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By Ken Symes
In the Old Testament economy there were three classes of public servants: prophets, priests and kings. All appointed to one of these offices were consecrated by being anointed with oil (prophet, 1 Kings 19:16b; priest, Exodus 28:41; king, 1 Samuel 15:1). A prophet is one who is God’s spokesman. In the biblical economy, it involved both foretelling and telling forth. A priest is one who represents the people before God. Kings were anointed to represent God for the purpose of governing the people according to God’s directions.
Moses is probably the most stellar of all of God’s prophets. God confirmed that there would come another prophet like unto him (Deuteronomy 18: 15, 18). Of all the prophets that followed Moses none were like unto Moses. The Jewish people have a saying, “From Moses [the law giver], to Moses [Moses Maimonides – an influential 12th century rabbi], there is none greater than Moses.”
Aaron, Moses’ brother, may be the most stellar of God ordained priests as he was the first appointed high priest, Exodus 40:13.
When the kings of Israel are considered, certainly the most stellar personality was David. The writer of many psalms, the slayer of Goliath, David would be the family from whom Israel’s greatest king, Messiah, would come.
As great as these men of God were as they functioned in their offices serving God, there would be One coming who would far surpass the greatness of these men. In Him all these offices would reach their pinnacle and come together.
MESSIAH: THE PROPHET
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were looking for such a prophet. This is recorded in John 1:19-21 where the Jews sent priests and Levites to John the Baptist to ask him if he was the promised Messiah, to which he answered “no.” It was Jesus who perfectly told forth God’s word. He stated: “Believest thou the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works,” (John 14: 10). In the Olivet discourse Jesus foretold the future (Matthew 24-25). He also prophesied of His own death and resurrection. He even connected Himself back to Moses when He stated: “Do you think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me,” (John 5: 45-46). Yeshua, Jesus, is that prophet of which Moses prophesied. John states it perfectly: “He that hath received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him,” (John 3:33-34).
As one must be anointed into these offices, the question arises as to when Jesus was thus anointed. Isaiah gives us the clue to the answer of this question in Isaiah 11:1-5 which I encourage you to read. The passage begins: “And there shall come a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” The “rod out of the stem of Jesse” is a reference to the Messiah. This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus as recorded in Mark 1:9-11. This is the account of the baptism of Jesus where we are told that: “straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” John gives witness to the occurrence of this incident in John 1:32-34. Oil, at times, in the Old Testament economy, is representative of the Holy Spirit. Herein was Jesus anointed, becoming God’s spokesman, His Prophet.
MESSIAH: THE PRIEST
The Messiah was also to fulfill the office of the priest. Speaking to David of the greater David who was to come, God described the Messiah saying: “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek,” (Psalm 110:1-4). Melchizedek, as a type of Christ, represented His eternal and unchanging priesthood. One responsibility of the priest was to make intercession for the worshippers. Jesus is often recorded as praying for the people. The best example is His intercessory prayer recorded in John 17. Note the words of Hebrews 7:25. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” You may want to read Hebrews 7:22-28 to get the full impact of this great truth.
It was also the responsibility of the priest to offer the sacrifices. It is interesting to note that Jesus was both the one who offered the sacrifice and was Himself the sacrifice. The Bible states: “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” There are two issues here. First, God requires a “blood” sacrifice because “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul,” (Leviticus 17:11). Second, a body was required (Hebrews 10:5-10) so a perfect sacrifice could be made. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and willingly offered Himself.
As He celebrated Passover for the last time with His disciples, Jesus took bread and said: “This is my body which is given for you……Likewise the cup after supper saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you,” (Luke 22: 19-20). The author of Hebrews put it all together when he wrote: “Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law, Then said he, Lo I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus….let us draw near with a true heart,” (Hebrews 10: 7-10, 19, 22). Messiah was to be both the priest offering the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself (I Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29; Exodus 12:21). The Messiah was to be the perfect and eternal priest. Only Jesus qualifies.
MESSIAH: THE REIGNING KING
Through the Davidic Covenant, recorded in 2nd Samuel 7:10-16, covenanted by God with David, David was given the unconditional promise that his throne would be established forever. This is in perfect harmony with the promise made to Judah that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be,” (Genesis 49:10). This Messianic Kingdom is also prophesied in Jeremiah 23:5-6. Psalm 72 gives us an additional description of the Messianic Kingdom. Isaiah 9:6, among many other scriptures, establishes the kingship of the Messiah. Messiah will be of the seed of David. A study of the genealogies of Matthew and Luke establishes Jesus’ Messianic credentials. We are told, when the angel appeared to Mary, that the son of her womb would be the eternal King. “And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the son of the highest; and the LORD God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” (Luke 1:30-33).
The first three verses of the book of Hebrews presents Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King (the Messiah), to the target audience of the writer of Hebrews – Jewish people. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Messiah Jesus is THE Prophet, “spoken unto us by His Son”; THE Priest, “he had by himself purged our sins”; and THE King, “His Son [is] heir of all things.”
To Him be the glory!