The word of God teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ stands in several primary offices: Priest, King, Prophet, and Apostle. This can be found in numerous passages but for now we will only cite a few passages.
Priest: Hebrews 4:14
King: John 18:36-37; Revelation 19:16
Prophet: Deuteronomy 18:15; Luke 24:19
Apostle: Hebrews 3:1 (only an apostle can appoint other apostles)
Not only that, He came as the perfect Son of Man which means He applied His offices fully as a human so He, and we, could apply them to human systems and people (Luke 5:24; 18:8; 22:69).
The Bible teaches us “as Jesus is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17) which means Christ followers are obligated to apply the life and ministry of Christ in this present world; this is the essence of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God coming on the earth is none other than expressing the way, truth and life of Christ (John 14:6) through the church to the people and systems of the world.
Obviously there is much to say about the life and teaching of Jesus Christ; in this article I focus on the four offices previously stated.
The primary function of a priest is to connect people to God and His purposes (Hebrews 5:1-4; Numbers 16:48). In the New Testament this can manifest itself in the context of the church through intercession, preaching, equipping the saints and sending them out into the world to represent God’s Kingdom. Every believer is part of a holy nation of priests (1 Peter 2:8-9) called to disciple and baptize the unredeemed nations of the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
Like Christ we need to live a life of intercession for the saints (Hebrews 7:25; John 17:9), and preach the good news of the Kingdom to the poor (Luke 4:18) so they can get healed up (Luke 4:18) and be sent to transform cities and break generational curses (Isaiah 61:4)!
Priests are focused on getting the unsaved into the church, maturing them in the faith, and sending them out to represent God’s Kingdom in the world.
As priest, Jesus sacrificed Himself (Hebrews 9:11-14) on the cross for the sake of His sheep and Kingdom. Those who are priests of the Lord are also not only called to give offerings and sacrifice but to sacrifice themselves and take up their cross (1 John 3:16).
Declaring Jesus as King of kings is one of the most political statements a person can make! This means Jesus is the President of every president, the Governor of every governor, the Mayor of every mayor, the CEO of every CEO! This fact gives every believer the obligation to be involved in the culture as the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16).
This also obligates those who are in political and/or cultural leadership to understand how to apply the law of the King to their nations and systems of culture. (The Ten Commandments given in Exodus 20 are a blueprint for how to structure a whole nation so it can be aligned with God and neighbor, and experience unbounded prosperity!) Kingdom means the king’s domain or rule, and the Ten Commandments reveal humanity’s obligatory lifestyle towards God and people in light of God’s essence and holy nature. The law is not made for a righteous man but as a schoolmaster that leads people to Christ (Galatians 3:24; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). Without the moral law there is no conviction because the purpose of the law is to give the knowledge of our sin (Romans 3:19-20) to the world, which will show people their need of a savior. The law doesn’t save us from sin but convicts us of sin so we can go to the Savior for cleansing.
A prophet, as the King’s covenant prosecutor (Micah 3:8) represents God to the people, thus obligating Christ followers to hold religious, political and community leaders accountable to the moral and ethical standards of the word of God. The prophet takes aspects of the priestly and kingly functions and seeks God, gets His mind on a matter, and holds these leaders accountable. Of course, prophets are also needed to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), which is to fill up all things for the Kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 4:10).
As our Apostle, Jesus is our General/Strategist who founded and builds His church as our pioneer, who commands us to reach the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Apostles are groundbreakers who conquer and establish new territory as generals in the army of God. When God so loved the world (John 3:16) He sent His Son into the world as an apostle. (In John 17:3, the word “sent” is apostello from which we get our word apostle.)
Consequently, when the church only exalts the office of shepherd without apostolic understanding we become settlers who are primarily focused on caring for our own flock and building our own empires. When apostolic leaders lead they keep the local congregation focused on the mission of the church, which is to continually plant new congregations and send out leaders who will influence cities and nations in every sphere of society (Acts 1:8). Apostolic leadership keeps the church in forward motion.
In summary, without the priestly ministry of Christ the church would have no spiritual life and no influx of people; without the kingly ministry of Christ the church would have no standard of law for its people and political entities; without the prophetic ministry of Christ the church would have no spokesperson for God to hold the people of the world and church accountable; without the apostolic ministry the church would build inwardly and merely hypothesize, having good ideas but never actually getting anything of kingdom substance done.