Historical Perspectives on the Doctrine of Christ’s Ascension Part 4: The Exalted Jesus and God’s Revelation -- By: Peter Toon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 141:562 (Apr 1984)
Article: Historical Perspectives on the Doctrine of Christ’s Ascension Part 4: The Exalted Jesus and God’s Revelation
Author: Peter Toon


Historical Perspectives on the Doctrine of Christ’s Ascension
Part 4:
The Exalted Jesus and God’s Revelation

Peter Toon

[Peter Toon, Director of Post-Ordination Training, The Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, England]

[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of four articles delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, April 12–15, 1983.]

Having set forth the work of the exalted Lord as the believers’ King and Priest in the previous article in this series,1 this article now examines His work as the believers’ prophet. This article will discuss how the prophetic role of the incarnate Son has been understood in the Protestant (Reformed) tradition. Then aspects of this material will be developed in a discussion on the relationship of Christ, the Scriptures, and God’s revelation today.

Jesus, Exalted Prophet

John Calvin saw various prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the role of the future Messiah as the Teacher of pure doctrine (e.g., Deut 18:15: Isa 55:4; 61:2). Calvin noted that the words of the Samaritan woman were correct: “When that One [the Messiah] comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). And he explained that Christ had brought to the world perfect doctrine and therefore “outside Christ there is nothing worth knowing” for in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Further, Christ was anointed Prophet by the Spirit at His baptism “not only for himself that he might carry out the office of teaching, but for his whole body that the power of the Spirit might be present in the continuing preaching of the gospel.”2

In Calvin’s Institutes his description of Jesus as the unique Prophet-Teacher is at the level of dynamic, biblical theology.

Theologians after Calvin went on to interpret His office of Prophet in the light of the doctrine that Christ is one Person with two natures. Not that Calvin would have denied this method but they “developed” his insights. However, like him, they emphasized that Christ’s prophetic ministry concerns the revelation of God’s truth and will. They taught that in terms of His divine nature as the eternal Logos, the eternal Son revealed the Word of God to the prophets of the Old Covenant. Then after t...

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