THE WORD MEDIATOR USED DIFFERENTLY
YOUR attention is called to our use of the word Mediator in the seventh line of the article, "Homing the Ark," page 308, October 15th issue. We there speak of the "officiating priest who acted as the mediator between God and the nation." It would have been better had we used a different word on this occasion; for instance, Advocate. Strictly speaking the Law Covenant constituted the bond of union between God and natural Israel, and Moses was the Mediator of that Covenant. The priest, strictly speaking, was not the Mediator, but, under the terms of the Law Covenant, which Moses mediated, the officiating priest was the Advocate, friend and representative of the Israelites before the bar of Divine Justice.
This well illustrates the too careless manner in which we, and nearly all Christians, have been accustomed to use this word Mediator. For instance, repeatedly in DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. V., we refer to our Lord as the "Mediator of the Atonement." This is entirely correct, if judged by the ordinary standards of our language as generally used by us all. Of late, however, this Journal has endeavored to draw the attention of the Lord's people to the fact that the Bible uses the word Mediator in a restricted sense and has urged that all Bible Students endeavor to take the Bible viewpoint only and to use the word Mediator from that standpoint alone.
The correction above made shows how difficult it is for any of us to rid himself of a habit. The use of the word Mediator in the Scriptures is restricted to the mediating of Covenants between God and man. The assumption is that God, being holy and unwilling to sanction sin in any degree, not only condemned it in father Adam and his race, but cut off all fellowship with the sinners, whom Justice had condemned to death. Nevertheless, God in mercy had already purposed a reconciliation between himself and such of the human race as might desire fellowship with him on a basis of righteousness.
THREE GREAT COVENANTS
The Divine purpose was outlined in three great Covenants. The first, or all-comprehensive one, was made with Abraham. The second, or Law Covenant, was made with Israel at Mount Sinai. It did not abrogate or set aside the first Covenant, but was merely an addition to it, which curtailed in a measure richer blessings, so far as Israelites were concerned. Their Law Covenant, which they thought to be unto life, they found to the contrary condemned them to death as unworthy of life. God allegorically illustrates these two Covenants by Abraham's two wives, as St. Paul explains in Galatians 4. The original Covenant was represented by Sarah, Abraham's wife; while the Law Covenant was represented by Hagar, a bond-servant, and not the married wife. As Sarah was barren for a long time, so God's Covenant with Abraham was barren. The Law Covenant of bondage, represented by Hagar, brought forth first the Jewish Nation, represented in the allegory by Ishmael, who could not, however, be heir of the original Covenant. As by and by Hagar and her son were punished for pride and controversy, and cast off, so the Jewish nation, developed under the Law Covenant, was cast off from Divine favor, as represented by the Master's words, "Your house is left unto you desolate."
As Sarah was long barren, until after Hagar's son was born, and became persecutor, so the Abrahamic Covenant, which was to produce the Messiah, was long barren. That Sarah Covenant has meantime produced the Lord Jesus and the various members of his Body, who have already passed into glory. "The Seed of Abraham," "The Seed of Promise," will be fully born shortly now, when the last member of the Elect Church, which is the Body of the Messiah, shall have stood the tests and been received beyond the veil, completing the First Resurrection of "Christ the First Fruits." Let us make no mistake on this point, but hear the Apostle's words, "We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise," the promised Seed through whom, with our Lord and Head, God will "bless all the families of the earth."-- Gal. 3:29.
A NEW COVENANT--KETURAH
Keep the matter clear before your mind and note that thus far there have been only two Covenants, the old, or original one, and the Law Covenant, which was added four hundred and thirty years afterward.--Gal. 3:17.
There have been just two classes developed under these, natural Israel and spiritual Israel. But the allegory continues: "For Sarah died" and Abraham took another wife, Keturah, which represented another Covenant, called in the [R4309 : page 12] Scriptures the New Covenant. Abraham had many children by Keturah, typifying the many children of God by the New Covenant during the Millennium, but none of them as an heir. As it is written, "All that he hath, he hath given unto Isaac." The children of Keturah, therefore, received their blessing through Isaac, and represent the restitution class of the Millennium, who will be blest by the antitypical Isaac, namely, The Christ. Two matters should be borne in mind here: First, Keturah did not become a wife, or Covenant, until after Isaac's marriage, which typified the marriage or union between Christ and the Church in the end of this age. Second, Abraham did not marry Keturah until Sarah was dead. In other words, this New Covenant typified by Keturah does not become a wife or Covenant, until after the original Covenant, represented by Sarah, shall have brought forth the Seed, the Messiah, through which the children of Keturah, the subjects of the New Covenant, are to receive their blessing. It should be evident, then, to all that the Messiah, the Christ, Head and Body, is not the offspring of the New Covenant, Keturah, but the offspring of the old, the original Covenant--Sarah.
The first mention of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31) was prophetic--a declaration to the Jews that God intended to give them a better Covenant than the Law Covenant, which they had found a bondage and unto death. That the New Covenant promises did not refer to the original one represented by Sarah is evident, not only by the fact that it is called a new one, but also by the fact that it was to bring them earthly riches, blessings, Restitution, etc., whereas the original Covenant was to bring forth a Spiritual Seed.
The promise of the New Covenant is, "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh, and your sins and iniquities will I remember no more." This will be grand for Israel and subsequently for the world of mankind. It will mean for them Restitution and will operate throughout the Millennial Age, by the close of which stony hearts will be no more; but mankind will have been uplifted out of sin and death conditions back to the full perfection of manhood, the image of God in the flesh, with a heart of sympathy and love and kindness, a heart of flesh.
Another distinction between our Covenant, the original one, and the other two, is that both the Law Covenant and the New Covenant have Mediators, while our Covenant, the original one, had no Mediator--needed none.
St. Paul points out that Moses was the Mediator of the Law Covenant and that there was no Mediator necessary in the original, or Sarah Covenant. (Gal. 3:19,20.) The New Covenant, however, is to have a Mediator; as the Scriptures distinctly declare, "Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant." (Heb. 9:15; 12:24.) This New Covenant is contrasted with the Law Covenant, and Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, is contrasted with Moses, the Mediator of the Law Covenant, showing that the New Covenant is better than the Law Covenant, because it has the better Mediator (Heb. 8:6), and that it supplants the Law Covenant; but is not better than the original or Sarah Covenant.
Before we discerned the Scriptural teaching of the "Plan of the Ages," showing the Law Age, the Gospel Age and the [R4310 : page 12] Millennial Age, and their several works, we knew no future place to apply the promises respecting the New Covenant, and hence, in common with others, we applied them to ourselves and this Gospel Age, entirely overlooking the various Scriptures to the contrary. It was very inconsistent for us to quote in one breath the Apostle's statement that we are members of the Isaac Seed, the children of the old, original Covenant, and then in the next breath to class ourselves as beneficiaries of the New Covenant. The difficulty all along was our failure to clearly discern the "mystery hidden from past ages and dispensations, but now revealed unto the saints."--Col. 1:26.
Had we studied the Lord's Word in a more saintly fashion, we might the sooner have gotten rid of the errors of the Dark Ages and have apprehended afresh the Apostolic teaching, namely, that the "Mystery" is that the Church, selected from both Jews and Gentiles to be the Body of Christ, are joint-heirs with him in the Abrahamic Covenant and in his entire inheritance. Only those who discern the truth of this, which is still a "Mystery" with the world and the nominal Church, are prepared to understand the "Divine Plan of the Ages" as a whole.
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT
When our Lord set before his disciples the first Memorial Supper he declared of the cup, "This is the blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sins." Notice that the blood of the New Covenant was shed for the many, the world of mankind; but only a few, the "little flock," the disciples, "the Body of Christ," were invited to drink of it, to participate with him in that cup. For 1800 years that cup has been passed to all of the consecrated. Those who have refused to drink of it have their names blotted out from the roll of the Elect, the Bride Class, the Royal Priesthood. Those who drink of it have the promise that they shall share with their Lord and Head in all of his great work as the Seed of Abraham. Thus our Lord said to his disciples who asked to sit on his Throne, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" (Mark 10:38.) Will you carry out fully the covenant of consecration to death which you made and on account of which you are reckoned as members of my Body? If this is your will, I will test you, to make your calling and election sure.
Those to whom it is given to know the "Mystery" of the Kingdom of God (and no others) may see that this entire Gospel Age, from the time of our Lord's baptism at Jordan to the present time and to the completion of the Church, is the one great Day of Atonement, the one great Day of High Calling to the Kingdom, the one great Day of sharing the Sufferings of Christ, that we may have part also in his glory to follow.
All of our work, therefore, is merely the "filling up of that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col. 1:24.) When all of those afflictions shall have been filled up, the glorious work of the Millennial Age will follow. That work comes under the New Covenant, Israel being first to participate and subsequently all nations. The world in the next age will not be blessed under our Sarah Covenant, the Seed of which is spiritual--no more than we are now blessed under the Keturah Covenant, the New Covenant, whose seed is natural, earthly.
When our Lord said, "This cup is the blood of the New Covenant," we should understand that, primarily the cup is his, and secondarily it is ours, who are his Body, sharing it and drinking it with him. There will be none of it left for others to drink of afterwards, for his command is, "Drink ye all of it." It was, therefore, primarily, our Lord's blood or [R4310 : page 13] death which was necessary to the sealing of the New Covenant, but by Divine arrangement the blood or death of his Church is also made necessary. Hence the New Covenant cannot be sealed, finished, made operative, until all the "members of the Body" shall have died, when the Great High Priest's "better sacrifice" shall be finished. It is, therefore, quite proper that our Lord's death or blood should be mentioned as the blood of the New Covenant, even though it be not applied until all the members of his Body shall have been sacrificed by him. Then he will apply all the blood, all the sacrifice, all the death merit, as his own on behalf of the world and seal the Covenant with God on behalf of men. After having sealed the Covenant with the Father, Christ with his Church will at once enter upon the great work of reconciling the world, restoring the world to harmony with the Father.
In this connection notice that only the sins of the Church have yet been cancelled; for, although our Lord's death contained quite sufficient merit for the sins of the whole world, that merit has not yet been applied to any but believers. Hence we read that our Lord ascended up on high, there to "appear in the presence of God for us"--believers. It is because he did not apply the merit of his sacrifice to unbelievers that we read that the "whole world lieth in the wicked one." This is in full accord with these Day-of-Atonement sacrifices for sins; the first for the household of faith, the Church, the Royal Priesthood, and the second for all the people, representing mankind in general, the world. Let no one get the misapprehension that the Church does any offering to God. We, according to the flesh, are dead, and as New Creatures only are we members of the High Priest's Body. It is the High Priest who does all the offering, and of that Priest the Head represents the entire Body. "We have an Advocate with the Father."
Bear in mind that our Covenant, the original one, had no Mediator. It needed none, because it did not attempt harmonizing rebels with the Divine Covenant, as the New Covenant proposes to do. The "world, lying in the wicked one," as declared in the lines of the parable, "We will not have this man to reign over us," will need strong restraints and coercions and stripes during the Millennium to force them to obedience. As it is written, "Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess," this being merely a preliminary, to the intent that the reign of righteousness may be inaugurated, so that all may taste of the blessings of the Divine government; so that as many as will may come into harmony with it. A Mediator is necessary, and the Messiah, Head and Members, will be that Mediator in whose hands of control the entire world will be placed during the Millennium, so that even the willing and obedient will not be directly introduced to the Father until the end of that Mediatorial reign.
But how different now! As soon as our eyes discerned "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," and as soon as our ears heard the message of God's love, we needed no compulsion. On the contrary, it was the Father himself who drew us to Christ, and, accepting Christ and being justified by faith in his blood, we are at once introduced to the Father by him and exhorted to present our bodies to the Father. So doing, these sacrifices were accepted in the Beloved, and we were begotten of the holy Spirit, and at once become children of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord to an inheritance incorruptible.
It is these New Creatures whom God has accepted that need no Mediator. We did need the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, and we still need an Advocate with the Father, because of our unwilling weaknesses of the flesh. Let us continually rejoice with our Redeemer and Advocate, without whom we can do nothing, and let us rejoice that in the Lord's provision the Man Christ Jesus, the Mediator between God and men (the world), has associated us with himself as his members, to be participants with him in his great work of reconciling the world. Let us rejoice that the Lord has made us "able ministers of the New Covenant," that we with our Lord may now be permitted to minister or serve, to the laying down of our lives and thus be prepared to be ministers or servants of that New Covenant to the world in general at the Second Coming of our Lord.
Then will come the antitype of Moses--inauguration of the Law Covenant. Moses came down from the Mount in the Lord's presence with a vail over his face, and sprinkled of the blood upon all the people. So we, having been changed to the glorious plane of spirit beings, shall be vailed from human sight, and, operating through the ancient worthies and others, we shall show to all men, the whole world, the fact that Divine Justice has been satisfied, and we shall sprinkle them, cleanse them, justify them and bring them into harmony with the Lord during the Millennium.