Christ as prophet

Continuing with the offices of Christ series, we will look at the first office that Christ holds, namely that of prophet.

What is a prophet in the Biblical sense? There may be many definitions, but the one I personally think is most descriptive, is:

A prophet is an accredited messenger from God.

Let’s look at that in a little bit more detail. How is accreditation achieved, and why is it necessary? Well, if we just take a look at the classified ads in any of the tabloids, we see many claiming to be prophets of God, or who claim to be His messenger. It was the same in Biblical times (except for the tabloids, I can hardly see the “National Enquirer of Jerusalem”). But as Puritan Lad showed in his end times series at the Covenant Theology blog, there were many claiming to be prophets or false messiahs, even back then. Accreditiation is needed to prove that a person is indeed a messenger from God.

How did someone then become accredited? Recall Moses’ staff turning into a snake and back, or Elijah restoring a boy’s life through his words. Those miracles were proof that they were indeed messengers from God. As John Frame then states, since the miracles attest the prophet, it also attests his prophecies. Furthermore, a distinguishing sign of Biblical prophets is that their prophesies always, in all cases, come true.

Just the same then, we see how Jesus did miracles to attest to His divine origin, and it sure worked. He turned water into wine, He calmed the seas, He multiplied the loaves of bread and fish, He raised Lazarus from the dead etc, and word very quickly spread of His powers. So much so that even those that did not know anything else about Him, called Him a prophet. (Matt 16:14, Luke 7:16, John 4:19) It was seen by many as the fulfillment of Deut 18:15, 18 (John 6:14). So while it is clear that Jesus was regarded as a prophet from the beginning, He is never directly addressed as a great prophet, because He was seen as so much greater than any prophet previous or since.

Jesus did prophesize though. He foretold future events. The most telling of these were of His own death and resurrection. He foretold this in great detail. And then, the whole book of Revelations, given by Christ to John, is a book of prophecy.

The other duty of prophets in the bible was to teach, sometimes called prophecy (1 Cor 14:3). This duty was also exercised by Christ, explaining the law and its misuse by the Pharisees, but more importantly, teaching us the gospel. He teached in many cities, to many types of people. Jesus gave us an understanding of the gospel in such a gracious and assured way that we still hold fast to that exact same message today.

In summary then, Christ holds the office of prophet, and whatever He teached and foretold, can be held onto as a certainty. What Jesus said was God’s truth, in many cases confirming Old Testament revelation, and in many cases new revelation.

Tomorrow we will follow the office of priest that Christ held. Until then, may God bless you and keep you.


5 responses to “Christ as prophet

  1. Amen August. I cringe when I hear people today defend the continuation of prophetic revelation on the basis that a prophet is merely a messenger from God. On that basis, all Christians are “prophets” via the Great Commission. They will defend false prophecies in the Charismatic movement by saying that “the error was in the messenger, not the message”.

    However, a prophet is not merely a messenger from God, as if he were merely relaying second-hand information that he got from God. A prophet is the mouthpiece of God.

    “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18)

    On that basis, a true prophet must speak inerrant, infallible and authoritative words that are in par with Scripture. (In fact, anything less than this under the Old Covenant would result in death for the prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20).

    This is why that, in these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). He is the culmination of prophecy, taking the mantles of the Covenant from Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-8)

  2. Turgy, in the respect of teaching, Christians do hold a prophetic office. However, don’t confuse that with those directly appointed and accredited by God throughout the Bible.

    Biblical prophets brought new teaching, new visions and new messages from God. Someone like Calvin did not bring new revelation from God, he provided inspired interpretation.

  3. You say Calvin provided ‘inspired interpretation’. We say the Bible is ‘inspired by the Holy Spirit’. Was Calvin ‘inspired’ in his interpretation by the Holy Spirit directly, just like the Bible writers were inspired in their revelation?

    (I certainly hope you’re not saying that…)

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