prophet in His role as mediator.
You remember last week we looked at the Biblical Data supporting the understanding of the three-fold office of Christ.
You remember what those offices were...
the Westminister Confession of Faith, Chapter 8, Article 1.
We learned that Christ fulfills His role as Mediator through these offices.
We also learned that these offices are the direct remedy to man’s threefold state of misery: guilt, ignorance/ lack of righteousness, and bondage to sin.
- Ignorance -> is healed by the Prophet as light scatters the darkness
- Guilt -> is healed by the Priest, through atonement and reconciliation
- Bondage -> is healed by the King as the power of the King removes the bondage of sin and death.
In other words
- The Prophet shows God to us;
- The Priest leads us to God;
- The King joins together and glorifies us with God.
Purpose/ Function of a Prophet
Today we are going to look deeper into what is meant when we say Christ fulfills the office of a Prophet.
- What is the purpose and function of a Prophet?
- How is a Prophet called?
- Is a Prophet even necessary?
- How is it that Christ is to be considered as a Prophet?
To answer the first question: What is the purpose and function of a Prophet?
Let’s turn our Bibles back to Deuteronomy 18, verses 15-22.
We see in verse 18 that there are two sides to a prophet.
- A prophet receives the words of God
- A prophet speaks the words of God
The receiving of the words of God has occurred in several ways
- By direct communication -> Jeremiah 1:4-10
- By visions -> Numbers 12:6-8
- By dreams -> Isaiah 6
The receiving of the words from God is extremely important because without receiving, there can be no message from God to give.
On the other hand, simply receiving does not make a Prophet either.
Each of these received a message from God but they were not called to be a prophet.
The other side of a prophet, therefore, is the speaking.
It was the duty of the prophets to reveal the will of God to the people.
2 Timothy 3:16 – 2 Timothy 4:2
- the ministers of the people Ezekiel 33:1-20
- the interpreters of the law – both morally and spiritually
- to protest against mere formalism Isaiah 1:11-15
- to stress moral duty
- to urge the necessity of spiritual service Psalm 51:17
- to promote truth and righteousness. 4:14–16
- to call the people to their duty before God. Micah 6:8
- to announce the judgment of God.
- to remind the people of the gracious promises of God. Ezekiel 11:17–20
- to call the people to faith and repentance Isaiah 55:7
The foretelling of future events was only an incidental part of the office.
While there are many similarities between the Prophets of the Bible and the Pastors of today, we must make some distinctions.
- The Prophets of old had direct communication with God.
- Pastors and teachers today, do not have this same direct communication.
- The Prophets of old were inspired
- Pastors and teachers today are not inspired.
While Pastors and teachers fulfill much of the same purpose and function as a Prophet of old, the word they receive from God is limited only to the Scriptures.
The Calling of A Prophet
The office of a prophet – much like the office of Pastor or that of a Teacher – was not to be taken upon oneself.
We have this idea that if I possess what I consider to be sufficient knowledge
- I can begin teaching
- I can hold bible studies. ]
- I can give advice and direction on the spiritual state of another’s soul.
- I can even command obedience and disobedience to Scripture of my choosing
However, no true Prophet in the Old Testament ever raised up himself nor should any Bible teacher or Pastor today.
There were tests in the OT for false prophets: Deuteronomy 18:22
There are tests today in the NT for false teachers: 1 Tim 4 / 2 Tim 3 / Titus 1
The Calling of A Prophet: Jeremiah
- The Lord hath picked his prophet before his birth.
- Before he was born, God knew him.
- Before he was born, God sanctified him and ordained him a prophet unto the nations
- This teaches a principle about redemption
- This teaches a principle about the calling of God
- This teaches a principle about the children of God
- The prophet was set aside for his office.
- The prophet was elect in infancy (much like Ephesians)
- The prophet was sanctified in his mother's womb
- The Lord hath called him to go and to speak for God
- The receiving side
- "Whatsoever I command you to speak"
- He is not to speak on his own behalf.
- The speaking side
- "Thou shalt go to all that I send thee"
- He is to speak the words of God.
The Calling of A Prophet: Ezekiel
- The Lord called this prophet
- The receiving side
- He is given the word through the eating of the scroll
- He is not to speak on his own behalf.
- The speaking side
- "...go speak unto the house of Israel"
- He speaks the word that he has given.
The Necessity of a Prophet
We’ll conclude today by looking at the necessity of a Prophet.
We’ve learned about their function and purpose.
We’ve learned about their calling and saw some examples of in the persons of Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Moses.
But, now we must address the question as to whether the office of Prophet (and that of the Pastor and Teacher) are even necessary.
- There can be no knowledge of God without a revelation
- In the OT, this revelation came through the Prophets.
- In the NT, this revelation comes through the Church with the ministry of the Word, the sacraments, and discipline.
- The only means of salvation is by faith
- Romans 10:17 – So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- And what are the ordinary means through which faith comes?
- It comes only by Christ through the Holy Spirit
- And the Spirit ordinarily uses the preaching of the word of God
- Explanation/ application of the law (repentance)
- Explanation/ application of the gospel (faith)
- The foretelling of future events.
This is not to say God cannot save outside of these means – these are ordinary
So, we see Prophets were essential in the Old Testament – even more so since there did not exist a canon of Scripture.
There were parchments and scrolls and over time, they were collected into the “the law, the prophets, and the writings” but they were not as accessible as our Bible is today.
In Evangelical Christianity, it is popular today to say that we don’t need pastors or teachers. We don’t need church.
- All I need is my Bible.
- As long as I feel like I’m ok....then I must be
Imagine if the Old Testament people said that. Wait, they did. This is what Matthew 21:34-36 is about -> The Parable of the Vinedressers
Judgment followed each time the people rejected the messengers and the means established by God.
Do we think that God no longer cares about how we treat and respond to the means He has established for us to worship Him?
- We set around today caring more about ourselves...
- Our comfort
- Our ego
- Our needs
- Our desires
- We should care more about God than we do ourselves.
The underlying problem with society today – especially the church –
- We take God for granted.
- You know...”He’ll always be there when I need Him”
Isaiah 55:6 / 2 Corinthians 6:2
- We think we are smarter than God
- We ignore those inconvenient commands of God.
- We change those inconvenient commands of God
- We change the truths of God into a lie
- We do whatever we want thinking God will always accept us
- Proverbs 16:25
- Romans 1:22
Typically, our lives revolve around our week or our Saturday or whatever it is we want or feel the need to do.
Instead, if we were to properly recognize the role of the Prophet...
If we were to properly recognize the role of the Pastor/ Teacher in the Church...
We might restructure our lives.
Our lives might revolve around Sunday so that we can worship God.
We might start making decisions so that nothing interferes with Sunday.
We might start going to be early on Saturday night.
We might start preparing our hearts and our minds the night before and the morning of worship.
- Instead of rushing to get to church at the last minute...
- We might start arriving early in anticipation and excitement
We might start to recognize that God has continued to provide for His people by giving them the gift of the church
- Wherein He has purposed His word to be read and preached and taught
- Wherein He has purposed the sacraments to be observed
- Wherein He has preserved the function of the prophet for His people
- Though administered differently now than in the OT
- There is no dynamic, immediate receiving of the word of God
- There is only the speaking of the word of God from Scripture
- Wherein one might find the words of truth declared under the authority of those whom God has called to preach His Word, in each and out of season.
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