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The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 4

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 4

We continue once again with our forth question, who specifically is the Mediator?

In this study we would like to take a quick look at the “Testator” to see how this is related to the Mediator.

Testator: a person who has made a will or given a legacy.

And for this reason he is the Mediator of the new covenant by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first (Law) covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal in heritance. For where there is a testament (a bequest, a will) there must also of necessity be the death of the testator, for a testament is in force only after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”(Heb 9:15-17)

The Apostle explains that no will or testament or bequest is of validity so long as the testator lives. Whatever covenant of agreement may be had, it awaits a final sealing or completion by the death of the testator. The Apostle applies this to Christ. By His death Jesus passed on to us, the church, the benefit of his merit; namely, the earthly rights of ‘justification’ to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by the precious merit of Christ’s sacrifice finished at Calvary. In accepting these earthly blessings, we, as His members, agreed to the terms; namely, that we also surrender our rights to these, as servants or ‘ministers of the New (Law) Covenant’—that these earthly blessings secured by our Lord’s obedience and death should thus pass through us and still be the Redeemer’s asset to be given to Israel, under Israel’s New (Law) Covenant.

The fact that Israel is still outcast from God’s favor is merely evidence that the body of Christ is not yet completely sacrificed, for bear in mind that the covenant is of no validity until the death of the testator. The Lord Jesus, the primary Testator, has accepted consecrated believers, as ‘members of his body,’ and he is working in them by his holy Spirit to will and to do the Father’s good pleasure—that they may lay down their lives in sacrifice, filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Messiah.  As soon as the last member of the church shall have died as a member of His body, the New (Law) Covenant with Israel will be sealed—sealed with the blood of the Testator; the death of the Christ, Head and members.

Meantime the resurrection change of the church as the body of Christ will have brought the Testator as a whole to the plane of glory, honor and immortality. On this plane the Christ, Jesus the Head, and the church, His mystic body, will be in antitype the great Prophet, the great Priest, the great King, the great Judge, the great Mediator between God and mankind in general. Then will come the time promised in the Scriptures when this Great One, this Glorified One, the Seed of Abraham on the spiritual plane, will begin the work of blessing all the families of the earth, under the conditions of the New (Law) Covenant, to be made with Israel first. (R4453)

Hebrews 9:16 reads:For where a Testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” In the case of Moses the death of the Testator was represented by the slaying of the bullock AND the goat. In the case of the Antitypical Moses, the death of the Testator is shown in the sacrifice of our Lord AND the Church his Body. The ability of Christ to give a Testament or Covenant, or to make a Covenant, should also be seen. As the man Jesus he could not make this Covenant. Why? Because as a man–not spirit-begotten–he could merely have given his human life for mankind and then would have had nothing left for himself; or if he had retained his earthly life he could have established only an earthly Kingdom and never could have given eternal life to any one subsequently. He might have blessed them with wise laws and regulations and improved conditions over the present time, but never could have given them life and the perfections and blessings that he will be able to give under the New Covenant.”

HOW THE LORD BECAME A TESTATOR   

In order to be a Testator and give eternal life to the world, it was necessary that our Lord should carefully follow the Plan that God had arranged: First, by his own obedience he should demonstrate his loyalty to God and receive life on the divine plane as his reward; second, that then, by taking up his human life which he did not forfeit in anywise, he should have that human life and its rights to give to Israel and through them to all mankind. He is thus a Testator. He is thus one who bequeaths (or wills) something to others. He bequeaths it not while he is alive, as a gift, but he gives it as a Testator, as that with which he parts in death. So our Lord Jesus, as the Great Mediator of the New Covenant, will give to mankind the human rights and privileges to which he had a right by virtue of his perfect obedience to the Divine Law. He invites us, NOT to share those rights with the world, NOT to come under his Mediatorial reign and be sharers in restitution privileges, but, according to the will of God, to do something else, viz., to join with him in becoming Testator, to lay down our lives and thus be sharers with him in the spirit of his great work, that we may also share with him in the actual features of that work during the Millennium.

HOW WE (THE CHURCH) ARE JOINED TO THE TESTATOR   

The very first difficulty encountered is that we, unlike him, have not perfect bodies that we could give as perfect sacrifices; hence God’s arrangement for those who have this sacrificing attitude of mind is that they may be dealt with by the Lord Jesus and that he may, as their Advocate, impute to them his merit, his restitution rights, to make up for, to off-set, their blemishes and imperfections, that they may offer unto God a sacrifice that would be pleasing. We see that he does not give to these who are now called, either the Mediatorial blessings of the Millennial Age or the restitution conditions which that Mediatorial reign will confer. He gives to them that which will serve his purpose for them much better; viz., an imputation of his merit for past sins, to allow their sacrifice to pass the Divine propitiatory satisfactorily. Even then their sacrifice would prove imperfect and unsatisfactory because of inability to carry it out to a completion, did he not continue to be their Advocate. With every blemish and imperfection that is unwillingly theirs they can go to him as their Advocate and obtain mercy and have the cleansing from all sin through the merit of his sacrifice.” (R4623 par.12-14)

“So, then, in the Scriptural language, that which our Lord did do in connection with the promised New Covenant between God and Israel at his first advent, was that he became a “surety” and guarantee for its later fulfillment. (Heb 7:22) From that time, therefore, the New Covenant may be considered as assured or legislated or guaranteed, but not put into force, because, as the Apostle declares, a testament or will is of no binding force until the death of the testator. In harmony with the Divine Plan the Redeemer applied the merit of his sacrifice to a special class “called” and “drawn of the Father” during this Gospel Age, to be members, to join with him in his sacrifice. These were to receive of his fullness, his merit, as the atonement for their sins, and then they were to drink of his blood or share in his death, that his blood or the merit of his sacrifice might as a blessing pass through them and permit them by sacrificing restitution blessings to attain the divine nature and glory. (2 Pet 1:4)

None of these may keep the blessing of restitution privileges. Each was obliged in advance to pledge his life in sacrifice with his Lord before his final acceptance and begettal of the Holy Spirit to joint-heirship with the Head in his glory, honor and immortality. So then (AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART) the reason that the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah’s day (Jer 31:31), and assured by our Lord’s death has not yet gone into effect and become operative in restitution blessings to Israel and the world is, that the death of the testator has not yet been fully accomplished; for the testator, through whom Israel will get that great blessing of the New Covenant, is not our Lord Jesus alone, but The Christ, Head and Body.

To this agree the words of the Apostle again, namely, that natural Israel will “obtain mercy through your [Spiritual Israel’s] mercy.” (Rom 11:31) The laying down of the restitution rights received by us from the Lord through faith in his blood is our sacrifice of the same, the dying of the Testator’s Body. (2 Cor 4:10) Israel is to be the beneficiary of this testament, this legacy, this will, the merit of which is all as Jesus said, “in his blood,” in his cup, which we must drink  (Matt 20: 22,23; 26:27).” R4498

Although we have to a limited extent already answered our fifth and final question, where and when does this mediation begin? There are still a few more thoughts pertinent to this question, which need to be addressed.

More to the point where (or with whom precisely is the new covenant mediated) and when will this mediation commence?

Behold the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD; I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:31-33)

This Scripture rightly understood fully answers our question as to whom precisely the new covenant is mediated, and when precisely this mediation will commence.

Let us apply our God given ability to reason here and work this out for ourselves.

A covenant is a contract, a binding agreement between two parties. In the business world if two parties have established a contract between themselves by law this contract is binding until its terms have been fully met by both parties. In essence Israel as a nation or people entered into such a contract with the LORD when at Mount Sinai they agreed to the terms of the Law Covenant, exclaiming “All that the LORD has spoken we will do” (Exod 19:1-9; 24:1-8), Moses at the time acting as the “go- between” or  Mediator of this contract.

“The Word of God distinguishes between a covenant and its mediator. A covenant does not go into operation until after it has been fully mediated. When Moses mediated the Law Covenant, he first offered sacrifices; then he took the blood of the animals and, dividing it into two parts, sprinkled both the Book of the Law and the people. (Exod 24:4-8; Heb 9:19-24) After he had done this, the Law Covenant was in force; and it will continue until superseded by its antitype, the New Covenant.” (R5164)

Thus we see that if a proposition is made to make a new covenant with someone it implies that they were previously under covenant or contract prior to this and that this new contract is to supersede the former one established with them.

Now we ask what nation or people other than the nation of Israel has God ever entered into covenant or contract with? Is it not written?

Now therefore if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Exod 19:5)

Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1, 2)

There is absolutely no Scriptural support for any theory that God was ever in covenant arrangement with any other nation other than the nation of Israel.

Thus the first part of our texts taken from Jeremiah should be rightly understood as follows, viz.

Behold the days are coming (when the Testator complete will have finished the great antitypical sacrifices of himself and his church, the “better sacrificesHeb 9:23, when he will have finished with the second presentation of the blood of atonement in the Most Holy, that of the Lord’s goat, representing “his body” the “Church”, “the sin-offering, which is for the people”, which makes atonement, reconciliation for the people Lev 16:15 with this he will have finished making application of the blood, the blood which seals, makes binding, ratifies, the New Covenant which makes satisfaction for the sins of the world), says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (With whom did he say? Did he say the Gentiles? No! Did he say the Church? No! neither of these, he said with the house of Israel, “For this is my covenant with THEM, when I shall take away their sinsRom 11:27) not according to the covenant (the Law Covenant) that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them says the LORD.”

“Jesus death (blood) constituted the blood which seals or makes effective the New Covenant. Our taking of this cup and drinking of it (Matt 26:27) shows our participation. The consecrated lives (blood) accepted by our Lord are counted in as a part of his own sacrifice (the sin-offering) which seals the New Covenant.”

This New Covenant will not become operative until the cup of the Lord’s sufferings which is left behind has been completely drained in death by the last member of his Body” (R5542:6, 4310:2, 3)

This is my blood (symbol of LIFE given up in death) of the new covenant, shed for many for the remission of sin;” “Drink ye all of it.” (Matt 26:27, 28) It is by the giving up of his life as a ransom for the life of the Adamic race, which sin had forfeited, that a right to LIFE comes to men. (Rom 5:18, 19)

Jesus’ shed blood was theransom for ALL,” but his act of handing the cup to the disciples, and asking them to drink of it, was an invitation to them to become partakers of his sufferings, or, as Paul expresses it, tofill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.” (Col 1:24) “The cup of blessing, for which we bless God, is it not a (joint) participation (on our part in) the blood [shed blood—death] of the Anointed one?” (1 Cor 10:16)  Memorial Meditations, Page 16

Our Lord speaking to his followers inquires, “Are you able (willing to participate) to drink of the cup (of shame, ignominy, sufferings and reproach) which I have drunk, and to be baptized with the baptism which I am baptized with (a baptism of death, and that a sacrificial death, Rom 6:3)?

To those so willing he states, “You will indeed drink of my cup (participate in the blood shed as part of the Day of Atonement “sin-offerings”, the blood which seals the New Covenant), and you will indeed be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” (Matt 20:22, 23)

Let us now take a look at the latter part of our text taken from Jeremiah,

But this is the covenant (the New Covenant) that I will make with the house of Israel (Note once again whom specifically this covenant is to be made with) after those days, says the LORD (After what days? After the days of this Gospel Age, after those days in which the Church the body of Christ as joint sacrificers with their Lord will have finished their share in the Day of Atonement sacrifices, after the death of the Testator. These days likewise apply to the “seven times” of Israel’s chastisement.

Along with the blessings promised Israel if they would be faithful to their covenant (the Law Covenant) with the LORD were likewise promises of punishment if they felled to keep it. “But if you do not obey me, and do not observe all my commandments…but break my covenant, I will also do this to you…I will set my face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies, they that hate you shall reign over you… and if you will not yet for all this harken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” (Lev 26:17, 18, 24, 28)

“In the Bible a “time” is used in the sense of a year, whether the year be literal or symbolic, but at the time of the utterance of any prophecy, it could not be known which. A symbolic year used in prophecy is reckoned on the lunar year 360 days each, day representing a year. Thus 7 X 360 = 2520 years.

These “seven times” refer to the “Times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) the time in which “they that hate you shall reign over you” the 2520 years in which the Gentile nations have reigned over Israel beginning in B.C. 606 with the overthrow of Zedekiah and ending in A.D. 1914, from which time sense no Gentile nation has fully governed Israel.

After these days (not immediately after, but following after the completion of the “sin-offering”, as we have seen, the body of Christ, which shall likewise be completed, i.e. finished after these days); I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The New Covenant will not be made with any other nation but Israel; for God never purposed to make a covenant with the Gentiles, however even amongst these since the people are not worthy to enter directly into relationship with God, that covenant must have a Mediator, the Christ , Head and body complete. The New Covenant will not be made with rebellious sinners.

God’s Covenant will be WITH the Mediator FOR Israel, guaranteeing forgiveness and reconciliation to all of Abraham’s natural seed who will exercise the faith and the obedience of Abraham.

The work of the Mediator with Israel (and the world of mankind, who to be blessed must become Israelites indeed) during the Millennium, will be their instruction, enlightenment and uplifting out of sin and death, out of ignorance and superstition, out of depravity and unbelief up to human perfection; so that, at the end of the Millennium, all of Abraham’s seed, all of his faith and obedience, will have reached human perfection and be ready for the Mediator to deliver them over to the Father, that God may be all in all–the unwilling and rebellious, after due trial, being cut off during the Millennium in the Second Death. (R4555 Par.17, 18)

“The New Covenant will begin to swallow up the old Law Covenant as soon as the Kingdom is established. The Scriptures indicate that the first to receive it will be the Ancient Worthies. Raised from the dead to human perfection, they will form the nucleus of the new arrangement in the earth. (This despite the fact that our JW friends erroneously assume that they themselves will form this nucleus) Next in order will be those who have been known as Christians, but who have not been consecrated to death, and Jews who have been consecrated to the Law, but who have been blinded. Gradually the light will come to all who love righteousness and hate iniquity. Sprinkled from all sympathy with evil, they will make their declaration of full loyalty to God. In due time this light will spread to all kindred’s and tongues and nations.” (R 5164)

Thus we conclude our look at the Mediator and the New Covenant.

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 3

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 3

Who specifically is the Mediator?

As we had stated at the end of our last post the typical answer to this question is Christ, but who is THE Christ? What say the Scriptures?

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into the body…for in fact the body is not one member (Christ its head alone) but many (from the divine standpoint, a composite body)now you (who have been baptized into Christ, made participators in his death, Rom 6:2) are the body of Christ (the Anointed, the Church, having lost your individually being joined to the body), members in particular (individually, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations, but now revealed in his saints, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ Col 1:26,27 ).” 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)

So then if Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 8:6; 9:15) having obtained a more excellent ministry (a more exalted and effective service than the earthly priesthood), insomuch as he is also the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises (promises under which not only the “Israel of God”, [Gal 6:16], the Church, the body of Christ benefits, but likewise through them the whole world), and furthermore God has since reconciled US (the Church, the anointed) to himself by Jesus Christ (NOT through any mediatorial work on the part of Christ, but though faith in the blood as we had shown in Part 3 of this study), and (now having been reconciled, He) has given US the ministry [work] of reconciliation (the ministry of mediation) 2 Cor 5:18.

As members of the body, co-labors with Christ, we as under-priest are all involved in the same work, some on this side of the Vail some on the other side, but nevertheless all of one mind, one purpose.

“As for the word Mediator, it is indeed a glorious name and title possessed by our Lord, but it is not the proper name to be associated with his service in our justification. It is not scripturally applicable to the church at all, except that we are associates with the Mediator of the New Covenant as ‘his members’ in the sufferings of this present time and as joint-heirs with him in the glorious prospects of the Millennium.” (R4560:6)

The Lord is now gathering his Church, a little flock, to be members of the antitypical Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, Mediator between God and the world of mankind during the Millennium. These called, chosen, spirit-begotten, are “able ministers of the New Covenant,” after the same manner as their Lord–walking in his steps. They minister or serve the New Covenant as an attorney serves in drawing up an agreement or Covenant. It will not be a Covenant until sealed, but, while it is in process of preparation it is spoken of as a Covenant and, in writing the agreement; the attorney is serving that agreement by putting it into shape, arranging for its sealing, etc. So Christ and his members are able or qualified ministers or servants of the New Covenant which God has promised and in which the hope of Israel and the world is centered.

In what way do Christ and the Church now minister for or serve that New Covenant? In various ways:

(1) In gathering the members of the Body of the great Mediator.

(2) In learning and teaching to others the lessons necessary to qualify for the position.

(3) In preparing the blood with which it is to be sealed–“his blood,” “Jesus’ blood,” appropriated first to the Church and ultimately, after having served its purpose in the justification of the Church, to be passed on for the blessing of the world through the sealing of the New Covenant with Israel.” (R4496)

Moses indeed said, a prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22, 23)

That Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, is clearly taught in the Scriptures and generally recognized by Bible students; but all have not recognized that Moses was a type of the entire Christ — head and bodyand that in this sense the entire Gospel age has been the period of Christ’s raising up…” (D629)

“The antitypical Moses here pictured is undoubtedly the glorified Christ, Head and Body, in its instruction of the world during the Millennium. It is certainly not true that all are destroyed who disobey the Lord at the present time (thus furnishing a clear evidence that not only is the Mediator, the Great Prophet incomplete at this time, but likewise the covenant mediated by this Prophet, the New Covenant is not yet in operation) It is this antitypical Moses (the body of Christ) taken from amongst the brethren that God has been raising up during this Gospel age. Our Redeemer and Lord was raised up first to be ‘Head over the church which is his body.’ Since then the members are being raised up from the world, separated from the world to the Lord and the millennial work.” (R4354)

Our Lord, the Mediator of the New Covenant, delays the mediation of the New Covenant, in order to first gather together the “very elect,” who are to constitute the members of his Body, his joint-heirs, in the millennial glory and mediatorial work. He is the Messenger or servant of the New Covenant and each one of the Church now being called and chosen becomes an under-servant and messenger of the New Covenant. This work of qualifying the Church, the members of the Body of the Mediator, prepares them for a future service in helping Israel and the world under and through the terms of the New Covenant.” (R4474)

Moses served as the typical Mediator of the Law Covenant, a type of the great Mediator, the Christ of God, of which Jesus is the Head and the overcoming saints, his faithful followers, are accounted members.

We will continue with our look at the Mediator in our next post examining the role of the “Testator

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 2

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 2

Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

In the general sense we have already addressed this question by affirming that the dispute is between God and the “sons of disobedience” (Eph 5:6), that it is these two parties who have need of mediation in order to facilitate reconciliation.

Now who exactly are the “sons of disobedience” upon whom the wrath of God abides?

“And you [did he make alive,] when you were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein you once walked according to the course of this world, [under the direction of] the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:– but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly [places], in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: for by grace have you been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” (Eph 2:1-9)

In the forgoing statement the Apostle makes it evident that there is now a difference between the standing of the Church and that of the world in the sight of Godthat wewere (once) children of wrath,’ but, by God’s grace, are such no longer, however the world still lies in the wicked one and are still children of wrathi.e.sons of disobedience”.

Now the question is, how did this change come about, how was reconciliation made between the LORD and the Church, and was a Mediator required in this process?

For it pleased the Father that in him (Christ) all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself, by him whether things on earth or things in heaven having made peace through the blood of his cross. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled (made atonement for) in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in his sight…” (Col 1:19-22)

We are not rebels, we are not alienated from God, but now through faith in the blood we are children of God, and our Redeemer assures us,The Father himself loves you.” (John 16:27)

A mediator implies hostility between two principals, requiring the intervention of a third party, and this is not the case with the Church. Even before the time came in the Lord’s plan when the Kingdom would be established, the rebels subdued, we were glad to hear the Father’s voice speaking peace through Jesus Christ, and we came to him: Surely, then, there is no need of a Mediator between the Father who loves his children and children who love their Father. However, the basis of our acceptance with the Father was our hearty renunciation of sin and our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus as covering our blemishes and condemnation of the past, and our acceptance of the Father in Christ was on condition that we would henceforth walk in his steps, not after the flesh but after the Spirit, as set forth in the perfect law of liberty, the law of love to God and man.”

“With the gradual opening of the eyes of our understanding we noted in 1 John 2:2 the declaration that our Lord’s sacrifice was a propitiation, a satisfaction for our sins, the Church’s sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. We perceive that in this text the Lord sharply differentiates between the Church and the world, between our salvation and the world’s salvation. True, at one time there was no difference, for we were all “children of wrath even as others” still are; but we who have heard the voice of the heavenly Father speaking peace through Jesus Christ, we who have accepted that message, we who have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son (through faith in the blood, the ransom), are no longer of the world, but, from God’s standpoint, constitute a separate and distinct class.

The Scriptures tell us that we are called, chosen, separated from the world. Our Master’s words are, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” John 15:16, 19” (Harvest Gleanings 2 Page 356)

For if when we (the Church) were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more having been reconciled (acquitted of all charges), we shall be saved by his life, and not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (the atonement Greek, kattalage; the satisfaction of justice and restoration of God’s favor and harmony with himself).” Rom 5:10, 11

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God (who first instigated reconciliation), who reconciled us (i.e. all true believers) to himself through Jesus Christ (through faith in Christ and membership in the body), and has (henceforth) given us the ministry of reconciliation (of atonement, that is to say through our membership or participation in the body of Christ we become joint sacrificers with our Lord in the great antitypical Day of Atonement “sin-offeringsLeviticus 16, the “better sacrifices” spoken of in Heb 9:23 and through this ministry or service, our joint participation in these sacrifices we proclaim the message), that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (bringing about the at-one-ment between himself and the world), not imputing their trespasses to them (but laying them on Christ), and has committed to us the word (the honor of relaying the way) of reconciliation (the means by which return to God’s favor is obtained, both presently and in the next age). Now then we (the Church) are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, imploring you (those not yet reconciled, but who have an ear to hear) on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:17-20)

Once again our question: Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

The Scriptures indicate that the two parties are God on the one hand and the “sons of disobedience” on the other; those not yet reconciled to him, “children of wrath”, out of harmony both with himself and with his laws. Clearly it is these two parties that are in need of mediation.

“Note the difference between the above and the Church’s attitude to the Father and the Son during this Gospel Age. We are introduced to the Father at once, because our hearts are in the right condition—desirous of knowing and doing God’s will to the extent of our ability and trusting in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice already applied on our behalf. When we consecrate our lives after the example of our Redeemer–“to suffer with him,” “to be dead with him,” that we may live and reign with him–the Redeemer, according to the Father’s Plan, becomes our Advocate, endorses our petition, applies his merit on our behalf and becomes guarantor for us, that we may be loyal to God, or die the Second Death. As our Advocate, our Lord does not stand between the Father and us, but stands with us as our Elder Brother, as Chief Priest over his own House of Priests. “For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Heb 2:11, 12)

The Redeemer purposes no mediatorial work in behalf of the Church. He is not our Mediator, he is our Advocate. “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (I John 2:1) Instead of standing between the Father and us, as during the Millennium he will stand between the Father and the world, he introduces us immediately to the Father, and the Father, on receiving us, immediately begets us of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord’s words are, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” —the Advocate of the Church.

As sinners we had no relationship to God. When we believed and turned from sin we had a justification by faith tentatively imputed to us, permitting us to draw nigh to God and to hear his message through Christ– speaking peace to us and informing us of the High Calling and assuring us that “Now is the acceptable time“; that during this Gospel Age he is willing to accept us as living sacrifices through the merit of Jesus and to beget us of the Holy Spirit to the divine nature. The moment we accepted those terms our Redeemer became our Advocate and immediately the entire contract was closed and we were begotten of the Holy Spirit. We were no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit–no longer in the Courtyard condition, but in the Holy or spirit begotten condition. The New Creature being without sin needed no Mediator to come between it and God.

Now even though the New Creature requires no Mediator it does have need of an Advocate. Even though it is in full relationship with the Father and even though as a New Creature it has no sin–the sins cancelled at Calvary were those of the old creature only. Is it asked why the New Creature, begotten of God, sinless, needs an Advocate? We reply that it is because he has the treasure of the new mind in an earthen vessel that is very imperfect through the fall. The sins of his mortal body were all cancelled through the imputation of the Advocate’s merit and at that moment the old nature died and ceased its responsibility. He that is dead “hath ceased from sin.” (I Pet 4:1) The New Creature, which at that moment was begotten and as a new mind or new will took possession of the mortal body reckoned dead, is held responsible for its conduct in exactly the same manner that the owner of a dog is responsible for him. Whatever violence the dog may do, the owner is responsible, because he should have chained him up. So we, as New Creatures, are responsible for our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongues, in what they may do. If the tongue slanders another through weakness, force of habit, etc., the New Creature is responsible and must give an account.” (R4584 Par. 3-6)

The Church is not included with the world because they are already at one with God, reconciled, this reconciliation (or at-one-ment) they received NOT through any mediation, but simply through faith in the blood, faith in Christ AND in their membership in the body.

The reason we stress upon their membership in the body as being prerequisite to their reconciliation (their complete or full reconciliation) is because there exist in the household of faith those of differing degrees of reconciliation. Some as of yet, the unconsecrated have only received a measure of reconciliation, a measure of peace (Rom 5:1) this they received when through faith in Christ they entered the “courtyard condition” the “tentatively justified condition”. We say “a measure of peace” because they are not yet fully in harmony with God as indicated by their unwillingness to fully surrender themselves in full consecration, to take up their crosses and follow in the Master’s footsteps, which of course would naturally lead them to sacrifice something which they are not prepared to do. The majority of these are quite content with the belief that a mere profession of faith is all that is required of them.

The fully consecrated on the other hand realize that much more is expected of them than simply a mere profession of faith especially if they would ever hope to gain the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. These having followed in their Master’s footsteps not only receive their justification through him (actual justification, reckoned so), but likewise peace with God, but more than this they receive “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7) a full and complete peace obtained only by those who have submitted themselves totally to His will, and are thus at one with him, relieved of all anxiety, worry, or concern completely confident in the LORD’s over rulings, divine providence, these are considered more than just God’s friends, but his sons, begotten of the Holy Spirit.

And so we would consider those in the courtyard condition (the mere professor), not yet reconciled to God in the truest sense as being part of the world likewise, “children of wrath”, these along with the rest of the world will require mediation in order to complete the atonement between themselves and the LORD.

“Gradually those who went out from us because they were “not of us” are going into darkness on all subjects, especially this one. This was to be expected. A root of bitterness developing in the heart affects the sight. Light becomes darkness; darkness becomes light. New things pass away. All things become old again in the wrong sense.

These friends, not content with urging un-scripturally that they need a Mediator between them and God, become very angry with us because we point out to them the truth on the subject–that the Mediator is between God and men and NOT between God and the New Creature (the Church, the body of Christ)…These erstwhile friends, busy seeing what they can object to, are step by step walking into darkness.” (Be careful my friends that you are not found among them). R4585

In our next post we will address our forth question, who specifically is the Mediator? The typical answer is Christ, but who exactly is Christ?

 

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 1

The Mediator and the New Covenant, Part 1

A common and erroneous thought held by many professing Christians today is that the Lord is (presently) engaged in the work of mediation, mediating the New Covenant between God and the Church. They imagine that this New Covenant went into effect during our Lord’s first advent when it is assumed he sealed the New Covenant with Spiritual Israel, with his blood.

Now it is our hope in this particular presentation to find the truth on these matters so as to alleviate the confusion caused by these erroneous assumptions. We will begin our examination by taking a closer look at the Mediator and his purpose.

The Mediator, who, what, where, why, and when?

In this study we hope to find the answer to the following questions,

1)  What is a mediator?

2)  Why is a mediator necessary?

3)  Who are the parties in dispute who require mediation?

4)  Who specifically is the Mediator?

5)  Where and when does this mediation begin?

What is a mediator, that is to say what specifically is the function and or purpose of a mediator?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a Mediator as: an individual or agency that intervenes between two parties in dispute in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation.

Young’s Analytical Concordance defines a Mediator as: a middle man, mediator.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines a Mediator Greek mesitēs Strong’s #3316 as: a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by implication) a reconciler (intercessor) ambassador or messenger.

Thayer’s Lexicon defines a Mediator as: one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant; a medium of communication, an arbitrator.

“The term “mediator” (equals middleman, agent of mediation) is nowhere found in Old Testament or Apocrypha (English Versions of the Bible), but the corresponding Greek word mesites, occurs once in Septuagint (Job 9:33 the King James Version, “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us,” where “daysman” stands for Hebrew mokhiach, “arbitrator,” the American Standard Revised Version, the English Revised Version margin “umpire” (see DAYSMAN); Septuagint has ho mesites hemon, “our mediator,” as a paraphrase for Hebrew benenu, “betwixt us“). Even in the New Testament, mesites, “mediator,” occurs only 6 times, namely, Gal 3:19, 20 (of Moses), and 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24 (of Christ).

In Moses we have for the first time a recognized national representative who acted both as God’s spokesman to the people, and the people’s spokesman before God. He alone was allowed to “come near unto Yahweh,” and to him Yahweh spoke “face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend” (Exod 33:11). He went up to God and “reported the words of the people” to Him, as to a sovereign who cannot be approached save by his duly accredited minister (Exod 19:8). We have a striking example of his intercessory mediation in the episode of the golden calf, when he pleaded effectively with God to turn from His wrath (Exod 32:12-14), and even offered to “make atonement for” (kipper, literally, “cover“) their sin by confessing their sin before God, and being willing to be blotted out of God’s book, so that the people might be spared (Exod 32:30-32).” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Page 5388

Intercession is in all stages of thought an essential element in mediation. We have striking examples of it in Genesis 18:22-33; Job 42:8-10.

So in essence a mediator is one who negotiates peace between two parties who are at variance with one another, with the intent of negotiating an agreement or covenant between the two in order to restore and or establish peace, reconciliation between the two.

Having now we hope sufficiently explained our first question what a mediator is let us move on to our second question,

Why is a mediator necessary?

The need of a Mediator arises out of the fact of sin. Sin interrupts the harmonious relation between God and man. It results in a state of mutual alienation. On the one hand, man is in a state of enmity to God (Rom 5:10; 8:7; Col 1:21). On the other hand, God is moved to righteous wrath in relation to the sinner (Rom 1:18; 5:9; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6). Hence, the needs of a mutual change of attitude, a removal of God’s displeasure against the sinner as well as of the sinner’s hostility to God. God could not restore man to favor by a mere fiat, without some public exhibition of Divine righteousness, and vindication of His character as not indifferent to sin (compare Rom 3:25, 26). Such exhibition demanded a Mediator.”

So then in answer to question three the two parties in dispute (at variance) one with another would be God on one hand and on the other hand the sons of disobedienceupon whom God’s wrath abides (Eph 5:6). These are the two parties requiring reconciliation the parties in need of a Mediator.  

The qualification of a Mediator depends upon His intimate relation to both parties at variance. Our Lord meets both of these qualifications.

Christ’s Relation to Man:

Firstly, He is Himself a man, i.e. not merely “man” generically, but an individual man. The “one mediator between God and men” is “himself the Man, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5), “born of a woman” (Gal 4:4), “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3, where the word “likeness” does not make “flesh” unreal, but qualifies “sinful“), i.e. bore to the eye the aspect of an ordinary man; secondly, He bore a particular relation to a section of humanity, the Jews (Rom 1:3; 9:5); thirdly, He bore a universal relation to mankind in general. He was more than an individual among many, like a link in a chain. He was the Second Adam, the archetypal, universal, representative Man, whose actions therefore had significance beyond Himself and were ideally the actions of humanity, just as Adam’s act had, on a lower plane, a significance for the whole race (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cori 15:22,45).

His Relation to God:

Paul very frequently speaks of Christ as the “Son of God,” and that in a unique sense. Moreover, He was the “image of God” (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), and subsisted originally “in the form of God” (Phil 2:6). He is set alongside with God over against idols (1 Cor 8:5, 6), and is coordinated with God in the benediction (2 Cor 13:14). Clearly Paul sets Him in the Divine sphere over against all that is not God. Yet he assigns Him a certain subordination, and even asserts that His mediatorial kingship will come to an end, that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:24, 28). But this cessation of His function as Mediator of salvation, when its end shall have been attained, cannot affect His Divine dignity, “since the mediatorial sovereignty which is now ceasing was not its cause, but its consequence” (B. Weiss, II, 396).

The Means of mediation, the Death of Christ:

The means of effecting the reconciliation was mainly the death on the cross. Paul emphasizes the mediating value of the death both on its objective (God-ward) side and on its subjective (man-ward) side. First, it is the objective ground of forgiveness and favor with God. On the basis of what Christ has done, God ceases to reckon to men their sins (2 Cor 5:19). Paul’s view of the death of Christ effecting the mediation may be seen by considering some of his most characteristic expressions.

(A) It is an act of reconciliation. This involves a change of attitude, not only in man, but in God, a relinquishing of the Divine wrath without which there can be no restoration of peaceful relations (though this is disputed by many, e.g. Ritschl, Lightfoot, Westcott, Beyschlag), but not a change of nature or of intention, for the Divine wrath is but a mode of the eternal love, and moreover it is the Father Himself who provides the means of reconciliation and undertakes to accomplish it (2 Cor 5:19; compare Col 1:20,21; Eph 2:16).

(B) It is an act of propitiation (Rom 3:25, hilasterion, from hilaskesthai, “to render favorable” or “propitious“). Here is a clear though of a change of attitude on God’s part. He who was not formerly propitious to man was appeased through the death of Christ. Yet the propitiatory means are provided by God Himself, who takes the initiative in the matter (“whom God set forth,” etc.).

(C) It is a ransom. The Mediator “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6). The idea of payment of a ransom price is clearly implied in the word “redemption” (Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14, apolutrosis, from lutron, “ransom“). It is not alone the fact of liberation (Westcott, Ritschl), but also the cost of liberation that is referred to. Hence, Christians are said to be “redeemed,” “bought with a price” (Gal 3:13; 4:5; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; compare 1 Peter 1:18). Yet the metaphor cannot be pressed to yield an answer to the question to whom the ransom was paid. All that can safely be said is that it expresses the tremendous cost of our salvation, namely, the self-surrendered life (“the blood“) of Christ.

NOTE: it is our contention that the ransom is to be paid to justice, applied as satisfaction to the claims of justice. See R 2822

The resurrection and exaltation of Christ are essential to His mediatorial work (1 Cor 15:17). It is not alone that the resurrection “proves that the death of Christ was not the death of a sinner, but the vicarious death of the sinless Mediator of salvation” (B. Weiss, I, 436), but that salvation cannot be realized except through communion with the living, glorified Christ, without which the subjective identity of the believer with Christ by which redemption is personally appropriated would not be possible (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4,5; Phil 3:10; Col 3:1). The exaltation also makes possible His continuous heavenly intercession on our behalf (Rom 8:34), which is the climax of His mediatorial activities.

At present the merit of Christ sacrifice (represented in the blood of the “bullock”) has only been applied to himself (that is, his body, the Church more specifically the “little flock”), and to his household (the Levites, i.e. the Great Company class) these together composing the spiritual class, “the church of the first born” (Heb 12:23). His intercession work is presently confined only to these and only in respects as an Advocate.  

Therefore he (the High Priest of our profession, a sacrificial priesthood under a “covenant of sacrificePsa 50:5) is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him, since he always lives (unlike the typical priests who died) to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25)

Very soon now when the last member of the body of Christ has passed beyond the Vail the blood of the “Lord’s goat” which is for the people (all mankind) will be sprinkled upon the mercy seat making intercession. Then shall the merit be applied to “all the people” (Lev 16:33).

The Man-ward Efficacy of His Mediator-ship:

The effect of Christ’s death on man is described by the words “cleanse,” “sanctify,” “perfect” (Heb 9:14; 10:10,14,29; 13:12), words which have a ritualistic quite as much as an ethical sense, meaning the removal of the sense of guilt, dedication to God, and the securing of the privilege of full fellowship with Him. The ultimate blessing that comes to man through the work of Christ is the privilege of free, unrestricted access to God by the removal of the obstacle of guilt (Heb 4:16; 10:19). I.S.B.E. Pages 5402-5409

Now it might appear that we have already answered our third question concerning, the parties in dispute in need of mediation, but in truth we have but only briefly touched upon the subject here. We believe that this particular point is what is causing most of the confusion, and therefore needs further clarification, which is what we hope to address in our next post.