During our brief detour we covered the doctrine of Jesus Christ, his priesthood and briefly his two natures. This is our final lesson before returning to the verse-by-verse study of the book of Revelations.

  1. What sort of a Mediator should we seek for?

One who is very man and perfectly righteous and also more powerful than all creatures.That is, one who is also very God.

As we have shown, we are not able to make satisfaction to God for our sins, and neither can any other creature, because the severity of the crime requires an infinite punishment. An infinite punishment requires someone who is able to bring infinite satisfaction lest the punishment destroys the sinner. The only way the elect are able to pay the debt owed to God for their sins and remain alive is if some other satisfier or mediator takes upon himself our punishment in our place.

According to human reasoning no one member of the human race ought to survive this punishment. But if the destruction of the human race were the ultimate objective after the fall, it would raise legitimate questions about the usefulness of having implemented such painstakingly careful steps throughout history to keep the human race alive. If God, an omniscient and omnipotent Spirit, who knew even before the fall what He will accomplish with man, in fact, each and every individual by name, then it stands to reason that if manís ultimate destruction was an option, that God would have destroyed the human race immediately after the fall. To reason otherwise would imply that God would delay punishment for no reason at all, which is absurd.

The mere fact that God showed mercy to mankind by not destroying all of creation immediately after the fall is already proof that the ultimate salvation of some has always been part of Godís plan. It is proof of the existence of salvation history because God also did not immediately remove the elect from mankind but left them among the dead, even causing more being born into the fold of the dead so that He may save them once their free wills have been educated to freely desire to glorify him.The fall proved that their free will and desire was only in its infancy and salvation history would take them through the furnace of affliction to purify and strengthen them: to be mature and perfect in their faith at the end of time.

The candidates for mediator were: man himself, any other creature, God, and someone who would be both man and God.As we have shown, any creature could not have suffered the punishment necessary to satisfy for the crime. Even destroying all creatures would have left the satisfaction wanting. Man himself, even though the true culprit, could not satisfy either because he would also be destroyed leaving the satisfaction wanting. Most of all, the purpose of God is to gather for himself a people and destroying mankind would have thwarted this purpose. God alone could not bring satisfaction for the crime either unless God was willing to compromise his justice because if man sinned, man should pay. If God paid instead, it would mean that he merely forgave the crime without demanding that justice be done, which is absurd.

So, only a man could pay but it had to be a man that could survive the ultimate punishment. That man is Jesus the Christ. Thatís the kind of mediator we should seek for and He is to be found in the gospel.

We will discuss this more fully in the following questions.

  1. Why must our Mediator be very man and perfectly righteous?

The justice of God demands that the same human nature, which had sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others.

Let's consider the following three points in this respect, namely, it behooved our mediator to be man, it behooved him to be very man, and it behooved him to be a perfectly righteous man.

a)     It behooved our mediator to be man.Firstly because it was a man that sinned.It was necessary, therefore, that man should make satisfaction for sins.

Romans 5:12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.

I Corinthians 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

Secondly, that he might be able to suffer and die.It was necessary that he should make satisfaction for us by his death and by the shedding of his blood, because Scripture teaches us in,

Genesis 2:17 But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

Hebrews 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

So, our mediator had to be a man.

b)     It behooved him to be very man, descending from the same human nature that sinned and not created out of nothing or let down from heaven, but subject to all our infirmities except sin, for the following reasons:

i.                   Because the justice of God required that the same human nature that sinned should make the satisfaction. (Ezekiel 18:20, Gen 2:17).

It was necessary, therefore, that the mediator should be from the posterity of Adam.

I Corinthians 15:21, 22 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

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

Hebrews 2:16 - 18 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

So, Scripture teaches also that we are buried with Christ in baptism, crucified with him, and raised with him.

Romans 6:4 - 7 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection, 6for we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. 7Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Colossians 2:12 - 14 Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

ii.                 Because the truth of God required it. The prophets, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, often described our Mediator as one that is poor, weak, despised, and so on, as we see in Isaiah 53, among other.

iii.               Because of our comfort.If we did not know him to have sprung from Adam, we could not receive him as the promised Messiah and as our brother, since the promise is that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, and 'in your seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed'. (Gen 3:15 and 22:18).

We read in

Hebrews 2:11 - 16 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." 13And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil- 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.

iv.               That he might be a faithful High Priest able to assist and comfort those who are tempted.

Hebrews 2:17, 18 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

c)      It behooved him to be a righteous man.He had to be wholly free from the least stain of actual and original sin that he might deservedly be our Savior and that his sacrifice might avail, not for himself but for us: for if he himself had been a sinner, he would have had to satisfy for his own sins, which would have been impossible since the wages of sin is death.

Isaiah 53:11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

I Peter 2:22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."

I Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

If the mediator had been a sinner, he could not have escaped the wrath of God and would have perished, much less could he have procured for others the favor of God.Therefore, God made him to be a sin for us, that is, a sacrifice for sin.

II Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Hebrews 7:26 -28 Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

The man Christ was perfectly righteous.He has fulfilled the law in four respects, namely.

i.                    By his own righteousness.

Christ alone performed perfect obedience, such as the law requires.

ii.                  By enduring punishment sufficient for our sins.There was a necessity that this double fulfillment of the law should be in Christ: for unless his righteousness had been full and perfect, he could not have satisfied for the sins of others. And unless he had endured such punishment as was necessary, he could not have delivered us from everlasting punishment.The former is called the fulfilling of the law by obedience, by which He himself was conformable thereto; the latter is the fulfilling of the law by punishment, which He suffered for us, that we might not remain subject to eternal condemnation.

iii.                Christ fulfills the law in us by his Spirit when He regenerates us by the same Spirit.By the law He leads us to that obedience that is required from us, which is both external and internal, which we commence in this life and which we shall perfectly and fully perform in the life to come.

iv.                Christ fulfills the law by teaching it and freeing it from errors and interpolations and by restoring its true sense as He himself said in

Matthew 5:17, 18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them, 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

  1. Why must he be very God also?

That He might, by the power of his Godhead, sustain, in his human nature, the burden of God's wrath and might obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life.

As we have shown, it was necessary that our Mediator should be a man, and one that was truly such, and also perfectly righteous. We will now show that He should also be God, the true and mighty God.Not an imaginary Deity or someone who was adorned with excellent gifts, above angels and men, as heretics imagine.But our Mediator had to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.Our Mediator is the only, one true God. The reasons for this are the following:

a)     That He might, by the power of his Godhead, sustain, in his human nature, the infinite wrath of God against sins and endure such a punishment, which, although it were temporal with respect to its duration, was nevertheless infinite in greatness, dignity and value.

As we have shown, if our mediator had been only a man, he would have been crushed under the burden of God's wrath.It was necessary, therefore, that He should be possessed with infinite strength and for this reason he had to be Divine, eternal: God himself.As God he could endure an infinite punishment without sinking into despair or being crushed under the weight of it.

There was a necessity that the punishment of the Mediator should be of infinite value and equivalent to that which is eternal, that there might be a proportion between sin and the punishment thereof.For there is not one sin among all the sins committed, from the beginning to the end of the world, so small that it does not deserve eternal death.Every sin is so exceedingly sinful, that it cannot be expiated even by the eternal destruction of a creature.

The punishment of the Mediator was designed to be finite in respect to time, because it was not necessary that He should forever remain under death as a mere mortal would have to. Christ is so powerful, being God himself, that in the finite time of his punishment He delivered up sufficient merit for the redemption of the elect, for those who have already departed this life and for those who would still be born. He perfectly merited for all the sins of the elect, past, present and future.

He also merited our righteousness and bestowed it upon us that He might be the perfect Savior in merit and efficacy.Remaining in death for an infinite period of time was never a prerequisite for satisfaction, but enduring the punishment and being obedient were.Infinite death and punishment were brought into perspective to show that even if man would make such an infinite sacrifice it would be futile. Christ has so much more dignity and is so much higher than man, that his three days in the tomb was more than sufficient to produce the necessary merit to liberate all the elect for all times. Everlasting death, therefore, was a consequence of the punishment only if mortal man had to endure it.

It was necessary also that the Mediator should overcome death by his own power and first throw it off from himself. This would not have been possible if he had not been God.

b)     It was necessary that the ransom that the Redeemer paid should be of infinite value, that it might possess a dignity and merit sufficient for the redemption of our souls.It was also necessary that it might avail in the judgment of God for the purpose of expiating our sins and restoring in us that righteousness and life which we had lost.

Hence, it became the person who would make this satisfaction for us to possess infinite dignity, that is, to be God.The dignity of this satisfaction, which had to be acceptable to God and be of infinite worth, although temporal, consists in two things, namely, in the dignity of the Person and in the greatness of the punishment.

The dignity of the person who suffered appears in this, that it was God, the Creator himself, who died for the sins of the world; which is infinitely more than the destruction of all creatures and even all of creation, and avails more than the holiness of all the angels and men.Hence, it is, that the Apostles, when they speak of the sufferings of Christ, almost always make mention of his Divinity.

Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

I John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

John 1:29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

The greatness of the punishment that Christ endured appears in this that He sustained the dreadful torments of hell and the wrath of God against the sins of the whole world.

Psalm 116:3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Isaiah 53:10 - 12 Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

From this we see why it was that Christ manifested such signs of distress in the prospect of death while many of the martyrs met death with the greatest of courage and composure.

Would a mere man, who had been perfectly righteous, been able to satisfy for our sins and thus make the necessity that our mediator be God obsolete?No a mere man could not have made satisfaction even though he might have been perfectly righteous, for the following two reasons:

i.       As we have already shown, when obedience is once impaired, it was not possible that the justice of God could be satisfied for sin unless by a sufficient punishment on account of the threat of death in Gen. 2:17.

ii.     Although it is possible that a righteous mere man could fulfill the law perfectly, yet his obedience could not be a satisfaction for the sins of others, because everyone is bound to obey the law.It was necessary, therefore, that the Mediator should endure a sufficient punishment for us and for this reason be armed with divine power.Even the devils are not able to sustain the burden of God's wrath against sin, much less could man.

Are the devils and the reprobate not compelled to sustain the wrath of God anyway?Yes they are, but not so as ever to satisfy his justice and come forth from their punishment. Their punishment will endure forever proving that it brings no satisfaction to God for their sins and it produces no merit so that another might benefit from it.But it behooved the Mediator to endure the burden of God's wrath so that, after having made satisfaction, He might remove it from himself and also from us.

c)      It was necessary that the Mediator should be God that He might reveal the secret will of God concerning the redemption of mankind, which He could not have done had he been merely a man.No creature could ever have known, or discovered, the will of God concerning our redemption had not the Son of God revealed it.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

d)     It behooved the Mediator to be God that He might be able to give the Holy Spirit, gather a church, be present with it, and bestow and preserve the benefits purchased by his death.It did not only become him to be made a sacrifice, to throw off death from himself, and intercede for us with God, but it became him also to give assurance that we would no more offend God by our sins.

On account of our corruption and the depraved state we find ourselves in, no one could make this promise on our behalf, who had not the power of giving the Holy Spirit and through him, the power of conforming us to the image of God.But to give the Holy Spirit and through him to regenerate the heart, is specific to God alone, whose Spirit He is.

John 15:26"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."

Only He, who is Lord of nature, can reform it.

e)     Finally, it was necessary that the Messiah should be 'the Lord our righteousness' as we read in,

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

  1. Who, then, is this mediator?

This mediator is our Lord Jesus Christ, who made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

In the ten points just discussed we have shown what kind of Mediator is necessary for our salvation. This question identifies whom this mediator is, namely, that it is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, manifested in the flesh and it is proven by the following:

a)     Our Mediator had to be very God, as we have shown.God the Father could not be the Mediator because He does not work through himself, but through the Son and the Holy Spirit. Neither is the Father a messenger because no one sends the Father but it is the Father who sends the Mediator.Nor could the Holy Spirit be the Mediator because He was to be sent by the Mediator into the hearts of the elect.Therefore, the Son alone could be and is this Mediator of whom we spoke here.

b)     It was necessary that the Mediator should posses that which He needed to confer upon us. He needed to confer upon us the title of the sons of God, which we forfeited.It became him to bring it to pass that God might, for his Son's sake, adopt us as his children.This, however, Christ alone was able to effect because He alone had the right thereto.The Holy Spirit could not because He is not the Son.Neither did it belong to the Father because He could not be his own son and also because it became him to adopt us among his children through the Son. Therefore, the Word, who is the natural Son of God is alone our Mediator in whom, as the first begotten, we are adopted as the sons of God.

John 8:35, 36 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 1:12, 13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-13Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Ephesians 1:5 - 8 He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-6To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

c)      The Son, alone, is the Word, the Ambassador of the Father and that Person who was sent to the human race to reveal the will of God.He is that Person through whom the Father operates and gives the Holy Spirit. He is that Person through whom the second creation is accomplished, for it is through the Son that we are made new creatures.

The Scriptures, for this reason, join the first and the second creation because the second creation was to be effected by the same Person through whom the first was made.

John 1:1 - 4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

The Mediator was also to be a Messenger and Peacemaker between God and us and to regenerate us by the Holy Spirit.Therefore, the Son alone could be the Mediator.

d)     It belongs to the Mediator to send immediately the Holy Spirit.But it is the Son alone who sends the Holy Spirit and when the Father sends the Holy Spirit, it is through the Son.The Son alone sends the Holy Spirit immediately from the Father.

Luke 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

John 14:16, 17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-17The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 15:26"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."

John 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:13 - 15 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Acts 5:32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

Acts 15:8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.

e)     It became the Mediator to suffer and die, as we have already shown. But it was not possible for any other Persons of the Godhead to spill their blood and die, except the Son, who assumed our nature.

I Timothy 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:5, 6 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

John 1:14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

I Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

Isaiah 53:4 - 6 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.

f)       That the Son is the Mediator may be proven by a comparison of the prophecies of the Old Testament with their fulfillment in the New Testament, which we will not do here.

g)     The works and miracles of Christ establish his claims to the office of Mediator.

John 5:36"I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.

John 7:31 Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?"

John 10:37, 38 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

Matthew 11:4, 5 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."

h)     By these clear testimonies of Scripture:

I Timothy 2:5, 6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 6Who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.

I Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

From these eight points we can see that He is made unto us a teacher of wisdom, a justifier, a sanctifier, and a redeemer, which is the same as to say He is a Mediator and Savior, both by his merit and efficacy.

It is worthy to note that Christ 'has become for us' which means that He was appointed and given.We were supposed to provide a mediator that proceeded from among us to act as intercessor between God and us, to negotiate terms and endure the weight of Godís wrath. But we were not able to give a mediator of sufficient dignity to qualify for the task at hand, since we were the ones who have sinned: we are all children of wrath.Therefore, it was pure mercy and grace that God has provided for us the Mediator with sufficient dignity to earn the merit that would save us from eternal death. He was given to us from God: God himself.

It is also worthy to note that righteousness and holiness were one and the same thing in us before the fall, namely, an inherent conformity with God and the divine law, as they are now the same thing in the holy angels.Since the fall, however, they are not the same thing in us.Christ has become our righteousness by which we are accounted just before God.There can never be a time again in which these attributes will be found in us without Christ. Even in heaven, after our resurrection into holy, glorified bodies, we will have need for the presence, dignity, and efficacy of our Mediator. Our wholeness is permanently dependent on Christís merit and our rising from death to sonship, being fused into the personal family of the Father, is dependent on Christís participation as our Mediator forever. Hence his priesthood is eternal in the order of Melchisedek as we have shown.

Holiness is the beginning of our conformity with God, while justification is the carrying forward of this conformity with God, which in this life is imperfect, but which will be fully perfected in the life to come.Then, righteousness and holiness will again be the same thing in us but never again as it was before the fall: it will be even more glorious then. We will be unable to sin.