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Mediator!

Mediator!

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For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5

Let us discuss the role of the mediator as set forth in the above verse. What is mediation?

In secular life, the role of a mediator is to work to reconcile two parties that cannot be reconciled by their own efforts.  In modern life this takes place when there is a contract that needs to be negotiated, for example, between company management and a labor union. An objective outside mediator communicates between the two and seeks to bring about reconciliation.

A mediator is necessary in order to bring God and man together. God cannot be reached by man because He is Holy and man is sinful.  He uses a mediator -- someone to go between Him and man and establish the lines of communication. Man does not even know God exists until God reveals Himself to man; and He uses mediators -- prophets and priests -- to reveal Himself to man. Even when man knows of God, reconciliation still seems impossible, because he cannot reach God because of the gap that separates them. God and fallen man are an eternity and infinity apart. The fall of man is related in the opening chapters of Genesis, and its consequences are explained in Romans, Chapter 5.

The entire Bible is about God's plan to reconcile and restore fallen mankind to Himself. He is the initiator and it is His Plan, not man's. God deals with mankind through covenants and mediators of those covenants.  A covenant is an agreement between two parties, but not in the sense of a contract.  One "cuts" a covenant with another, and bound up in that meaning is the idea of a binding of the blood of the two parties.

That idea of the blood as necessary is established by the words, "The life is in the blood." (Lev. 17:11) And "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin."(Hebrews 9:22)  Without settling the sin problem, God and man cannot be reconciled.  There can be no Covenant between Holy God and man unless and until the sin issue is dealt with.  And Scripture clearly sets forth that involves the shedding of blood. In the Old Covenant, God established a system of blood sacrifices foreshadowing and pointing to One Perfect Sacrifice that would seal the matter forever. The main link between the Old and New Covenants is blood sacrifice for sin.

Your Bible is divided into two sections.  The larger section is called the Old Testament, or Old Covenant.  The smaller section is called the New Testament or New Covenant.  Contrary to what many may believe, the New Covenant was not an afterthought of God because the Old Covenant "did not work." The New Covenant is hidden in the old, and the Old Covenant is revealed and fulfilled in the New.  The two are parts of One Plan that God had to reconcile fallen mankind to Himself. (Read Galatians 3:15-17)

Covenants between God and man must have a mediator.  It cannot be too overstated that, God will not directly communicate with man because man is in a fallen state, separated from God by sin.  God will not, because of His holiness, communicate with a vessel that contains sin; that vessel must first be cleansed of sin.  God is Spirit; He is Holy.  Fallen man can understand only that which is of the flesh until God provides a way to communicate with man that bypasses the flesh and lifts man up to a level where communication is possible.  For God and man to communicate, they must first be reconciled.  God is never reconciled to man, meaning descending to man's spiritual level; rather He seeks to reconcile man to Himself and bring man to His higher level. He took on human flesh in order to do so, but without descending to the sinful state. In order to be reconciled to God, man must somehow change states; he must gain somehow the spiritual dimension that he once had, but lost through the fall of Adam. (opening chapters of Genesis.)

After Adam's fall, man eventually lost all consciousness of God. Man must have God revealed to him and come to know in his heart (not just intellectually) that he is lost before he begins to seek reconciliation with God. In the past God has used prophets to reveal Himself and His Holy ways to man. God revealed Himself in the Old Covenant by establishing His chosen people and His law.  In the law He revealed His Holy requirements to His Creation. The law serves to impute the consciousness of sin. When man, through the law, is brought to understand his sin and his need to be reconciled to God, then he is drawn to seek reconciliation. We are told, "The law is a schoolmaster that brings us unto Christ." (Gal. 3:24)

In the Old Covenant that God established with man through the nation of Israel by way of the law, He used an authoritative mediator - Moses, His prophet of the Old Covenant. He called Moses to that office and instructed him in the ways and means of the Old Covenant. We read all about this in the Book of Exodus. God spoke only to Moses; He did not speak directly to the people. On a few occasions it is implied that He may have spoken directly to Aaron, Moses' brother and the High Priest, but we cannot carry that implication too far.  It is quite probable He always spoke to Moses and Moses conveyed what He spoke to Aaron. Most of the time, it is stated that God told Moses and Moses told Aaron, who spoke for Moses to the people. Or Moses told the people directly. Moses then, as mediator, and in his role of prophet (one who receives from God and speaks for God to the people) passed on what God gave him to the Israelites. 

Moses was of the Tribe of Levi, which God appointed to be the priestly tribe.  The Levitical priests served also as mediators, but only in the prescribed manner that Moses received directly from God. Keep in mind that even after Moses died it was the law of Moses received by him from God on Mt. Sinai, that directed the Israelites in the Old Covenant. Even when Jesus came upon the scene, it was Moses that the religious leaders looked to, and the law that he gave from God, that was the foundation of all of Israel's government and religion.  Jesus had several "heated" discussions with the religious leaders about the authority of Moses. One reason that they hated Jesus so was that He represented Himself as having more authority than Moses. This was blasphemy to them because to them the Law of Moses was the Revelation of God and had all authority in religious life. (Read John 6:26-66 to see an example of Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders.)

Side note: Pharisaical minds will not listen to Jesus. Instead they want their "religion" to mediate between them and God! The same is true with the Pharisees of today!

The Old Covenant served as a temporary reconciliation of God to a certain called-out people, Israel.  Israel was to be used to instruct all of mankind, all of fallen Adam, in the righteousness of God. In Isaiah 60:3, for example, we are told that Israel was to be a light unto the Gentiles. The Old Covenant with Israel was to teach the entire world that perfect holiness comes when and if one perfectly keeps God's law. The moral law and the ceremonial law were given to Israel -- two inseparable parts of the law of God. The moral law shows man God's righteous requirements and teaches man he is a sinner. It imputes guilt to the conscience. (Romans 6:12-14) The ceremonial law is a picture of Christ's redeeming work and thus a picture of God's mercy and grace in dealing with the broken moral law.  It demonstrates that we can indeed be reconciled to God because He Himself provides the way! In every facet, every aspect, the ceremonial law points to something and someone future; Someone greater; Someone Who truly reconciles God and man as the Perfect Mediator. The One Who would come and fulfill all types and shadows set down in the Law and be the One Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 2:5)

We learn from the writings of the Apostle Paul that the law itself cannot redeem or reconcile man to God. No one can keep the law perfectly.  When one breaks even one of God's laws, any time during his life, he stands condemned. The only way that man can truly be reconciled to God is by God's mercy and grace, and there are pictures of this throughout the Old Covenant ceremonial law. That is why the Apostle Paul is so adamant in the New Testament about not returning to the law to save us or keep us saved. Galatians (primarily written to gentiles) and Hebrews (primarily written to Jews) speak of these great truths. The only way we can be saved (reconciled to God) is to have faith in the God Who saves us by His mercy and His grace and to accept Christ's redeeming work on the Cross.

So the Old Covenant was far from perfect. It revealed sin, man's lost state; but it did not correct or remedy man's lost state.  Even if all sin was forgiven by way of the ongoing animal sacrifices, the law could in no way reverse the fallen nature of man and restore man to a state of fellowship with a Holy God. Therefore, it lacked the ability to reconcile man to God. It pointed to ultimate reconciliation but it was made of lesser promises than the New Covenant, which was always in God's Plan. (Rev. 13:7,8)

In the New Covenant (the final and complete Covenant), made of better promises than the Old, Christ is the Mediator between God and Man.  There are things very unique about Him which no other person possesses or ever will possess. There are special reasons why the role of the One Mediator is uniquely His.

  • Jesus Christ is a mediator between God and man in His own Person.  He is fully God and fully man.  No other person who has ever lived can fill that role. Not Mary, not a canonized saint, not a designated "Pope," or any other mere human being. The only One Who can be Mediator must be fully God and fully Man! He alone has the power to satisfy God's demands on man because He is a man, and a man without sin.  He has the power to reveal and communicate God to man because He is God.  It was necessary for God to come as a Man in order to redeem and reconcile us back to Himself, because no mere human could do it.  Moses was a mediator between God and man, but only temporarily, not permanently or eternally. He was not The Mediator to Whom points all other mediators typologically.  Moses himself was a sinner -- a mere fallen human -- who himself needed a mediator in order to be reconciled to God. Jesus, the Son of God, is reconciled already to God in His Own Person. When He comes to earth to represent the entire human race -- fallen Adam -- in His own Person, He has the power of reconciliation and the power to transform that old fallen Adam into a new creation, made after the likeness of the New Adam -- Jesus Christ Himself.  Thus He is the Perfect Mediator.
     
  • Jesus entered into the fallen world as the only One without Sin and maintained that sinless Perfection throughout His life. He never sinned.  He reversed the works of the first Adam by overcoming Satan's temptations. (Luke 4:1-13) Therefore, He was able to mediate between God and man because the Man Jesus does not have to first be reconciled to God in order to reconcile the rest of mankind to God.. This so perfectly fulfills the type of the Old Covenant High Priest who had to first be made holy in the sight of God before he could officiate on the Day of Atonement. The Perfect Mediator had to be One Who Himself was Holy before He could fulfill the requirements necessary to eternally reconcile people to God! God the Father and God the Son are One. The High Priest of the Old Covenant was a type of Jesus; but before he went into the Holy of Holies with the blood of a substitutionary lamb on the Day of Atonement, he had to first become ritually clean.  The Mediator, Jesus, our Eternal High Priest, does not have to be made Perfect before He goes into the Holy of Holies.  He died on the Cross and went into the Holy of Holies with His own spotless Blood -- the one time, never to be repeated Perfect Sacrifice. (See The High Priest.)
     
  • The Son of God, the Sinless One, took on human flesh as Jesus so that He could become representative of all mankind.  In His sinless Perfection, He came and suffered our infirmities (Heb. 4:15) and overcame the works of the Devil.  (I John 3:8)  He came to reverse the works of the first Adam, and fully and totally defeat Satan for all who are in Adam. (Rom. 5:18, 19.)
     
  • When Jesus died on the Cross as our substitutionary sacrifice, He shed His own innocent Blood for mankind to pay the full penalty for sin. The wages of sin is death.  He died (and rose again) so those He represents may have eternal life. He died so we may have life. This does not speak of physical death and life, but  of spiritual death and spiritual life. We are born into the world spiritually dead. i.e. separated from God. Jesus' Sacrifice makes our new spiritual birth possible. In Him we become new creations. (2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 6:15.)

We are reconciled to God when, by faith, we believe and accept that Jesus Christ, the Perfect Sacrifice, died for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God. Thus He becomes the One Mediator of the New Covenant between God and those who believe in, put  faith in and trust in, Christ. The just shall live by faith. (Rom. 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38)

He said, at His last Passover meal with His disciples, "This is the New Covenant in my Blood." The New Covenant is God cutting a covenant with man and man cutting a covenant with God in the Person of Perfect Man and Holy God -- Christ Jesus. And then He went to the Cross to shed His Blood for all. In His death we die. The Old Adam goes to the grave with Him.

  • And on the third day He rose again, so that we may be resurrected in Him and share in His Eternal Life. Thus we become "new creations" (2 Cor. 5:17) in Christ Jesus.  We, in effect, change Adams.  We die with Jesus as He takes the Old Adam to the grave, and we rise with Him as the New Adam, free of sin and its penalty, spiritual death. (Read Romans 6 and I Cor. 15.)  In Him we have Eternal Life. The significant words here are "in Him." We cannot be part of the New Covenant unless we are "in Him." That is the key; that is the mystery fulfilled.  That is the very essence of salvation as it is received as a free gift from God. There is no salvation outside of Christ; and therefore one cannot claim salvation unless he is "in Christ" and Christ "in him" by faith.
     
  • He ascended back to Heaven where He sits on the right hand of the Father as our Eternal Intercessor and Advocate -- our One Mediator!  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Heb. 10:12

The Priesthood

A prophet is a mediator (designated by God) who speaks for God because He is in communication with God and receives messages to pass onto the people. Moses was the prophet of the Old Covenant; Jesus is the Prophet of the New (better) Covenant, which is foreshadowed in the Old. Hebrews 1:2-4 tells us God:

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

(Words in red are for emphasis.)

 In the Old Covenant, there were not only prophets as mediators, but a priesthood, also, who were not prophets, but nevertheless mediators. They did not hear directly from God His instructions to His people. Moses heard from God, making him both prophet and mediator. Aaron and his sons, and their descendants, fulfilled the roles of the priesthood, who were bound by the Law of Moses, which Moses received on Mt. Sinai. They were not prophets, but nevertheless mediators, in a lesser sense than Moses, because they carried out the rituals ordained in the law, representing God to the people and representing the people before God.

Priests in the Old Covenant were ordained to carry out specific ceremonial rites, which rites were themselves a form of mediation. The priests of the Old Covenant ministered to God for the people and to the people for God. The mediation they carried out was encompassed in the rites of the Tabernacle -- later the Temple -- primarily bound up in rites of blood sacrifice. Man offered blood sacrifices to God and God accepted them as a temporary atonement for sin.  The offering by man and its acceptance by God make the priests as Old Covenant mediators necessary.

It simply cannot be emphasized too much that man is not to have literal priests in the New Covenant, because Christ is the Eternal High Priest, and He has made the way for believers themselves to become priests (spiritually) before God. In the Old Covenant, unless you were a priest you could not minister in the Tabernacle.  In the New Covenant the individual believer not only ministers, but he has direct access to God through the One Mediator Jesus Christ.  We are in Him and He is in us, if indeed we have been born again. (John 3).

The rites of the Old Testament pictured man's reaching up to God and God reaching down to man through the priests. We see this as we study the Tabernacle. (If you have not yet studied the Tabernacle, its structure, furnishings, rites and priesthood, see: Tabernacle.) The ordinary Israelite could not go any further into the Tabernacle than right inside the gate where was the brazen altar of sacrifice.  There the offerer placed his hand on the head of the animal, signifying the passing of his identity (and perhaps his family's identities) along with his sin, upon the animal sacrifice. The sacrifice thus became a substitution for himself. ("Substitution" is a key word in both Old and New Covenants. An innocent lamb must die so that the offerer does not die for his sin.) The offerer then slit the throat of the sacrifice, or the priest slit it, pouring out the blood which the priest caught in a vessel. Then all the subsequent activities were carried out by the priests. Why couldn't the offerer of the sacrifice proceed further and go into the Tabernacle itself to offer up the blood before God? Because no ordinary ritually unclean man could proceed into the Presence of God.  God by His Shekinah Glory resided in the Holy of Holies, and if one ritually impure person had proceeded closer to God than He had ordained, he would die. Only those mediators who were ritually clean and ordained for the purposes of ritualistic worship could approach God. These mediators or priests had to participate in ritualistic cleansing and  had to be of the tribe of Levi, ordained to their various duties as God prescribed to Moses.

You can read all about the rites of the Old Covenant priesthood in Leviticus. As you read, think of what you are reading as foreshadowing and typifying all of the work of Jesus Christ on the believer's behalf, yet not literal but spiritual.

Even the ordinary Levitical priest could not go all the way into the Holy of Holies and into the very Presence of God. Only the High Priest was allowed to go that far, and then only once a year on the annual Day of Atonement.  The ordinary priests were assigned many duties in the outer court and in the Holy Place. But they could not go beyond the Veil into the Holiest of all, into the very presence of God, lest they die.

All of the rites of the Old Covenant speak of the necessary mediation of priests in that Covenant. These priests were necessary because there still existed a barrier between man and God, typified in the thick Veil that stood between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies See Veil.  A Mediator was needed to represent the people in God's Presence and God to the people. This was the role of the High Priest.  Our Eternal High Priest, as He was dying on the Cross, cried out, "It is finished," and as He died, the veil in the Temple was rent from top to bottom, (Matt. 27:51) signifying that the work of redemption was indeed finished and the one-time Perfect Sacrifice had been made and accepted by the Father, opening up the way for all through the rent veil and into the Holy of Holies.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:19-22)

Do you, the reader of this article,  know that the work has been done and that you now have access into the Holy of Holies and the Presence of God merely by exercising faith in the finished work of the One Mediator? Therefore, there is no longer the need for a Levitical priesthood, or any New Testament church's priesthood! You have full access into the Presence of God by faith! In Christ's finished work alone, you are reconciled to God!

The wonderful difference in the Old and New Covenants is that, when Christ became Mediator and died and rose again, all who throughout the ages have faith in that finished work are in Christ. Therefore, His mediation encompasses all who are in Him, taking them with Him into the Very Presence of God. Christ fulfills all the types of Prophet, High Priest, priests and the Sacrificial Lamb. He also fulfills all the types of the furnishings and rites of the Tabernacle, as well as the structure of the Tabernacle itself! It is God's own Blood that is shed for mankind. "The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)  When we are placed in Him by virtue of being born again, i.e. when the veil is rent for you and for me, there remains no longer a barrier between us and God. The mediation has been successfully completed and fulfilled. All who are "in Christ" by faith participate in His Perfect Mediation. He alone went boldly into the Holy of Holies with His own Blood.  By faith, we are "in Him," and He is "in us!" Therefore we go boldly with Him through the Veil before the Throne of God in the Heavenly Holy of Holies.

If you search the scriptures to see if these things be so, you will know and understand why there can be only one Mediator between God and man and how Jesus accomplished the great work in reconciling us to God. Receive it by faith. Live in it; walk in it. Account it settled!.  Only One was fully God and fully Man, only One overcame Satan and the world. Only One triumphed over the flesh, hell and the grave.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, and see also Philippians. 2:9, 10)

Unfortunately, some of God's "ministers' attempt to bind something else on a born-again believer other than Jesus Christ as the One Mediator. Many want to put people under the bondage of works and law-keeping. They want to lay guilt on others because they are not going to church on Saturday, or because they add instrumental music to hymn singing, or because they are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit instead of "in the name of Jesus" only. Some churches have instituted their own priesthood, not carrying out any of the work of the Old Covenant priests, but inventing their own work in an attempt to adapt the "Levitical" priesthood to the New Covenant.  They attempt through earthly priests to mediate between God and man as though the veil, the barrier between God and man, has not been torn down!  Salvation is all of grace, received by faith in the finished work of Christ.  It is all about accepting the mediation of the only one Who can be the One Mediator, the One Who is both God and man -- Who, as God, died for man, and Who, as Man, represents the New Adamic Race before God! Who comes to live in believers by His Spirit, for if we do not have His Spirit we are none of His. (Rom. 8:9)

Our One Mediator did something else great and wonderful when He ascended back to God.  He sent us His Spirit to dwell inside of us and thus He becomes our Lord by that indwelling Spirit!  He leads us (not drives us) by His Spirit and He gives us His Word -- sola scriptura -- to teach us His nature -- the very nature that we are to be transformed into! For our destiny as true believers is to be transformed into His image. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:18)

Don't let anyone tell you religious works can save you or reconcile you to God. Don't let anyone tell you that you must belong to their institution or get baptized in their tank to be redeemed by God. Don't let anyone tell you there is any co-mediator or co-mediatrix of the New Covenant besides Jesus Christ  Don't let anyone tell you that you need a priest to stand between you and God in the New Covenant.  For you yourself, if a believer, are a priest unto God. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: (1 Peter 2:9)

Don't let anyone replace your faith in Him with dead works, rituals, meaningless religion. Don't let anyone rob you of your faith in this One Great Mediator between God and man.

If you would like to learn more about this subject, we recommend studying the Two Covenants. Go first to this link: The Old Covenant Pictured in the Tabernacle.

HEAR YE HIM!  - Matt. 17:5

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Copyright 2005 Mary Cage. Permission is granted to freely use this article with proper credit given. The author requests that if used on a website, that a link be put to this site. Email the author with any questions or comments.