THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 24. How does Christ execute the office of a Prophet?

ANSWER: Christ executes the office of a Prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.


Q. 1. Is Christ expressly called a Prophet in scripture?

A. Yes; as in Acts 3:22; where Peter applies the words of Moses to him, "a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me," &c.

Q. 2. Why does he bear this name?

A. Because he has made a full revelation of the whole counsel of God, concerning the salvation of lost sinners of mankind, John 15:15.

Q. 3. By what other names is Christ described, with relation to this office?

A. By the names of an Apostle, Heb. 3:1; of a Witness, Isa. 55:4; and of an Interpreter, Job 33:23.

Q. 4. Why is he called an Apostle?

A. Because he is the great Ambassador of Heaven, sent to declare the will of God to men, John 3:34; hence called "the Messenger of the covenant," Mal. 3:1.

Q. 5. Why called Witness?

A. Because being a son of Adam, Luke 3:38, he was the more fit to attest the will of God to men; and being the eternal Son of God, was therefore liable to no error or mistake in his testimony: hence called "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness," Rev. 3:14.

Q. 6. Why is he called an Interpreter?

A. Because the mystery of godliness lies so far beyond the reach of our natural understanding, that we could never savingly comprehend it, unless "the Son of God gave us an understanding, that we may know him that is true," 1 John 5:20.

Q. 7. What was the necessity of his bearing this office of a Prophet?

A. Because there could be no knowledge of the things of the Spirit of God, without a revelation of them, 1 Cor. 2:14; and there could be no revelation of these things, but through Christ, John 1:18.

Q. 8. By what means does Christ reveal to us the will of God?

A. He reveals it to us outwardly by his word, and inwardly, by his Spirit, 1 Pet. 1:11, 12.

Q. 9. To whom does he reveal the will of God outwardly in his word?

A. To his church, which, on this account, is called "the valley of vision;" Isa. 22:1.

Q. 10. Did he reveal the will of God to his church under the Old Testament?

A. Yes; for the Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament prophets, 1 Pet. 1:11; he is said, in the days of Noah, to have preached unto the spirits now in prison, 1 Pet. 3:19; and to have spoken with Moses on Mount Sinai, Acts 7:38.

Q. 11. Does he still continue, under the New Testament, to be the prophet and teacher of the church?

A. Yes; and is therefore said to speak from heaven, in his word and ordinances, Heb. 12:25 -- "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for, if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven."

Q. 12. In what manner did he reveal the will of God under both Testaments?

A. Both immediately, in his own person; and mediately, by the intervention of others.

Q. 13. How did he reveal the will of God immediately in his own person?

A. By voices, visions, dreams, and divers other manners, under the Old Testament, Heb. 1:1, and by his own personal ministry, while here on earth, under the New, Heb. 2:3.

Q. 14. How does he reveal the will of God mediately, or by the intervention of others?

A. By inspiring the prophets under the Old Testament, and his apostles under the New, to speak and write "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," 2 Pet. 1:21; and by commissioning ordinary pastors to teach all things whatsoever he has commanded; and in so doing, promising to be with them, "alway, even unto the end of the world," Matt. 28:20.

Q. 15. Wherein does Christ excel all other prophets and teachers whatsoever, whether ordinary or extraordinary?

A. They were all commissioned by him as the original Prophet, Eph. 4:11 none of them had ever any gifts or furniture, except what they received from him, John 20:22; and none of them could ever teach with such authority, power, and efficacy, as he does, John 7:46.

Q. 16. What will become of those who will not hear this prophet?

A. They "shall be destroyed from among the people," Acts 3:23.

Q. 17. May not a people enjoy a faithful ministry, have the word purely preached to them, and yet not profit by it?

A. Doubtless they may; as was the case of many of the Jews in Isaiah's time, Isa. 53:1; and of Chorazin and Bethsaida, under the ministry of Christ himself, Matt. 11:21.

Q. 18. What is the reason why the word purely preached does not always profit?

A. Because it is not "mixed with faith in them that hear it," Heb. 4:2.

Q. 19. What commonly follows upon people's not profiting by the word preached?

A. The word of the Lord slays them, Hos. 6:5; and proves the savour of death unto death to them, 2 Cor. 2:16.

Q. 20. Seeing the external dispensation of the word has so little influence upon the generality, what else is necessary to make it effectual?

A. The inward teaching of Christ by his Spirit, John 6:63, and 14:26.

Q. 21. How does this great prophet teach inwardly by his Spirit?

A. He opens the understanding, and makes the entrance of his words to give such light, Psalm 119:130, that the soul is made to see a divine beauty and glory in the gospel-method of salvation, 1 Cor. 2:10-12, and powerfully inclined to fall in with it, 1 Tim. 1:15.

Q. 22. Does Christ, as a prophet, make all welcome to come and be taught by him?

A. Yes; for, in the outward dispensation of the gospel, he opens the door to every man and woman, saying, "Come unto me -- and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart," Matt. 11:28, 29.

Q. 23. At what schools does Christ, as a prophet, train up his disciples?

A. At the school of the law, the school of the gospel, and the school of affliction.

Q. 24. What does he teach them at the school of the law?

A. The nature and desert of sin; that by it they are "without Christ -- having no hope, and without God in the world," Eph. 2:12.

Q. 25. What does he teach them at the school of the gospel?

A. That he himself is the great doer of all for them, and in them, Mark 10:51; and that their business is to "take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord," Psalm 116:13.

Q. 26. What does he teach them at the school of affliction?

A. To justify God, Ezra 9:13; to set their affections on things above, 2 Cor. 4:17, 18; and to pray that their affliction may be rather sanctified, than removed without being so, Isa. 27:9.

Q. 27. How may persons know if they have profited under this great Prophet and Teacher?

A. Such will follow on to know him more and more, Hos. 6:3:they will delight in his company, Psalm 27:4; grieve at his absence, Job 23:3; and hide his word in their heart, Psalm 119:11.


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