The Munus Triplex: Understanding The Threefold Office of Christ.

Jesus occupies a threefold office in salvation; prophet, priest and king. This is known as the munus triplex in Bible Theology (a Latin word meaning “the threefold office“).

This concept was first explained by Eusebius, an early Church father, in the 3rd Century. Eusebius noted that the prophet, priest and king of the Old Testament were TYPES of Christ:

Accordingly, it was not only the high priests, symbolically anointed with oil, who were designated among the Hebrews with the name Christ, but also the kings; for by divine directive they too were anointed by the prophets as symbolic Christs, since they carried in themselves the patterns of the regal and sovereign authority of the only true Christ, the divine Word, who rules over all. Similarly, some of the prophets themselves, by anointing, became types of Christ, so that all [three] refer to the true Christ, the divine Word, who is the only High Priest of the universe, the only King of all creation, and the only Archprophet of the Father.”

(Eusebius, Eusebius—the Church History, trans. Paul L Maier (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2007), 28. (1.3.8))

In ancient Israel, those chosen to stand in an office were usually anointed with oil. They were called “messiahs” or “christs” (the Greek “christ” or Hebrew “messiah” means “anointed one“). Priests were anointed to comission them (see Exo 28:41, 29:7, 30:30, 40:13, 15, Num 3:3, Psalm 133:2). King Saul was anointed to be king (1 Sam 10:1), so was David (1 Sam 16:13). Elisha was anointed to stand as Prophet (1 Kgs 19:16). So in this sense, the kings, prophets and priests were “christs” or “messiahs.” That is, they were anointed unto God’s service.

These ones were anointed to point to/prefigure THE Anointed One (THE Christ). Psalm 2:2 calls Him “the Lord’s Anointed.

Psalm 2:2-3 (NKJV)

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against HIS ANOINTED, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

Daniel 9 calls Him “Messiah, the Prince” in vs. 25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until MESSIAH THE PRINCE, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

So the kings, prophets and priests of the Old Testament would be types of Christ. They come together to speak of his threefold office (munus triplex). Jesus would be ANOINTED to stand in the office of prophet, priest and king.

During the Reformation, John Calvin also further developed the concept of the munus triplex. He writes:

Therefore, in order that faith may find a firm basis for salvation in Christ, and thus rest in him, this principle must be laid down: the office enjoined upon Christ by the Father consists of three parts. For he was given to be prophet, king and priest.

(John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006). 494, Chapter 15)

In salvation, Jesus carries out these three functions.


Jesus As Prophet (Munus Propheticum).


Jesus functioned as God’s Prophet on the Earth. Moses had prophesied concerning this in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord your GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET like me from your midst, from your brethren. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR.” That prophet is Jesus.

Acts 3:22, 26 (NKJV)

22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.” 

26 To you first, God, HAVING RAISED UP HIS SERVANT JESUS, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

Jesus comes as Yahweh’s Prophet to the people. A prophet is one who speaks FOR another (i.e. His mouthpiece) to reveal His counsel to others.

Exodus 7:1-2 (NKJV)

1 So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be YOUR PROPHET (or your mouthpiece). 2 You shall speak all that I command you (to Aaron). And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. 

The prophets of the Old Testament spoke ON BEHALF of God. They would often use the phrase “thus says the Lord…” In 1 Kings 17:16, Elijah says, “For THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’

So Jesus functions as prophet, just like Moses and Elijah. He comes to reveal God’s will to the people.

John 1:18 (NKJV)

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, HE HAS DECLARED HIM.

He is God’s Word (His “Logos“; reasoning and message). John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Vs. 14 says, “And the Word (the Logos) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

He comes with the words of the Father. He says in John 14:24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine BUT THE FATHER’S who sent Me.

He refers to Himself as a prophet in Mark 6:4, “But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’

The people also understood Him to be Yahweh’s prophet. After He raised a widow’s son, in Luke 7, the people call Him “a great prophet.

Luke 7:16 (NKJV)

16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”

The disciples on the road to Emmaus call Him, “…a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19).

So Jesus occupies the office of a prophet. He brings God’s revelation to His people. Although, Jesus differs from the prophets of the Old in that He is the FULLEST and FINAL Revelation of God to His people.

Matthew 16:13-17 (NKJV)

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or ONE OF THE PROPHETS.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

Peter’s statement was accurate! He is not ONE of the Prophets, He is THE PROPHET, the Christ, God’s FINAL message to His people! Therefore, the counsel of God has concluded in Christ!

Hebrews 1:1-3 (NKJV)

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in TIME PAST to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in THESE LAST DAYS (the finality) spoken to us BY HIS SON, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS GLORY and the EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

To know what God is like, we look to Jesus, the Prophet of God. He is God’s “Prophet” in the sense that He reveals the mind of God to us.


Jesus As Priest (Munus Sacerdotale).


A priest is a mediator; one who reconciles sinful men back to God. The Old Testament priest interceded for the people before God. Jesus reconciled us to God by His work.

Romans 5:10 (NKJV)

10 For if when we were enemies we were RECONCILED TO GOD through the death of His Son, much more, HAVING BEEN RECONCILED, we shall be saved by His life. 

His work in salvation is described using sacrifice metaphors. He is called “the Lamb of God.

John 1:29 (NKJV)

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “BEHOLD! THE LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world!

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, AS OF A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT.

1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

This is Levitical language, used in Temple worship, and borrowed by the New Testament writers. Just like the Old Testament sacrifice, He dies to restore harmony between man and God.

So Jesus is Priest because He repairs our relationship with God. The writer of Hebrews calls Him our “High Priest.

Hebrews 2:17 (NKJV)

17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be A MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

The Levitical priests were prevented by death from continuing, but He NEVER dies! Therefore He has “an unchangeable priesthood.

Hebrews 7:23-25 (NKJV)

23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He CONTINUES FOREVER, has AN UNCHANGEABLE PRIESTHOOD. 25 Therefore He is also able to save TO THE UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him, since He ALWAYS LIVES to make intercession for them.

He remains a priest FOREVER, after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:4 (NKJV)

4 The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”


Jesus as King (Munus Regium).


Kings in Israel went to war against enemy nations. They defeated their foes and maintained ORDER in their kingdoms. So did Jesus.

He disarmed PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS. Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

He destroyed the devil, and set us free. Hebrews 2 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death HE MIGHT DESTROY HIM who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and RELEASE those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (vv. 14-15).

The word “destroy” (in vs. 14) translates the Greek “katargeó” (καταργέω) which means “to render powerless.” He renders Satan POWERLESS, over His people. He is our King, to save us!

Isaiah 33:22 (NKJV)

22 (For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us).

Upon His Resurrection, He was GLORIFIED at the Father’s right hand. The right hand is the place of all authority, in the Jewish thought.

Ephesians 1:20 (NKJV)

20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and SEATED HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND in the heavenly places.

Philippians 2:9 (NKJV)

9 Therefore God also has HIGHLY EXALTED HIM and given Him the name WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME. 

He will reign, till He has defeated ALL of His foes. 1 Corinthians 15 says, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (vv. 25-26). Jesus is KING!


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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