2. The Doctrine of the Twofold State of Christ: This is the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation. This doctrine is based upon Phil. ii. 5-9
, and is substantially true. The state of humiliation embraces the supernatural conception, birth, circumcision, education, earthly life, passion, death, and burial of Christ; the state of exaltation includes the resurrection, ascension, and the sitting at the right hand of God.
But here, again, the two confessions differ very considerably. First as to the descent into Hades. The Lutherans regarded it as a triumph over hell, and made it the first stage of exaltation; while the Reformed divines viewed it as the last stage of the state of humiliation. It is properly the turning-point from the one state to the other, and thus belong to both (see DESCENT OF CHRIST INTO HELL). Secondly, the Lutheran Creed refers the two states only to the human nature of Christ, regarding the divine as not susceptible of any humiliation or exaltation. The Reformed divines refer them to both natures; so that Christ's human nature was in a state of humiliation as compared with its future exaltation, and his divine nature was in the state of humiliation as to its external manifestation (ratione occultationis). With them the incarnation itself is the beginning of the state of humiliation, while the Lutheran symbols exclude the incarnation from the humiliation. Finally, the Lutherans regard the humiliation only as a partial concealment of the actual use (Gk. krypsis chreseos) of the divine attributes by the incarnate Logos.
The proper exegesis of the classical passage, Phil. ii. 7 sqq., decides here in favor of the Reformed, and against the Lutheran theory. The kenasis, or self-humiliation, can not refer to the incarnate Logos, who never was "in the form of God," but must refer to the preexistent Logos (the Logos asarkos). This is admitted by the Greek Fathers, and by the best modern commentators, Lutheran as well as Reformed. (Cf. quotations in Schaff, Creeds, i. 328-329 , and see JESUS CHRIST, TWO FOLD STATE OF.)
3. The Threefold Offices of Christ: (a) The prophetical office (munus
, or officium prophetieum
) includes teaching and the miracles of Christ. (b) The priestly office (munus sacerdotale
) consists of the satisfaction made for the sins of the world by the death on the cross, and in the continued intercession of the exalted Savior for his people (redemptio et intercessio sacerdotalis
). (c) The kingly office (munus regium
), whereby Christ founded his kingdom, defends his Church against all enemies, and rules all things in heaven and on earth. The old divines distinguish between the reign of nature (regnum naturae sive potentiae
), which embraces all things; the reign of grace (regnum gratiae
), which relates to the Church militant on earth; and the reign of glory (regnum gloriae
), which belongs to the Church triumphant in heaven. The threefold office or function of Christ was first presented by Eusebius of Caesarea. The theologians who followed Luther and Melanchthon down to the middle of the seventeenth century treat Christ's saving work under the two heads of king and priest. Calvin, in the first edition of his " Institutes " (1536), did the same, and it was not till the third edition (1559) and the Genevan Catechism that he fully presented the three offices. This convenient threefold division of the office of Christ was used by the theologians of both confessions during the seventeenth century. Ernesti opposed it, but Schleiermacher restored it. See JESUS CHRIST, THREEFOLD OFFICE OF.