How is Jesus Christ “Prophet, Priest, and King?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

You have probably heard the expression—“Jesus Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.” Is there a biblical basis for this? If so, what is its importance?

Hundreds of Old Testament Messianic promises foretold God’s “Anointed” (Hebrew, “Mashiyach;” Aramaic, “Messiah;” Greek, “Christos;” English, “Christ”). This special Man—the God-Man—would function in three specific capacities or roles. He would occupy the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Deuteronomy 18:15,18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee [Israel] a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;…. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (cf. Acts 3:22-23).
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Zechariah 6:12-13: “[12] And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: [13] Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Second Samuel 7:13-14: “[13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. [14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:…” (cf. Hebrews 1:5).

According to Matthew chapter 12, Israel refused to have the Lord Jesus Christ serve them in all three offices.

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Matthew 12:41: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas [Jonah the Prophet]; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Israelites believed they knew all there was to know about religious and spiritual matters, so Jesus’ preaching was of no importance to them. Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Matthew 12:6: “But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” The Israelites did not think they needed a Saviour, believing rather they could access God through their own merits. Romans 10:1-3: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
  • KING/MONARCH. Matthew 12:42: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” The Israelites were their own rulers, doing their own thing, throughly enjoying the path that they had chosen in life. Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Book of Hebrews applies all three offices to the Lord Jesus Christ. In spite of Israel’s rejection of Him, one day, He will still be Prophet, Priest, and King!

  • PROPHET/MESSENGER. Hebrews 1:1-2: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;….”
  • PRIEST/MEDIATOR. Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;….”
  • KING/MONARCH. Hebrews 1:8-9: “[8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”


Everyone familiar with the Bible understands David was king of Israel. Very few, however, realize he was also a prophet and a priest. David—as prophet, priest, and king—is a preview of the Lord Jesus Christ some 1,000 years in advance.

The ephod was a priestly garment that resembled a vest. Even though he was not a priest by blood (David was from the tribe of Judah and not the priestly tribe of Levi), David wore an ephod when praising the LORD. “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14). “And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen” (1 Chronicles 15:27). David even offered animal sacrifices as a priest would. “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” (2 Samuel 24:24-25).

David, as the Holy Spirit moved him, wrote nearly half of the Book of Psalms. “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:1-2). He spoke for God, and is thus called a “prophet.” Acts 2:29-31: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

By the way, when King Saul attempted to usurp the priest’s office by sacrificing a burnt offering, God took the kingdom from him and gave it to David (1 Samuel 13:8-14)!

Also see:
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?
» How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?
» How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?