First, a quick overview of "office":
(1) The entire life and ministry of Christ is the carrying out of an office and a mission given to Him by God, the Father (Heb. 3:5f; 5:5)....(2) Christ’s three-fold office refers to the original calling and purpose of man....(3) The three-fold office model ties the work of Christ directly to the Old Testament. Israel had a prophetic, priestly and kingly role assigned by God to play in this world (Ex. 19:6)....(4) When we see the work of Christ in terms of His role as prophet, priest and king, we have a full-orbed understanding of His work. (53-54)
A prophet is God’s spokesman, God’s mouth-piece. He brings God’s message in God’s authority to people....His mission is to reveal to His church in all ages the whole will of God in all things concerning their edification and salvation. (55)
Christ our Prophet reveals the whole will of God to His church in diverse ways of administration. (56)
What are the implications of saying that because “the goal of revelation has been realized,” the former and diverse ways by which God revealed His will to men have ceased? "It is not that God is dead and no longer communicates with people....The Bible embodies God’s personal selection of the special revelations he determined that the church would need through all the ages. In this written revelation from God is contained all that is needed for life and godliness. No further words, ideas, or supposed visions and prophecies shall supplement the completed revelation of Scripture. It is not just that the written canon is closed, meaning that no more words are to be added to the Bible. The end of revelation means that all those former ways of God’s making His will known to his church have now ceased." 69 Robertson, The Final Word, 60. (57)
(1) He knows the mind of God perfectly, because He is God (Col. 2:9; John 1:1, 14).(2) He is the revelation of God in human flesh. He is not simply the one through whom the revelation comes, He is that divine revelation Himself....Jesus is the prophet and the prophecy, the messenger and the message, the preacher and the sermon, the teacher and the lesson.
(3) Jesus is infallible, i.e., incapable of error in all He teaches. He cannot make any mistakes in revealing the mind of God to us, because His mind is the mind of God.
(4) He speaks with all-encompassing, irrefutable and ultimate authority in everything.
(5) Jesus was accredited by God. His claims were backed by the self-authenticating witness of Almighty God. (58-59)
The FIRST PHASE was His PRE-INCARNATE ministry. The Son of God has always
been the means and the message by which God communicated Himself to men....In the Old Testament that divine revelation took a variety of forms: angelic appearances, dreams, visions, voices from heaven, prophets, and the like. All of these were anticipatory and temporary manifestations of the Son Himself revealing the heart and mind of God to men. (59)
The SECOND PHASE of Christ’s prophetic ministry was His INCARNATE and EARTHLY period. Throughout His earthly life He preached and taught people the gospel of God (Mark 1:15)....During this period He taught the will of God with His mouth and His life. (59)
The THIRD PHASE of his prophetic ministry is the POST-INCARNATE period, from His Ascension to His Second Coming at the end of history. From His exalted position at God’s right hand, Jesus Christ continues to exercise His prophetic responsibilities....This is the objective, historical product of Christ’s post-incarnate prophetic ministry—the finalized, completed sixty-six books of the Holy Bible. (60)
Christ is not limited to human preachers, but He certainly has tied us to them as instruments in His hands, as pipes through whom His voice comes. The instruments are nothing; the Master Carpenter is everything. Man’s voice is weak—Christ’s voice is life. (62)
The FINAL PHASE of Christ’s prophetic ministry will be the HEAVENLY PERIOD, i.e., in the consummated and perfected New Heaven and New Earth, in eternity after the return of Christ. Then we will see Him face to face, as He really is, by sight, and be taught by Him physically. (66)
The Biblical truth of the prophethood of Christ is the basis of our Christian approach to education. Colossians 2:3 makes clear that Christ is the source of all truth, wisdom and knowledge: “In Christ is gathered up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and you have been made complete in Him” (Col. 2:10). Education
becomes the invigorating task of interpreting life, history and every other aspect of creation from the viewpoint of the written revelation of Christ, which is the truth. (66-67)
Our goals in Christian education are also defined by the Word of our Prophet (Deut. 6:1f). Our primary goal is to glorify God. To reach that goal we educate ourselves and our children so that a Christian mind will be developed in us, by which we can look at every area of life from the revealed perspective of Christ in the Bible. From that basis, through Christian education, a Christian culture and heritage will be transmitted to our children. (67)
We see four areas in which our children must receive fully Biblical training and instruction: (1) Intellectual Advancement (“wisdom”): Everything we teach our
children is aimed at stimulating and expanding their minds, so they will bring every thought captive to Christ. (2) Physical Discipline (“stature”): Physical strength, health and conditioning are all important to God who created the body to serve Him. (3) Spiritual Growth (“favor with God”): Since “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”, we must place high priority upon our children’s understanding of and faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. (4) Social Development (“favor with man”): Knowing how to relate to one another, serve one another, work with one another, and be hospitable to one another, are all essential to the Christian’s mission in this world. (67-68)
A priest represents sinners before God and in their behalf...In order for the Old Testament priests to bring Israel near Jehovah, four functions had to be carried out: atonement, intercession, blessing and instruction. The priests made atonement for the sins of Israel by offering sacrifices (Lev. 9:1f). They made intercession with
Jehovah in behalf of Israel (Joel 2:17). They pronounced Jehovah’s benediction on the congregation (Lev. 9:22f), and they taught the congregation the Word of the Lord (Lev. 10:11). (69)
Jesus Christ fulfills all these priestly functions in behalf of His people in order to bring us to God. He is our priest and our sacrifice (Heb. 2:17f). He is our intercessor (John 17; Heb. 7:25). He is one who bestows God’s blessing on our lives (Matt. 5:3–10). And He is our teacher (John 14–16). (69)
(1) Jesus is fully qualified to be our priest. He is perfectly sinless and impeccably pure, otherwise, He could not save others from sin (4:15f). ...
(2) His two-fold accomplishments as priest are: a perfect atonement and an endless
(3) He is a priest with an endless life, which He lives for His people’s benefit; with an endless priesthood, who offered Himself as a once-for-all sacrifice to secure our eternal redemption; with an endless life, ever living to apply to us with His own hands what He purchased for us; with an endless intercession; and with an endless
In Christ, believers are a “kingdom of priests” (Rev. 1:6; Ex. 19:5f; 1 Pet. 2:5). All believers are priests, whose priesthood is rooted in the high priesthood of Christ. The purpose of our priesthood is the establishment of the kingdom of Christ on earth (Rev. 5:10). (70)
In order for Christ to bring us to God, satisfaction, or atonement, had to be made for our sins against God. Atonement means “covering.”...“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin,” i.e., no satisfaction, or atonement for sin (Heb. 9:22). Jesus has made satisfaction for us by shedding His own blood for us in our place, suffering the penalty for breaking God’s law, which we should suffer, thereby turning away God’s holy anger, satisfying God’s righteous law, and reconciling us to Him forever. (73)
This is the gospel of the Old Testament sacrificial system—men are either under judgment or they are under the covering of sacrificial blood. The covenant union of Jehovah and Israel was not based on the merit or activity of Israelites, but on the sacrificial atonement provided by God Himself and represented in the altar and its sacrifices. The only source of satisfaction, atonement, propitiation, reconciliation
and redemption with reference to God is through the shedding of sacrificial blood. (73)
The Burnt Offering of the Old Testament (Lev. 1:2–17; 6:8–13), illustrates the nature and effects of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The goal of this offering was two-fold. (1) To appease the living God. The “aroma” of the sacrifice “soothes” God’s anger, i.e., turns it away, as it satisfies His justice and secures His favor. (2) To forgive sin and to consecrate the forgiven sinner to God, so that reconciliation and peace can exist between God and the forgiven. The sacrificial death of Jesus accomplished both of these blessings for us. (74)
This word, propitiation, signifies the turning away of God’s wrath from sinners and the satisfying of God’s justice in behalf of sinners by the substitutionary, sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. He was inflicted with the punishment and death which sinners deserved for their sin. (76)
(1) Christ’s death was NOT to make a theoretical salvation possible for all those faceless and nameless people who in some way might complete Christ’s work by a decision in His favor....Christ’s death actually saved sinners from sin and all its consequences. ...(2) Christ’s sacrificial death, in accordance with the principles of the Old Testament sacrificial system, removed the liability to divine punishment for sin from all those for whom He died. ...
(3) Christ’s death propitiated God. It was a propitiation and a satisfaction. His death in our place satisfied God’s justice, which demanded that we be punished for breaking God’s Law, and it turned away God’s anger, which burned against us for offending His holy character (Rom. 1:18). ...
(4) Christ’s death reconciled to God all those for whom He died. ...
(5) Christ’s death secured the blessing of justification for all those for whom He died. ...
(6) Christ’s death secured the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit for all those for whom He died. ...
(7) Faith and repentance, as gifts of God’s grace, are bestowed on God’s people as benefits of Christ’s redemptive work for us. ...
(8) Christ’s death secured adoption into God’s family for all those for whom He died. ...
(9) The purpose of Christ’s death was to cleanse and sanctify His beloved Church from sin and all its effects (Eph. 5:25, 26). He gave Himself “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). ...
(10) Christ’s death accomplished and secured eternal salvation for everyone for whom He died. (80-83)
Christ came to die for all the sins of some sinners, of a distinct, but innumerable,
group of sinners which is thoroughly heterogeneous. (87)
First, the word “all,” when used in the Bible, can mean either “all without exception,” i.e., every single person, or “all without distinction,” i.e., all kinds of people, of every rank, condition and class. (89)
Second, if the “alls” under consideration mean “everybody head for head,” then the verses that contain them are made to say far more than any Bible-believing Christian would want them to say....Are all things without exception lawful for the Christian, including immorality, drunkenness and drug addiction? Of course not. The meaning of “all things” here is limited by its context. (89-90)
Third, since the Bible does not contradict itself, being the inerrant Word of God, we must not interpret one passage in such a way that contradicts another passage. Any interpretation of these “all passages” is limited by the passages that identified the redeemed as a specific group within the human race. (90)
Fourth, since the only infallible interpreter of the Bible is the Bible, the clear passages, the meaning of which is obvious and basic, such as Matthew 1:21 or Revelation 5:9, must be used as guides in interpreting the less clear and more difficult passages. (90)
Fifth, we must always interpret a text in the light of its context. A verse must be interpreted in a way that is consistent with its setting, including the verses that precede and that follow it. (90)
Sixth, when both general and specific statements are made regarding a matter, the general is always restricted by the specific and not vice-versa. (90)
Seventh, in some cases “all” and “world” are used to correct the false notion that salvation is only for the Jews....These expressions are used to show that Christ died for all men without distinction, i.e., for Jew and Gentile alike, rather than that He died for all people without exception. (91)
If the Biblical truth of the limited and definite design of Christ’s atonement is NOT believed, taught, defended and applied, the following fundamental truths of Christianity cannot be preserved:
[a] The unity of the Trinity cannot be upheld, because an atonement universal and unlimited in scope would put the Son of God in a position of intending the salvation of everybody without exception, while God the Father predestined the salvation of the elect.
[b] The sovereignty of Christ cannot be preserved if limited atonement (i.e., the doctrine that Christ died to save particular individuals chosen by God) is denied, because it would make Christ unable to accomplish what He intended—everybody’s
salvation. One ends up with a frustrated Christ.
[c] The justice of God is at stake with the denial of the limited design of Christ’s atonement. If Christ’s death paid everybody’s debt to God for sin, then it would be a mockery of justice for God to allow anyone to go to hell, because he would be requiring payment for the same debt twice. ...
[d] The substitutionary atonement of Christ cannot be preserved without this doctrine, for unless Christ truly accomplished salvation for those in whose place He died, then He did not really die as a substitute in the place of anybody in particular.
If Jesus did not die for anybody in particular, He did not save anybody. ...
[e] Salvation by pure grace cannot be preserved, because, if Christ’s atonement must be completed or made effective by man’s faith, if it must be appropriated to be effective, then the gospel of grace becomes a gospel of human decision and human accomplishment. ...
[f] The free and genuine offer of the gospel would be a farce. If there is no accomplished salvation securing eternal redemption for those for whom it was intended, then we have absolutely nothing to offer lost sinners but a possibility of theoretical salvation that is not for anyone in particular. (100-102)
No day can ever dawn when Jesus is not before God interceding for us. Therefore, nothing and nobody can in any way rob us of our salvation which Jesus purchased for us. (106)
The Larger Catechism Q. 55 explains what Christ does as our Intercessor:
(1) He appears in our human nature continually before God the Father...pleading our case.
(2) His intercession is based on the merit of His obedience and sacrifice on earth: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). ...
(3) He declares His will to have the salvation accomplished for His people by His redemptive work applied to all who believe in Him: “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours… I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me
through their word.… Father, I WILL that they also, whom You have given Me, be with me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:9, 20, 24). ...
(4) He silences all accusations against those who believe in Him...
(5) He procures for all who believe in Him peace of conscience, in spite of all our daily failures...
(6) He procures for us free access with boldness to God’s throne of grace: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses… Therefore let us draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15–16). ...
(7) He procures the eternal acceptance of their persons and services to God: “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). (107-111)