Christ, the Anointed Prophet
By John Clarke
This brief article is taken from John Clarke’s famous book Ill Newes from New England: or A Narrative of New England‘s Persecution. Wherein it is declared that while old England is becoming new, New England is become Old (London, 1652), 44-47.It has been edited and modernized.
That Christ is the Anointed Prophet, or a Prophet anointed with the Spirit of Prophecy above his fellow prophets, and a Teacher immediately sent from God from Heaven, may be seen in passages such as John 9:17; Luke 24:19; Hebrews 1:9; John 3:2; 13; 6:36; 16:28.
And that there is no prophet like him, will evidently appear; for all the other prophets of God were such as did bear witness to him, or were types of him. Yes, even Moses and Elijah, those two great prophets, lay themselves low that he may be exalted. Notice, Deuteronomy 18:15, “I” (said the Lord by the hand of Moses) “will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him, that whoever will not hearken to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” And in John 3:30-34, “he must increase and I must decrease; he that comes from above” (he said) “is above all, he that is of the earth, is earthly and speaks of the earth, he that comes from heaven is above all, and what he has seen and heard, that he testifies, and no man receives his testimony; he that has received his testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true, for he whom God hath sent speaks the words of God, for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him.” (This was said by John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah, and was, said Christ, more than a Prophet, so that among those who were born of women before him there was none greater.) As these great prophets thus witness to Christ so the voice that is heard from heaven by James, Peter, and John, confirms their testimony, that there is no Prophet like him. When upon the Mount, Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Christ, and Peter would have built three Tents or Tabernacles, for Christ, one for Moses; and another for Elijah . . . . As an evident manifestation of their disapproval of this, they both vanished, and a cloud overshadowed them all. Christ being the prophet only remaining, there came a voice out of the cloud which said, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him.”
Further testimony to his unique status as a prophet may be seen by considering the content and efficacy of his instruction.
1. Concerning the content of instruction: He that comes from above, being also in the bosom of the Father, must be above all others in the content of his instruction, for what he has heard and seen in the Father’s bosom, this he testifies. He speaks the very words of God, yes declares and makes known God himself, being the bright breaking-forth of the Father’s glory. This was what Moses, that great prophet, did so much desire to behold, and could not obtain. For this reason it is said that his hearers were astonished at his doctrine, conceded that no man ever spoke like this man, and the best of them knew nowhere better to go for instruction, since he had the words of eternal life. The Holy Spirit of promise, which the Saints were and still are to receive, purposed to glorify him, to take him and his words, and to show to his followers the treasures of light and life, and refreshment that is contained in them. See the proof of all this, in John 17:18; John 3:31; 32, 34; Hebrews 1:3; Exodus 33:18, 27; Matthew 7:28; John 7:7:46; John 6:68; John 14:26; and 16:12, 13, 14.
2. And as for excellence of content, so for effectual and powerful instructing, there is none to compare to him in point of instruction, for he it is in whose hand is the Key of David. He opens the heart to understand the scriptures. To demonstrate a lively evidence of his powerful instructing, when he was here upon earth, he passed by the wise and learned Rabbis and called the illiterate and foolish fisherman to be his pupils. To this day he chooses not many wise, nor many learned, but the poor foolish and despised ones, that as a teacher, he may show his abilities, by giving understanding to the simple, speaking words of light, and life, and spirit to them. They then are able to confound the wise, and learned, and mighty. Yes, he indeed is the light of the gentiles who sat (and still in a great measure of it sit) in darkness, and he is the true light that enlightens every one that comes into the world. See Luke 24:45, 1 Corinthians 1:26, 27, Joh 6:63, Acts 13:47, John 1:9. As he was the Prophet opening his Father’s bosom and showing things that were past and present, so also the things that were to come. He tells them how many things he must suffer from the Elders and the Chief Priests and Scribes, and be killed and raised again the third day and in this shows beforehand his office of Priesthood. He also foretells how after he is risen as a Lord, he will set his house in order and so depart to his Father to receive his Kingdom, and to return, and what shall befall his servants in the time of his absence by the reign and rage of the beast and spirit of Antichrist, and what will be each one’s portion at his return. For this reason, seeing there is no Prophet or Teacher to be compared to Christ and his Spirit in point of instruction, it well suits Christians to be still clinging close to this Prophet, concluding with the disciples that first trusted in him, “where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”