HC Q. 27 — God’s Providence; The Belief That Makes Men, Men

As we return to the Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 10 we are taking up the the meaning of the Apostles Creed when it says, “I believe in the God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.” In systematic theology when God the Father’s work as Creator is examined what is included also is God’s work as Sustainer (Preserver) and Governor. God as Father is Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of all things. When we consider God as Sustainer and Governor we often speak of God’s Providence.  The Heidelberg takes question and answer 27 to explain simply the meaning of God’s Providence.

Before getting into the question itself we should notice that the HC’s bold affirmation of God’s Providence removes all Deistic conceptions of the God of the Bible where God creates the world but then wanders off uninvolved with His world allowing it to run on its own mechanism and power. The character of God that the HC teaches is one where God, the Father continues to be intimately involved in His creation. In the words of Francis Schaeffer, “God is there and He is not silent.”

We see this in Lord’s Day 10 as it discusses the meaning of the Apostle Creed’s phrase, “I believe in God the Father, Creator of Heaven & Earth.”

Question 27 picks up the them begun in the previous Question & Answer.

Question 27: What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

With this question we learn, as mentioned earlier, that underneath the category of God as Creator, is the sub-category of God’s Providential control of all reality, from the blowing of a gentle breeze across a picturesque meadow, to the movement of great armies across vast plains. The totality of that control is seen in the answer provided by the Catechizers;

Answer: The almighty and everywhere present power of God;1 whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;2 so that herbs and grass, rain and drought,3 fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,4 health and sickness,5 riches and poverty,6 yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.7

Note here, following Scripture, that the Reformed faith embraces the nearness of God

“Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord,

“And not a God afar off?
24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;
“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. — Jeremiah 23

Following Scripture, the HC affirms both the transcendence of God as well as the immanence of God. Because of God’s providence there is no where that we can escape the almighty and everywhere present power of God. God is closer to us than our next breath.

St. Paul likewise affirms this every present power of God;

Acts 17:25–28, Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.

The totality of God’s providence is exhaustive. This confidence in God’s providence goes a long way toward explaining the absolute fearlessness in the Reformed throughout the centuries. People who believe that God controls all are a people who have no fear and so are a people who will wage all on doing the right thing before God’s eyes. People who believe in God’s exhaustive providence don’t consider what other people might be able to do to them. Those who believe in God’s providence are a dangerous people.

Note, the phrase in the answer to question 27, “He upholds and governs.” Therein is contained the idea of God as sustainer of all and God as governor of all. Not only did God create all, but He is the one who sustains (preserves/upholds) all so that all continues. God is the reason why life continues. It may be that some might account that there is a self-subsisting power in our life and being, yet life is of such a nature to make it clear that any putative self-subsisting power is contingent upon many factors. Clearly, were we not upheld and nursed by the power of God’s providence any self-subsisting power would be extinguished immediately and to dust we would soon return. Surely, it is in Him we live and move and have our being.

And that upholding and governing of God that is the Creator God’s providence is applicable to  “heaven, earth, and all creatures.”

Heb. 1:3, Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Nothing is outside the providence of God. Indeed, outside the providence of God — outside the sustaining and governing power of the God of the Bible — man would slip into nothingness.

Men who do not acknowledge this exhaustive providence of God are blasphemers. They are, in their existence, being kept by God all the while denying the reality of the God who keeps them. Anyone who denies this lofty and Biblical notion of God’s providence, at best, are Christians not yet matured. Such people certainly should not be allowed anywhere near a pulpit, nor should any esteem be given them.

This must be said because many “Christians” do deny this HC answer and do deny this Reformed doctrine of God’s exhaustive providence. How many Christians are ready to affirm that;

 that herbs and grass, rain and drought,3 fruitful and barren years, meat and drink,4 health and sickness,5 riches and poverty,6 yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.7

This doctrine of God’s providence teaches that all things come into our lives by the hand of a Sovereign God who loves us for the sake of the finished work of Jesus Christ. What a source of comfort this is to the Christian who is conversant troubles, and yet how difficult to bury this truth in the marrow of our beings. This doctrine of God’s providence is easily forgotten when God’s people are going through the fire of trials, persecutions, or sorrows.

The whole book of Job teaches the providence of God. Job never gets an answer to his why questions in the book of Job. What Job does eventually get at the end of Job is a series of questions put to him by God that bespeak God’s providence and that God being God is in control of all.

The Scriptures teach and the HC follows by teaching God’s people to trust God at every turn, including the turns that include adversity. This entrusting ourselves to God does not mean that we do not flee adversity if possible, nor that we should not resist wickedness if possible. It merely means that what men intend for evil, God intends for God. It may be that God providentially orders hardships in order to providentially order our response that will seek to escape or put down the mediate cause of that hardship when possible.

So, this doctrine of God’s providence does not teach a kind of pagan fatalism. We do not know that all God might be doing in His providential arrangement. We do know that when adversity comes to us in God’s providence we should repair to the Scripture to see what our response might be for any given ordained providential circumstance.

Note, how the HC goes out of its way to teach that things do not come to us “by chance.” Chance has no reality. It is a word that we use in order to explain something that otherwise cannot be explained. Even when we talk about the chances of a coin flipped coming up heads or tails, it is not chance that is making the coin come up one way or the other. Chance may be predictive but it is never causative. (But even in being predictive chance has to presuppose the God who alone provides the order wherein chance as predictive can exist.) Chance causes nothing. Neither does “luck,” — another word that is mistakenly used by people to explain causation.

No, for the Calvinist/Reformed, following his HC catechism, all things come to us by God’s Fatherly hand.

Christians use to affirm this every time they attended a funeral — often the most difficult of all of God’s hard providences — when they would hear the minister say, “The Lord Giveth, the Lord Taketh, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord (Job 1:21).” The Lord gives herbs, grass, rain and drought and He takes it away;

Jer. 5:24, Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in His season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

The Lord gives fruitful and barren years, meat and drink and the Lord takes them away;

Acts 14:17, Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

The Lord gives health and sickness, and He takes them away;

John 9:3, Jesus answered, Neither hath this (blind) man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

The gives riches and poverty, and He takes them away;

Prov. 22:2, The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.

Job 1:21, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

When that scripture is heard as echoed by the HC and believed it is a affirmation of the HC’s teaching on God’s providence. In all things the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord who, in His providence worketh all things after the counsel of His will,

Eph. 1:11, In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.

God’s providence is so exhaustive that even the falling of birds from the sky are ordered by the God of all providence who upholds and sustains all things according to His glorious will;

Matt. 10:29–30, Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

It is only because of God’s providence we can humbly nod and silently say “Amen” at the funeral committal service when we hear;

“The Lord Giveth And the Lord Taketh. Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord.”

HC 33 — Christ as the μονογενῆ Υἱὸν (One and Only Son)

The Heidelberg Catechism continues to track and explain the Apostle Creed. In doing so the HC is explaining to us the basics (fundamentals) of our undoubted catholic Christian faith. The HC is, by this method, at one and the same time giving us a proper understanding of the Apostles Creed and a proper understanding of Christianity 101. Remember, if we embrace the explanation of the Heidelberg Catechism then we must refuse other denominational expressions of Christianity that are in contradiction to the explanation of the HC. If we refuse to do that we shouldn’t attach ourselves to Reformed Churches as members.

In the Apostle’s Creed we confess that we believe;

“In Jesus Christ His only begotten son,” and so the HC asks,

Question 33: Why is Christ called the only begotten Son of God, since we are also the children of God?

Answer: Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God;1 but we are children adopted of God, by grace, for His sake.2

The work here is to distinguish between our sonship and the sonship of the only begotten Son of God.

First, note the brevity here. The catechizers could have spent paragraphs here explaining the eternality of the Son but instead simply states that Christ is the eternal and natural Son of God. The labor here is not to explain the second person of the trinity but rather the labor here is to build an understanding in our minds that there is a distinction between the sonship of Christ and the sonship of men and women as those in Christ.

Christ as a person of the Trinity has been from eternity God’s Son.

1John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Heb. 1:2, (The Father) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.

Of course this understanding chases off heresies like Arianism (Jehovah Witnesses) which insisted that Christ was not from eternity God’s Son but was God’s highest and best creation. It chases off heresies like Sabellianism (one form of Modalism) which embraced that the Son was only a mode of God and not a distinct person from eternity. Oneness Pentecostalism is one modern example of those who would deny HC 33.

Christ is the eternal and natural son of God but we are sons of God in a non-eternal and non-natural manner; that is by way of adoption.

but we are children adopted of God, by grace, for His sake.2

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (I John 3:1)

2Rom. 8:15–17, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

Eph. 1:5–6, Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In adoption we move from the court room where we are justified to the family room where we are part of the family of God. As adopted we have access to the Father through our elder Brother the majestic and ever awesome Lord Jesus Christ.

We should understand that this adoption is also a legal category. We have been laboring throughout to demonstrate that Christianity can never be understood apart from understanding the legal categories that are intrinsic to the definition of Christianity. Adoption is a legal category. We are not merely adopted by good intent. We are legally adopted by grace for the sake of Jesus Christ. Christ as our Elder Brother gives us introduction to the Father and serves as the legal surety for our adoption. We are sons of God because of the legal relationship between the eternal and natural son of God and we the younger brethren of the Lord Jesus who are adopted by the grace of His surety.

Legal categories are a superior way to understand Biblical Christianity than purely relational categories. Relationships can wax and wane but relationships that are anchored in legal realities are firm fixture that cannot be moved by our ever shifting experiences or emotions. Adoption, while no doubt relational, is legal before it is relational. Because Adoption is anchored in the surety of Jesus Christ we know that nothing can separate us as adopted sons and daughters from the love of God.

It is a great privilege to not only be justified but also to be adopted. May God grant us grace to be full of praise for this privilege and to bank on it when troubles enter into our lives. Those troubles can never negate our legally established adoption as sons of the God most High.

HC 32 — Christians as Prophets, Priests, and Kings Under Sovereign God

HC 32 asks;

Question 32: But why art thou called a Christian?

Answer: Because I am a member of Christ by faith,7 and thus am partaker of His anointing;8 that so I may confess His name,9 and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him;10 and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life,11 and afterwards reign with Him eternally, over all creatures.12

The HC moves us from examining why it is that Jesus has the title “Christ” in question 31 to asking why we are called “Christian” (i.e. — Little Christ one). You will notice as we move through this question that the HC authors use the same methodology that finds them concentrating on the three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King that we looked at in HC 31. This is important because it places our standing in Christ upon judicial categories and not merely on the basis of “a personal relationship with Jesus.”

The HC begins by establishing the necessity of faith alone in order to have a
interest in Christ. We are Christians because we are regenerated unto having a faith alone that embraces Christ and all His benefits.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…. (Eph. 2:1)

And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (Luke 7:50)

If men will not have a faith that is comprised of a ever growing knowledge and assent then they can not presume to be a member of Christ. This ever growing knowledge and assent embraces all that the Scripture’s reveal concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

HC 32 goes on from the teaching that faith alone makes us a member of Christ;

7 1 Cor. 6:15, Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

Christ is the head of the Church and the Church, in all its variedness is the body (members of Christ).

Note the anti-Gnostic thrust of this passage above.

Because we are members of the body of Christ, who is the head, we partake in His anointing to the office of Prophet, Priest, and King. This means that all believers are prophet, priests, and kings under sovereign God. We have all been invested to mighty offices because of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. We understand here that our investiture to these offices is derivative only of Christ’s investiture to these offices but that investiture remains very real.

First HC 32 teaches that the Church and the members thereof are anointed 

8 1 John 2:27, But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.

Joel 2:28, And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

As we noted in HC 31 this anointing is a setting apart to particular offices to the end of being agents of God’s Kingdom work. As Christians we are anointed to the office of Prophet under sovereign God;

and thus am partaker of His anointing;8 that so I may confess His name,

9 Matt. 10:32, Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.

As Biblical Christians we have the duty and privilege to practice the office of prophet in this life by confessing Christ. This prophetic confessing of Christ is not only in terms of verbal words but our whole lives are characterized by confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As we confess Christ we echo the work of Jesus Christ in His office of our great High Prophet. As we confess Christ as prophet we speak and live forth the word of God from God to people around us. Our words and our lives in their totality should be a confessing of His name.

This confessing of His name will mean that many people will hate us since if they hated Jesus as God’s prophet they will also hate us (John 15:8). This confessing of His name also will mean that many people will love us given how great is the company of fellow prophets.

Note what HC 32 does not mean when it comes to being prophets under sovereign God. It does not mean Pentecostal silliness of prophesying the unknown future. This role of prophet is speaking forth the revealed Christ in Scripture before men who refuse the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Not only are we invested unto the office of Prophet, but the HC 32 teaches that we are invested unto the office of Priest also. HC 32 teaches that we are to;

  present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him

10 Rom. 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Here we learn that our whole lives, including our bodies are to be “living sacrifices” unto God. All of our lives are lived in light of the reality of who God is. The implication of this is that we die daily to sin, and self. HC 32 characterizes this living sacrifice as one that breathes of thankfulness. Note, unlike the OT sacrifices that were left lifeless that our sacrifice is characterized as “living.” Our whole lives as Priests go from sacrifice of thankfulness to God unto sacrifice of thankfulness to God. This idea anticipates the third section of the HC that teaches on our gratitude. All of our living as priests before God is anchored in our thankfulness of His sacrifice in our stead — on our behalf.  We render our lives as glad sacrifices for all that He sacrificed for us as dead and lost sinners. Our sacrifice is akin to the thanks offering rendered up in the OT sacrificial system (Lev. 3:1). We bring of our best to the Master and offer it up unto Him in praise for all that He has given to us.

We have a third office we are invested into as Christians and that is the office of king under sovereign God.

and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life…

11 Eph. 6:11–12, Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

1 Tim. 1:18–19, This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.

First, note that we are described as having a “free and good conscience.” We have a free and good conscience to fight because our consciences can no longer condemn us because Christ us paid for our sin and so the accuser of the Brethren’s accusations fall harmless. We are indeed, great sinners but we have a greater savior, who, because of the salvation He has provided, frees and cleans our conscience so as to fight.

Next, as Christians we are anointed and so invested into the office of King and as Kings under sovereign God are orders are to fight.

My orders are to fight;
Then if I bleed, or fail,
Or strongly win, what matters it?
God only doth prevail.

The servant craveth naught
Except to serve with might.
I was not told to win or lose,–
My orders are to fight.

Ethelwyn Wetherald

Our fight HC 32 teaches is against sin and Satan in this life. We must be careful not to be too pietistic in this interpretation. Our fight against sin and Satan in this life is not only internal. Our fight is not only against our wicked dispositions that still haunt all believers in this life but also against external expressions of sin that we find around us in our broader world. As Christian Fathers, Citizens, Elders, and Magistrates we are obligated as Kings under sovereign God to fight against sin and Satan. So, this fighting has both an internal and external dimension. We must fight sin and Satan as we find greed or sloth or pride, etc. in our lives but we must also fight sin and Satan as we find it and him in wicked Magistrates, wicked Corporations, or wicked Churches. Christ has indeed bid us, as Bonhoeffer noted, to come and die, but Christ has also bid us to come and fight the good fight with Him as anointed Kings under sovereign God.

Too often Christians in the 21st century refuse to fight against wickedness where it is found in this life. Too often Christians abandon their calling as Kings under sovereign God and so refuse to fight reasoning that “this world is not my home, I’m only a passing through,” as if their great High King is not King of this world. They listen to forked tongue theologians who keep pounding into them that “in this world we have no continuing city” as if that means we are just to roll over and surrender to those who are plying their trade as kings in Satan’s service. R2K for example is guilty of taking the stuffing out of our calling as Kings under sovereign God with their retreat and surrender in the name of a specious “holiness,” that finds them making every effort to retreat from the latest advance of the legions of the enemy. As Christians who are devotees of HC 32 we should hate R2K theology with the white hot hatred of a thousand suns because it either spiritualizes or divests us from our callings of kings under sovereign God.

And then once our course of fighting again sin and Satan — both internally and externally — is finished in this life then we take up the mantle of King in the life to come and reign with our Great High Liege Lord — the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.

 and afterwards reign with Him eternally, over all creatures.12

12 2 Tim. 2:12, If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us.

Our anointing to the office of kings under sovereign God continues into the life to come. We are to be co-regents under His regency. We will rule forever and ever. In this life our battle is ongoing but in the life to come there will be no resistance to our reign with our great Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of these offices of prophet, priest, and king that we are invested in are realities because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Because we have been anointed to these offices and so invested into them as God’s people we have a judicial standing unto the work of prophet, priest, and king, just as our fathers were invested into these offices. All of this bespeaks judicial categories. We fulfill these munus triplex (three in one) offices because of the juridical categories that we are invested in by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our authority under Christ is judicial before it is relational but because it is judicial it is also relational.

We should end by asking ourselves if this is our self-understanding? Do we see ourselves as God’s men? Do we see ourselves as Christ’s warriors in the fight against sin, Satan and self? Do we see this life as a contest to expand the already present glorious Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ as good soldiers employed in His service?

I pray God that we might for too much of the church today from our leadership to our rank and file are fleeing the battle.

Never has there been a greater need for prophets, priests, and kings, under sovereign God.


Mark Van Der Molen Exposes R. Scott Clark as Operating Outside the Bounds of the BCF

The below piece by my good friend Mark Van Der Molen, an Elder in the URC, simply but convincingly demonstrates that Dr. R. Scott Clark as one of the chief R2K proponents is openly operating outside the confession he has sworn to uphold.

Contradicting the Canons

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.”