Rev. James Laning, pastor of Hull Protestant Reformed Church in Hull, Iowa

The rejection of the will of God has reached an astounding degree in recent years. Only a very small percentage of the population still confesses that God desires to save only some people. The commandments of our Lord are increasingly violated. Now there is also a rapid rise in the rejection of God’s will concerning one’s gender. What once was a very small and mostly male group of gender-deniers has now become an increasingly large group including many women and girls.

How is this to be explained? Is the rejection of God’s will concerning whom He has determined to save and the rejection of God’s will concerning what we are called to do or not to do related to a rejection of God’s will concerning one’s gender?

The answer to that question is yes. They all amount to a rejection of what God has made known concerning His will. Jesus Christ, the faithful prophet of God, declares to us what God’s will is. All of us are called to listen to Him.

This is the beginning of a series of articles on Christ’s prophetic work. We will consider what Scripture tells us concerning Christ’s work as our chief Prophet and Teacher. Along the way some applications will be made to a number of practical matters common in our own day.

Christ: God’s officebearer

When we talk about Jesus as God’s Prophet, we are referring to His office. Jesus is God’s officebearer.

An office refers to a position of authority, and an officebearer is someone who holds an office. One who is an officebearer is called to represent God and has been given authority to perform some specific tasks that God has given to him.

The name Christ means “anointed one.” That Jesus is the Christ means that He has been chosen by God and anointed with the Spirit to serve as God’s officebearer.

The office that Christ holds is threefold. Jesus is our Prophet, our High Priest, and our King. Some might refer to these as three offices. We often refer to them as three aspects of one office.

Lord’s Day 12 of the Heidelberg Catechism summarizes what Christ does as Prophet, what He does as High Priest, and what He does as King. The same Lord’s Day points out that all believers are officebearers under Christ. We are engrafted into Christ and partake of His anointing. Christ’s Spirit within us qualifies us to serve as prophets, priests, and kings under Christ our Lord.

In this article, we are considering specifically the prophetic aspect of Christ’s work. What is the task that God’s prophet is called to perform?

Speaking in God’s name

God’s prophet is the officebearer God has chosen and qualified to make known to the people what God says.

When God spoke to His people at Mt. Sinai, they were very frightened, so much so that they asked God not to speak to them directly again. They came to Moses desiring that God speak to Moses and that Moses then tell the people what God had said. The people said they feared death if God spoke to them directly again: “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:19).

Such was their request.

In response, God promised that He would do as they requested. He would raise up a faithful prophet and put His Word in the prophet’s mouth. The people then would hear God’s Word by the mouth of His prophet.

Moses told the people: “And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 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” (Deut. 18:17-18).

The people, then, were exhorted to listen to what God said through His prophet. They were not to say to the prophet, “That is not what God says. That is just your own word.” They had asked to hear God’s Word through His prophet, and they needed to heed what God would say through His officebearer.

God told them in no uncertain terms that He would punish all those who refused to listen to His Word spoken through the prophet: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deut. 18:19).

A New Testament commentary on this verse explains what God meant by “I will require it of him”: “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:23).

The people were to listen to the Word of God declared by His prophet. When Christ was transfigured on the mount, God spoke from heaven and exhorted us to hear Him: “And behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Matt. 17:5b).

Christ, the faithful Prophet, has come. All of us are called to listen to Him.

Christ revealing to us God’s will

Speaking of Christ’s prophetic work, Lord’s Day 12 says that what Christ declares to us is “the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption.” God speaks by the mouth of His Prophet who declares to us God’s will.

The will of God is spoken of in more than one sense. Sometimes the will of God refers to what God has determined. Other times His will refers to what He calls us to do. We often refer to this as the distinction between the will of God’s counsel and the will of God’s command. Christ reveals to us the will of God in both respects.

Christ declares to us God’s will in the sense of what God has decreed. Christ makes known to us that some people have been unconditionally chosen by God. Only for the elect has Christ died and only in them does the Spirit of Christ work faith. By God’s Prophet the will of God concerning our unconditional salvation is proclaimed to us.

Christ speaks to us also about what He has done for us personally. He makes known to us not only that some people have been redeemed, but also that we personally are among those who are saved in Him.

Christ also declares to us God’s will in the sense of what God commands us. Christ, our Lord, tells us what we must do. He tells us this in words, and He also shows us by His example.

Such is a brief overview of the work of our chief Prophet. We are then exhorted to hear Him.

“Hear ye him”

The almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, speaks to us. He who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place tells us about Himself and about our calling to serve Him.

We, then, must listen to Him. We must believe what He says, and hearken to what He calls us to do. If someone refuses, God will “require it of him” (Deut. 18:19).

The devil would deceive us into thinking there will be no judgment if we reject what God says. Our Lord has told us otherwise. God has told us what He will do to those who impenitently refuse to heed what He says.

Though a regenerated child of God sometimes rejects what God says for a time, he will not remain impenitent his whole life. God will work in him to bring him to repentance. During the time that he refuses to do what he is called to do, God will chasten him until he humbly turns to God requesting that God forgive his sins and deliver him from evil.

Those who continue impenitently will be given over to their sin. God has made known the truth. He has declared what the reality is. Those who reject the truth will be given over to their sin, so that their thinking and speaking will be out of harmony with reality.

Many today deny what God’s will is concerning salvation. God says the reality is that He desires to save only some people and that He saves them unconditionally. Many reject this and insist that the opposite of reality is the truth.

God says the reality is that man by nature is totally depraved and he is completely unable to do anything good. Many reject this and state that there is still good in the nature of man and that he can still do works that are good in the eyes of God. Again man rejects what God says and insists that the opposite of reality is the truth.

As a just judgment, God gives man over to his sin. When man impenitently continues to state that the opposite of reality is the truth, eventually he may get to the point that he will state the opposite of reality on very obvious matters such as what one’s gender is. When men say they are women or women say they are men, or when people say that they do not know what a man or a woman is, what they are saying is contrary to what obviously is reality. Such is the judgment that comes upon a society in which people often confess as truth the opposite of what is reality.

Sadly, what is common in the world is becoming more common also in the churches. The way of escape is to listen to God’s Prophet. We must hear what God says not only on matters such as our gender, but also on everything else He has made known to us concerning His will.