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Know His True Character

05 October 2011 by Frank Turk


We should keep in mind that the name “Christ” refers to 3 offices – because under the law the prophets, priests and kings were all anointed with holy oil.  To be a “Messiah” is to be an “Anointed One”, so this title was give to the promised Mediator.  And I admit (and talk about in other places) that being a “Messiah” was primarily a kingly calling for Jesus, there is a proper place for seeing these other anointed offices as rightly-anointed offices which are pointed to by this title.

We should not overlook them.

The title “Prophet” is explicitly mentioned by Isaiah when he says this: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," (Is 6:1-2)  We see that the Spirit anoints him to be the one who comes and calls out to people and give them a personal, genuine account of his Father’s grace – and not in the usual way.  He is different than others who have been made prophets.  He was anointed not just for the sake of his own teaching, but for the sake of his whole Body, the Church, so that the Spirit might work through all of it at all times in order that the Gospel might be preached with divine effectiveness.

But this is also certain: Jesus did this so completely, so perfectly, that an end was put to all prophecies – and those who are not contented with the Gospel are therefore tacking on something unnecessary for it, and run down the real Gospel’s authority, when they do so.

Remember that the Voice which shook Heaven when it said, "This is my beloved Son, hear him" gave him a special privilege above all other teachers.  But then this special privilege is passed down fom the head to all its members, as Joel foretold: "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28).  Paul said, he was "made unto us wisdom," (1 Cor. 1:30) and again, that in him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," (Col. 2:3) meaning that there is nothing not worth knowing about him or from him, and that when you have faith in him, you may know his true character and all the blessing which that brings to us.  That’s why Paul says, "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified," (1 Cor. 2:2).

And most importantly: it is a violation of God’s order to go beyond the simplicity of the Gospel. The purpose of dignity in the title “prophet” in Christ is to teach us that in the doctrine which he delivered is a wisdom which, in substance, is perfect in all its parts.

-- John Calvin, Institutes, Vol II, 15.2