By Christopher VanDusen
Do you understand why Jesus is called “Christ” and “the Messiah”? After all, this is one of the main titles that belong to Him, such as when we call Him “the Lord Jesus Christ”. The word “Christ” comes from the Greek word christos, whereas the word “Messiah” comes from the Hebrew word meshiach, both of which literally mean “anointed one”. In the Bible, this title is used in the Old Testament to refer to prophets, priests, and kings, who were “anointed”, or covered, with oil to symbolize their appointment by God to one of those three offices. In the New Testament, Jesus is called “Christ” because He’s the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King.
But what exactly does it mean that Christ is the New Testament Prophet, Priest, and King? In Christ — Our New Covenant Prophet, Priest, and King, the excellent Bible teacher John G. Reisinger explains what it means that Christ holds those three offices.
The Three Offices of Jesus’s Messiahship
In his introduction, Reisinger lays out the three main points of his book:
- Christ is the Prophet to whom Moses pointed forward
- Christ is the High Priest to whom Aaron pointed forward
- Christ is the King to whom David and Solomon pointed forward.
Then, he explains that the New Testament gives three accounts that illustrate these three truths:
- The Mount of Transfiguration
- The rending of the temple veil
- The disciples speaking in tongues on Pentecost
He concludes his introduction by pointing out the errors of seeing Christ as having the same authority as Moses, and seeing Christ as only being the future King, and not the current King.
Christ is the Prophet who Replaced Moses
In the first four main chapters, Reisinger demonstrates from Scripture that Christ is the Prophet prophesied of in Deuteronomy 18:18-19 who replaced Moses as Prophet and Lawgiver. First, he shows from the New Testament how Christ fulfills each aspect of the prophesy in the Deuteronomy passage. Next, he shows how some Christians don’t view Christ as replacing Moses as Lawgiver by holding on to the Ten Commandments. Then, he explains the meaning of what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration, and how it showed that Christ was the new Person who spoke for God with new revelation from Him. Finally, he defines the nature of Moses’s law-giving ministry to Israel, and shows that it was temporary, and wasn’t carried over into the church.
Christ is the High Priest who Replaced Aaron
In the next seven chapters, Reisinger gives a detailed explanation of Christ’s role as the church’s High Priest. He begins by breaking down Hebrews 8:6, which presents the basics of Christ’s priesthood in three comparisons between the Aaronic priesthood and His. Here’s the verse:
“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” (ESV)
In the next chapter, he demonstrates that it was impossible to have access to God as Father while a member of the Old Testament nation of Israel. He then contrasts this with the access that believers have to God now because of what the rending of the temple veil signified. Next, he goes back to the Old Testament to show how the Day of Atonement points to Christ’s sacrifice. In chapter eight, he details the nature of the contents of the Ark, especially how the Ten Commandments were the Covenant between God and Israel. He also explains how the Ark, and what was done with it, pictured the gospel, including the extent of Christ’s atonement. In chapter nine, he teaches Hebrews 5:1-5, describing the perfection and compassion of Christ as the church’s High Priest. In chapter ten, he shows how Christ fulfills Melchizedek’s priesthood. He concludes this whole section by comparing the Old Testament believer’s assurance of salvation with the New Testament believer’s assurance, based on the two different priesthoods.
Christ is the King who Fulfills the Covenant with David
In chapters twelve to fourteen, Reisinger demonstrates that Christ fulfilled God’s promise for David that He would make one of his descendants the King of an eternal kingdom through His resurrection and ascension into heaven. First, he defines the nature of Christ’s kingship, showing that it’s basically synonymous with His lordship, and that He earned it by His obedient life and death. Second, he shows how the disciples’ preaching in other languages on the Day of Pentecost is part of the fulfillment of God’s covenant with David to raise up one of his descendants as King of an eternal kingdom. Finally, he goes through the entire covenant from 2 Samuel 7, and shows how Christ fulfilled all of its details. He concentrates heavily on showing this from the relevant parts of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2.
How to Preach Christ’s Messiahship to Sinners
Finally, Reisinger concludes the book by explaining Peter’s application of his sermon on Pentecost. In this conclusion, he describes the implications of the fact that Christ is our Prophet, Priest, and King on how we present the gospel to sinners, using Peter as one of the best examples.
Readability and Writing Quality
This is a medium-length book, so it would probably take several hours to read in one sitting. However, it’s well worth the read if you want a better understanding of what it means that Jesus is the Christ.
Reisinger states things very clearly, and does a good job of making it easy to understand. He quotes Scripture often, and also interacts with what other men have written on various topics under discussion. However, he always uses Scripture to prove his points, and never the opinions of other men.
Again, if you don’t have a firm grasp of Jesus’s Messiahship, then this is a great book to read. You can also listen to him preaching the main contents of it for free at crosstocrown.org.
But do you know Christ as your Prophet, Priest, and King? God sent Him to be the Priest who sacrificed Himself on the cross to satisfy God’s wrath that we deserve for our rebellion against Him, and to be the King who rose from the dead, went to heaven, and is coming back to punish His enemies. He commands everyone to change their minds and trust in Christ alone as the One who can provide us with His forgiveness and peace because He’s going to punish all His enemies by sending them to hell. Please make sure you’re trusting in Christ as your Prophet, Priest, and King.
The one Scripture verse is taken from:
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.