Prophet, Priest and King

      No Comments on Prophet, Priest and King

The Name of Christ ‘chrismates’ christians in three ways, as prophets who speak in the Name of the Spirit of Truth, as priests who offer themselves in their union with Christ’s healing sacrifice of himself on the Cross and as kings who partake in Christ’s witness to God’s sovereign victory over evil, reigning with Christ in the glory of his Father’s Kingdom.  Prophets, priests and kings in the Old Covenant were each anointed with oil in the hallowing Name, so in the new Covenant, Christ completes all three sacred functions through his triple anointing in the Thrice Holy Name: prophecy communicating the Spirit’s hallowing, priesthood communicating the Son’s high priestly offering of himself for all and kingship imparting deifying communion in the Father’s reign of blessing and peace.  “Holy, Holy, Holy is the great Name of God,” hallowing with glory as prophecy in the Holy Spirit, as priestly offering to heal with peace, as royal kingship in the Father’s Kingdom of glory.

The Thrice Holy Name of God in Holy Trinity acts in these three hallowing ways in Christ as chrismating prophecy, christo-soteriological priesthood and christophanic kingship.  Both Testaments address this and among the eastern fathers, Eusebius and John Chrysostom speak of all three Christly functions, but a fuller account emerged during the Reformation, since when theologians from John Calvin to Karl Barth have developed their reformed christologies in the light of it.  In the Orthodox tradition of desert wisdom, Christ’s triple anointed functions are icons of the three different but always co-inherent ways that the Thrice Holy Name is transmitted in Holy Trinity.  The Father’s Kingdom ennobles and crowns the saints with the glory of the Name, the Son’s high priestly offering saves and heals all in his hallowing Name and the Holy Spirit awakens hearts with the two-edged sword of prophecy, the Word that names the Name, inspiring the Spirit’s unceasing prayer of the Name in the heart.

In the desert, the elder’s word of Christly prophecy pierces the heart so that the grace of Christ’s priestly healing begins to transform the saints, transmitting Christ’s mysteries of hallowing glory, God’s kingly reign transfiguring all in all.  Christian purification, illumination and glorification are mysteries of grace, in each of which the Thrice Holy Name is in dynamic, energising act.  But an elder’s prophecy is the Spirit’s purifying word which opens to the Son’s high-priestly healing through the saving Name, a hallowing which restores glory to the Father in his Kingdom, glory that glorifies all who ascribe glory to God.  Christ bears witness to Holy Trinity both in himself and in his three Christly functions, prophecy, priesthood and kingship, which purify, illumine and glorify the saints.  There is no way that the energies of Holy Trinity may be separated out and assigned to one person as opposed to another because the mystery of co-inherence precludes all opposition and every kind of binary, rationalistic analysis.  But the Thrice Holy Name is lived, loved and known by the saints, who bear witness to the mysteries of Holy Trinity in Christ’s prophecy, priesthood and kingship.  They revere the ineffable in the Holy Spirit, whilst giving glory to the Father through the Son.  In indescribable ways, they transmit the Chrismating functions of anointed prophecy, priesthood and kingship to the saints, who hand them on in turn, from generation to generation.  Orthodox wisdom tradition is Christian prophecy, priesthood and kingship lived out in purification, illumination and glorification, shared by elders with saints as thrice hallowing glorification of the Name above all names.