The Offices Of Christ

by Jeff Asher

When we consider the offices of Jesus, we generally do not think of them in terms of their relationships to heaven or earth, or their pre-incarnate, incarnate or post-resurrection phases. However, recognizing these distinctions benefits us greatly.

The Offices Of The Pre-Incarnate Christ

The first verse of the gospel of John introduces us to "the Word." This Divine Being was in the form of God (Phil. 2:6) and equal with God in nature (Col. 1:15-16). John tells us that He was an active participant in the creation to the extent nothing entered existence without Him. This "Word" was made flesh and we know Him as Jesus (John 1:14).

This same "Word" before His being made flesh is found active throughout human history. He is known as the "Angel of Jehovah." That this "Messenger" was not an ordinary being of the class called "angel" is evident from the treatment He receives as He executes His various duties.

In Exodus chapter three He commands Moses to remove His shoes and worship (Exo. 3:2-6). He refers to Himself as the "I AM." Even the writers of the Old Testament text attribute to Him the designations of lord and Jehovah God. Ordinary angelic beings never make such a request (Rev. 22:8-9).

The Offices Of The Glorified Christ

Jesus assumed three offices after His ascension into Heaven: King of Kings, High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek, and our Advocate with the Father.

Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed, that is, God's designated successor to the Throne of David (Isa. 9:6; Luke 1:69). However, Jesus did not execute that office until He ascended and sat down at God's right hand in heaven (Heb. 1:3, 8). While Jesus reigns over the earth He has never literally reigned on the earth, and the Scriptures do not indicate that He will. Jesus received all authority at His ascension (Matt. 28:18) and will return that authority to the Father after the Judgment (1 Cor. 15:27-28).

Jesus fills a dual office respecting the atonement for sin. He is at once the sacrifice for sin and the High Priest who offers it to God (Heb. 7:26-27). Jesus' role as High Priest was promised to Him through the prophets and specifically rested upon the unique qualification that He was a sinless man always obedient to God (Heb. 5:1-10). His priesthood is an enduring one and, thus, superior to that of Aaron by virtue of His endless life (Heb. 7:15-25).

Yet, Jesus serves not only as High Priest offering a sacrifice for our sins, but also as our Advocate, a Mediator or Pleader before God for mercy (1 John 2:1). He is ever before God making intercession for His brethren (Rom. 8:31-34). Having been reconciled to God by the forgiveness of our past sins we continue in fellowship with the Father through the ministry of Jesus in heaven (Rom. 5:10; 4:25).

This is what Jesus does for us now in heaven before the Father. How wonderful for all of us!

The Offices Of Christ On The Earth

Jesus filled several offices while He ministered here upon the earth. We sometimes overlook these and in doing so have an incorrect view of Jesus during the days of His flesh.

Jesus Christ was the Prophet of Jehovah (Heb. 1:1-2). Moses said that God would send another prophet in the likeness of himself (Deut. 18:15-22). Jehovah would put His words into the mouth of that prophet and confirm what He said by miracles, signs and wonders.

Jesus is that prophet (Acts 3:22-23; John 6:14; 7:40; Matt. 13:57). He came preaching the words that God gave to Him (John 5:30-37; 7:16-18). He as a prophet did not come in His own name (John 5:43), did not bear witness of Himself (John 8:17-18) and did not speak His own doctrine (John 7:16-17).

Jesus' office as "the prophet" was consistent with His taking the form of servant and being made in the likeness of a man (Phil. 2:7). God sends a prophet; a prophet receives and reveals a message; a prophet has authority delegated to Him from God and sufficient power given to him to execute his commission. This was certainly true of Jesus while here in the flesh (Luke 4:18; Isa. 11:1-4; John 5:19, 30; 8:28-29).

Jesus Christ was the Apostle (Heb. 3:1). An apostle is one that is sent forth under a commission (Matt. 10:5). He is one sent with a message to preach (Matt. 10:7) and the power to confirm the authority of what He preaches (Luke 9:1; Mark 6:12-13).

Jesus was an apostle in His relationship to the Father (John 17:3). The Father sent Jesus with a commission (Matt. 15:24). He gave Him a message to reveal (John 8:28- 29) and the power necessary to reveal and confirm it (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).

Like the office of prophet, that of an apostle is consistent with Jesus taking the form of a servant to be in the likeness of a man. Jesus went forth in the name of the one who sent Him (John 5:43; cf. Luke 10:17). He worked the works that the Father gave Him (John 5:36; 10:25, 32; cf. Luke 9:1). Jesus never got out of His role of a servant. Jesus never appeared to men to be anything other than a man (Phil. 2:5-8; John 10:33).

Jesus Christ was the Son of God (John 1:14). John declares that Jesus is the Son of God. There is a sense in which this title is unique to Jesus, as in the above text—the only begotten Son (cf. John 20:17; Matt. 11:27). However, the phrase " Son of God" applies to a variety of individuals. Examining its use will reveal the character of the title, what office it designates in the Scriptures.

Angels are "sons of God" (Job 2:1; cf. Heb. 1:14) by virtue of their creation. Adam is "the son of God" since he was the first man God created and, thus, the head of the human family (Acts 17:25-29). The righteous of Adam's seed who marry the daughters of Cain are "sons of God" (Gen. 6:2). The nation Israel is the "son of God" (Exo. 4:22) because they are the object of God's special love and care chosen for His service (Hosea 11:1). The kings of Israel are "sons of God" as representatives of the chosen nation and as types of the Messiah (Psa. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14). Those who believe and obey the gospel are "sons of God" (John 1:12) equipped to serve Christ (1 John 3:1-10). In this designation there is a special relationship of service, devotion and obedience toward God and His people displayed.

We learn the nature of spiritual "sonship" from passages that deal with literal sonship. A son is under the authority of his father (Gal. 4:1, 2). Obedience is expected of a son (Heb. 12:5-8; Matt. 21:28-32). A son comes in his father's name and acts in behalf of his interests (Matt. 20:37). A son is beloved of his father (Luke 9:38; 11:11-13) and loves his father (Gen. 46:29). He is the heir of his father and serves faithfully in his father's house (Luke 15:12, 29-32; Matt. 21:38).

Jesus was the perfect Son (Heb. 5:8-9). The Father on at least two occasions announced His approval of Jesus (Matt. 3:17; 17:5) and demonstrated it in the resurrection (Rom. 1:4). The Father rewarded His perfect obedience (Phil. 2:9-11). Into His hands He has commended all things (Matt. 28:18) and given Him the rule of His kingdom (1 Cor. 15:25-28) until all His enemies are vanquished.

The Role Of Christ Was That Of A Servant

Jesus executed only those offices compatible with His role. He made Himself of no reputation, and took the form of a servant made in the likeness of men. Jesus did not come in the offices of His prior or latter glory. He humbled Himself and was obedient to His Father.