Eschatology and the Munus Triplex: On the Threefold Anointing of the Spirit

The traditional understanding of Jesus Christ as prophet, priest, and king,
and of Christian participation in this munus triplex, can be refined,
complemented, and extended through viewing this theologumenon
eschatologically. In particular, viewing the doctrine of eschatology through
the lens of the Spirit enables us to see the vast breadth of Christ’s
interaction with humanity across the full expanse of time. Viewed in this
manner, all aspects of Christ’s existence in the new, redeemed time he
currently experiences impact us at our present moment of existence in fallen
time. The Spirit takes Christ’s past (a prophetic ministry effecting our
salvation through his suffering and exaltation), Christ’s present (a
priestly ministry enabling a filial relationship), and Christ’s future (a
kingly ministry manifesting our future glory), and brings them all to bear on
the church’s present reality.

An exploration of recent attempts to partially employ this theologumenon into
the service of eschatology reveals considerable advances in how Christ’s
three-fold offices can be employed as a theological heuristic. These
developments also reveal a lacuna that needs to be addressed. Karl Barth
emphasized Christ’s prophetic office — bringing forward to us a
revelatory encounter of Christ’s reconciliatory work and presence. Thomas
Torrance speaks of Christ’s priestly role — ontologically effecting our
salvation through vicariously bridging the gap between humanity and divinity.
These perspectives could be extended still further with a detailed
exploration of the eschatological aspect of Christ’s kingly office — the
proleptic reality of the Kingdom of God.

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