Throwback Thursday: John Owen on Christ’s Role as a Prophet

Throwback Thursday3On Wednesday nights, I am currently leading a group of children and students ages 5-18 through The Lighthouse Catechism. We have been looking at the doctrine of Christ since the beginning of August and have made it to our study of the offices of Christ. We are learning that as our Redeemer, Jesus Christ performs the roles of a prophet, a priest, and a king. Walking through these Christological truths has been an edifying journey not only for the students, but also for me. Learning about Christ as a prophet, priest, and king has given me deeper understanding of the purpose of the prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament, as well as a deeper understanding and appreciation of Christ’s work on our behalf.

Yesterday, I briefly reflected on what it means for Christ to be our prophet. In short, as our prophet, Christ reveals God’s will for our salvation, brings news of salvation and judgment, and continues to speak to his people. Christ is the eternal medium through which God speaks (Heb. 1:1-3). He truly is the first and final Word (John 1:1). We also have been sent out into the world as “little prophets” to bring good news of great joy and bad news of great judgment through our proclamation of the gospel. As we proclaim the gospel, God uses us to speak to his people.

What’s most interesting about Christ’s role as a prophet is its duration. How long will Christ communicate revelation from God? Is this something that will only last until final glorification? Will Christ perform the role of a prophet even in the new earth? The only way any of us can have any knowledge of God now is through Christ’s prophetic work. But according to John Owen, Jesus will mediate our knowledge and love for God even after glorification. The Puritan genius writes,

All communications from the Divine Being and infinite fullness in heaven unto the glorified saints, are in and through Christ Jesus, who shall forever be the medium of communication between God and the church, even in glory. All things being gathered into one head in him, even things in heaven and things in earth…this order shall never be dissolved…And on these communications from God through Christ depend entirely our continuance in a state of blessedness and glory. [Mediations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ in The Works of John Owen, 1:414]

God generally reveals himself in creation. God specially reveals himself in his Word–the 66 books of the Bible. And God specially and eternally reveals himself in his Son–the incarnate Word of God. God will never cease speaking to his people, and he will always speak to us through Christ. Even though Owen believed the offices of Christ would come to an end with the consummation of the new covenant with the return of Christ, he also saw that knowledge of God would forever be mediated to God’s people exclusively through the person of Jesus Christ. In one sense, Christ will forever be a prophet who reveals the knowledge of God to his own.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.


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