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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Introductory. —The title ‘Mediator’ is applied to our Lord in the NT only by St. Paul ( 1 Timothy 2:5) and the author of Hebrews ( Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24). In  Galatians 3:19-20 St. Paul’s argument implies that there is an important sense in which Christ cannot be fitly called a mediator. Here Moses is described by this title, and the mediator (generic) is sharply distinguished from God. Moses was a person coming between two contracting parties, God and Israel, with the consequence that the law administered by Moses is apparently in opposition to the promises of God which depend upon God only. Obviously Christ is not such a mediator as Moses. He does not come between two contracting parties, for He Himself is the representative human receiver of God’s promise, and the Divine Son through whom we receive that promise. He includes both parties in His own Person, instead of coming between them. He is not the instrument of a contract, but the embodiment of a Divine gift. This passage implies that Christ united God and man, two parties previously at variance, in a wholly unique manner. And the same truth is asserted in the verse which calls Him ‘the one mediator between God and men’ ( 1 Timothy 2:5). In what sense St. Paul calls Christ a mediator will be shown more fully in § 3 .

1. The Synoptic Gospels .—Although these do not employ the title ‘mediator,’ they throughout imply that the teaching, life, and death of Jesus were mediatorial. The familiar old division of His mediatorial functions into those of Prophet, Priest, and King is roughly correct, though it may be better to designate them as those of Prophet, King, and Redeemer. By such a division we are able to find a more natural place for those passages in the Synoptic Gospels which speak of His atoning work, than if we use the word ‘Priest.’ We are also able to do more justice to the truth that He revealed Himself as already the Messiah during ‘the days of his flesh,’ and did not teach that His Messianic Kingdom was only an affair of the future.

( a ) The ‘wisdom’ of our Lord impressed His hearers at Nazareth, and when they were offended at the difference which they noted between Him and His humble family, Jesus said, ‘A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house’ ( Matthew 13:54-58). Here He seems in some way to claim the office of a prophet. And there are several passages which show that the ordinary people inclined to regard Him as a Prophet. See, fully, under art. Prophet.

( b ) He is also King. He claimed to fulfil the Jewish expectation of an ideal King, the Messiah. This cannot be reasonably disputed, in spite of the fact that this claim did not represent all that He was and all that He demanded. The confession of His Messiahship by St. Peter, the dispute between His disciples for places of honour, and especially the desire of the sons of Zebedee to sit on His right hand and His left, cannot be thrown aside as legendary inventions. Nor can we fail to see the Messianic meaning of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His trial and answer to the high priest ( Mark 14:62), and the inscription ‘The King of the Jews’ upon the cross. Apart from His Messianic claim, His life and His death become unintelligible, although He used the actual title very seldom, and rather avoided it on account of the political associations which clung to it. See, further, artt. King and Kingdom of God.

( c ) Jesus, who is Mediator in revealing God, is also Mediator in redeeming man. He offered to the Father a sacrifice of perfect human obedience which effected a new relation between God and mankind. It was a reparation to God for the disobedience of man.

In dealing with the redemptive work of Christ, we have to consider as of primary importance the place occupied by His death in the theology as well as in the history of the Synoptics. It is frequently asserted or hinted that He did not foresee His death until an advanced period in His ministry, and that, when He found that it was inevitable, He did not attribute to it any power of obtaining the remission of sins. These two theories do not elucidate the Gospels, but simply contradict them. All the accounts of our Lord’s baptism represent Him as hearing the words which declare that He is the Son in whom the Father is well pleased ( Matthew 3:17,  Mark 1:11,  Luke 3:22). He was, therefore, from the first conscious that He fulfilled the Isaianic picture of the Servant of the Lord, who dies as a guilt-offering for the people. In submitting to baptism, He identified Himself with a race that has sinned; in submitting to the subsequent temptation, He identified Himself with a race which suffers when Satan lures it to sin. He also predicted His death early in His ministry. He is the bridegroom who will be taken away in the midst of joy, and His disciples will fast at that day ( Mark 2:19-20). Later, He tells how He has to submit to the baptism of His Passion, and feels anguish until it is accomplished. He dreads it; but He desires it, because it is the necessary preliminary of His kindling a sacred fire on earth ( Luke 12:49). With these words we must compare the question addressed to the ambitious sons of Zebedee, whether they can drink of His cup and be baptized with His baptism ( Mark 10:38). The baptism and the cup represent the will of the Father with all the suffering which the doing of that will entailed. What that suffering was the story of Gethsemane tells us. It was there that He, with a final effort of His human will, identified Himself wholly with the Servant ‘wounded for our transgressions.’ But this identification had been outlined long before in the words, ‘Whosoever would be first among you shall be servant of all. For verily the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many’ ( Mark 10:45). This acceptance of death was not a mere example of perfect resignation. He had taught His disciples not to fear those who kill the body ( Matthew 10:28), He had assured them that ‘he that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it’ ( Matthew 10:39). But the disciple who loses his life for Christ’s sake does not necessarily win any life except his own, whereas Christ’s death avails ‘for many.’ With this prediction we must connect the words used at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Assuming that Christ did institute this sacrament, we may also assume that He who taught His own not to fear those who kill the body, did not mean that when His blood was shed ‘for many’ it was shed to save them from being killed by the Jews or Romans. Whether He did or did not add the words ‘for the remission of sins,’ He must have meant that a new covenant was being made between God and man. His death had some special value in itself, or else the Church would not have continued to show forth the Lord’s death ( 1 Corinthians 11:26). The special value which He attached to His own death is made plain by the account of the Lord’s Supper contained in the Petrine Gospel of St. Mark no less than in the Pauline Gospel of St. Luke. The shedding of Christ’s blood seals a covenant similar to the initial covenant made by Moses between God and the people ( Exodus 24:3-8); it consecrates a new people to God. It also fulfils Jeremiah’s prophecy of a new covenant, of which the very foundation was the forgiveness of sins ( Jeremiah 31:31). And, like the blood of the Paschal lamb, the blood of Jesus saves His people from a destruction that comes from God. With this sacrifice of Jesus His disciples are to hold communion. They appropriate the atonement, and as they appropriate it, it becomes for them a propitiation.

2. Acts of the Apostles and Epp. of St. Peter, St. Jude, and St. James .—The simple teaching about our Lord conveyed in Acts, more especially in chs. 1–12, and in the First Epistle of St. Peter and that of St. Jude and of St. James, justifies us in placing these books in a class by themselves. They represent a theology which in character, if not in date, is primitive, and in close touch with Judaism.

( a ) In Acts Jesus is set forth as Prophet, Messiah, Son of God, and Redeemer. From the first He is the Lord Jesus ( Acts 1:6;  Acts 1:21). And at Pentecost St. Peter proclaims that ‘God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified’ ( Acts 2:36). He is the Prophet whom Moses had foretold, and those who will not hearken to Him will be utterly destroyed ( Acts 3:22-23). His Messianic lordship is repeatedly preached; He is the Holy and Righteous One, the Prince of life, the Saviour, the Stone or foundation of the true temple, the Stone now exalted to be the Head of the corner ( Acts 3:14-15,  Acts 5:31,  Acts 4:11). He is Lord of all ( Acts 10:36), and there is salvation in none other ( Acts 4:12). Miracles are regarded as His work, though He is no longer visibly present. He is preparing for the ‘Day of the Lord,’ when the Divine Kingdom will be vindicated, and He has Himself poured out the Holy Ghost to fit the disciples for that day ( Acts 2:33). Moreover, is unique Sonship is implied in the expression ‘the Father’ as used in the beginning of the book ( Acts 1:4;  Acts 1:7,  Acts 2:3). Fitly does St. Stephen direct to Him his dying prayer, and Saul declare that He is the Son of God ( Acts 9:20). The whole mission and work of Jesus is therefore mediatorial. His death has also an atoning mediatorial worth. Of great importance in Acts is the identification of our Lord with the suffering Servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53. Our Lord had so identified Himself, as is shown not only by the quotation in  Luke 22:37 but by the whole tenor of His life from the time of His baptism. In Acts a keynote is struck by St. Peter’s words, ‘the God of our fathers hath glorified his Servant Jesus’ ( Acts 3:13). When Philip meets the Ethiopian eunuch he finds that he is reading Isaiah 53, and resolves his doubts by explaining that the vicarious sufferer is Jesus. Acts shows plainly that the Christian Church of the most primitive period applied to Jesus this prophecy. ‘Of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass’ ( Acts 4:27-28).

These Apostolic words show precisely how the Church regarded the death of Christ. He died, not as any ordinary martyr, but as the Messiah and the atoning Servant. The death was a necessity, not because it was simply inevitable from the surroundings in which Jesus lived and against which He struggled, but because God Himself required it as an indispensable means for the realization of His will for man. It took place by His foreknowledge ( Acts 2:23), it was foretold by His prophets ( Acts 3:18). Further, it would have been impossible for the Apostles to attribute this meaning to the death of Christ, unless they had been able to point to the empty grave, to assert that the Messiah lives, and that a direct relation can be established between Him and His sinful people. The Servant in Isaiah, though he died, lived again to ‘prolong his days.’ And because they were able to assert positively that Christ had risen, the first Christians were able to make the death of Christ a fundamental thing in their gospel. Repentance, faith, baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit, are the distinctive gifts which flow from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. St. Peter exerts himself to deepen a sense of sin in his hearers by pointing to the cross. They tried to destroy the Saviour, but God thwarted their effort by raising Him from the dead. Their act, so far from accomplishing what they desired, fulfilled God’s counsel. Let them repent while there is time, before Christ returns to judgment ( Acts 2:14-21,  Acts 3:19-20,  Acts 4:10-11,  Acts 5:30-31,  Acts 10:36-43). God offers forgiveness to those who are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and He offers the bestowal of the Holy Spirit to make a new life possible ( Acts 2:38).

If we compare this very early doctrine with that of St. Paul, we see that, simple though it is, it is radically the same. And against all modern attempts to represent St. Paul as the first man who inseparably joined together the thought of Christ’s death, of sin, and of atonement, St. Paul’s own words protest: ‘I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:3). He affirms that he received it, and his testimony is true.

( b ) In First Peter the mediatorial character of Christ’s death is always present to the writer’s mind. The doctrine of this Epistle may possibly have been influenced by that of St. Paul, but it is considerably less developed, and is such as we might well expect from St. Peter. The doctrine with regard to our Lord’s Person is simple. It is taught that He existed before He was born on earth, for He was not only ‘foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world’ ( 1 Peter 1:20), which might not necessarily imply a personal pre-existence, but His Spirit was in the prophets before the Incarnation ( 1 Peter 1:11). To Him, as to a Divine Being, glory and dominion are ascribed ( 1 Peter 5:11). In consequence of His resurrection, baptism ‘saves’ us ( 1 Peter 3:21). It has an inward power to cleanse the soul in response to the interrogation of a good conscience, because Christ rose and lives.

But it is the Passion of Christ, the ‘precious blood,’ that fills this letter with its peculiar glow. By that blood, ‘as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,’ we were ‘redeemed’ ( 1 Peter 1:18-19). It is a moral redemption, changing a former ‘manner of life’ into a better type of conduct. His action involved a patient endurance which it is the Christian’s duty to imitate ( 1 Peter 2:21,  1 Peter 4:1,  1 Peter 3:17-18). But it is, nevertheless, an objective external fact before it becomes subjective and inward. Christians are ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ ( 1 Peter 1:2). The life of obedience involves sprinkling with the blood. As the Israelites were received into a unique relation with God at Sinai by being sprinkled with sacrificial blood, so by the blood shed on Calvary, a new elect race is dedicated to God. It is this blood that has an abiding power to cancel sin. What Christ did in His Passion is clearly stated, ‘His own self bore our sins in his own body upon the tree’ ( 1 Peter 2:24). The word ‘bear’ means both ‘endure,’ and ‘carry’ a sacrifice to the altar. So Christ both endured the consequences of our sins, and carried them to the cross as if they were His own. He suffered for sins which were not His own, and He did it that we might be ‘healed.’ Again, St. Peter says that Christ ‘suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God’ ( 1 Peter 3:18). He is urging his readers to be prepared to suffer for righteousness’ sake; he hopes that their conduct may silence opposition, perhaps that it may bring others to God. But all the power to suffer rightly rests on an event now past. It is the solitary death of Christ ‘for sins’ that enables us to go to God and sets us right with God. Like St. Paul and like the author of Hebrews, St. Peter regards the death of Christ as the supreme event which established for mankind a free communion with the Father.

( c ) The Epistle of St. Jude and the Second of St. Peter do not add to the doctrine of Christ’s mediation. The lascivious sect against which the former is directed seems to have denied the reality of the Incarnation and of the Lordship of Christ ( Judges 1:4), which the writer regards as essential. He mentions the Holy Spirit, God, and our Lord Jesus Christ together ( Judges 1:21), and ascribes glory to ‘God our Saviour’ through Jesus Christ. 2 Peter also simply assumes the Divinity and mediatorial work of Christ. The writer describes himself as ‘the bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ’ ( 2 Peter 1:1), describes Jesus as ‘Lord and Saviour’ ( 2 Peter 2:20), speaks of growing ‘in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ ( 2 Peter 3:18), and of entrance into His ‘eternal kingdom’ ( 2 Peter 1:11).

( d ) In the Epistle of St. James little is said, yet much is implied, respecting the Person of Christ. He is ‘Lord’ and ‘the Lord of glory’ ( James 2:1). His is the ‘honourable name’ ( James 2:7) which was named over Christians in baptism. He is unquestionably regarded as the Mediator of salvation. For the ‘word of truth,’ ‘the implanted word’ ( James 1:18;  James 1:21), which the Christians have received, has come to them through Christ, and He is called ‘the judge’ who ‘standeth before the doors’ ( James 5:8-9). Moreover, the opposition manifested by St. James towards a misuse of Christian freedom is of a kind which implies that he, like the people whom he desired to refute, believed that faith gains blessings from God through Christ. He illustrates the necessity of good works by instances in which ‘works’ can hardly be distinguished from faith, but are its necessary expression. He insists that God requires a good life; but, no less truly than St. Paul, he insists that a living faith is requisite for salvation. There is no developed Christology, but the writer who calls himself a ‘bond-servant of God and of Jesus Christ,’ and is so faithful both to the letter and to the spirit of Christ’s moral teaching, must necessarily have believed that He is the Mediator between God and man.

3. The Pauline Epistles. —( a ) St. Paul’s doctrine of the Person of Christ is fundamentally the same in all his Epistles. And his whole teaching concerning the work of Christ is inseparable from the doctrine of His Person. Jesus is the Son of God, who, as such, possesses a superhuman and Divine nature. God is ‘the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ ( 2 Corinthians 1:3), and the Son shares in the spiritual immaterial nature of the Father. In his earliest Epistles, those to the Thessalonians, Jesus is called ‘the Lord Jesus,’ and each letter closes with the prayer that His ‘grace’ or unmerited kindness may be with His people. It is assumed that Jesus is exalted to heaven, is the Lord ruling the Church, and that He will return to judge the world. In the second group of Epistles—1 and 2 Cor., Gal., Rom. [Note: Roman.] —there is much teaching about our Lord’s Person. He is God’s ‘own Son’ ( Romans 8:3), and to Him alone belongs the privilege of being ‘the image of God’ ( 2 Corinthians 4:4). St. Paul applies to Christ passages which in the OT refer to Jehovah ( Romans 10:13,  1 Corinthians 2:16;  1 Corinthians 10:22), and in  Romans 9:5 says that He is ‘over all, God blessed for ever.’ The Son of God is more ancient than all creation, and ‘through him all things were made’ ( 1 Corinthians 8:6). He existed in heaven before He was ‘sent forth’ on earth, and this coming to earth was for Him the humiliation of exchanging riches for poverty ( 2 Corinthians 8:9). The last two facts are fundamental in the next group of Epistles ( Colossians 1:15-17,  Philippians 2:5-11).

The third group of Epistles—Phil. [Note: Philistine.] , Col., Eph.—illustrates these doctrines more fully.  Philippians 2:5-11 lays special stress upon the self-sacrifice involved in the Son of God taking ‘the form of a servant.’ In heaven He had ‘the form of God,’ but He ‘emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.’ This likeness is elsewhere called ‘the likeness of sinful flesh’ ( Romans 8:3). In Colossians, St. Paul attacks a superstitious theosophy which taught that worship ought to be paid to some intermediate beings who come between God and the world—a theory which implied that God could not come into direct contact with matter. Against this St. Paul insists upon the mediatorial work of the Son of God in both creation and redemption. He declares that the Son is the ‘image’ or adequate counterpart of the Father, and the ‘firstborn of all creation,’ i.e. , not the first being created, but, as the context shows, ‘born before all creation’ ( Colossians 1:15-16). All things were created in Him , since their existence was conditioned by His thought; by Him , since it was through His power that they came into being; unto Him , since all creation finds in Him the summit of its evolution. All things cohere in Him ( Colossians 1:17), and it was God’s purpose that all things should be summed up in Him ( Ephesians 1:10). The sum total of God’s attributes dwells in Him bodily ( Colossians 2:9). And the Church is an organism without which Christ deigns to regard Himself as incomplete, because without the Church His incarnate life would not continue to be manifested. It is an extension of the Incarnation. It is a body in which Christ Himself lives and works ( Ephesians 1:23), the suffering of its members completes His own ( Colossians 1:24) by making possible a further application to mankind of His saving power.

The Church therefore exists to promote a certain relation between God and man. That relation is one of union and communion. The new confession which is taught to us by the Spirit of God’s Son is expressed in the words ‘Abba, Father.’ The very Aramaic word used by Jesus in His communion with the Father in Gethsemane ( Mark 14:36) is used by St. Paul to describe the Christian’s attitude towards God. The prominence given by St. Paul to the love of God for man, for all men, for sinners, is unceasing. His certainty of God’s love rests on all that Jesus did and does, but the most fundamental proof of it was that Jesus died. By this God commends His love toward us ( Romans 5:8). This makes it obvious that God will give us all things ( Romans 8:32). And this equally proves the love of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:14,  Ephesians 5:2;  Ephesians 5:25). The death of Christ is, therefore, the highest proof of the love of the Father and the love of Jesus for mankind. The mediatorial work of the Son of God is a process involved in the whole relation of His Divine Person to the world. But it was focussed in one great event—His death.

( b ) St. Paul’s teaching about the death of Christ is entirely consistent. He teaches that there are two great elements in the process of the individual man’s reconciliation with God. The first is his faith in Christ, who died as a sacrifice on our behalf. The second is that inward, vital, and ethical union with Christ, the ‘life-giving Spirit’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:45), involved in our baptism ‘into Christ.’

To suppose that his language about dying as our ‘ransom’ or ‘price’ ( 1 Corinthians 6:20;  1 Corinthians 7:23,  1 Timothy 2:6,  Titus 2:14) is inconsistent with our need of identification with Christ, or that the moral identification excludes the need of a sacramental identification, is to create an imaginary false antithesis. Sacrifice, rightly understood, implies communion with the object sacrificed. And sacraments convey the power which is taken and used by that moral choice which is called ‘faith.’ Baptism begins our new supernatural life ( Romans 6:4 f.), the Lord’s Supper imparts to us sustenance for that life ( 1 Corinthians 10:3 f.). In both we enter into union with a Christ who died, and died ‘for us’ and ‘for sins’ ( e.g.  2 Corinthians 5:14,  Galatians 1:4,  Romans 8:32,  Ephesians 5:25). That death had a special meaning for mankind as a whole, for God the Father, and for Christ Himself.

(i.) The death of Christ effected a reconciliation .—By it we were reconciled to God ( Romans 5:9-10,  Ephesians 1:7). This is because God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself ( 2 Corinthians 5:19), and those who were ‘alienated and enemies’ Christ has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death ( Colossians 1:22). The action of Christ is identical with the action of God. In Christ living and Christ dying God was present, ‘not reckoning trespasses.’ He came to pardon when He might have punished. The cross, therefore, manifests the love and pity of God. And the reason why the love of Christ specially ‘constraineth us’ is ‘because we thus judge that one died for all (therefore all died); and he died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died, and rose again’ ( 2 Corinthians 5:14 f.). We feel the constraint of love when we see that Christ died a death which was a substitute for our death. If the Son had not died, we should have been left to experience the death of a sinner who is alienated from God. The work of reconciliation was done by the Father through the Son,—done outside us before it was done in us.

(ii.) The death of Christ removes the wrath of God .—Sinners are exposed to God’s wrath ( Romans 1:18;  Romans 1:32;  Romans 2:3;  Romans 5:10;  Romans 11:28). This wrath is not vindictiveness, but the attitude of a loving Father towards that which destroys the very life of His children. The wrath of God is removed when, ‘through faith,’ the sinner accepts Jesus as a ‘means of propitiation’ ( Romans 3:25). God justifies, acquits as righteous, those who avail themselves of that force which wipes away their sins. In providing this means of propitiation, God did something to counterbalance all His previous forbearance towards sin. He manifested His righteousness, His disposition to treat men according to a perfect moral law. When sin is passed over, righteousness is not manifested. But it was demonstrated when God showed that He could not forgive except at the tremendous cost of sending His Son to be a means of propitiation by His blood. The death of the Son was an oblation and a sacrifice to the Father ( Ephesians 5:2), wholly acceptable to the Father on account of the sinlessness and love of the Sufferer; and it is wholly adequate to the needs of the human soul, because it simultaneously removes the sinner’s sin and his fear of the judgment of God.

(iii.) Christ is not regarded by St. Paul as literally punished for the sins of all mankind .—These sins are not transferred to Jesus, for men who do not accept Him as their Saviour have still to answer for their sins. They are still under the wrath of God ( Romans 1:18). Nor were the sins of those who God foresaw would repent literally transferred to Jesus. In the Hebrew conception of the sin-offering, the offering was ‘most holy,’ which would have been impossible if sin had been transferred to it in any literal manner. At the same time, Christ is said to have been made ‘sin’ ( 2 Corinthians 5:21) and to have been made ‘curse’ for us ( Galatians 3:13).

The first passage may mean that Christ was made a sin-offering; the second may mean that Christ in some way fulfilled the type of the scape-goat ( Leviticus 16:21), which symbolized the disappearance of the iniquities of the children of Israel. Both these interpretations are somewhat uncertain. What is certain is that in  2 Corinthians 5:21,  Galatians 3:13 St. Paul means that Christ was treated as a sinner in order that sinners might become righteous; that He chose to die by crucifixion, a death which in Jewish eyes was symbolical of God’s curse; and that in dying He realized God’s curse or condemnation on the sins of the race of which He had chosen to be a member. There is no question of a literal personal punishment of Christ. It was a voluntary entrance on His part into a state in which, by a profound sympathy, He felt our calamity as though it were His.

Our Lord Himself had shown the connexion between His death and the forgiveness of our sins. The primitive Church had believed and experienced the reality of this connexion. And St. Paul, in preaching what he calls ‘the word of the cross’ so fully and vividly, was ‘faithful’ to ‘the much’ which was committed to Him by the risen Christ. He preached, as no other man has done, the Name which means that Christ saves His people from their sins.

4. The Epistle to the Hebrews. —( a ) The subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews is ‘the world to come’ ( Hebrews 2:5). This world to come already exists and has existed from the Creation. But it is regarded as still to come, because it has not yet been fully realized in time. It is a heavenly spiritual counterpart of this temporal material world in which we live. The material world, and the Jewish system of worship which belongs to this world, are not, in the strictest sense of the word, real. Christianity is the perfect religion, and is superior to Judaism, because its origin, worship, and priesthood belong to the heavenly world of which Judaism is only a shadow. The Revealer of Christianity belongs to the heavenly world. It is on His mediation that the existence both of the material and of the spiritual world depends. He is the ‘effulgence’ or ‘radiance’ of God’s glory, i.e. of God’s nature as shown to things created, and the impress of His essence; ‘upholding all things by the word of his power’ ( Hebrews 1:3). The Son, through whom the Father made the worlds, was appointed heir of all things prior to creation. By His almighty word (cf. ‘God said’ in Genesis 1)—a word which is itself an act—He carries the world to its goal. This Son, as essentially Divine, is above the angels, and is the object of their worship ( Genesis 1:7). He is above Moses, as the son of a house is superior to a servant, and as the founder of a house is superior to one who is only a part of the edifice itself ( Genesis 3:2-3).

( b ) But Jesus is especially our sympathetic High Priest ‘who hath passed through the heavens’ ( Genesis 4:14). Great stress is laid upon the fact that He endured all that we endure, sin apart. Having taken flesh and blood, and become in all things like His ‘brethren,’ He passed through temptations, shed tears, suffered death. His human prayer to God, offered during His agony, was heard on account of His ‘godly fear.’ He was strengthened to bear His burden, and was made perfect for His saving work by the discipline of His sufferings. He manifests the highest degree both of sympathy and of probation, and is therefore the Representative of man to God. He is able to enter with full sympathy into the lot of ignorant and erring man. He also possesses the other essential qualification of a High Priest, for He was Divinely appointed. He who proclaimed Him to be His Son, declared Him to be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek ( Hebrews 5:5-6). In the reality of His human experience and sympathy, and in the fact of His Divine calling, He resembled the Levitical priests. But He differed from them profoundly. They were sinful: He was sinless. They must offer sacrifices for themselves: His offering was solely for others. They served a temporary sanctuary: He ministers perpetually in heaven. He further differs from them because He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. The priesthood of Melchizedek had these two great characteristics: it was especially royal, and it was independent of any genealogy; whereas the priesthood of the Levitical priests was not more royal than that of all the Israelites, and their title to it rested on their descent from Levi. Christ is King as well as Priest; and as His Being had no beginning, the silence of Scripture about the ancestry of Melchizedek assimilates him to Christ. And since Abraham the father of Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, he acknowledged his inferiority, and compromised the Levitical priests by so doing. Their priesthood is lower than that of Melchizedek, which was an archetype of that of the Son of God ( Hebrews 7:1-10).

( c ) The sacrifice of Christ had these notes. (i.) It was the expression of the perfect obedience of His will to the will of the Father . No animal sacrifices can take away sins. They rather bring sins to remembrance than purge them away. Bulls and goats cannot give to God a conscious, voluntary, moral sacrifice. This the Son gave; He satisfied the will of God by so doing: ‘When he cometh into the world he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body didst thou prepare for me.… Lo, I am come to do thy will, O God’ ( Hebrews 10:5-7). By the offering of Christ’s body, which was prepared by God to make this great sacrifice possible, the will of God was satisfied, and by that will we are ‘sanctified.’—(ii.) It is one, and need not be repeated yearly . Every day the Levitical priests offer sacrifices which cannot cancel sin. In contrast with the ineffectiveness of those sacrifices, offered by priests still standing day by day, Christ offered one sacrifice on the cross, and then the adequacy of His offering was proved by His sitting down on the right hand of God ( Hebrews 10:12). His offering is valid for both past and future, and delivers men from ‘the transgressions that were under the first covenant’ ( Hebrews 9:15), in addition to giving a new power to those who live after the Incarnation has taken place.—(iii.) It is the basis of a ‘new covenant’ between God and man .

The best commentators differ somewhat with regard to the meaning of  Hebrews 9:15-16. But the natural explanation is that since the word διαθήκη meant both covenant or alliance and testament or will, the word is used in both senses, and the author was conscious of no logical difficulty in so using it. He means that God’s people, their sins having been taken away by Christ, are able to enter upon that inheritance, that rest of God, bequeathed to them by Christ, who Himself removed the encumbrance of past sins which barred access to it. But the idea of covenant is more fundamental. The only sacrifice of the Old Covenant which the Jews never repeated was that which established the original relation between God and the Hebrew people ( Exodus 24:3-8). This was dedicated with blood. So was the New Covenant, the blood of the Son being ‘the blood of the covenant’ ( Hebrews 10:29). And by it the whole region of man’s approach to God, the system of ‘the heavenly things’ themselves, was cleansed from the taint of sin. In  Hebrews 10:29 the writer has in mind the words spoken by our Lord in instituting His Supper.

( d ) The effect of Christ’s death on man is specially described by the ritual words ‘purify’ (καθαρίζειν), ‘sanctify’ (ἁγιάζειν), and ‘make perfect’ (τελειοῦν). These words do not exactly correspond with the terms of later theology. They are primarily ritual words, though they involve a truly ethical conception as used in this Epistle. They mean to remove the sense of guilt ( Hebrews 9:14) or ‘evil conscience,’ to dedicate to God ( Hebrews 10:10;  Hebrews 10:29,  Hebrews 13:12), to bring to that full enjoyment of spiritual privileges which the Levitical priesthood could not effect ( Hebrews 7:11). The result of this work done by Christ is our sense of forgiveness and free access to God through Christ ( Hebrews 4:16).

( e ) The Ascension is the culminating point of the Atonement as offered by Christ to God. As a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, i.e. with an eternal priesthood which belongs to the world to come, Christ offered Himself upon the cross ( Hebrews 7:27,  Hebrews 9:24-28). But as the Aaronic high priest carried the sacrificial blood on the day of Atonement into the Holy of Holies, so Christ entered heaven ‘through his blood’ having obtained ‘eternal redemption’ ( Hebrews 9:12). He now exercises a priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, but at the same time fulfils the type of the Aaronic high priest’s action within the veil. He still remains High Priest and acts as such ( Hebrews 6:20). Because He abideth for ever He hath His priesthood unchangeable ( Hebrews 7:24). He manifests Himself to God for us ( Hebrews 9:24), continuously interceding on our behalf ( Hebrews 7:25). Into all His intercession the value of His offering is put, so that He is ‘the minister of the sanctuary’ above. His work is still of a sacerdotal nature, ‘it is necessary that this high priest also have somewhat to offer’ ( Hebrews 8:1-3). The ‘somewhat’ is His blood or life. His blood retains its sacrificial efficacy, pleads to God for pardon, and speaks peace to man.

‘We have an altar’ ( Hebrews 13:10). Unlike the Jews, even the Jewish priests, who were unable to partake of the sin-offering offered on the Day of Atonement, Christians may partake of Christ.

The ‘altar’ of which they eat has been variously interpreted as the cross, the altar in heaven, and the Lord’s table. The first seems to be excluded by the fact that according to the writer’s argument the cross corresponds with the place outside the camp where the sin-offering was burnt, not with the altar in the tabernacle. Whether the altar here is the heavenly altar or the Lord’s table (cf.  Malachi 1:7;  Malachi 1:12,  Ezekiel 44:16;  Ezekiel 41:22), a reference to the Eucharist is included. And in that rite the pleading of Christ’s death by the Church is joined with the present intercession which He makes in heaven.

The special value of the Epistle to the Hebrews is that it presents to us the mediatorial work of Christ as a work of Divine worship. Without worship, Christianity would be merely a philosophy. And the author satisfies one of the deepest needs of the human soul when he teaches us the relation between Christ and His people in the life of intercession, a life which is for the Christian one of faith and confidence by virtue of all that Jesus did and does. The author also teaches us something of the philosophy of religion. St. Paul’s view of Judaism is wholly true, but it is not the whole truth. And this Epistle, with its peculiar dignity and calm, and a devotion to Christ not less real than that of the Apostle of the Gentiles, gives us a fresh insight into the Divine wisdom which made Judaism ‘a sacred school of the knowledge of God for the world.’

5. The Johannine writings

( a ) The Apocalypse .—Whether the Apocalypse be the work of John the Presbyter, or, as the present writer believes, the work of John the Apostle, its doctrine of the mediatorial work of Christ is of high importance. The book is full of the exaltation of Jesus. He is the Messiah, the unique Son of God ( Revelation 1:6;  Revelation 3:5;  Revelation 14:1), the Divine Word ( Revelation 19:13). He is the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root and offspring of David ( Revelation 5:5,  Revelation 22:16). He is the Lord’s Messiah ( Revelation 11:15). By His resurrection He has become Ruler of the kings of the earth, many royal diadems are on His head, and He is King of kings and Lord of lords ( Revelation 1:5,  Revelation 19:12,  Revelation 17:14,  Revelation 19:16). He has all authority, an authority given Him by God ( Revelation 3:21). His terrible might is suggested by the description of His feet, His voice, His eyes, and the sound from His mouth ( Revelation 1:14 ff.). With God He shares the throne of heaven ( Revelation 22:1;  Revelation 22:3), with Him He receives ascriptions of praise from the angels and the redeemed ( Revelation 5:13,  Revelation 7:10). He comes seated on a white cloud, like the figure in Daniel’s vision ( Revelation 14:14). He is the Morning Star who brings in the day of grace ( Revelation 22:16). The coming of Christ is the coming of God, and when the coming is accomplished God is called He ‘who is and who was,’ and no longer ‘the coming one’ ( Revelation 1:4;  Revelation 1:8,  Revelation 4:8, cf.  Revelation 11:17,  Revelation 16:5). He holds the keys of death and Hades ( Revelation 1:18), He is ‘the first and the last, and the living One,’ ‘the Alpha and the Omega’ ( Revelation 1:17-18,  Revelation 22:13).

From the beginning to the end the book contains deep appreciations of the mediatorial work effected by Christ’s death. (i.) It is a great demonstration of the love of Jesus ( Revelation 1:5). (ii.) It is a death which implies that a redeeming work was then accomplished, and that the Christian enjoys a liberty which was won by that death  ; ‘He loosed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father’ ( Revelation 1:5-6). And in  Revelation 5:6-14 the Lamb is praised in the words, ‘Thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe and tongue.’ The Lamb is ‘standing, as though it had been slain’; it is not dead, but has the virtue of its death in it. (iii.) The abiding power of the death of Christ is shown in this, that it is the source of moral purity and of moral victory under persecution . Even the virgins who follow the Lamb reach heaven only because Christ ‘purchased’ them ( Revelation 14:3-4), And the martyrs slain by persecuting pagan Rome overcame the dragon ‘because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony’ ( Revelation 12:11). The blood of the Lamb therefore did something in the past, for it released mankind from sin by the ransom paid to God. And it does something now, for it enables us to live and witness as Christ lived and witnessed. The mediatorial power of the blood of Christ is therefore a power without which the Christian life can be neither begun nor continued.

( b ) The Prologue of St. John’s Gospel contains an assertion which is of essential importance for all subsequent Christian theology. The Divine Λόγος, the Word who ‘was God,’ became flesh, and was incarnate as Jesus. This Word is both the expression of God and God expressed. The origin of the title is to be sought mainly in the OT and in Palestinian tradition. But St. John’s use of it was probably partly determined by its common occurrence in Greek philosophy, and more especially in the writings of the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. His doctrine of the Λόγος is more moral and less metaphysical than that of Philo, more Jewish and less Greek. Philo’s dominant idea is that of the Divine Reason , St. John’s is that of the Divine Word , the manifestation of the Divine will. The Jewish Targums use the phrase Memra or Word for God as manifested in His action on the world, and in  Wisdom of Solomon 18:15 the almighty Word of God is described as leaping down from heaven to smite the Egyptians. The term as used by St. John denotes inherence in God, as a thought or conception inheres in the mind—mediatorship between God and the universe of a kind which implies that God Himself comes into touch with the universe—and it requires as its complement the other title ‘only-begotten Son.’ In Philo the Λόγος remains a vague cosmic force, in St. John it is a definite Divine Person who becomes Man. See, further, art. Logos.

( c ) Although in the Fourth Gospel the word Λόγος is applied to the Son of God in the Prologue only, the same doctrine pervades the whole book. ‘We beheld his glory’ ( John 1:14) is shown to be true by the record which follows. In the Synoptics, Jesus seems to speak most of His own ministry and of men; here He rather speaks of Himself and His relations to the Father. There He frequently distinguishes Himself from His disciples in His relations to the Father; here He takes the same attitude more decisively. He declares Himself the Son of God ( John 5:25,  John 9:35-37 etc.), the Son in a unique sense ( John 3:16;  John 3:35,  John 5:19-22 etc.). Distinct from all others there exist the Father and the Son ( John 3:35-36,  John 5:19-22). The Father is the Source of the Son’s being and action ( John 5:19;  John 5:26). He does works in the Son; the Father and the Son know one another ( John 10:15,  John 8:55). They love one another ( John 5:20,  John 14:31,  John 15:9); they abide in one another ( John 8:29,  John 14:10-11). They are one, ἔν ( John 10:30,  John 17:11;  John 17:21-22). As the Father has life in Himself, He has given to the Son life in Himself ( John 5:26). So to see or to reject the Son is to see or reject the Father ( John 8:19,  John 14:9,  John 15:21-24). Men must render similar honour to the Father and to the Son ( John 5:23). The Son existed before He came into the world: He was before Abraham ( John 8:58), He was glorified with the Father before the world existed ( John 17:5): He came from heaven and returns to heaven ( John 6:62). The Father sent Him into the world ( John 3:16) to fulfil a certain mission ( John 5:36,  John 14:31 etc.), to speak, judge, and act in His Name ( John 8:36,  John 10:32;  John 10:37).

But the chief object for which the Son came was to save the world ( John 3:17) and to give it eternal life ( John 3:16;  John 3:36,  John 4:14 etc.). And Jesus is Himself the life ( John 14:6), and came that men might have it more abundantly ( John 10:10). He is also the light of the world ( John 3:19,  John 8:12,  John 12:46), because He teaches men to know God and His Son, and this knowledge is eternal life ( John 17:2-3). Jesus is therefore the Mediator of the life and the light of God for men. How are they to receive it?

We receive eternal life by attaching ourselves to the Person of Jesus Christ. We must believe on Him ( John 3:16). We must obey the Son if we are to escape from the wrath of the Father ( John 3:36). We must believe His claim or die in our sins ( John 8:24). We must abide in Him, as the branches in the vine, and abide in His love as He abides in His Father’s love ( John 15:1-10). Other conditions of salvation remind us of our Lord’s teaching in the Synoptics. It is necessary to be born again of water and the Spirit ( John 3:3-7), and to eat His flesh and drink His blood ( John 6:52-59).

The last injunction reminds us that the Divine life which is in Jesus becomes available for the Christian by virtue only of His death. It is sometimes held that Jesus is represented in this Gospel as saving men by revealing to them the truth about God, a revelation made in His own Person. But it cannot be said with justice that the mediatorial work of Jesus in this Gospel is only of this prophetic nature. St. John records a great deal about the death of Jesus which implies that the death has a propitiatory character in the Gospel as well as in the First Epistle. In  John 1:29 the Baptist describes our Lord as the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world. This must have a sacrificial meaning, for only by sacrifice could a lamb be conceived as taking away sin. In three passages ( John 3:14,  John 8:28,  John 12:32) our Lord speaks of Himself being ‘lifted up.’ Men will look to Him for life as the Israelites looked to the brazen serpent which Moses uplifted in the wilderness. Again, after He has been lifted up by the Jews, they will know that He is the Messiah. Lastly, He says, ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself’; the Cross, followed by the Ascension, will be the means of attracting Gentile as well as Jew. So He is the Good Shepherd, whose very vocation it is to lay down His life for the sheep ( John 10:11). His laying it down is wholly voluntary, b

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

one who stands in a middle office or capacity between two differing parties, and has a power of transacting every thing between them, and of reconciling them to each other. Hence a mediator between God and man is one whose office properly is to mediate and transact affairs between them relating to the favour of almighty God, and the duty and happiness of man. No sooner had Adam transgressed the law of God in paradise, and become a sinful creature, than the Almighty was pleased in mercy to appoint a Mediator or Redeemer, who, in due time, should be born into the world, to make an atonement both for his transgression, and for all the sins of men. This is what is justly thought to be implied in the promise, that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;" that is, that there should some time or other be born, of the posterity of Eve, a Redeemer, who, by making satisfaction for the sins of men, and reconciling them to the mercy of almighty God, should by that means bruise the head of that old serpent, the devil, who had beguiled our first parents into sin, and destroy his empire and dominion among men. Thus it became a necessary part of Adam's religion after the fall, as well as that of his posterity after him, to worship God through hope in this Mediator. To keep up the remembrance of it God was pleased, at this time, to appoint sacrifices of expiation or atonement for sin, to be observed through all succeeding generations, till the Redeemer himself should come, who was to make the true and only proper satisfaction and atonement.

The particular manner in which Christ interposed in the redemption of the world, or his office as Mediator between God and man, is thus represented to us in the Scripture. He is the light of the world, John 1;  John 8:12; the revealer of the will of God in the most eminent sense. He is a propitiatory sacrifice,  Romans 3:25;  Romans 5:11;  1 Corinthians 5:7;  Ephesians 5:2;  1 John 2:2;  Matthew 26:28;  John 1:29;  John 1:36; and, as because of his peculiar offering, of a merit transcending all others, he is styled our High Priest. He was also described beforehand in the Old Testament, under the same character of a priest, and an expiatory victim, Isaiah 53;  Daniel 9:24;  Psalms 110:4 . And whereas it is objected, that all this is merely by way of allusion to the sacrifices of the Mosaic law, the Apostle on the contrary affirms, that "the law was a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,"  Hebrews 10:1; and that the "priests that offer gifts according to the law, serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for see, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount,"  Hebrews 8:4-5; that is, the Levitical priesthood was a shadow of the priesthood of Christ; in like manner as the tabernacle made by Moses was according to that showed him in the mount. The priesthood of Christ, and the tabernacle in the mount, were the originals; of the former of which, the Levitical priesthood was a type; and of the latter, the tabernacle made by Moses was a copy. The doctrine of this epistle, then, plainly is, that the legal sacrifices were allusions to the great atonement to be made by the blood of Christ; and not that it was an allusion to those. Nor can any thing be more express or determinate than the following passage: "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin. Wherefore when he [Christ] cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering," that is, of bulls and of goats, "thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. Lo, I

come to do thy will, O God! By which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,"  Hebrews 10:4-5;  Hebrews 10:7;  Hebrews 10:9-10 . And to add one passage more of the like kind: "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin;" that is, without bearing sin, as he did at his first coming, by being an offering for it; without having our iniquities again laid upon him; without being any more a sin-offering:—"And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation,"  Hebrews 9:28 . Nor do the inspired writers at all confine themselves to this manner of speaking concerning the satisfaction of Christ; but declare that there was an efficacy in what he did and suffered for us, additional to and beyond mere instruction and example. This they declare with great variety of expression: that "he suffered for sins, the just for the unjust,"  1 Peter 3:18; that "he gave his life a ransom,"  Matthew 20:28;  Mark 10:45 :  1 Timothy 2:6; that "we are bought with a price,"  2 Peter 2:1;  Revelation 14:4;  1 Corinthians 6:20; that "he redeemed us with his blood," "redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,"  1 Peter 1:19;  Revelation 5:9;  Galatians 3:13; that "he is our advocate, intercessor, and propitiation,"

 Hebrews 7:25;  1 John 2:1-2; that "he was made perfect, through sufferings; and being thus made perfect, he became the author of salvation,"  Hebrews 2:10;  Hebrews 5:9; that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,"  2 Corinthians 5:19;  Romans 5:10;  Ephesians 2:16; and that "through death he destroyed him that had the power of death,"  Hebrews 2:14 . Christ, then, having thus "humbled himself, and become obedient to death, even the death of the cross; God, also, hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name;" hath commanded us to pray in his name; constituted him man's advocate and intercessor; distributes his grace only through him, and in honour of his death; hath given all things into his hands; and hath committed all judgment unto him; "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow," and "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father," Php_2:8-10;  John 3:35;  John 5:22-23 .

All the offices of Christ, therefore, arise out of his gracious appointment, and voluntary undertaking, to be "the Mediator between God and man;" between God offended, and man offending; and therefore under the penalty of God's violated law, which denounces death against every transgressor. He is the Prophet who came to teach us the extent and danger of our offences, and the means which God had appointed for their remission. He is "the great High Priest of our profession," who, having "offered himself without spot to God," has entered the holiest to make intercession for us, and to present our prayers and services to God, securing to them acceptance by virtue of his own merits. He is King, ruling over the whole earth, for the maintenance and establishment and enlargement of his church, and for the punishment of those who reject his authority; and he is the final Judge of the quick and the dead, to whom is given the power of distributing the rewards and penalties of eternity. See ATONEMENT and See Jesus Christ .

There is an essential connection between the mediation of our Lord and the covenant of grace. ( See Covenant . ) He is therefore called the Mediator of "a better covenant," and of a "new covenant." The word μεσιτης literally means "a person in the middle," between two parties; and the fitness of there being a Mediator of the covenant of grace arises from this, that the nature of the covenant implies that the two parties were at variance. Those who hold the Socinian principles understand a mediator to mean nothing more than a messenger sent from God to give assurance of forgiveness to his offending creatures. Those who hold the doctrine of the atonement understand, that Jesus is called the Mediator of the new covenant, because he reconciles the two parties, by having appeased the wrath of God which man had deserved, and by subduing that enmity to God by which their hearts were alienated from him. It is plain that this is being a mediator in the strict and proper sense of the word; and there seems to be no reason for resting in a meaning less proper and emphatical. This sense of the term mediator coincides with the meaning of another phrase applied to him,   Hebrews 7:22 , where he is called κρειττονος διαθηκης εγγους . If he is a Mediator in the last sense, then he is also εγγους , the sponsor, the surety, of the covenant. He undertook, on the part of the supreme Lawgiver, that the sins of those who repent shall be forgiven; and he fulfilled this undertaking by offering, in their stead, a satisfaction to divine justice. He undertook, on their part, that they should keep the terms of the covenant; and he fulfils this undertaking by the influence of his Spirit upon their hearts.

If a mediator be essential to the covenant of grace, and if all who have been saved from the time of the first transgression were saved by that covenant, it follows that the Mediator of the new covenant acted in that character before he was manifested in the flesh. Hence the importance of that doctrine respecting the person of Christ; that all the communications which the Almighty condescended to hold with the human race were carried on from the beginning by this person; that it is he who spake to the patriarchs, who gave the law by Moses, and who is called in the Old Testament, "the angel of the covenant." These views open to us the full importance of a doctrine which manifestly unites in one faith all who obtain deliverance from that condition; for, according to this doctrine, not only did the virtue of the blood which he shed as a priest extend to the ages past before his manifestation, but all the intimations of the new covenant established in his blood were given by him as the great Prophet, and the blessings of the covenant were applied in every age by the Spirit, which he, as the King of his people, sends forth. The Socinians, who consider Jesus as a mere man, having no existence till he was born of Mary, necessarily reject the doctrine now stated: and the church of Rome, although they admit the divinity of our Saviour, yet, by the system which they hold with regard to the mediation of Christ, agree with the Socinians in throwing out of the dispensations of the grace of God that beautiful and complete unity which arises from their having been conducted by one person. The church of Rome considers Christ as Mediator only in respect of his human nature. As that nature did not exist till he was born of Mary, they do not think it possible that he could exercise the office of Mediator under the Old Testament; and as they admit that a mediator is essential to the covenant of grace, they believe that those who lived under the Old Testament, not enjoying the benefit of his mediation, did not obtain complete remission of sins. They suppose, therefore, that persons in former times who believed in a Saviour that was to come, and who obtained justification with God by this faith, were detained after death in a place of the infernal regions, which received the name of limbus patrum; a kind of prison where they did not endure punishment, but remained without partaking of the joys of heaven, in earnest expectation of the coming of Christ: who, after suffering on the cross, descended to hell that he might set them free. This fanciful system has no other foundation than the slender support which it appears to receive from some obscure passages of Scripture that admit of another interpretation. But if Christ acted as the Mediator of the covenant of grace from the time of the first transgression, this system becomes wholly unnecessary; and we may believe, according to the general strain of Scripture, and what we account the analogy of faith, that all who "died in faith," since the world began, entered immediately after death into that "heavenly country which they desired."

Although the members of the church of Rome adopt the language of Scripture, in which Jesus is styled the Mediator of the new covenant, they differ from all Protestants in acknowledging other mediators; and the use which they make of the doctrine that Christ is Mediator only in his human nature is to justify their admitting those who had no other nature to share that office with him. Saints, martyrs, and especially the Virgin Mary, are called mediatores secundarii, because it is conceived that they hold this character under Christ, and that, by virtue of his mediation, the superfluity of their merits may be applied to procure acceptance with God for our imperfect services. Under this character, supplications and solemn addresses are presented to them; and the mediatores secundarii receive in the church of Rome, not only the honour due to eminent virtue, but a worship and homage which that church wishes to vindicate from the charge of idolatry, by calling it the same kind of inferior and secondary worship which is offered to the man Christ Jesus, who in his human nature acted as Mediator. In opposition to all this, we hold that Jesus Christ was qualified to act as Mediator by the union between his divine and his human nature; that his divine nature gave an infinite value to all that he did, rendering it effectual for the purpose of reconciling us to God, while the condescension by which he approached to man, in taking part of flesh and blood, fulfilled the gracious intention for which a Mediator was appointed; that the introducing any other mediator is unnecessary, derives no warrant from Scripture, and is derogatory to the honour of him who is there called the "one Mediator between God and men;" and that as the union of the divine to the human nature is the foundation of that worship which in Scripture is often paid to the Mediator of the new covenant, this worship does not afford the smallest countenance to the idolatry and will worship of those who ascribe divine honours to any mortal.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [3]

The very name of Mediator is precious. What, but for the Lord Jesus Christ becoming our Mediator, must have been the hopeless state of man to all eternity! Though under the article of Christ, (to which I refer the reader) so much hath been said concerning the person of Christ as God and man, and God-man united, the only possible suited Mediator for poor sinners, yet methinks the very name, at every renewed mention of it, calls up a thousand new endearments to prompt the heart to dwell upon it with unceasing rapture and delight. The apostle Paul felt this so forcibly, that whenever he speaks of his adorable Lord and master under this most precious character, he lays such an emphasis on his person as Mediator as serves to shew the high sense and feeling Paul had of the blessedness of looking up to the Lord Jesus in this point of view. Thus for example, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, the first chapter, and the tenth verse, where speaking, of the design of JEHOVAH in redemption, to bring and centre all things in Christ, and finally to make him the glorious end of creation, he saith, that "in the dispensation of the fulness of time, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him."Observe the strength of the expression with which the apostle closeth the account—even in him I so again, in his Epistle to the Colossians, ( Colossians 1:20, the apostle, speaking of Christ "having made peace by the blood of his cross," makes the same emphasis on the person of Christ. "By him (saith Paul) to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say," (saith the apostle) repeating the lovely name as if, and which was truly the case, he found a double blessedness in it—"by him, I say; whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."

And every one those heart is convinced of sin, and of the total inability in himself ever to come to God in any thing of his own, or by any way of acceptance in himself, how will he hail the Lord Jesus Christ in this most blessed and lovely and endearing of all characters, the only "Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus!" If the reader be of the number of truly convinced sinners, the peculiar fitness of Christ, as God and man in one person, for this office, will strike him with full conviction. He must be qualified for the office, who, as God, is one with the Father, and as man, is one with us; and indeed so qualified as no other could be. The partaking of both natures gives this completeness of qualification; so that would I have my cause, (and a cause so infinitely important as that the happiness of eternity hangs upon the issue) would I have my cause in one that is able? here it is in the hands of Jesus; for he is God, mighty to save. And would I have it in the hands of one that is near to me? here also it is, for it is in the hands of Jesus, who is "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh;" one who can have"compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; seeing that he himself (in the days of his flesh) was compassed with all our sinless infirmities." How blessedly the apostle follows up this Scriptural account of our Jesus! "Wherefore, saith the apostle, in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." ( Hebrews 2:17-18)

And if it will not be thought swelling this account too largely, I would beg to add, that over and above all our view and approbation of the Lord Jesus under this most precious and blessed of all offices, our God and Father's approbation of his dear Son, as such, tends to bring the Lord Jesus home still more if possible to our warmest affection. In the suitability of the Lord Jesus, and his personal fitness in this high character, (as such none but himself could ever be found) there is something so truly interesting when beheld as JEHOVAH'S appointment, as cannot fail to endear all the persons of the Godhead to the Lord's people. We discover hereby not only the wisdom of JEHOVAH in the choice, but the love of his heart in it also. The recovery of our nature from the fall, is the plan of infinite wisdom; and therefore he that accomplisheth this merciful purpose, shall be every way suited for it. But beside the wisdom displayed in the fitness of Christ, the love manifested in such an one as Christ performing it is most blessed: all the way along the heart of God the Father is seen in it. The Mediator to approach JEHOVAH, is his Elect, in whom his soul delighteth; in whom he beholds such unparalleled glory and beauty and loveliness, that the very heart of JEHOVAH is in all, and with all, Christ undertakes and is engaged in. There is something in this view of the mind of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, all taking part and becoming interested in the acts of the Mediator, that tends to make that office to his people yet more blessed, and readers him who is the person engaged in it, infinitely more endeared and endearing in every performance of it. Let the reader only turn to  Isaiah 42:1 and a few of the following verses, and then judge for himself of JEHOVAH'S great delight in beholding Christ in the character of Mediator. First he speaks of him, and calls upon the church to behold him: "Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles; he shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoaking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth; he shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth, and the isles shall wait for his law." He next speaks to him, and introduceth his address in the loftiest language of his Almightiness. "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out, he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it, he that giveth bread unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein, I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." And then, as if to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who allow Jesus Christ to be the Mediator, but deny him that GODHEAD by which alone the Lord Christ could be competent to this high office of Mediator, be adds "I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images:" hereby plainly proving, that as this office of Mediator is carried on and exercised to the glory of JEHOVAH, so none but one in JEHOVAH could be competent to perform it. It would have been to have given the glory to another, if the Lord Jesus had not been one with the Father, ever all, God blessed for ever. Moreover, the glory of opening blind eyes, and the like, would have been unsuitable to any creature; and as JEHOVAH, in the very opening of his address to Christ, claims this as his distinguishing prerogative, would he mean to claim the crown of creation and yet put the crown of redemption on the head of a mere creature? Would not this have been to have given his glory to another? Oh, how plain, how very plain it is, that in the call and appointment of the Lord Jesus to this blessed office of Mediator, it is God's dear Son, in nature and essence one with the Father, and in office the God-man, Glory-man, Christ Jesus! Oh! that modern infidels, calling themselves Christians, but in name only so, and not in reality, would seriously lay this at heart. "Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: blessed are all they that put their trust in him." ( Psalms 2:12)

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [4]

A person that intervenes between two parties at variance, in order to reconcile them. Thus Jesus Christ is the Mediator between an offended God and sinful man,  1 Timothy 2:5 . Both Jews and Gentiles have a notion of a Mediator: the Jews call the Messiah the Mediator or Middle One. The Persians call their god Mithras, a Mediator; and the daemons, with the heathens, seem to be, according to them, mediators between the superior gods and men. Indeed the whole religion of Paganism was a system of mediation and intercession. The idea, therefore, of salvation by a Mediator, is not so novel or restricted as some imagine; and the Scriptures of truth inform us, that it is only by this way human beings can arrive to eternal felicity,  Acts 4:12 .  John 14:6 . Man, in his state of innocence, was in friendship with God; but, by sinning against him, he exposed himself to his just displeasure; his powers became enfeebled, and his heart filled with enmity against him,  Romans 8:6 : he was driven out of his paradisaical Eden, and totally incapable of returning to God, and making satisfaction to his justice. Jesus Christ, therefore, was the appointed Mediator to bring about reconciliation,   Genesis 3:12 .  Colossians 1:21; and in the fulness of time he came into this world, obeyed the law, satisfied justice, and brought his people into a state of grace and favour; yea, into a more exalted state of friendship with God than was lost by the fall,  Ephesians 2:18 . Now, in order to the accomplishing of this work, it was necessary that the Mediator should be God and man in one person.

It was necessary that he should be man:

1. That he might be related to those he was a Mediator and Redeemer of.

2. That sin might be satisfied for, and reconciliation be made for it, in the same nature which sinned.

3. It was proper that the Mediator should be capable of obeying the law broken by the sin of man, as a divine person could not be subject to the law, and yield obedience to it,  Galatians 4:4 .  Romans 5:19 .

4. It was meet that the Mediator should be man, that he might be capable of suffering death; for, as God, he could not die, and without shedding of blood there was no remission,  Hebrews 2:10;  Hebrews 2:15;  Hebrews 7:3 .

5. It was fit he should be man, that he might be a faithful high priest, to sympathise with his people under all their trials, temptations, &c.  Hebrews 2:17-18 .  Hebrews 4:15 .

6. It was fit that he should be a holy and righteous man, free from all sin, original and actual, that he might offer himself without spot to God, take away the sins of men, and be an advocate for them,  Hebrews 7:26;  Hebrews 9:14 .  1 John 3:5 .

But it was not enough to be truly man, and an innocent person; he must be more than a man: it was requisite that he should be God also, for,

1. No mere man could have entered into a covenant with God to dedicate between him and sinful men.

2. He must be God, to give virtue and value to his obedience and sufferings; for the sufferings of men or angels would not have been sufficient.

3. Being thus God-man, we are encouraged to hope in him. In the person of Jesus Christ the object of trust is brought nearer to ourselves; and those well-known tender affections which are only figuratively ascribed to the Deity, are in our great Mediator thoroughly realized. Farther, were he God, and not man, we should be guilty of idolatry to worship and trust him at all,  Jeremiah 17:5 . The plan of salvation, therefore, by such a Mediator, is the most suitable to human beings that possibly could be; for here "Mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other." Psal 85: 10.

The properties of Christ as Mediator are these:

1. He is the only Mediator,  1 Timothy 2:4 . Praying, therefore, to saints and angels is an error of the church of Rome, and has no countenance from the Scripture.

2. Christ is a Mediator of men only, not of angels: good angels need not any; and as for evil angels, none is provided nor admitted.

3. He is the Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles,  Ephesians 2:18 .  1 John 2:2 .

4. He is Mediator both for Old and New Testament saints.

5. He is a suitable, constant, willing, and prevalent Mediator; his mediation always succeeds, and is infallible.

Gill's Body of Div. vol. 1: oct. p. 336; Witsii OEcon. faed lib. 2: 100: 4; Fuller's Gospel its own Witness, ch. 4. p. 2; Hurrion's Christ Crucified, p. 103. &c. Dr. Owen on the Person of Christ; Dr. Goodwin's Works, b. 3:

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

Old Testament Only once is a specific word used for mediator in the Old Testament. Bewilderment in the midst of extreme suffering forced from Job a plea for an arbiter, one to whom he could relate, to stand between him and God in judgment ( Job 9:33 ). The concept of someone standing between opposing persons as spokesman or reconciler is a central one in the Old Testament. In human relationships, a champion could come between armies and represent his people ( 1 Samuel 17:4-10 ), and an interpreter or spokesman helped negotiate agreements. In divine-human relations, a leader such as Abraham could negotiate with God for the sparing of a city ( Genesis 18:22-32 ), and a father such as Job could intercede with sacrifices for his family ( Job 1:5 ).

More often, kings, priests, and prophets took this middle position. The king embodied the people and, at times, represented God to them ( Psalm 93:1 ). Priests were consecrated to offer sacrifices of reconciliation, with the most awesome transaction dependent upon the high priest who entered yearly into the holy of holies to make atonement for the sins of his people ( Leviticus 16:29-34 ). Israel itself was to be a kingdom of priests to channel the blessings of God to all people. Constantly, the prophets had to recall the nation to its vows of obedience and deliver God's words of judgment and hope. The Servant Songs of Isaiah told of one—whose sacrifice of Himself would bring pardon to many ( Isaiah 53:1 ).

One of the greatest examples of mediators is Moses. He stood between the people and God, receiving the Commandments on which the covenant was based and beseeching God's mercy when the Commandments and covenant were broken ( Exodus 20:18-21;  Deuteronomy 9:25-26 ). Also, the wisdom, word, and Spirit of God were almost personified and used along with angels (messengers) as mediating agents ( Proverbs 8:22-31;  Psalm 104:4 ).

New Testament The Greek word used for mediator in the New Testament bore several ideas. Primarily, it meant an umpire or peacemaker who came between two contestants, a negotiator who established a certain relationship, or some neutral person who could guarantee an agreement reached.

The term is used of Moses in a negative sense ( Galatians 3:19-28 ). There Paul stressed the preeminence of the promise given directly to Abraham by grace over the law which was instituted through the mediator, Moses, when the people feared meeting God face-to-face (compare  Exodus 20:18-21 ). In  1 Timothy 2:5 , the term is used in a positive sense to designate Christ, the only necessary Mediator. This passage emphasizes not only that the legalities of the law or the ministrations of a priest are no longer necessary, but also that individuals cannot come into full communion with God by their moral or rational efforts alone. Full communion comes through faith in the Mediator who gave Himself a ransom for others.

The only other uses of the term occur in Hebrews where Jesus is presented as the Son of God who transcends all previous agents of the divine will and who mediates a new covenant ( Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24 ). In each instance, the mediation of a new covenant is bound up with Christ's sacrificial death.

Thus, all of the mediating activities of intercession, sacrificial atonement, and covenant making and guaranteeing culminate in the New Testament with Christ. He is the great Intecessor, praying for His disciples while on earth and continuing to do so in heaven ( John 17:1;  Romans 8:34 ). He is the supreme High Priest who enters once for all into the sanctuary to make a sacrifice of Himself that brings eternal redemption ( Hebrews 9:11-12 ). He is the Mediator of a better covenant which replaces the old one ( Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15 ). By remaining forever, He guarantees that the covenant He establishes will forever endure since His priesthood never ends ( Hebrews 7:22-25 ). As true God and true Man, Christ stands between and with both God and humankind and is the answer to Job's plea. Barbara J. Bruce

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [6]

Six times in New Testament ( Galatians 3:19-20;  Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24; also the verb,  Hebrews 6:17, Greek "mediated," Emesiteusen , "by an oath," "interposed as mediator between Himself and us with an oath"; Jesus is the embodiment of God's mediating oath:  Psalms 110:4). One coming between two parties to remove their differences. The "daysman" ( Job 9:33) who "lays his hand upon both" the litigants, in token of his power to adjudicate between them; Mokiach , from Yakach , "to manifest or reprove"; there is no umpire to whose authoritative decision both God and I are equally amenable. We Christians know of such a Mediator on a level with both, the God-man Christ Jesus ( 1 Timothy 2:5). In  Galatians 3:20 the argument is, the law had angels and Moses ( Deuteronomy 5:5) as its mediators; now "a mediator" in its essential idea ( Ho Mesitees , the article is generic) must be of two parties, and cannot be "of one" only; "but God is one," not two.

As His own representative He gives the blessing directly, without mediator such as the law had, first by promise to Abraham, then to Christ by actual fulfillment. The conclusion understood is, therefore a mediator cannot pertain to God; the law, with its mediator, therefore cannot be God's normal way of dealing. He acts singly and directly; He would bring man into immediate communion, and not have man separated from Him by a mediator as Israel was by Moses and the legal priesthood ( Exodus 19:12-24;  Hebrews 12:19-24).

It is no objection to this explanation that the gospel too has a Mediator, for Jesus is not a mediator separating the two parties as Moses did, but at once God having "in Him dwelling all the fullness of the Godhead," and man representing the universal manhood ( 1 Corinthians 8:6;  1 Corinthians 15:22;  1 Corinthians 15:28;  1 Corinthians 15:45;  1 Corinthians 15:47;  1 Corinthians 15:24;  2 Corinthians 5:19;  Colossians 2:14); even this mediatorial office shall cease, when its purpose of reconciling all things to God shall have been accomplished, and God's Oneness as "all in all" shall be manifested ( Zechariah 14:9). In  1 Timothy 2:4-5, Paul proves that "God will have all men to be saved and (for that purpose) to come to the knowledge of the truth," because "there is one God" common to all ( Isaiah 45:22;  Acts 17:26).

 Romans 3:29, "there is one Mediator also between God and man (All Mankind Whom He Mediates For Potentially) , the man (Rather 'Man' Generically) Christ Jesus," at once appointed by God and sympathizing with the sinner, while untainted by and hating sin. Such a combination could only come from infinite wisdom and love (Hebrews 1; 2;  Hebrews 4:15;  Ephesians 1:8); a Mediator whose mediation could only be effected by His propitiatory sacrifice, as  1 Timothy 2:5-6 adds, "who gave Himself a vicarious ransom ( Antilutron ) for all." Not only the Father gave Him ( John 3:16), but He voluntarily gave Himself for us ( Philippians 2:5-8;  John 10:15;  John 10:17-18). This is what imparts in the Father's eyes such a value to it ( Psalms 40:6-8;  Hebrews 10:5). (See Propitiation ; Ransom; Atonement; Reconciliation )

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [7]

Human beings, because of sin, are cut off from God and unable to bring themselves back to God ( Genesis 3:22-24;  Isaiah 59:2;  Ephesians 2:3;  Colossians 1:21; see Sin ). Therefore, there needs to be a mediator who can stand between them and God, and somehow bring them back to him. The only person who can really do this is Jesus Christ. He alone was both human and divine, and, being sinless, bore sin’s penalty on behalf of the guilty. Through him repentant sinners can be brought back to God and enjoy the fellowship with God that he desires for them ( 2 Timothy 2:5-6;  1 Peter 3:18; see Reconciliation ; Redemption ).

The work of Jesus through his life, death and resurrection is therefore the basis on which God deals with human sin and brings repentant sinners back to himself. This applies even to believers who lived in Old Testament times. Such people may not have known about Jesus’ death, but the eternal God did ( Revelation 13:8).

Through the nation Israel God taught the principles of his salvation. He chose Israel to be his people and gave them an order of priests and sacrifices as a means of approaching him ( Exodus 19:5-6;  Leviticus 4:27-30;  Numbers 3:10; see Covenant ; Priest ; Sacrifice ). In making the covenant with Israel, God used Moses as the mediator ( Exodus 24:3-8;  Acts 7:38;  Galatians 3:19-20). The people, in their approach to God, used the priests as mediators ( Leviticus 5:17-18;  Leviticus 16:15-17;  Hebrews 5:1).

With the coming of Jesus Christ, the covenant with Israel had fulfilled its purpose. God has now established a new and eternal covenant, Jesus Christ being the mediator ( Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24). He is also the priest through whom people approach God ( John 14:7;  Hebrews 4:14-16;  Hebrews 9:24;  Hebrews 13:15;  1 Peter 2:5). The basis on which this new covenant operates is Christ’s sacrificial death ( Colossians 1:21-22;  1 Timothy 2:5-6;  Hebrews 9:11-15).

Yet the earthly life of Christ is also important. Because of his experiences as one who has lived in the world of ordinary people, he understands the problems of believers. As a result he can plead sympathetically with God on their behalf, as well as bring God’s help to them ( Hebrews 2:17-18;  Hebrews 4:15;  Hebrews 7:25). (For further details see PRIEST, sub-heading ‘The high priesthood of Jesus’.)

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

One who stands between two parties or persons as the organ of communication or the agent of reconciliation. So far as man is sensible of his own guilt and of the holiness and justice of God, he shrinks from any direct communication with a being he has so much reason to fear. Hence the disposition more or less prevalent in all ages and in all parts of the world, to interpose between the soul and its judge some person or thing most adapted to propitiate his favor as a priestly order, an upright and devout man, or the smoke of sacrifices and the sweet savor of incense,  Job 9:33 . The Israelites evinced this feeling at the Mount Sinai,  Deuteronomy 5:23-31; and God was pleased to constitute Moses a mediator between himself and them, to receive and transmit the law on the one had, and their vows of obedience on the other. In this capacity he acted on various other occasions,  Exodus 32:30-32   Numbers 14:1-45   Psalm 106:23; and was thus an agent and a type of Christ,  Galatians 3:19 . The Messiah has been in all ages the only true Mediator between God and man; and without Him, God is inaccessible and a consuming fire,  John 14:6   Acts 4:12 . As the Angel of the covenant, Christ was the channel of all communications between heaven and earth in Old Testament days; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, he does all that is needful to provide for a perfect reconciliation between God and man. He consults the honor of God by appearing as our Advocate with the blood of atonement; and through his sympathizing love and the agency of the Holy Spirit, he disposes and enables us to return to God. The believing penitent is "accepted in the Beloved" -his person, his praises, and his prayers; and through the same Mediator alone he receives pardon, grace, and eternal life. In this high office Christ stands alone, because he alone is both God and man,  1 Timothy 2:5 . To join Mary and the saints to him in his mediatorship, as the antichristian church of Rome does, implies that he is unable to accomplish his own peculiar work,  Hebrews 8:6   9:15   12:24 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [9]

1: Μεσίτης (Strong'S #3316 — Noun Masculine — mesites — mes-ee'-tace )

lit., "a go-between" (from mesos, "middle," and eimi, "to go"), is used in two ways in the NT, (a) "one who mediates" between two parties with a view to producing peace, as in  1—Timothy 2:5 , though more than mere "mediatorship" is in view, for the salvation of men necessitated that the Mediator should Himself posses the nature and attributes of Him towards whom He acts, and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom He acts (sin apart); only by being possessed both of deity and humanity could He comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other; further, the claims and the needs could be met only by One who, Himself being proved sinless, would offer Himself an expiatory sacrifice on behalf of men; (b) "one who acts as a gurantee" so as to secure something which otherwise would not be obtained. Thus in  Hebrews 8:6;  9:15;  12:24 Christ is the Surety of "the better covenant," "the new covenant," guaranteeing its terms for His people.

 Galatians 3:19  Galatians 3:20 Job 9:33

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Job 9:33

This word is used in the New Testament to denote simply an internuncius, an ambassador, one who acts as a medium of communication between two contracting parties. In this sense Moses is called a mediator in  Galatians 3:19 .

Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man ( 1 Timothy 2:5;  Hebrews 8:6;  9:15;  12:24 ). He makes reconciliation between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a mediator must be at once divine and human, divine, that his obedience and his sufferings might possess infinite worth, and that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowlege and power to direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace which are committed to his hands ( Matthew 28:18;  John 5:22,25,26,27 ); and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be capable of rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the claims of justice ( Hebrews 2:17,18;  4:15,16 ), and that in his glorified humanity he might be the head of a glorified Church ( Romans 8:29 ).

This office involves the three functions of prophet, priest, and king, all of which are discharged by Christ both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. These functions are so inherent in the one office that the quality appertaining to each gives character to every mediatorial act. They are never separated in the exercise of the office of mediator.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [11]

Middle man, one who can stand between two and have intercourse with both. Such was Moses: he conveyed to the people the words of Jehovah, and carried to Jehovah the replies of the people. Again and again he pleaded their cause. The very fact of a mediator acting between two, is used by the apostle to show that God's acting with Abraham was on a different principle. "A mediator is not of one, but God is one," and He made to Abraham personally an unconditional promise.  Galatians 3:19,20 . The Lord Jesus is the Mediator — the only mediator — "between God and men" universally. It is through Him that God has been enabled to approach men in a Man with forgiveness of sins, and consequently to Him any poor sinner can go, and will in no wise be cast out. He is the Mediator of the new covenant that will be made with Israel in the future: they will be blessed only through Him, as the saints of God are now blessed through Him and in Him.   1 Timothy 2:5;  Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [12]

Mediator. One who interposes between two parties in order to bring them to agreement, or to a common purpose.  Galatians 3:20. Moses so interposed between God and Israel.  Exodus 20:19;  Deuteronomy 5:5;  Galatians 3:19. But the Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator in the highest sense between God and man; so that we and this special designation given him.  1 Timothy 2:5;  Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24. See Jesus Christ.

King James Dictionary [13]

MEDIA'TOR, n. One that interposes between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them.

1. By way of eminence, Christ is the mediator, the divine intercessor through whom sinners may be reconciled to an offended God. Tim 2

Christ is a mediator by nature, as partaking of both natures divine and human and mediator by office, as transacting matters between God and man.

Webster's Dictionary [14]

(n.) One who mediates; especially, one who interposes between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them; hence, an intercessor.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

a person who intervenes between two parties at variance, in order to reconcile them. The term does not occur in the Old Test., but the idea is contained in that' remarkable passage ( Job 9:33) which is rendered in the AuthVers. "Neither is there any Daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon' us both." The Hebrew words are, לאֹ יֵשׁאּבֵּינֵינוּ מוֹכַיחִ יָשֵׁת יָדוֹ עִלאּשְׁנֵינוּ ; literally, " There is not Between Us a reprover he shall place his hand upon us both." This the Sept. translates, or rather paraphrases, Εἴθε Ἡν Μεσίτης Ἡμῶν , Καὶ Ἐλέγχων , Καὶ Διακούων Ἀναμέσον Ἀμφοτέρων . (See Daysman). In the New Test. it is the invariable rendering of Μεσίτης , a word which is rather rare in classical Greek- Polybius and Lucian being, it would appear, nearly the only classical authors who employ it (see Robinson, N.T. Lex . s.v.). Its meaning, however, is not difficult to determine. This seems evidently to be, Qui Medio Inter Duo Stat he who takes a middle position between two parties, and principally with the view of removing their differences. Thus Suidas paraphrases the word by Μεσέγγος . and also by Ἐγγυητής , Μέσος Δύο Μερῶν . In the Sept. the word appears to occur only once, namely, in the above passage of Job.

1. It is used, in an accommodated sense, by many of the ancient fathers, to denote One Who Intervenes Between Two Dispensations . Hence it is applied by them to John the Baptist, because he came, as it were, between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations. Thus Greg. Nazianzen ( Orat . xxxix, p. 633) calls him Παλαιᾶς Καὶ Νέας Μεσίτης . Theophylact, commenting on Matthew iii, gives him the same denomination.

2. Again, it signifies, in its more proper sense, an Internuncius , or ambassador, one who stands as the channel of communication between two contracting parties. Thus most commentators think that the apostle Paul, in  Galatians 3:19, calls Moses Mediator , because he conveyed the expression of God's will to the people, and reported to God their wants, wishes, and determinations. In reference to this passage of Scripture, Basil ( De -Spiritu Sancto , cap. xiv), says, "Mosen figuram representasse quando inter Deum et populum intermedius extiterit." Many ancient and modern divines, however, are of opinion that Christ himself, and not Moses, is here meant by the apostle, and this view would seem to be confirmed by comparing  Deuteronomy 33:2 with  Acts 7:38-52. Christ it was who, surrounded by angelic spirits, communicated with Moses on Mount Sinai. On this point, the words of the learned and pious Chrysostom, on Galatians 3, are very express: "Here," says he, " Paul calls Christ Mediator, declaring thereby that he existed before the law, and that by' him the law was revealed." This application of the passage will be the more evident if we consider the scope of the apostle's argument, which evidently is to point out the dignity of the law. How could he present a clearer demonstration of this than by showing that it was the second person of the ever blessed Trinity who stood forth on the mount to communicate between God the Father and his creature man! Moreover, to contradistinguish Christ's mediation from that of Moses, the former is emphatically styled Μεσίτης Κρείττονος Διαθήκης ( Hebrews 8:6). This, however, implies that Moses was the mediator of the former covenant, and Eadie, in his Commentary on Galatians (ad loc.), shows at length that this is the meaning of the passage, in opposition to all other views. Moses is likewise often styled סִרְסוּר , or mediator, in the rabbinical writings (see Schottgen and Wetstein, ad loc.). But bethis as it may, far more emphatically and officially

3. Christ is called Mediator ( 1 Timothy 2:5;  Hebrews 8:6;  Hebrews 9:15;  Hebrews 12:24) by virtue of the reconciliation he has effected between a justly- offended God and his rebellious creature man (see Grotius, De Satifactione Christi, cap. viii). In this sense of the term Moses was, on many occasions, an eminent type of Christ. The latter, however, was not. Mediator merely by reason of his coming between God and his creatures, as certain heretics would affirm (see Cyril. Alex. Dial, I de Sancta Trinitate, p. 410), but because he appeased his wrath, and made reconciliation for iniquity. "Christ is the Mediator," observes Theophylact, commenting on Galatians 3, "of two, be of God and man. He exercises this office between both by making peace, and putting a stop to that spiritual war which man wages against God. To accomplish this he assumed our nature, joining in a marvellous, manner the human, by reason of sin unfriendly, to the divine nature." "Hence," he adds, "he made reconciliation." OEcumenius expresses similar sentiments on the same passage of Scripture. Again, Cyril, in his work before quoted, remarks: "He is esteemed Mediator because the divine and human nature being disjointed by sin, he has shown them united in his own person; and in this manner he reunites us to God the Father." If, in addition to the above general remarks, confirmed by many of the most ancient and orthodox fathers of the Church, we consider the three great offices which holy Scripture assigns to Christ as Saviour of the world, viz. those of prophet, priest, and king, a further and more ample illustration will be afforded of his Mediatorship.

(1.) One of the first and most palpable predictions which we have of the prophetic character of Christ is that of Moses ( Deuteronomy 18:15): "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." That this refers to Christ we are assured by the inspired apostle Peter ( Acts 3:22). Again, in  Isaiah 61:1;  Isaiah 61:3, Christ's consecration to the prophetic office, together with its sacred and gracious functions, is emphatically set forth (see  Luke 4:16-21, where Christ applies this passage to himself). In order, then, to sustain this part of his mediatorial office, and thus work out the redemption of the world, we may see the necessity there was that Messiah should be both God and man. It belongs to a prophet to expound the law, declare the will of God, and foretell things to come: all this was done, and that in a singular and eminent manner, by Christ, our prophet ( Matthew 5:21, etc.;  John 1:8). All light comes from this prophet. The apostle shows that all ministers are but stars which shine by a borrowed light ( 2 Corinthians 3:6-7). All the prophets of the Old, and all the prophets and teachers of the New Testament, lighted their tapers at this torch ( Luke 21:15). It was Christ who preached by Noah ( 1 Peter 3:19), taught the Israelites in the wilderness ( Acts 7:37),and still teaches by his ministers ( Ephesians 4:11-12). On this subject bishop Butler (Analogy , part ii, ch. v) says: He was, by way of eminence, The Prophet , the prophet that should come into the world' ( John 6:14) to declare the divine will. He published anew the law of nature, which men had corrupted, and the very knowledge of which, to some degree, was lost among them. He taught mankind. taught us authoritatively, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, in expectation of the future judgment of God. He confirmed the truth of this moral system of nature, and gave us additional evidence of it, the evidence of testimony. He distinctly revealed the manner in which God would be worshipped, the efficacy of repentance, and the rewards and punishments of a future life. Thus he was a prophet in a sense in which no other ever was." Hence the force of the term Λόγος , by Which John designates Christ. (See Prophet).

But, on the other hand, had the second person of the Trinity come to us in all the majesty of his divine nature, we could not have approached him. as our instructor. The Israelites, terrified at the exhibitions of Deity, cried out that the Lord might not so treat with them again; it was then that he, in gracious condescension to their feelings, promised to communicate with them in future through a prophet like unto Moses. The son of God, in assuming the form of an humble man, became accessible to all. This condescension, moreover, enabled him to sympathize with his clients in all their trials ( Hebrews 2:17-18;  Hebrews 4:14-15). Thus we perceive the connection of Christ's prophetic office-he being both God and man-with the salvation of man. On this subject Chrysostom ( Homil . 134, tom. v, p. 860) remarks: "A mediator, unless he has a union and communion with the parties for whom he mediates, possesses not the essential qualities of a mediator. When Christ, therefore, became mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2, etc.), it was indispensable that he should be both God and man." Macarius, also (Homil. 6:97), on this question more pointedly observes: "The Lord came and took his body from the virgin; for if he had appeared among, us in his naked divinity, who could bear the sight? But he spoke as man to us men."

Again, the Redeemer was not only to propound, explain, and enforce God's law, but it was needful that he. should give a practical proof of obedience to it in his own person (comp.  Romans 5:19). Now, if he had not been Man , he could not have been subject to the law; hence it is said,  Galatians 4:4, " When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law.;" and if he had not been God, he could not, by keeping the law, have Merited forgiveness for us, for he had done but what was required of him. It was the fact of his being very God and very man which constituted the merit of Christ's obedience.

(2.) Moreover, in working out the mighty scheme of redemption the mediator must assume the office of Priest . To this office he was solemnly appointed by God ( Psalms 110:4;  Hebrews 5:10), being qualified for it by his incarnation ( Hebrews 10:6-7), and he accomplished all the ends thereof by his sacrificial death ( Hebrews 9:11-12); as in sustaining his Prophetic character, So In This , his Deity and humanity will be seen. According to the exhibition of type and declaration of prophecy, the mediator must die, and thus rescue us sinners from death by destroying him who had the power of death. "But we see Jesus," says the apostle ( Hebrews 2:9), "who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." On the other hand, had he not been God he could not have raised himself from the dead. "I lay down my life (saith he,  John 10:17-18), and take it up again." He had not had a life to lay down if he had not been man, for the Godhead could not die; and if he had not been God, he could not have acquired merit by laying it down: it must be his own, and not in the power of another. else his voluntarily surrendering himself unto death-as he did on the charge. that he, being only man, made himself equal with God-was an act of suicide, and consequently an act of blasphemy against God! It was, then, the mysterious union of both natures in the one person of Christ which constituted the essential glory of his vicarious obedience and death.

Nor are the two natures of Christ more apparent in his death than they are in the intercession which he ever liveth to make in behalf of all who come unto God by him ( Hebrews 7:25). The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches us (chaps. 7, 9) that the high-priest under the Levitical dispensation typified Christ in his intercessory character: as the high-priest entered Alone within the holiest place of the tabernacle once a year with the blood of the sacrifice in his hands, and the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart, so Christ, having offered. up himself as a lamb without spot unto God, has gone into glory bearing on his Heart the names of his redeemed. We may then ask with the apostle ( Romans 8:33), "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." In this part of his mediatorial work God's incommunicable attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and onnipotence are seen. He must therefore have been God, and on the ground of his being able from personal experience to sympathize with the suffering members of his mystical body, he must have been man; being perfect God and perfect man, he is then a perfect intercessor.

(3.) We come, lastly, to notice Christ's mediatorial character As King . The limits of this article will not admit of our even alluding to the varied and multiplied passages of Scripture which delineate Christ as "Head over all things to the Church" (see  Psalms 2:6; Psalms 70;  Isaiah 32:1 :  Daniel 9:25;  Colossians 1:17-18, etc.). Suffice it here to say that Christ could not, without the concurrence of his Divine nature, gather and govern the Church, protect and defend it against all assailants open and secret, and impart to it his Holy Spirit, to enlighten and renew the minds and hearts of men and subdue Satan -all these are acts of his kingly office.

Such, then, is the work of Christ's mediatorship salvation revealed by him as prophet, procured by him as priest, and applied by him as king-the work of the whole person wherein both natures are engaged. Hence it is that some of the ancients speaking of it, designate it Θεανδρίκη Ἐνεργεία , "a divine-human operation" (see Dionys. Areopag. Epist. Iv Ad Caiam Damascenum , iii 19). Thus Jesus Christ is the mediator between an offended God and sinful man ( 1 Timothy 2:5). Both Jews and Gentiles have a notion of a mediator: the Jews call the Messiah אמצעא ,the Mediator, or Middle One. The Persians call their god Mithras Μεσίτης , a mediator; and the daemons, with the heathens, seem to be, according to them, mediators between the superior gods and men. Indeed, the whole religion of paganism was a system of mediation and intercession. The idea, therefore, of salvation by a mediator is not so novel or restricted as some imagine; and the Scriptures of truth inform us that it is only by this way human beings can arrive to eternal felicity ( Acts 4:12;  John 14:6). Man, in his state of innocence, was in friendship with God; but, by sinning against him, he exposed himself to his just displeasure; his powers became enfeebled, and his heart filled with enmity against him ( Romans 8:6); he was driven out of his paradisaical Eden, and was totally incapable of returning to God, and making satisfaction to his justice. Jesus Christ, therefore, was the appointed mediator to bring about reconciliation ( Genesis 3:12.  Colossians 1:21); and in the fulness of time he came into this world, obeyed the law, satisfied justice, and brought his people into a state of grace and favor; yea, into a more exalted state of friendship with God than was lost by the fall ( Ephesians 2:18).

We have seen above some of the reasons why in order to accomplish this work it was necessary that the Mediator should be God and man in one person. We may specify, the following in addition.

(a) It was necessary that he should be man:

1. That he might be related to those to whom he was to be a mediator and redeemer ( Philippians 2:8;  Hebrews 2:11-17).

2. That sin might be atoned for, and satisfaction made in the same nature which had sinned ( Romans 5:17-21;  Romans 8:3).

3. It was meet that the mediator should be man, that he might be capable of suffering death; for, as God, he could not die, and without shedding of blood there was no remission ( Hebrews 2:10;  Hebrews 2:15;  Hebrews 8:3-6;  Hebrews 9:15-28;  1 Peter 3:18).

4. It was necessary that he should be a-holy and righteous man, free from all sin, that he might offer himself without spot to God ( Hebrews 7:26;  Hebrews 9:14;  1 Peter 2:22.)

(b) But it was not enough that the mediator should be truly man, and an innocent person; he must be more than a man; it was requisite that he should be really God.

1. No mere man could have entered into a covenant with God to mediate between him and sinful men ( Romans 9:5;  Hebrews 1:8;  1 Timothy 3:16;  Titus 2:13).

2. He must be God, to give virtue and value to his obedience and sufferings ( John 20:28;  Acts 20:28;  2 Peter 2:1;  Philippians 2:5-11).

3. The Mediator being thus God and man, we are encouraged to hope in him. In the person of Jesus Christ the object of trust is brought nearer to ourselves. If he were God and not man, we should approach him with fear and dread; and if he were man and not God, we should be guilty of idolatry to worship and trust in him at all ( Jeremiah 17:5). The plan of salvation by such a Mediator is therefore the most suitable to human beings; for here "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other" ( Psalms 85:10).

The properties of Christ as Mediator are these:

1 . He is the only Mediator ( 1 Timothy 2:4). Praying, therefore, to saints and angels is an error of the Church of Rome, and has no countenance from Scripture.

2. Christ is a Mediator of men only, not of angels; good angels need not any; and as for evil angels, none is provided nor admitted.

3. He is the Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles ( Ephesians 2:18;  1 John 2:2).

4. He is the Mediator both for Old and New Testament saints.

5. He is a suitable, constant, willing, and prevalent Mediator; his mediation always succeeds, and is infallible.

For a more ample view of this important subject, see Flavel. Panstratia of Shamier, vol. iii (Geneva, folio), 7:1, in which the views of the Romish Church are ably controverted. See also Brinsley (John), Christ's Mediation (Lond. 1657, 8vo); Gill's Body of Divinity, 1:336; Witsii (Econ. Faed. lib. ii, c. 4; Fuller's Gospel its own Witness, ch. iv, p. 2; Hurrion's Christ Crucified, p. 103, etc.; Owen, On the Person of Christ; Goodwin's Works, b. iii; M'Laughlan, Christ's Mediatorship (Edinb. 1853); Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. s.v.; Buck, Theol. Dict. s.v.; Amer. Presb. Revelation 1863, p. 419. (See Atonement).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [16]

1. 'Mediator' is a word peculiar to the Scriptures, and is used, in an accommodated sense, by many of the ancient Fathers, to denote one who intervenes between two dispensations. Hence it is applied to John the Baptist, because he came, as it were, between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations.

2. Again, it signifies, in its more proper sense, an internuncius, or ambassador, one who stands as the channel of communication between two contracting parties. Some commentators think that the Apostle Paul, in , calls Moses mediator, because he conveyed the expression of God's will to the people, and reported to God their wants, wishes, and determinations. Many ancient and modern divines, however, are of opinion that Christ Himself, and not Moses, is here meant by the inspired Apostle, and this view would seem to be confirmed by comparing with .

3. Christ is called Mediator by virtue of the reconciliation He has effected between a justly offended God and His rebellious creature man. In this sense of the term Moses was, on many occasions, an eminent type of Christ. The latter, however, was not Mediator, merely by reason of his coming between God and His creatures, as certain heretics would affirm; but because he appeased His wrath, and made reconciliation for iniquity.