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§  34. The Threefold Office of Christ.151518

The doctrine of the Person of Christ is followed by that of the Work that He performed; for to accomplish this was the 1 8 GRH. was the first to treat of this entire doctrine under a separate head; before his day it was discussed in connection with other doctrines, usually under the head of Justification; and the form, too, in which the doctrine is now set forth, appears for the first time complete (though in brief outlines) in GRH. MEL. is the first to use the expression, Kingdom of Christ; he does this, however, in the doctrine of the resurrection. STRIGEL then annexed the Priesthood of Christ, which afterwards was developed into the sacerdotal and prophetic offices. We cannot ignore the fact, that this topic has failed to receive anything like as thorough a discussion and development as many others. very design of His incarnation. This Work is the redemption of the human race. CONF. AUG., III: “They teach, that the Word, i.e., the Son of God, assumed human nature . . . that He might reconcile the Father to us and become a sacrifice, not only for original sin, but also for all the actual sins of men.” To accomplish this work of redemption was the work assigned to Christ upon earth, and the undertaking that He assumed. We designate it as His mediatorial work, and understand by it all that Christ did to effect a redemption, and all that He is still doing to make it available to men. “The mediatorial office is the function, belonging to the whole person of the God-man, originating theanthropic actions, by which function Christ, in, with, and through both natures, [1] perfectly executed, and is even now accomplishing, by way of acquisition and application, all things that are necessary for our salvation.” QUEN. (III, 212) [2] This work Christ undertook in its whole extent, i.e. (1) While upon earth, He Himself announces to men the divine purpose of redemption, and provides that after His departure it shall be further announced to men. (2) He Himself accomplishes the redemption, by paying the ransom through which our reconciliation with God is effected. (3) After His departure He preserves, increases, guides, and protects the Church of the Redeemed thus established. As these three functions correspond to those of the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings, the mediatorial office of Christ is accordingly divided into the Prophetic, Sacerdotal, and Regal offices. [3] [1] The Dogmaticians say here, expressly, that Christ is Mediator according to both natures, as would indeed naturally and properly follow from the topic just discussed. Erroneous opinions upon this subject, that arose even in the bosom of the Evangelical Church itself, furnished the occasion of giving prominence to it, and so we see the FORM. CONC. already denouncing existing errors upon this subject (Epit., Art. III, 2 sq.: Concerning the righteousness of faith before God): “For one side (Osiander) thought that Christ is our righteousness only according to the divine nature. . . . In opposition to this opinion, some others (Stancar, the Papists) asserted that Christ is our righteousness before God only according to the human nature. To refute both errors, we believe . . . that Christ is truly our righteousness, but yet neither according to His divine nature alone, nor according to His human nature alone, but the whole Christ, according to both natures.” . . . QUEN. (III, 212): “For both natures concur for the mediatorial office, not by being mingled, but distinctly and with the properties of both remaining unimpaired, and yet not separately, but each with impartation of the other.” [2] GRH. (III, 576): “The office of Christ consists in the work of mediation between God and man, which is the end of incarnation, 1 Tim. 2:5.” HOLL. (729): “If the mediatorial office of Christ be taken in a narrower sense, it seems to coincide with His sacerdotal office, 1 Tim. 2:5, 6. Yet this does not prevent us from receiving it in a wider sense, so as to embrace His office as prophet and king. For Moses, the prophet, is likewise called mediator and it escapes the observation of no one that kings not unfrequently bear the part of mediators.”

[3] GRH. (III, 576): “The office of Christ is ordinarily stated as threefold, that of a prophet, a priest, and a king; yet this can be reduced to two members” (thus Hutter), “so that the office of Christ is stated as twofold, that of a priest and of a king. For the priest’s office is not only to sacrifice, pray, intercede, and bless, but also to teach, which is a work that they refer to His office as a prophet.” QUEN. (III, 212): “Yet, by most, the tripartite distinction is retained.” “THe appropriateness of this distribution is proved according to GRH. (ib.): (1) From the co-ordination of Scripture passages. It is correct to ascribe just as many parts to the office of Christ, as there are classes to which those designations can be referred which are ascribed to Christ with respect to His office, and passages of Scripture which speak of the office of Christ. But now there are three classes to which the designations which are ascribed to Christ, with respect to office, can be referred. Therefore, etc. (2) From the enumeration of the benefits coming from Christ. Christ atones before God for the guilt of our sins . . . which is a work peculiar to a priest. Christ publishes to us God’s counsel concerning our redemption and salvation, which is the work of a prophet. Christ efficaciously applies to us the benefit of redemption and salvation, and rules us by the sceptre of His Word and Holy Ghost, which is the work of a king.” . . .

§ 35. The Prophetic Office.

By the Prophetic Office we understand the work of Christ, in so far as He proclaims to men the divine purpose of redemption, and urges them to accept the offered salvation. [1] This work Christ performed as long as He was upon the earth; He thereby acted as a prophet, for it was the business of prophets to teach and to declare the will of God; [2] and, in consequence of the greater dignity and power that belonged to Him as the God-man, He performed this work in a much more perfect and effective manner than all the prophets that preceded Him. [3] But this did not cease with His departure from the earth; on the other hand, by the establishment of the sacred office of the ministry, Christ made provision that this work should still be performed, and that, too, with the same efficiency as before, inasmuch as He imparted to the Word and the Sacraments, the dispensation of which constitutes the work of the ministry, the same indwelling power and efficiency that belong to Himself by virtue of His divine nature; and thus, in them and through them, He is still effectively working since His departure. [4] His prophetic office is, therefore, to be regarded as one still perpetuated, and we are to distinguish only between its immediate and mediate exercise. [5] “The prophetic office is the function of Christ the God-man, by which, according to the purpose of the most holy Trinity, He fully revealed to us the divine will concerning the redemption and salvation of men, with the earnest intention that all the world should come to the knowledge of the heavenly truth.” (QUEN., III, 212) [6] From this prophetic office Christ is called a Prophet, Deut. 18:18; Matt. 21:11; John 6:14; Luke 7:16; 24:19; an Evangelist, Is. 41:27; a Master, Is. 50:4; 55:4; 63:1; Rabbi or Teacher, Matt. 23:8, 10; Bishop of Souls, 1 Pet. 2:25; Shepherd, Ezek. 34:23; 37:24; John 10:11; Heb. 13:20. [1] GRH. (III, 578): “The function of teaching is that by which Christ instructs His Church in those things necessary to be known and to be believed for salvation.” QUEN. (III, 217): “The will of God, to reveal which Christ from eternity was chosen, and in time was sent forth as the great Prophet, embraces primarily and principally the doctrine of the Gospel, but secondarily the Law, just as also the revealed Word of God itself is divided into Law and Gospel. Specifically considered, this office consists: (a) in the full explanation of the doctrine of the Gospel, before enveloped by the shadows and types of the Law, or in the proclamation of the gratuitous promise of the remission of sins, of righteousness and life eternal, by and on account of Christ; . . . (b) in the declaration and true interpretation of the Law.” Concerning the relation of Christ to the Law, HOLL. (760): “The old Moral Law Christ neither annulled, nor abated, nor perfected, since it is most perfect (Ps. 19:7), yet He delivered the same from the corruptions of the Pharisees, and fully interpreted it (Matt. 5:21, seq.). Therefore, Christ is not a new legislator, but the interpreter and maintainer of the old Law.” [2] HOLL. (756): “THe office of the prophets of the Old Testament was to teach the Word of God, to hand down the true worship of God, to make known secret and predict future things. As Christ also did these things, He discharged the functions of the office of prophet.” Yet no stress is placed upon the latter, viz., prophecy concerning the future. Therefore, QUEN. (III, 218): “The office of prophet does not consist simply and exclusively in the revelation of future things, but generally in the announcement of the divine will.” [3] HOLL. (756): “Christ is the greatest prophet (Luke 7:16; Deut. 18:18; Acts 3:22; John 1:45; 6:14; Heb. 3:5, 6); a universal prophet (John 1:9; Matt. 28:19); the most enlightened prophet (Ps. 45:7; John 3:34; Col. 2:3; John 1:18); the prophet having the most seals of authority (John 6:27; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28); the most powerful and exemplary (Luke 24:19).” GRH. (III, 578): “THe efficacy of the doctrine is that divine power by which Christ, through the Holy Ghost, effectually moves the hearts of men to embrace the doctrine of faith (Ps. 68:35; John 6:45).” [4] HOLL. (759): “According to His divine nature, He has united the highest power, efficacy, and influence with the Word and Sacraments. Whence the Lord co-worked everywhere with the preaching of the apostles.” [5] QUEN. (III, 218): “He revealed this divine will immediately, when He himself, in His own person, for three years and a half during the time of His ministry, taught and instructed and trained His disciples to be the teachers of the Church Universal. Mediately, when He employed the vicarious labor of the apostles and their successors, through whom He perpetuated, still perpetuates, and will perpetuate to the end of the world, the office of teaching. John 20:21; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Eph. 4:11.” GRH. (III, 578): “To this office of Christ, therefore, belong the publication, in the Gospel, of the divine counsel concerning the redemption of the human race, the appointment and preservation of the office of the ministry, the appointment of the Sacraments, the giving of the Holy Ghost, and, through Him, the effectual change, illumination, regeneration, renewal, sanctification, etc., of human hearts.” [6] QUEN. (III, 219): “The end designed by Christ, the greatest prophet, is, in itself, the bringing of all men to the knowledge of heavenly truth. 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9. For all things are so arranged that the blind may be led into the way, and those who walk in darkness may be enlightened. Acts 26:18. For, although it happens with regard to some that they are thereby blinded and hardened, yet this happens not by the fault of this prophet, and His work, but through their own wickedness they bring this evil upon themselves. John 3:19; 12:39, 40.”

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