I have probably posted about these three offices on the blog before, but I know I have not done so from the book of Hebrews, so here we go. The focal point of the book of Hebrews is to show us how Jesus is the new Israel, and those united to Him by faith (yes, even Gentiles) are Israelites. Let’s take a peek.
The three primary offices in the Old Testament for men to hold are priest, king, and prophet. The priests were instituted through the tribe of Levi, the kings came after the time of judges (which was a debacle) and the prophets show up around the same time as the kings (Samuel is a prophet that ordained Saul as king). I know Moses is a prophet, and Abraham is also called a prophet, but the later office of prophet is what we are more familiar with: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, and so on.
These three offices point to what Israel and all of mankind need. These three offices are also made manifest, fulfilled, and accomplished in Christ Jesus. Mankind needs a priest to atone for its sins. Mankind needs a king to institute and guard God’s Law. Mankind needs a prophet to give the Word of God.
Hebrews 1:1-4 reads,
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
In verses 1-2 shows us that Jesus is the final and ultimate prophet, He is the great Prophet that Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18:15, 17-19. God spoke by many prophets, but He has finally spoken through His Son. Jesus is not merely a servant of God, but He is God’s Son, and for this reason must be listened to.
Jesus is also the King. Verses 2-3 show us that as King Jesus has all authority over creation. Jesus is to inherit all things (which really does mean all: peoples, nations, lands, etc.). Jesus is given regal and glorious depictions, and He upholds all things by the word of His power. He is a glorious King that has absolute power.
We also notice that Jesus is the ultimate Priest because in verse 3 we read that He, by Himself, purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of God. In the Old Testament sacrificial system the Levitical priests made offerings of atonement over and over again and they were never allowed to sit down in the Temple near the presence of God. Jesus, on the other hand, purges our sins by the sacrifice of Himself (He died that we might die, and He lives that we might live) and Jesus sits at the right hand of God showing that His priestly work is finished. There is no more sacrifice for sin, because there does not need to be one.
Jesus is the Prophet, the King, and the Priest. Hebrews 1:1-4 doesn’t stop there. We also put together that Jesus is God. It is through Jesus that the worlds were made (also see Colossians 1:15-18). The earthly offices of Prophet, King and Priest are accomplished and fulfilled in Jesus because He is the God-man.
This sets the whole tone for the book of Hebrews. This is the lens through which all of Hebrews makes sense.