What are the Offices of Christ?
Before we discuss the offices of Christ, we need to first define what is meant by “offices.” We are not speaking about office space, the corner office, the office with the mahogany desk. The term “office” means an obligation, a charge, a burden. It speaks of a position of responsibility. Hence, when we speak of the “offices of Christ,” we are speaking about specific roles that Messiah would fulfill when he came to earth.
So now, we can discuss what the Offices of Christ are: what are the specific roles, the positions of responsibility, which Jesus performs?
The Three Offices are: King, Priest and Prophet.
The Office of King
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; – 2 Samuel 7:12-14a
God made a covenant with David. He promised that after David died, God would “raise up” one of his descendants and would establish the throne of his kingdom forever. God promised that one of David’s descendants would be a forever king.
After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’ – Acts 13:22
David was called, “a man after God’s own heart.” God gave him this epithet because he would “do all My will.” Jesus is a King just like David: He is a man after God’s own heart, who does all His will.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. – John 5:19
The religious leaders understood that the Messiah would be The King. They used this to put Jesus to death. They told Pilate that Jesus was an insurrectionist for he was claiming to be a king and there should be no other king than Caesar.
And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” – Luke 23:2-3
So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” – John 19:21-22
“He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. – Matthew 27:42
The religious leaders accused him of it; Pilate wrote it; Jesus confirmed it. Jesus performs the role, the responsibility, the Office of King.
The promise God made to David was fulfilled when God “raised up” a descendant of David’s – literally raised him up from the dead, then raised him up into Heaven where he is now seated on the throne at the right hand of God.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True… And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19:11-16
One day, every eye shall see and every knee shall bow before the King of Kings. Jesus is The King.
The Office of Priest
The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.” – Psalm 110:4
… Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:20
God swore that Jesus would be a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek?
Melchizedek was the King of Salem as well as the Priest of the God Most High.
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. – Genesis 14:18
Why is Melchizedek important? In the Jewish Law, the offices of Priest and King were separated. No king could be High Priest. When they did act like one, they were punished.
Now [Saul] waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal… So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came…But Samuel said, “What have you done?…You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” – 1 Samuel 13:8-14
But when [Uzziah] became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the Lord, valiant men. They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.” But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense. Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the Lord had smitten him. – 2 Chronicles 26:16-20
Kings Saul and Uzziah attempted to be both king and priest but were punished by God for their disobedience to the Law. Yet Melchizedek was both king and priest. How could this be?
Melchizedek is before the Law. The Law comes into play when Moses receives God’s commandments on Mount Sinai in Exodus 20. However, over 500 years earlier, Abraham gives a tithe to Melchizedek. The Tribes of Jacob have not yet been born. The Levites have not yet become the priests of God. Aaron has not yet become the first High Priest.
Jesus is not a Levite. He could not be a Jewish High Priest for the High Priest must be a descendant of Aaron, a Levite. However, Jesus is of the Tribe of Judah. How can he be a priest?
He is not a priest according to the order of Aaron but according to the order of Melchizedek.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. – Hebrews 4:14
The Book of Hebrews explains Jesus’ role as High Priest. We can know that Jesus is our Great High Priest.
The Office of Prophet
They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” – John 1:21
Why are the religious leaders asking John the Baptist whether he is the Prophet? Who is this Prophet they seem to be expecting?
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him…The Lord said to me, ‘… I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” – Deuteronomy 18:15, 17
Moses prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like him, like Moses. This Prophet would have the words of God put into his mouth. He would speak them to all that God commanded. The big question becomes: what does a prophet like Moses look like?
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.
I shall speak with him in a dream.
“Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;
With him I speak mouth to mouth,
Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
And he beholds the form of the Lord. – Numbers 12:6-8
Notice how God views Moses the Prophet and how He views all other prophets. All other prophets know God by visions and dreams. Moses speaks to God mouth to mouth (we would say “face-to-face”). God speaks to Moses clearly. Moses sees God differently than all other prophets. Moses was unique in his relationship with God.
This is how The Prophet would be. Like Moses, The Prophet would speak to God mouth to mouth and would hear God’s voice clearly. This describes Jesus precisely. Jesus’ disciples knew it:
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” – John 1:45
Philip evangelized Nathanael, telling him that Jesus was The Prophet that Moses spoke of in the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets). Yet, even Philip didn’t fully understand the relationship Jesus had with the Father.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? – John 14:9
Jesus is the fulfillment of Moses’ promise that God would send a prophet like him. Jesus is The Prophet.
In the Old Testament, God promised to send a King like David, a man after His own heart. He promised to send a Priest in the order of Melchizedek, before the Law was given. He promised to send a Prophet like Moses, to whom He spoke mouth to mouth unlike all other prophets.
Jesus is that King. He is a man after God’s own heart. He does all of God’s will.
Jesus is that Priest. He was before the Law and He will be after the Law. He is the Priest that sits on the throne.
Jesus is that Prophet. He is one with the Father and so hears the Father clearly and the Father clearly hears him.
Jesus fulfills the prophesies. He is King, Priest and Prophet.