Richard P Belcher. Prophet, Priest, and King: The Roles of Christ in the Bible and Our Roles Today. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, September 30th, 2016. 224 pp.
5 out of 5
While the theme of Christ being Prophet, Priest and King has been much discussed in systematic theology the author made a good point that there hasn’t been the exploration of these motifs through the discipline of biblical theology; that is, there has not been the exploration of these offices’ as it developed through the unfolding of redemptive history that eventually anticipate and find its fulfillment in Christ. This book is an attempt to fill in the gap. I think the book accomplishes its aim of fulfilling this need. The author was able to do this in such a way that was spiritually enriching, practical and gives readers a greater appreciation for the wisdom of God found in the Scriptures.
The book is neatly divided into eight chapters. Chapter one discusses the importance of the Prophet, Priest and King. The bulk of the book are the six chapters in which there is a chapter that explore each of these three roles as it is found in the Old Testament with a corresponding chapter showing how Christ has fulfilled those roles. Chapter eight is on the implication for the church of the motif of Prophet, Priest and King. I appreciated the way the chapters were organized as it was logical to follow. I also appreciated how each chapters ended with a series of study questions that’s great for personal reflection and small group discussions.
The following are things I learned from this book:
- Chapter one has a good discussion of the Garden of Eden and Adam’s role of Prophet, Priest and King. The author admits that the role of Adam being a king is stronger than the role of priest and prophet.
- The book has an interesting discussion about the garments of the priest of Israel. The Bible spends some time talking about the priests’ garments with instructions on making them in Exodus 28 and Exodus 39. This includes the making of a special linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh which means that they must not step on stairs in the alter so as not to expose their nakedness which traces us back to Adam and Eve and the reminder of the shame with sin. Closer study of the priest garments reveal that it represent the presence of God to the people and also the priest as representative of the people to God.
- In discussing about the priesthood of Jesus the author does realize that during Christ’s earthly ministry there is not much discussion about His priestly office which followed more after His death. A large factor for this is that Christ would inaugurate a different priesthood of a different order than the Levites. I really enjoyed how the book showed Jesus’ fulfillment of the roles of Old Testament priests (teaching, sacrifice, etc.). I thought the most interesting discussion in the book concerning priests is how Jesus is responsible for “keeping and guarding” such as mentioned in John 17:12 which is an allusion back to Adam who also is responsible for “keeping and guarding” in Genesis 2:15 and also that of the Levites in the tabernacle according to Numbers 3:7.
- Both Deuteronomy 4:5-8 and Isaiah 49:6 contain the mandate for Israel to be a light.
- While a bit of a tangent I appreciated that chapter three referenced 1 Maccabees 4:46, 9:27, 14:41 as evidence that during the inter-testamental time period there’s recognition of the cessation of prophets from God.
Overall I enjoyed this book and I do highly recommend it.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.