The three offices that Christ fulfilled in the Scriptures are that of Prophet, Priest and King. We see that clearly in the Old and New Testaments, but most clearly in the New Testament when we see Jesus as the better priest and prophet in the book of Hebrews and the conquering King in Revelation. Calvin saw it this way in the Institutes where he wrote: “the office which [Christ] received from the Father consists of three parts. For he was appointed Prophet, Priest and King.”
John Fesko elaborates, “Christ, for example, spoke as the prophet when He gave the true meaning of the Law over and against the misinterpretations of the Scribes and Pharisees in His Sermon on the Mount (e.g. Matt. 5.21-22). In like manner the High Priest was supposed to go into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and make a sacrifice on behalf of the people of Israel to atone for their sins (Lev. 16). The role of the High Priest is ultimately fulfilled in Christ as the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek who has entered the heavenly Holy of Holies and intercedes for the people of God (Heb. 8-10). The same pattern holds true for the Old Testament office of King. It was King David, for example, that ultimately points forward to Christ in His role as the King of Kings (e.g. Ezek. 37.24ff). Again, these Old Testament offices of prophet, priest, and king find their ultimate fulfillment and significance in the person and work of Christ.”
George Whitfield agrees, “A man ought to look upon himself as obliged to act in three capacities: as a prophet, to instruct; as a priest, to pray for and with; as a king, to govern, direct, and provide.”
If men are to model their lives after Jesus, then we must understand and pursue a correct, biblical, Holy Spirit-empowered filling of the roles of prophet, priest and king.
Man as Prophet
In the most simple definition, a prophet is a man who speaks for God. While we might think of telling the future when we think of the word “prophet”, it has more to do with speaking the Word of God.
Practical Marks of Man as Prophet
- He hears from God: Prophets in Scripture heard from God through dreams, visions, or verbal conversations with God either audible or internal. Today, we have the completed revelation of God in the pages of the Bible. Bob Lepine says, “To hear from God today, a man must diligently equip himself as a student of the Scriptures.” For example, as Doug Wilson says, “a man may not be a vocational theologian, but in his home he must be the resident theologian. The apostle Paul, when he is urging women to keep silent in the church, tells them that “if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home” (1 Corinthians 14:35). A husband and father must be prepared to answer doctrinal questions from his wife and children, and if he cannot, then he must be prepared to study so that he can remedy the deficiency.
- Study: Colossians 3:16 (May the Word of God dwell richly…)
- Meditation: Psalm 119:11
- Delight: Jeremiah 15:16; 2 Peter 2:2
- Do you love the written word?
- Do you love the preached word?
- Do you love the taught word?
- Practice: James 1:22-25
- He establishes a doctrinal foundation for his life and home: Every man must be a theologian. 2 Timothy 1:13-14, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”; 2 Timothy 2: 1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
- He proclaims and declares the truth of the Scriptures: For many of us, a formal time of Bible study with our family is a daunting idea. We think of everyone in our family looking at us to offer some spiritual insight and we feel inadequate to give it. This can be remedied! There are boundless resources that can help in the study and delivery of the Scriptures. Not only in this area, but in other areas where a testimony of the truth is required, it is important that the man of God arrive equipped to deliver a clear, biblical answer: 1 Peter 3:15-16; Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
- He confronts sin in his own life with ferocity and in others with generosity: Galatians 6:1-3; Matthew 18.
Man as Priest
The danger in many evangelical churches is to assume that a few men are charged with the task of being spiritual leaders, and the rest of the men in the church are to go about their business, give their money and try not to cuss. The reality of the Bible is that all men are to strive to obey Christ and live their lives in spiritual leadership, whether that be a wife, children, Sunday School class, committee, deacon board, elder board, staff, etc.
[1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9]
Practical Marks of Man as Priest
- Prayer: Matthew 6 (Pray like Jesus told you to pray); John 17: 8-9, 17-18, 20 (Pray like Jesus)
- Worship Leader:
- Men should take the initiative on Sunday Mornings. Men should get kids dressed, fed and ready for church. Men should review memory verses, get offerings ready, pray for Sunday School teachers, etc.
- Men should take the initiative in Prayer, Bible Study, and family devotions. If you don’t like to read out loud, ask your wife or one of your children to read a few verses.
- Discipleship: Elise Fitzpatrick says, “It’s never enough to just focus on behavior-to train children to obey you immediately, to sit up straight, not interrupt, do their schoolwork faithfully, and so on. You have to do a work in their heart. As you have probably heard along the way, rules without relationship lead to rebellion. This is all tied to winning your children’s hearts.”
- Explanation: This is training by word, or by what is said to the child. We instruct children in the Lord. We preach the gospel to them as we teach them to obey all the way, right away and with a happy heart, taking the opportunities when they fail to point them to the gospel. You remind them that God’s standard is perfection, but we never reach it because our hearts are inclined to evil. Every encounter with discipline is an opportunity to not only address the lack of obedience, but to address the need for redemption, so that Jesus might save our rebellious hearts. Tullian Tchividjian says, “Yes, they need to clean their room, to share with their brother and to stop hitting, but more importantly, they need the gospel.”
- Example: How do I do this as a father? The main thing you need to do is to study your own Bible. When you come to apply the Bible to your own life, I would encourage you to do it this way: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Teaching: The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. So what is this passage teaching me about God, man, sin, Jesus, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, etc.?
- Reproof: Rebuke of wrong attitudes or actions. Scripture convicts of sin and calls us to repent.
- Correction: Many times we can see the problem, but we are either unaware of the solution, or unwilling to take steps to put it into practice. Sometimes the answers are hard to find, but they are always there.
- Training in Righteousness: The Bible is a book about God, fundamentally. However, the Bible does give us a clear pattern by which we can live our lives. This happens through warnings, instructions, teachings, commands, etc.
- Deuteronomy tells parents to teach their children the Scriptures but before it does, it tells them to love the Lord their God with all their heart. So before you teach your children, take pains to teach yourself. Chances are, the sins that you struggle with are identical to the sins your children struggle with. So research your own sin and apply the Scripture to your own heart and then teach your children out of the overflow of your study!
Man as King
One author comments, “The king led, protected and provided for the safety of the realm. He secured the infrastructure necessary for civilization. He justly applied the law of God to the government, commerce and care of the state. . . . The king was not only a warrior, but he also was the representative of the realm in conversations with the “world.” He planned strategies, negotiated alliances, and applied the word of God to daily conflicts. . . . In so doing, he became the one who took the truth of God into the world and invited unbelievers to know and bow before the God of Israel.”
Practical Marks of Man as King
- Leadership: Do you abuse or abdicate in the area of leadership? Examine the major areas—your faith, your marriage, your family, your job, your relationships with friends, your service to the community, your physical health and well-being, your stewardship over the resources God has given you, and your recreational time—and decide where you need to begin to take some initiative and lead. Again, one author points out, “We are called to cultivate Christ in our spouses. . . . To do so effectively, we must be guided by a vision of who they are, a picture of who they were meant to be [like Christ] and a grasp of our role in helping them become like Christ.” Don’t make this leadership idea secular, but biblical: Luke 22:26, “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Ephesians 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
- Provision: Genesis 3 implies that the man is to be working, through difficulty, but in chapter 2 he was working in perfection. God didn’t put man in the garden to play. He put him in the garden to work. The idea is: Manhood=labor. Providing for the family is the man’s responsibility. That involves planning, hard work and decision-making. Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent surely lead to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. Psalm 104:23 Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening. Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.
- Protection: Deuteronomy 22 talks about a girl who commits adultery with a married man and she is sentenced to death by stoning. They put her to death on the steps of her father’s house, because he has failed to teach, shepherd, instruct, and protect her. This isn’t just true of fathers and daughters. It is true of fathers and sons as well. All through Proverbs we read instruction after instruction on how to stay away from the harlot, the adulteress. It’s a dad’s role to protect his son from pornography and promiscuity. Proverbs 5:1-6
This is difficult. If you’re like me, when I look at the pattern the Scriptures lay out for us as men, it’s daunting. I fail in these areas daily. You and I need Jesus. We need the grace given to us by Jesus when we look at these things and weep over our sin and wickedness and bad parenting. We need Jesus, the true prophet, priest, and king to bring us to the Father and remind us of grace so as we seek to obey him, we do so out of gratitude for our Father…maybe then our children will be grateful for theirs.