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The mediatorship was an office in the church instituted by God. lit was an office to which belonged the following duties: reconciling the people of Israel to God through a sacrifice by blood; praying for this people on the grounds of the merits of this sacrifice; blessing this people in God’s name and thus bringing the virtue of the sacrifice in living connection with them; speaking to this people God’s word and bringing them under its yoke. He who served this office was thus mediator of God and man. All the aforesaid duties formed his mediation. By virtue of his office, he occupied an intermediate position between God and man, the chosen people, and as the occupant of this position he formed the transit from God to man and from man to God.

We must guide against conceiving of the mediator of God’s covenant after the image of mediators such as we find among men. There is no real agreement whatever. The mediator among men deals with parties mutually hostile. The mediator comes between to reconcile the contenders to each other, i.e. to prevail upon them to come together for the settlement of their disagreements and to forgive and forget. The mediator of God’s covenant deals with a people—God’s chosen people—by nature dead in sin and hateful of God; but with a God who was so far from hating this people that in His fathomless love He gave His only begotten Son—the true mediator of God and of man—to stand in the breach and reconcile, through His atonement, this people to God. Thus the media- tor, as God’s gift, was the highest demonstration of the great love He bore His ill-deserving people.

In the light of the above observation it is plain that the ideal mediatorship was formed of the three fold office of prophet, priest, and king; and that all the prophets in Israel and all the priests and all the theocratic kings were mediators of God and of man be it that none performed all the duties that belonged to this office. Neither the prophet nor the king served the altar. If the view be taken that in the Old Testament Dispensation mediatorship consisted solely in bringing the sacrifices by blood and not also in the related actions of praying for the people, blessing them and speaking to them God’s word, Moses, who brought not such sacrifices, was not a mediator. But he was mediator. As such he was even the greatest of them all. None ranked with him.

He excelled as prophet. Since his passing there arose in Israel not a prophet like him (Deut. 34:10). Wherein, then, did he differ? Firstly, “in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, and in all the great terrors which he shewed in the sight of all Israel,” (Deut. 34:11, 12) in a word, in all the great power that he shewed and experienced. He reigned in Egypt. Through his living faith he brought Pharaoh and all the Egyptian host at his feet.

As prophet, he differed, further, in this that to him the Lord spake mouth to mouth, even clearly and not in visions, dreams and dark speeches as He did to the others (Nu. 12:6, 7). What is more, to Moses, in distinction from others, it was given to behold the Lord’s likeness (Nu. 12:7) by which is to be understood a superior revelation of God’s virtues. Before him the Lord made all His goodness pass and declared to him His name.

Thirdly, in Moses’ hand, in distinction from the hand of all the others, the law was ordained (Gal 3:19). It was he who received the law directly from God that he might give it to the people. In this legislation he was the middle person between God and the church of all ages.

Finally, since his passing there arose in Israel not a priest like him. When the people made them gods of gold and thereby committed a sin for which the animal sacrifices did not avail, he would have God blot him out of the book that He had written, would thus give his own life, that they might have life.

But however Moses excelled, he was but a shadow, a type of Christ, but then, certainly, a most excellent type. His mediation bears so plainly the impress of the features of the mediation of Christ.

Christ is God’s deliverer. On the grounds of His atonement He brings His people out of the house of a cruel bondage. So, too, Moses; he was God’s deliverer. Through the Passover that he instituted, he redeemed the people of Israel from their sins and brought them out of Egypt, Christ, as Moses, was a prophet mighty in word and deed.

Moses reigned in Egypt in the midst of His enemies. Christ reigns in the midst of His enemies and makes them His footstool.

As Moses revealed God’s wrath over Pharaoh’s sins, over his arrogance and wicked pride, and thereby saved his people, so does Christ bring down from Heaven the wrath of God in judgment over all unrighteousness of men that His kingdom may come and His people be saved.

With Christ God spake mouth to mouth. So, too, spake He with Moses.

Christ stood in the breach and appeased the anger of God against sin through the giving of His own life. There was present with Moses a readiness to be accursed from God for his people.

Through His intercession in heaven Christ turns away God’s wrath, lest He destroy His people. Over and over did the people of (Israel corrupt their way before God through sins that could not be atoned by animal sacrifices. Then Moses would pray for them; and his prayer always availed. It is especially on account ox these prayers that his mediation reflects so much of the glory of the mediation of Christ.

Yet, for all this, Moses as mediator was but a shadow; for he was only a sinful man. Thus, he fell short of what a true mediator had to be. Of the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, he was not the author. They were wrought by the wonder-working power of God in response to his faith. He could do all things but only through Jehovah with whom he reigned because he believed. Thus, his victory over the world as represented by Pharaoh was solely his faith. And his faith was God’s gift.

The salvation which he wrought out was but a shadow.

His passover and all the sacrifices which he instituted were but shadows.

He gave to the people the law. But, he was only a servant in God’s house, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after (Heb. 3:5). Hence, when as a result of the entering of the law, sin abounded, he stood helpless. All that he could do is complain to God. At times the rioting of sin in the people that God had placed in his charge so sorely vexed him, that he wished he were dead, as on the occasion of their lusting for flesh (Nu. 11). “Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?” He was saying this to the Lord, “And wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest this burden of all the people upon me? Have I conceived of all this people? …. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in thy sight . . .”

Of all men he was the meekest,—of all men, mark you. There were limits to his meekness. For he was but a mere man, and a sinful man. He was short of that patience—that inexhaustible patience—that enabled the true Mediator to bear with His people in all their sin and weaknesses to the end. In Kadesh, where they came, there was no water for them. And after water they and their little ones now panted. For they had marched for long hours. They chode with Moses. Their speech was exceptionally hard; for they were in an evil mood. Moses’ wrath burned. “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” he said to them, as he stood there, smiting in his heat the rock to which he should have spoken. He felt as though he could no longer endure their murmurings. The insufferable rabble! Let them perish, go to perdition, one and all. Such were his reactions to their complainings on that occasion. There were limits to his patience indeed. He was not the Christ.

He was but a shadow. Attend to his praying for them. His prayers prevailed. They were heard. The anger of the Lord was turned but not on account of the virtue of any sacrifice that he could bring. His proposal that he be blotted out of God’s book for the sake of his sheep was rejected on the ground that, whereas he was innocent of their sin, his dying for them would collide with the justice of God. Whosoever hath sinned against God, him will He blot out of His book (Ex. 32:33). Such was the reply by which the Lord countered his proposal; for he was but a mere man.

He finally went the way of all flesh on the very borders of Canaan. He might not bring his people into the land, because he had not believed God, to sanctify Him in the eyes of the children of Israel,—he, of all men the meekest, a great saint. So, when the Lord told him that the time of his passing was at hand, he preached to them his farewell sermon, in which, with all the fervor of his great soul, he, for the last time now, admonished them to love and fear the Lord and to walk in the way of His commandments. His discourse merges into blessings for the tribes. He sings of the excellencies of Israel. He has said and is silent. His earthly career is ended. So he goes up from the plain of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo. The Lord is there, too. And He shows him all the land. “This is the land,” said the Lord to him, which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed; J have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.” No, not thither, to that place, the earthy Canaan; but thither, to that heavenly country shall Moses go over. For he, too, died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth, and thereby declared that he sought a better country, that is, a heavenly. Wherefore God was not ashamed to be called his God: for He hath prepared for him a city.

“So Moses the servant of the Lord died there ‘in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab. . . . ; but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day. And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.”

Moses was but a shadow. The true Mediator is Christ. With respect to Moses He stands in the relation of antitype; and this because, besides being very man, He is also very God. Being very God, He is the true lawgiver. He is the author of the law and the end of it. And He writes the law—His law—on the tables of men’s hearts and thus sets up His kingdom within them. When Christ said to the Father, “sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; . . . Lo, I come,” the Father did not counter with, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book,” but He approved. And He came, did Christ; and He presented His own body a living sacrifice to God on the cross. Through His obedience, He conquered all our foes; He conquered sin and death and hell; He conquered the world—man’s world, the world that lieth in darkness, whose name is blasphemy and whose prince is Satan; the world that made war with the Lamb and that kills the saints and prophets; the world where stalks the curse of God. He trusted in God; and God delivered Him.

In distinction from Moses He could also with full propriety identify life—the heavenly life, which He merited for His own humanity and for His people—with His own person, which He did when He said, “I am (the resurrection and) the life.” Of this life He too, is creator as well as meritor. What is more, it dwells in His humanity, so that of His life we all receive. Thus, He is the true vine, i.e., the channel of life between God, the creator and fountain and His people the recipients of it, so that to be implanted in Him by a living faith is to have life. Without Him we can do nothing. He is the way and the truth because He is the life. No one has access to God except through Him. And in His face we see God. It is to this truth to which He gave expression, when He said, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me” (John 17:22, 23). So He prays now. So He prays everlastingly. He prays that through that Spirit the Father—the triune Jehovah—be in Him as the fountain and creator of life—true life—and that of His, Christ’s life we all receive now and forever. This is His mediation as the glorified priest in the sanctuary above. Also herein, He, in distinction from Moses, is the true mediator of God and of man.

So does He pray for His people, the house of God—the house in which Moses, however faithful in it was but a servant but of which Christ is the builder (Heb. 3:3). And as high priest He bears with His people in all their infirmities; for in all points He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin. And the love that He bears His own endureth; it endureth forever.

There is one more difference between Moses and Christ that we must notice. Moses reigned in Egypt. The Lord made him a God to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1). Christ reigns in heaven and on the whole earth. He is Lord of all lords and king of all the kings that are seated on the thrones of man’s kingdoms. As Moses, He too, does all things through God, because He believes. But more must be said of Him. Unlike Moses, Christ is the author of His own power and might, He being very God. Thus, He reigns also by His own might, by a might that originates with Him. It will not do to say of Him that, as compared with His enemies, among whom He must reign until they all be made His footstool, He is the stronger. There is no comparison here whatever. For our true mediator is almighty, with emphasis on the all. The might of His adversaries is His might. In Him, too, do they live and move and have their being. In all their wicked rioting, they are actually in His hand. He does with them according to His good pleas; re. And all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move. Hence, we trust in Him also as in God.

That we must have Christ before us also in His essential divinity in the contemplation of Him as Mediator is plain from scriptures such as this, “And unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of peace” (Isa. 8:6).

The mediation of Christ commenced with the entrance of sin and not before. Christ was not mediating for Adam before the latter’s fall. It was not necessary that He should, the reasons being that Adam was an earthy man and that, being created in the image of God, he was without sin and guilt. Thus, he had no need of the Christ, of the Mediator, to stand in the breach and reconcile him to God through a cross; no need of the satisfaction and righteousness that God prepared for His people through Christ—a righteousness apart from the law—the imputed righteousness of Christ with which God clothes His own, so that, though in themselves guilty and condemnable, they stand before Him guiltless and righteous and thus participating in Christ’s glory. In paradise, man lived as walking in the way of his own obedience. His righteousness before God was not the imputed works of a mediator but his own good works. The life that was his was communicated to him not indirectly through a channel of life, as is now the case with the redeemed of God, but directly. There was no Christ mediating for him through intercessory prayer.

Why did not this state of things continue? This question can be variously stated. Why did God make room for Christ the Mediator through sovereignly willing sin and through so arranging His providence that sin actually entered? The answer to this question we discover in the following scriptures.

“Beloved. . . .it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:5).

“The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:47-49).

“And having made peace through the blood of the cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).

It takes Christ, the Lord from Heaven, to show us God as He is, Not the first man but Christ only bears, can bear, the image of the heavenly, as He is the Lord from Heaven. Hence, it is only through Christ that the chosen of God come, can possibly come, into the possession of the heavenly glory. And it is only by this same Lord—the Lord from heaven—that things in earth and things in heaven can be reconciled unto God. This must be the implication of these scriptures. If not, the terrible cross of Christ was utterly superfluous. And this certainly cannot be. It is certainly a serious blunder to maintain that if the first man would have remained standing, God would have crowned his obedience with the glory that is now the portion of His people through Christ.