Christ --Prophet, Priest And King

FFF 13:10 (Dec 1967)

Prophet, Priest And King

Donald Taylor

The Old Testament foretells the prophethood, priesthood and kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Moses speaking to Israel says, “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; … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him” (Deut. 18:15-18).

That Moses’ prophecy concerns our Lord Jesus several passages in the New Testament affirm. For example, Peter in the temple speaking to the crowd gathered by the healing of the lame man says concerning the Lord Jesus, “Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you… unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:22-26). Other Old Testament prophets also speak of Christ as the coming Prophet.

David prophesies His perpetual priesthood in Psalm 110: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool… The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Seven times over the Epistle to the Hebrews declares that our Lord Jesus is the fulfilment of that prophecy.

Isaiah foretold His kingship, as did David and other Old Testament prophets. “Behold a King shall reign in righteousness ….(Isa 32:1). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isa. 9:6-7).

The New Testament opens with magi from the east coming to Jerusalem saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”

Yet for all the prophecy concerning Christ’s prophethood, priesthood and kingship, and the overwhelming evidence that He is the fulfilment of prophecy, there has not lacked challenge to His claims. There is a scornful “if” raised concerning His prophethood and kingship, and the Holy Spirit Himself introduces an “If” concerning His priesthood. Let us look at these and how wonderfully they were answered.

The Challenge of His Prophethood

He is guest for dinner in the house of Simon the Pharisee. A woman of the city, knowing He was there, brings an alabaster box of ointment. stands behind Him weeping, begins to wash His feet with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head, and she kisses His feet and anoints them with the ointment. Within himself the Pharisee says, “This Man, if He were a Prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him; for she is a sinner.”

Immediately the Lord answers Simon’s unspoken thoughts with the parable of the two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence and the one who owed fifty. When they had nothing with which to pay, their creditor freely forgave them both. “Tell Me,” He asked Simon, “which of them will love him most?” Simon answered, “I suppose that he to whom he forgave most.” The Lord replied, “Thou has rightly judged.” Turning to the woman, He says to Simon, “Do you see this woman?” Certainly Simon sees the woman and knows all about her. “I came into your house,” continues the Lord. “You gave Me no water for My feet: but she has washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You gave Me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman has annointed My feet with ointment.” All the courtesies due his Guest that Simon had failed to accord Him, the woman, whom Simon judged a sinner compared with himself, had supplied from a heart overflowing with love.

“Wherefore I say to you, her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47).

Is He not a prophet, Simon? He has looked into your mind and heart and told you precisely what was there. He has looked into the woman’s heart and seen what was there.

The Demonstration of His Kingship

Then we come to the scorning of His kingship in Matthew 27. At a place called Calvary they have crucified Him between two thieves, setting up over His head His accusation, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” The Chief priests, scribes and elders who had demanded His death, when Pilate would have released Him, now taunt Him: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.” King of Israel indeed! Why, all Israel had delivered Him up to be crucified, and by Rome to whom Israel must bow. He now hangs on the cross of an alien power, despised and rejected. Let Him now demonstrate His kingship, ran their taunts.

A demonstration they shall have that will convince any reasonable person. Their taunts were too early. He had not yet arrived at the full extremity where all the power, every iota of it, was in the hands of the enemy. Now He is at the extremity; now He is in death; now the forces against Him have wreaked their full end.

But wait! Did He not even in dying demonstrate His kingship? None actually took His life from Him. Having cried with a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. And more, the earth quaked; the graves were opened; many bodies of the saints arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared to many. Was ever a king who in dying shook the power of the grave, and freed saints from the chains of death? Did king David in whom they gloried? No, David is both dead and buried and his flesh has seen corruption.

And more, to insure against His disciples coming by night and stealing away His body, saying He had risen from the dead; they had sealed the stone which closed the mouth of the tomb and set a watch to guard it. At the dawning of the first day of the week, the angel of the Lord descended and rolled back the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and sat upon it. The Roman guards shook with fear and became as dead men. Angels bade certain women to enter and see that He was no longer there. They had rolled back the stone, not to free Jesus from the tomb, but to demonstrate that He was risen from the dead. Is He not indeed King: King of Israel, King of kings! Is He not the King with power over the grave, over death, over Rome, over Satan and all his forces? He alone can say, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth.”

The Arena of His Priesthood

The “if” regarding His priesthood is not a quibble, but a plain statement of Scripture concerning the arena of His priesthood. In Hebrews 7:14 we are told, “It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood” (Heb. 7:14). Again, it is stated, “If He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law, who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:4-5). The tabernacle in which they served was but a shadow, a type, a picture of that which was to come, the true tabernacle the Lord pitched. He could not be a priest in such a tabernacle.

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:11-14; 24-26; 10:11).

Though on earth not a priest serving in the typical tabernacle, He did His priestly work alone in offering Himself without spot to God in order to put away sin and to purge the conscience, and to fit us for God’s holy presence. Had He not come; had He not offered Himself, the one efficacious, acceptable sacrifice to God, the whale Aaronic priesthood with its tabernacle, services and sacrifices had been a farce; a shadow without a substance; a fingerpost without a destination.

Not only is He King, the King of kings, but He alone has been the perfect subject. He alone fulfilled the law in every jot and tittle. And even beyond the law, He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Is He King of kings? “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put all enemies under His feet, … that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Enthroned He ever serves His people.

Not only is He a Prophet, but He is the central theme of all prophecy. Prophecy would be without purpose without Him. As Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes, so also is He the end of all prophecy.

Prophet and theme, Priest and sacrifices, King and subject: such is our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“He’s Prophet and the theme of all God’s speaking;
He’s Priest and Sacrifice that rent the veil;
He’s King ‘gainst whom there can be no uprising;
Yet One who serves His people without fail.”