"ONE MEDIATOR"--"THE MAN CHRIST JESUS"
"There is one God and one Mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all,
to be testified in due time."--I Tim. 2:5,6.
OUR text contains two thoughts: (1) That the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom-price for all, and that the testimony of this great fact will in due time be extended to all mankind.
(2) He, the Redeemer, is the Mediator between God and the world of mankind. As the Scriptures foretold a New Covenant between God and Israel and through Israel with the world, the Scriptures also foretold a great Mediator for that New Covenant. The Apostle announces that Jesus is that Mediator. Prophetically Jesus was the Mediator of the New Covenant long before he was born (Malachi 3:1); he was born the Mediator in the same sense that he was born the Savior. "Unto you is born this day...a Savior, which is Messiah the Lord." He was the prospective Savior then and the prospective Mediator of the New Covenant. As a matter of fact, however, our Lord is not yet the Savior nor the Mediator for the world, and will not be until the close of this Gospel Age. He has already saved believers by faith or reckonedly; but the Apostle tells us that this salvation shall be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The two thoughts, namely, of mediation and ransom-price, although associated and connected, are distinctly separate thoughts. Our Lord Jesus began the work of giving the ransom-price at the time of his consecration, at his baptism at Jordan, and he finished that ransoming work on the cross when he cried, "It is finished." The life there laid down is a sufficient ransom-price for the sins of the whole world; and all will know of the fact and appreciate it in due time. But the price was not applied for mankind at Jordan, nor yet at Calvary. Our Lord's sacrifice was necessary before he could mediate the New Covenant. He must die as a sin-offering, in order to become the first-born from the dead, the Mediator, on the spirit plane. Then to be the world's Mediator, the risen Christ needed to have a merit or ransom-price in hand and, more than this, needed to present it to God on behalf of the world, before he could take control of the world and, through the agency of the Millennial Kingdom and under the terms of the New Covenant, proffer an uplift to Adam and his race--up, up, up, out of present conditions of sin and death. In a word, Justice needed to be satisfied as respects the penalty pronounced against Adam and entailed upon his race, before the great times of resurrection or restitution under the New Covenant could be inaugurated.
When Christ (possessed of the full ransom-price, sufficient for the sins of the whole world) ascended up on high, he did not present the ransom-price on the world's behalf. On the contrary, in harmony with the Divine programme for the selection of the Church of firstborn ones, the appointed Mediator for that promised New Covenant applied the merit of his sacrifice, not for the world and the cancellation of its sins, nor for the sealing of the New Covenant between God and the world of mankind--he applied it "on our behalf," for the sins of the Church, for the sins of consecrated believers. "He made satisfaction for our sins," as, by and by in the end of this Age, he will use his blood, the merit of his sacrifice (passed through the Church) and apply it to Justice for the satisfaction of the sins of the whole world.--I John 2:2.
Our Lord has various offices--Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator, Advocate, Judge. It was not as King that he appeared in the presence of God and made satisfaction for our sins--nor as Judge, nor as Prophet, nor as Mediator of the New Covenant. He appeared in the presence of God for us as the High Priest of our profession (or order)--as our Redeemer and Advocate with the Father.
Why did our Lord allow Israel and the world to remain in an outcast condition for these nineteen hundred years, after he had laid down the ransom-price, sufficient for the sins of the whole world, and after he was recognized as the one who will mediate the New Covenant of reconciliation between God and mankind?
The delay in the application of the ransom-price to the forgiveness of the sins of the world, the delay in sealing the New Covenant with Israel and making possible through it and them the blessing of all the families of the earth; the delay in bringing in "the times of restitution of all things" under the New Covenant arrangement, is for a special purpose. It is in order to permit the election or selection of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." (Eph. 5:32.) This mystery, which few are able to understand, is that a certain class, justified through faith, are permitted to join with their Redeemer as participators in his sacrifice, his sufferings, his death, in order that they may be granted a share with him in his glorious work of the Millennial Kingdom--in the blessing of natural Israel and all the families of the earth under the provisions of the New Covenant --to be sealed or made binding and operative by his application of his meritorious sacrifice on the world's behalf. "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him, and he will show them his Covenant." (Psa. 25:14.) "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 13:11), but to all outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings, that hearing they may hear and not understand.
It is not for us to determine who are of the properly sanctified under-priesthood permitted to share with the High Priest in his sacrificial work during this Gospel Age and, as members of his Body, by and by to share his glories, typified by Melchizedek's priesthood--"a priest upon his throne" blessing under the New Covenant Abraham and his seed and all the families of the earth. Blessed are our eyes if we can see this "Mystery!" Blessed are our hearts if we appreciate the privilege which the consecrated enjoy during this Gospel Age of sharing in the sufferings of Christ, in the death of Christ--of drinking of his cup and being immersed into his sacrificial death! Only those who thus suffer with him sacrificially as his members will be granted a share with him in glory as his joint-heirs--as members of the great Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator, Judge of the world.
In a word, then, the delay in sealing the New Covenant and blessing Israel, and blessing through Israel all the families of the earth, is not accidental, but quite of Divine intention. These nearly nineteen centuries are for the purpose of finding a special class of mankind, "not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world" (John 17:16), but chosen out of the world; and of granting these an opportunity to suffer with him as his members and thus to be in the end of this age through the First Resurrection recognized as his members, sharers in his resurrection, partakers of his glories. In other words, God purposed that all of his blessings should pass through Jesus, but first to allow the selection of the Church, to be his Bride, Associate, Joint-heir, in everything which he inherited under the Abrahamic Covenant. Thus it is written, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29) --heirs of all the privileges of the promise, associates in all the work of blessing all the families of the earth. The Church, therefore, Scripturally is declared to be a Royal Priesthood which, during the Millennium, shall share the Redeemer's throne. They are declared to be associates with Jesus in the work of judging the world. As we read, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" (I Cor. 6:2.) They are to be members of the great Prophet, the great Teacher--"A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren." (Acts. 3:22.) The raising up of the members of this great Prophet has been in process for nearly nineteen centuries. The Head was raised up first. The members of his Body will soon be raised up also, sharers in "his resurrection." Similarly these are members of the great Mediator between God and men and will have to do with every feature of the work of mediating during the Millennium. The Lord, the Head, will always be Head of the Church. As the Apostle says, God gave Christ to be the Head over the Church, which is his Body--the Head over all, God blessed forever.--Eph. 1:22,23. [R4515 : page 346]
We have seen how our Lord, when he ascended on high, appeared for the Church, for the household of faith only, as their High Priest, as their Advocate, but not as their Mediator, because the Church is not under the New Covenant, even as their Lord and Head was not under the New Covenant. He is the Seed of Abraham under the original Abrahamic Covenant. We, his Church, are also the Seed of Abraham under that Covenant. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to The Promise," The Covenant.--Gal. 3:29.
The New Covenant was made necessary as a supplement to the Faith Covenant or Abrahamic Covenant because, as the Apostle declares, "All men have not faith." (2 Thess. 3:2.) The great majority of Adam's race are so fallen as to be unable to approach God as Abraham did, and as the true Church does, through faith. The only way to benefit the great mass of mankind, therefore, is by the establishment of a Mediatorial Kingdom, which will forcefully put down sin and everything contrary to righteousness and give mankind a sample of righteous government, righteous conduct, and an experimental lesson illustrating the blessings which will accrue under Divine arrangement to the righteous --the provision being that whoever under the favorable instruction of the Mediatorial Kingdom will learn to love righteousness and to hate iniquity may have the great gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, under the operation of the New Covenant sealed with Israel, whose blessings will be dispensed during the Millennium.
Note how our Lord, before rejecting natural Israel at [R4516 : page 346] the First Advent, threshed and winnowed the entire nation and gathered all the wheat class, all of the "Israelites indeed," all who had the faith of Abraham and who, therefore, were eligible to the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. These all were blessed with the privileges of the High Calling--the privileges of sharing the sufferings of the Mediator of the New Covenant, that later, as members of his Body, having shared in his baptism into sacrificial death, they might share also in "his resurrection" to glory, honor and immortality; that, having shared in his cup of sorrow--participating in or partaking of "the blood of the New Covenant," they may, later on, share his cup of joy in the Millennial Kingdom.
These, in all "not many," need not wait to be reconciled to God by force, by submission, under the operation of the Mediatorial Kingdom of the Millennial Age. These, through faith, are already reconciled to God by the death of his Son; for, as the Apostle says, he not only reconciles us, but has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation, the privilege, the service of bringing others into a reconciled condition, into harmony with God. It is their privilege to use this ministry now with such as have an ear to hear--thus following the example of Jesus and the Apostles. But the ministry of reconciliation now committed to the faithful for the believing ears, will be extended to the world during the Millennium. The entire work of the Mediatorial Kingdom, under the control of the great Mediator King and his associate kings and priests, will be a work of reconciliation. The great Mediator will reconcile--or meet the demands of Justice for the sins of the whole world at the close of this Gospel Age by presenting the merit of his sacrifice on the world's behalf, after that merit shall have been used to the full and laid down by the Church, which is his Body. Then during the Millennium he will mediate or deal with "men"-- the world.
The "household of faith" whom God can and does accept under the Abrahamic Covenant, the Grace or Faith Covenant typified by Sarah (Gal. 4:22-31), is not only much smaller, but much different every way from the world of mankind referred to in our text as "men." Our Lord always spoke of the former as separate and apart from the world --"Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." The prophecy of the outpouring of the holy Spirit marks them as separate from the rest of the world. At Pentecost and during this Gospel Age, God has been pleased to pour out his holy Spirit upon his servants and upon his handmaids --upon such as can and do come into relationship with him through Christ, under the faith terms of the original Abrahamic Covenant. But he distinctly shows us through the prophecy that in due time he "will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh"--upon men--the world--mankind.
This distinct separateness of the Church class, called during this Gospel Age under the special blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant, in association with the Lord Jesus, is clearly and forcefully shown in the type of Isaac and his bride and joint-heir, Rebecca. Abraham (as a type of God) sent his servant Eleazar (type of the holy Spirit) to call a bride for his son Isaac. The servant presented certain proofs of his mission and authority and, when Rebecca believed and accepted Abraham's proposition to become Isaac's bride, she received certain gifts, typical of the gifts and fruits of the holy Spirit. Then by faith she started to meet her espoused husband. This is a God-given illustration and in full harmony with every text of Scripture. We do not read that Isaac called his own bride and then acted as a mediator between her and his father, nor that Isaac had anything to do with the drawing at all. In harmony we read our Lord's own words, "No man can come unto me (as a disciple, a follower, a joint-heir in my Kingdom--as a member of my Bride) except the Father which hath sent me draw him." (John 6:44.) And again, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he who is called of God, as was Aaron."-- Heb. 5:4.
Look at our text again; notice its setting! Why did the Apostle write these words?
The context shows that he had been advising that prayer should be made for all men and not for the Church merely; that prayer should include kings and those in authority. Our prayer for them should not be that they should be members of the Body of the High Priest and Mediator for the world, but our prayer for them should be along the lines that would be most helpful for the interests of the Church, the elect class now being gathered--"that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." (I Tim. 2:2.) The Apostle proceeds to explain why we should thus remember the magistrates of the world in prayer. He says, "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior." He is pleased to have us think generously, sympathetically, kindly of the world of mankind, for thus he himself thinks of them and he intends, "wills to have all men to be saved [recovered from the disadvantages of the fall] and to come to a knowledge of the Truth." He does not wish that all men shall now come to this knowledge, for he knows that Satan, the god of this world, is blinding the minds of many so that they cannot get this knowledge, and his time has not yet come for the binding of Satan; but, since it is his will that eventually all must come to a knowledge of the Truth, therefore it must be good and acceptable in his sight that we should pray for these and sympathetically consider their interests and welfare, as associated with our own.
In support of this position, that all mankind must be recovered from the death sentence and be brought to a knowledge of the Truth, the Apostle points out that God has made this provision, namely, that as there is one God, so there is one Mediator between God and men--between God and the world. The fact that this Mediator already has died for the sins of the whole world, a ransom-price, and the further fact that he has been recognized by God and highly exalted, gives us the assurance of the ultimate carrying out of God's gracious intentions on behalf of mankind. We see God and we see the condemned world and now we see the Mediator provided for the reconciliation of the two. After more than eighteen hundred years we still see the same; but we see additionally that the Lord has been calling and sanctifying a "little flock" as members of the Mediator's Body under this great Mediator Head. Then under New Covenant arrangements mankind in general will receive their share of the blessings of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus.
All mankind are "by nature children of wrath"--the household of faith (except its Head) included. All mankind were "enemies of God through wicked works," in the sense that, by reason of ignorance and the fall, they were [R4516 : page 347] violators of the Divine Law, and hence subject to Divine condemnation afresh, after they should be set free from the death sentence of original sin. The Church and the world, "men," were all alike thus far. Here, however, a difference is manifested. All were sinful, but all did not love sin. All were imperfect in the flesh, but some in their minds desired and felt after God. So many of this latter class as possessed the eye of faith and the ear of faith, God has been pleased during this Age to justify by faith. The remainder, blind and deaf, during the Millennium, under the Mediatorial Kingdom of Christ, will be dealt with along the line of force. Their eyes being opened and their ears unstopped, every knee must bow and every tongue confess.
Here we see distinct classes, and the reason for the distinction in the methods of God's dealing with them. Drawing some to Christ he permits them under the robe of Christ's righteousness to present their bodies living sacrifices and thus to become legally dead as men. At the same time, he begets these by his holy Spirit to a new nature, as members of and associates with his Son, the great Captain of their salvation. These as New Creatures need no mediator between them and the Father, for, as the Redeemer declares, "The Father himself loveth you." (John 16:27.) And St. Paul again declares, "Who is he that condemneth; it is God that justifieth." (Rom. 8:32,33.) If God himself has justified these and received their sacrifice, counting it "holy and acceptable," surely they need no mediator to come between the Father and them, but are themselves in preparation to be members of the Royal Priesthood, members of the Body of the great Mediator.
But these do need what the Scriptures declare them to have, namely, an Advocate. The world, which needs a mediator and his mediatorial Kingdom, will find God's provision for them to that effect. The Church, which needs an Advocate, finds that God's provision has already supplied this need. "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (I John 2:1.) But we (the Church) have no mediator with God--a mediator would be entirely out of place, an interference in the precious relationship of the Church acknowledged both by the Father and the Son.
But why do we need an Advocate? Because, although as New Creatures we are free from condemnation and have fullest relationship with the Father and can go to him at "the throne of heavenly grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need," nevertheless we New Creatures have not our new bodies and will not have them until we receive them in the First Resurrection. Meantime, according to Divine arrangement, we must use our earthly bodies, which both God and we acknowledge to be imperfect. Since we can act only through our bodies, it follows that "we cannot do the things that we would," because "in our flesh dwelleth no perfection." But if, through the weakness or ignorance of the flesh we err, the Divine provision for us is that our Advocate, whose ransom-merit was applied to us, [R4517 : page 347] will appear for us (figuratively apply his merit) for the cancellation of our unintentional misdeeds and thus maintain us in the Father's sight without spot or wrinkle.