"WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM"
"There is one God, and one Mediator between God and
men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom
for all, to be testified in due time."--1 Tim. 2:5,6.
OUR LORD JESUS gave himself a Ransom (corresponding price for all mankind) at the beginning of his ministry, at the moment of his consecration. He continued that giving throughout his public ministry for three and one-half years. He finished the sacrifice of himself, the "man Christ Jesus," at Calvary. When the Father raised him from the dead, he was the possessor, so to speak, of the value of his previous sacrifice, which he was at liberty to offer as he pleased. The making of the sacrifice was one thing and the applying of its merits was another thing. As, for instance: Mr. A is in trouble, requiring $5000 for his relief. Mr. B has a property which he can sell for $5000-- enough to pay A's debt. When he sells the property A's debt is not paid, but merely B now has the amount, the price, which he can give for A's relief, if he will; and it is for him to elect how and when and where it shall be applied. Christ gave all that he had in order to purchase the world and the treasure which he saw therein--Adam and his family, sold under sin and death. When our Lord ascended up on high he did something with the merit of his sacrifice which brought a blessing to a certain class (the household of faith). That he made reconciliation for their sins is the Apostolic statement, and the giving of the holy Spirit at Pentecost was in demonstration of the fact. But it is equally clear that our Lord did not make an application of his blood to all mankind, because the holy Spirit did not come upon all mankind, nor did any message come to them declaring the forgiveness of their sins.
On the contrary, the subsequent Apostolic declaration was that "the whole world lieth in the wicked one," and that only the Church, the household of faith, has "escaped the condemnation that is upon the world." Furthermore, the Apostle's declaration is not that our Lord appeared in the presence of God as our Mediator, nor as the world's Mediator, but that he appeared in the presence of God as OUR Advocate--but not as the world's Advocate. All this is very plain, if our minds and hearts are in condition to receive it; but of course it will not be clear, and is not to be understood nor to be clear under any other circumstances.
Just what Jesus did when he ascended up on high we are not more particularly informed by the Apostle; but he pointed us to the types, the Law. Looking there we note the various details of the typical atonement day of Israel, which foreshadowed:
(1) The forgiveness of sins for the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, under the Abrahamic Covenant with believers.
(2) The subsequent forgiveness of the sins of all the remainder of the world by preparing for the sealing of the New (Law) Covenant with the blood of Christ.
This division separating the Gospel Church from the world was very distinct in the picture, and also distinct in the teachings of our Lord and the apostles. Our Lord said, [R4340 : page 62] "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16.) He ordained them to go and bring forth fruit --permanent fruit, everlasting fruitage. The Apostle declares of our Lord, "He is a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the Church's) and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2.) Here again a sharp line of distinction is drawn between the "elect" Church and its blessing, and the non-elect world and the blessing that will come to it in due time.
Looking into the type again (Leviticus 16) we see that there are two separate and distinct sacrifices, and that they were not offered to God upon the mercy-seat both at the same time:--
(1) The blood of the bullock was first shed and first offered.
(2) The blood of the goat was subsequently offered.
Our Lord did not die twice and the two animals did not represent him--except as Head and Body. Not only so, but the type distinctly tells us that the two offerings of the blood upon the mercy-seat were applicable to different classes, the first, applied to the tribe of Levi, included the priests. The second applied to all the remainder of the people of Israel. Will anyone claim that our Lord Jesus died twice, first for the antitypical Levites, and second for the remainder of mankind? Christ certainly died once for all. What, then, is the meaning of these two sacrifices and distinctly separate applications and separate acceptances and separate blessings?
We have already answered this question in great detail in the little booklet entitled, "Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices," a fresh reading of which we commend to you all as an elaboration of the "hidden mystery" of the fellowship of the Church, the Royal Priesthood, with Jesus, the great High Priest, in the sufferings, the sacrificings of this present time, and in the glorious work and blessings of the future. Remember, too, that this treatise was first published in 1880. We therein show that no man can redeem his brother, and that it is because all are sinners, all under death sentence. We show also that our Lord's death, represented by that of the bullock, applied on behalf of the household of faith, justifies them freely from all sin and permits them to become "holy and acceptable sacrifices." (Rom. 12:1.) We show that the sacrificing was all done by the Lord, that our part ends in our presentation of ourselves living sacrifices, and that if we maintain this condition of self-denial our Lord counts us as New Creatures, members of his Body, and our flesh his flesh, and its sufferings and death his sufferings and death.
Thus the sacrifice of Christ, Head and Body, has progressed for over eighteen centuries. We believe that the consummation is near at hand. When the High Priest shall have accepted the last member of his Body, and shall have finished the sacrificing, he will apply, beyond the vail, the blood, his own blood--the blood of his members--on the mercy-seat, on behalf of all the people. Then will be due that which the Lord promised through the Prophet Joel--that he would pour out his "Spirit upon all flesh," just as at the completion and offering of the first sacrifice he poured out his "Spirit upon his servants and handmaidens" at Pentecost. Who that has spiritual eyesight cannot see this? And if we once saw it and it is now becoming dim to any of us, what is the remedy? All such should go immediately to the great Physician for eyesalve. They should haste in fear lest complete blindness and outer darkness overtake them. Fasting, prayer and heart-searching and a hearty acceptance of the Vow we earnestly recommend.
Note that it is not our Lord in some pre-human condition who gave himself a ransom for all, but the MAN Christ Jesus. His is a Ransom for all, in that through his sacrifice alone all mankind shall be rescued from the sentence of sin and death and given an opportunity to hear and accept the good tidings of eternal life. The Ransom is none the less for all mankind, because it was first applied to the Church and then made applicable to mankind through the Church. The water we drink is none the less from the sky because it comes to us through pipes and faucets.
"MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN"
As already noted, we believe that whenever the word mediator is used in the Scriptures it relates to a covenant between parties who are alienated. God and the world are at enmity. God has condemned the world, because of sin. That condemnation still rests upon the world (except that small portion of it which has been justified by faith.) The "world still lies in the Wicked One"--is still under condemnation. A Mediator was necessary--someone to go between and reconcile these alienated parties. Our Lord Jesus came into the world to be the Saviour of the world as well as the Saviour of the Church. The work which Jesus did, his sacrifice, was in the Divine program with a view to his becoming the Mediator between God and mankind in general--the world, sinners. That purpose will be carried out, though it has not yet been done. It is proper to speak of our Lord Jesus as Mediator and to speak of the New (Law) Covenant as though it were already mediated, because the matter is fully intimated, foretold, promised, by the Lord, who cannot lie, and is in process of accomplishment. God will make such a Covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel after these Gospel days. (Heb. 8:8-10.) He will provide a Mediator, who will then, during the Millennium, mediate between God and man. It is a part of the Divine [R4341 : page 62] program that our Lord Jesus will be that Mediator. It is, therefore, proper to speak of him as such now--to speak of the things which are not yet as though they were. This in no degree contradicts the thought that this Mediator is growing day by day--adding members.
Why should there be any delay? If the man Christ Jesus was the Mediator and the plan for a New Covenant was unalterably fixed in advance, why should it not be ratified at once? We answer again that this was one feature of the "Hidden Mystery"--"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:26,27.) It is a part of the Divine purpose that Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant (he whose merit furnishes the price and who shortly will apply that price for the sealing of the New (Law) Covenant) be the Head of the Church, which is his Body--"members in particular of the Body of Christ." (1 Cor. 12:27.) In the Divine purpose the antitypical Isaac is to include the Church. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise"--the children of the Faith Covenant. (Gal. 4:28.) Jesus the Mediator, by Divine arrangement, accepts members, who must be his joint-sacrificers, and by and by be his joint-heirs.
This Church class is not included in the "men" of our text--not included in the world, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16.) "The world," "men," need the great Mediator to reconcile them to God. And the New Covenant and the Kingdom which it will inaugurate are Divine provisions which shall bring blessings for the world, for men, to chasten them, to break their hearts, to cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess to God's glory. The Church, as the Bride, not only shares in the sufferings of this present time, but also in that glorious work of reconciling "men," "the world," to God by the power and forces and influences of the Millennial Kingdom.
The class now accepted by the Lord as separate from the world needs not the drastic measures of the Millennium to cause them to bow and to confess. They are a special class, who, in the midst of sin, love righteousness and hate iniquity. They are like their Lord and Redeemer, of whom it is written, "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with [R4341 : page 63] the oil of gladness (holy Spirit) above (Head-over) thy fellows." --Heb. 1:9.
WORKS ENEMIES--NOT HEART ENEMIES
But some one may inquire, Does not the Apostle speak of some of the "household of faith" as having once been aliens, strangers, foreigners, from the commonwealth of Israel? Yes; so was Cornelius all of that as a Gentile, yet he reverenced God and gave much alms to the people. But as a Gentile he was naturally an alien from Israel's privileges and blessings until, so far as the Gentiles were concerned, Christ made an end to the Law Covenant, nailed it to his cross, and admitted Gentiles to his favor and to the still greater blessings of the original Covenant.
But does not the Apostle say that some who had become saints had been liars and abominable persons, "alienated, and enemies in their mind by wicked works," and could the world be worse than this description? (Col. 1:21.) We answer, So far as works are concerned, and the divine standards, Yes, "that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God," both Jews and Gentiles. (Rom. 3:19.) But such as at heart were not opposed to the light and Truth, had a different standing in the Divine estimation. Through ignorance and weaknesses they were like the whole world, yet in other respects they were very different and differently estimated by the Lord. These, because of their right-heartedness, were blessed in being drawn to Christ by the Father, that they might be justified by faith in the precious blood, and that they might be sanctified by a knowledge of the Truth, and that thus they might become associates in the sufferings of Christ and in his coming glory and work. During this age only such are drawn, and only such received: "No man can come unto me, except the Father which sent me, draw him." (John 6:44.) Of such "elect" St. Paul says, "If God be for us who can be against us." "He who began a good work in us is able to complete it." These needed the blood and could not be justified without the Redeemer's sacrifice, but they do not need that he should mediate the New (Law) Covenant for them, since they are acceptable under the better, the Faith Covenant, made with Abraham.
We see the difference in the present time: Some, under the influence of error, are terrified with fear of eternal torment, and may live outwardly according to high standards, loving sin, but fearing to practice it. When the Truth reaches such and their fears are dispelled, they have no special inclination toward piety. Others, on the contrary, hearing of the Lord's grace and wonderful providences, are drawn, constrained, to become followers of Jesus, even at a cost of sacrifice and temporal interests. This latter class need no mediator to whip them into harmony with the Divine Laws. To the extent of their ability they delight to do God's will. This faith and its spirit of obedience God counts to them for righteousness. These, after justification by faith in his blood, are invited to become members of The Christ. A sufficient number of these will be found to complete the membership of his Body, and to fill up the sufferings of Christ, and to constitute the very "elect" members of the Mediator for the world--men.
Let us remember that Moses was the mediator of the Law Covenant, which failed, not because of being a poor Law, but merely because its mediator was incapable of doing for the people all that they needed. God purposes to give to that nation, and other nations through them, The Christ, the better Mediator under a New Covenant or Agreement, to be sealed with his blood--the merit of his sacrifice applied indirectly through the Church. Remember how St. Peter, after telling about the times of Restitution to be inaugurated at the Second Coming of Jesus, says, "For verily Moses said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren like unto me." (Acts 3:22.) The Prophet like unto Moses began to be raised up in the person of our Lord Jesus, the Head. The raising up process has continued throughout this age, and shortly will be completed. That antitypical Moses, Christ and the Church, Head and Body, is to mediate the New Covenant so long promised between God and Israel. That the Apostle is not speaking of anything yet accomplished is evident from the context, "It shall come to pass that the soul that will not obey that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:23.) All who do not obey Jesus during this Gospel Age are not destroyed; but, under the great Mediator between God and men, the antitypical Moses, who shall rule the world during the Millennium, the Scriptures will be fulfilled--all that will refuse divine favor under that New Covenant will be utterly destroyed.