HC 31 — Munus Triplex

Question 31: Why is He called Christ, that is, anointed?

Answer: Because He is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost,1 to be our chief Prophet and Teacher,2 who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; and to be our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of His body, has redeemed us,3 and makes continual intercession with the Father for us;4 and also to be our eternal King,5 who governs us by His word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us6 in the enjoyment of that salvation He has purchased for us.

As the HC continues breaks down the meaning of the Apostle’s Creed (AC) so as to teach us what it means to be delivered from our Sin & Misery we first looked at the name, “Jesus.” Now we, take up His title, “Christ.” The most obvious thing to say here first it that “Christ” is a title and not a name. Jesus is the name. Christ is the title. Christos is the Greek word  used as a synonym for Old Testament word “Messiah.” Both of these words carry the meaning of “the anointed one.” The Greek word “Christos” is from a root word that means to smear or rub with oil and is usually associated with a sacred setting aside of the one anointed. John’s Gospel demonstrates that Messiah and Christ are used synonymously.

John 1:41 (NASB) He [Andrew] found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ).

It should be added here that though we associate Christ and Messiah with deity there were many anointed ones prior to the coming of the Christ. However, with the coming of Christ and His fulfillment of all the OT Messianic types certainly deity is properly tied in our thinking of the word “Christ” in our present context.

The above thus takes us to the idea of anointing itself. The HC, following Scripture, teaches that Jesus was ordained of God the Father be the Christ (the anointed one).

1Heb. 1:9, Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Jesus Himself at the beginning of His public ministry quotes from Isaiah;

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed..

This ordaining of the Father of the Son to be the Christ was an eternal ordination. From the foundations of the world the Son is set apart to be the anointed one. As the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8) the eternal Son was eternally ordained by the eternal Father to be the Christ.

In the Old Testament those entrusted with certain offices were set apart to their office of Prophet, Priest, or King, by means of being anointed with oil. Oil would be poured over them as an assignation to the office that they were being invested unto.

1 Samuel 16:13 (NASB) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

 When David was anointed with oil the Bible says that the Holy Spirit came upon him. Therefore, we find the anointing with oil symbolizing the work of the Holy Spirit setting apart a person to a particular office.

Now the question arises where do we find this anointing of Jesus to His work of prophet, priest, and King? The answer to that is found in Jesus Baptism account. However, instead of being anointing with the type (oil) Jesus is anointed with the one whom the type pointed — the Spirit of God.

Matt 3:16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [b]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.

So, Jesus is set apart by His anointing — an anointing ordained by the Father and occurring just prior to entering into His public ministry. The HC then teaches us that the offices that Jesus is anointed unto are Prophet, Priest, and King. In theological jargon this is called the “Munus Triplex.” Jesus the God/Man is anointed to these three offices. No other person in OT history ever filled these three offices at the same time. However, Jesus being the fulfillment of all the shadows of the OT fulfills all three. Jesus fills all three offices because fallen man needs the anointed one to represent him as a Prophet, Priest, and King.

The HC teaches that Jesus is our chief Prophet. This necessity and coming of a chief prophet was prophesied early in Israel’s existence;

2Deut. 18:18, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

And in Acts 3 Peter explicitly says of Jesus Christ that He was that Prophet long ago promised by God;

Acts 3:22, For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.

We learn then that Jesus the Christ is set apart;

to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption

A Prophet’s role is speak for God the mind of God to the people. 

John 1:18, No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.

John 15:15, Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.

Matt. 11:27, All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.

This idea of Jesus being anointed to be our chief prophet teaches us that there is no knowing of the Father or the mind of the Father apart from the work of the Prophet. Put bluntly, God cannot be known apart from the revelation of Jesus as Prophet. This means that all other God’s who claim to be God who have not Jesus as the anointed prophet are not God. By extension it means those who will not submit to the Christian Bible can not have God as their God since Jesus’ work as our Great High Prophet is found only in Scripture.

That which our Great High Prophet speaks to us is concerning our Redemption. Redemption bespeaks the idea that we, as ruined and lost rebels are reclaimed by God by means of the Cross work of Jesus Christ. Our Redemption speaks of everything from our renewal to our glorification.

Jesus not only speak to us as Prophet the mind of God but as our Great High Priest He speaks for us to God. He is our representative. He is our mediator. He is our surety — the one who is responsible for His people. 

3Ps. 110:4, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Heb. 7:21, (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.)

Heb. 10:14, For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Jesus is our Great High Priest spoke of in the passages above. The function of a Priest in the OT was to offer up the sacrifices for the sins of the people that their sin might be removed and to intercede for the people. Jesus fulfills this office by offering up Himself as our sacrifice. Jesus then is both the Priest who offers up the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself. Jesus also continue to fulfill the office of Priest by continually praying for His people. The Scripture teaches that Christ ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). So, as He prayed for us on earth as our Great High Priest (John 17) so He continues to pray for us at the right hand of the Father just by His presence.

4Rom. 8:34, Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

All of this bespeaks again of the centrality of Jesus Christ should one desire to have peace with God the Father. There is no safety from God apart from coming under the priestly work of the revealed Jesus of the Bible and not any other Jesus. If one desires to be rescued/saved they must have a Priest who will save them. Jesus is our great High Priest ordained by the Father and anointed by the Spirit to that end.

Just as the work of Jesus the Christ as Prophet centered on teaching us all things concerning our redemption so the work of Jesus the Christ as Priest centers us His redeeming us as well as interceding for us. Understanding the Christian faith is impossible apart from understanding the tie between Jesus and redemption. Flee from any teacher who would teach you Christianity and put redemption on the back burner.

The third office that Jesus has been anointed to is the office of King.

5Ps. 2:6, Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion.

Luke 1:33, And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.

The prophet speaks the mind of God to the people. The Priest represents the people before God. As we know a King leads His people. This is what the HC teaches;

Jesus governs us by His word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us6 in the enjoyment of that salvation He has purchased for us.

As God’s people we have the King’s word. Once redeemed by Christ, Christ comes to us via Word and Spirit to answer the question; “How shall we now live?” We as His redeemed people live the redeemed life as governed by His Word and Spirit.

Don’t miss again the centrality of the Word. We, as the Kings people, are to be governed by His Word under the afflatus of the Holy Spirit. Christians are a Word centered people.

This question hints at the idea of the perseverance of the saints. The Lord Christ, having purchased salvation for His people, will not allow, as our King, for His people to be stripped of the salvation He purchased for them. He defends and preserves us from all enemies.

John 10:28, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.

Like Pilgrim in “Pilgrim’s Progress” we will all arrive to the Celestial City because of His defending and preserving work as our Liege-Lord. We only persevere because the King preserves us. The anointed Jesus can do this because;

Matt. 28:18, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.

As a King not only does our majestic Lord Christ govern us but as King He takes it upon Himself to defend and preserve us in the enjoyment of that salvation He purchased for us.

Upon learning such truths how can the Christian not be lost in wonder, love and praise. To think that God us provided us a Christ who has done it all and who continues to shepherd until we arrive at the gates of the Celestial city where we will hear the “Well Done,” of the one who gave us grace to be “good and faithful servants.”

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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