IS THE MEDIATOR AN ADVOCATE?
SOME speak of "The New Covenant Advocate." Is such an expression true respecting our Lord Jesus? Is he the Advocate of the New Covenant? We answer, No. Our Lord is the Mediator of the New Covenant, but not its Advocate. He is its Mediator in the sense that he is referred to in the prophecies as the one who will fulfill his Office. He began his work at his consecration and continued it faithfully to Calvary. By that consecration and faithfulness unto death he became the surety of the New Covenant--the assurance or guarantee to us that the Covenant will ultimately go into effect, and that he will be the one through whom it will be made effective. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant since he ascended up on high, in that he is co-operating with the Father in the carrying out of the Divine purpose of the selection of the Church as members of his Body--sharers in the sufferings of Christ and in the glory that shall follow. Soon the Mediator will have received to himself every member of his Body, all whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Then the Mediator complete will begin his work officially. The merit of the Mediator's sacrifice, now loaned or imputed to us, the Church, for our justification and sanctification, he will then, as Mediator between God and men, apply on behalf of Israel and all who may become Israelites under the New Covenant provisions, which will immediately go into effect. For a thousand years the great Mediator will stand between God and man--because God cannot accept or deal with the sinful of heart. These during the Mediatorial Kingdom will receive full enlightenment and instruction and assistance, to the intent that they may be lifted out of their sin and death condition up to perfection and everlasting life. Not until they shall have reached actual perfection at the end of the Millennium will the Mediator step out of his Office and thus bring together God and restored mankind--all the children of Adam except the Church, the "great company," and those who die the Second Death. As soon as the Mediator thus steps from between God and men, mankind will become responsible directly to God, and Justice without mercy will prevail. None will need or deserve mercy, because, having enjoyed God's mercy for a thousand years and having been perfected thereunder, they will be fully able to maintain their standing on the plane of Justice, if their hearts be loyal and true.
It can be readily seen that the world thus under the Mediator during the Millennium will need no Advocate, because they will have no dealings with the Father, but merely with Christ, the Mediator.
Note the difference between the above and the Church's attitude to the Father and the Son during this Gospel Age. We are introduced to the Father at once, because our hearts are in the right condition--desirous of knowing and doing of God's will to the extent of our ability and trusting in the merit of Christ's sacrifice already applied on our behalf. When we consecrate our lives after the example of our Redeemer--"to suffer with him," "to be dead with him," that we may live and reign with him--the Redeemer, according to the Father's Plan, becomes our Advocate, endorses our petition, applies his merit on our behalf and becomes guarantor for us, that we may be loyal to God, or die the Second Death. As our Advocate, our Lord does not stand between the Father and us, but stands with us as our Elder Brother, as Chief Priest over his own House of Priests. "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren; saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto thee."-- Heb. 2:11,12.
The Redeemer purposes no mediatorial work in behalf of the Church. He is not styled our Mediator, but our Advocate. "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." (I John 2:1.) Instead of standing between the Father and us, as during the Millennium he will stand between the Father and the world, he introduces us immediately to the Father, and the Father, on receiving [R4585 : page 104] us, immediately begets us of the holy Spirit. Our Lord's words are, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me" --the Advocate of the Church.
As sinners we had no relationship to God. When we believed and turned from sin we had a justification by faith tentatively imputed to us, permitting us to draw nigh to God and to hear his message through Christ-- speaking peace to us and informing us of the High Calling and assuring us that "Now is the acceptable time"; that during this Gospel Age he is willing to accept us as living sacrifices through the merit of Jesus and to beget us of the holy Spirit to the divine nature. The moment we accepted those terms our Redeemer became our Advocate and immediately the entire contract was closed and we were begotten of the holy Spirit. We were no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit--no longer in the Court, but in the Holy.
The New Creature being without sin needed no Mediator to come between it and God. On the contrary, the New Creature sings:--
"Sun of my soul, my Father dear,
I know no night when thou art near.
O! may no earth-born cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servant's eyes."
But the New Creature needs an Advocate. Even though it is in full relationship with the Father, and even though as a New Creature it has no sin--the sins cancelled at Calvary were those of the old creature only. Is it asked why the New Creature, begotten of God, sinless, needs an Advocate? We reply that it is because he has the treasure of the new mind in an earthen vessel that is very imperfect through the fall. The sins of his mortal body were all cancelled through the imputation of the Advocate's merit and at that moment the old nature died and ceased its responsibility. He that is dead "hath ceased from sin." (I Pet. 4:1.) The New Creature, which at that moment was begotten and as a new mind or new will took possession of the mortal body reckoned dead, is held responsible for its conduct in exactly the same manner that the owner of a dog is responsible for him. Whatever violence the dog may do, the owner is responsible, because he should have chained him up. So we, as New Creatures, are responsible for our hands, our feet, our eyes, our tongues, in what they may do. If the tongue slander another through weakness, force of habit, etc., the New Creature is responsible and must give an account. If other wrongdoings be committed, there is a similar responsibility in every case.
The New Creature cannot claim that the merit of Christ has cancelled these imperfections of his flesh in advance. He can merely claim in the Apostle's words, "The forgiveness of sins which are past, through the forbearance of God." (Rom. 3:25.) What, then, must he do in respect to these daily deflections--trespasses of omission and commission due to the imperfections of his flesh? The Apostle's answer is, "If any man (in the Church) sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." (I John 2:1.) "Having such an high priest [R4585 : page 105] over the house of God (the antitypical priests and Levites) let us draw nigh to God in full assurance of faith, that we may obtain mercy and find help in time of need." We thus pray, "Our father which art in heaven...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." If as New Creatures our Lord and Advocate sees that we are cultivating his Spirit of mercy towards others, he will at once advocate our plea and secure for us Divine cancellation of the errors of our flesh, to which we, as New Creatures, were not a party and did not consent. If as New Creatures we gave partial consent to the wrong course, we would be liable in that proportion to some kind of stripes or punishment. And if any sin wilfully --heartily assented to sin knowingly and intentionally and without protest--it would prove that such was no longer a New Creature, but "twice dead, plucked up by the roots."
Our Lord will continue to be the Church's Advocate with the Father down to the moment when the last member of his Body and of the Great Company shall have finished his course and passed beyond the veil to be a member of the "Church of the First-born, whose names are enrolled in heaven." Then they will no longer need an Advocate, because their resurrection change will make them perfect and the good intentions of their wills as New Creatures will find no impediment in their new bodies. They will be like their Lord, partakers of the divine nature and sharers of his glory and of his work. Then, as members of the great Prophet, Priest, Mediator, Judge and King, they will assist in dispensing the Divine blessings to the world of mankind for a thousand years. Then our Lord's office of Advocate will terminate with the glorification of the Church, and his office of Mediator between God and the world will be ready to begin.
WHEN GOD COVENANTED WITH ABRAHAM
Gradually those who went out from us because they were "not of us" are going into darkness on all subjects. This was to be expected. A root of bitterness developing in the heart affects the sight. Light becomes darkness; darkness becomes light. New things pass away. All things become old again in the wrong sense.
These friends, not content with urging unscripturally that they need a Mediator between them and God, become very angry with us because we point out to them the truth on the subject--that the Mediator is between God and men and not between God and the New Creature. They seem to want to have a different view, and, of course, find plenty of opportunity for it. People usually find what they look for. Infidels who are in a wrong attitude of mind and desirous of finding fault with the Bible succeed in convincing themselves of its inconsistencies, contradictions, etc. Sometimes they succeed in deceiving others whose intentions are good, but who are lacking in spiritual discernment. We suggest that our proper attitude towards these erstwhile friends is to let them alone --to allow God to deal with them. Such of them as he sees to be honest-hearted and of right spirit he will guide in judgment and lead back again into the Truth; such as he cannot approve for any part of his work, he has a perfect right to cast aside. We may not murmur, but rather be glad that our eyes are open to see the wisdom and the justice of the Divine decree, "The wages of sin is death." If, then, those who were once with us and "of us" have not been influenced by all the Lord's leadings in the past and the presentations of the present, what more can we do for them but leave them in the hand of him who is too wise to err and too just to be unkind?
These erstwhile friends, busy seeing what they can object to, are step by step walking into darkness. One of their recent claims of finding new light and proof that THE WATCH TOWER teachings are erroneous is that there was no Abrahamic Covenant at all; that what God said to Abraham was merely a proposition to make a Covenant and that the New Covenant is the promised one. They think that it began somewhere about the time of our Lord's First Advent, but they do not know when and can find no Scripture on the subject, and are afraid to make a guess, lest it be shown to be fallacious. The reason back of this endeavor to cast out the original Covenant with Abraham, and to declare that it was merely a promise that the New Covenant would be made in due time, is evident. They perceive that the Church cannot properly be under two Covenants, or two "mothers," and are determined that they are the children of the New Covenant; hence they strive to show that there was no Covenant, except the Law Covenant, until Christ came. They are put to great perplexity when some one quotes the Apostle's words that the "Law was added because of transgressions (added, of course, to the Abrahamic Covenant) until the Seed (specified by the Abrahamic Covenant) should come." (Gal. 3:19.) Another Scripture which gives them trouble is St. Paul's statement that the Law Covenant was 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant. They know not how to explain this in harmony with their theory that the Law Covenant was made 1600 years before the time they claim the New Covenant began.
After worrying themselves as above, some of them have taken up a new line--anything to be different--anything to prove that the DAWN-STUDIES are incorrect, blind guides. The later claim is, "Yes, there must have been some kind of Covenant made with Abraham, but it was made fifty years later than the DAWN-STUDIES say. It was made after Abraham had typically offered Isaac in sacrifice." There, they tell us, God said to Abraham, "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord; because thou hast done this thing and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing, I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."--Gen. 22:16-18.
See, they say, THE WATCH TOWER and DAWN-STUDIES have erred in saying that God made the Covenant with Abraham when first he came into the land of Canaan; whereas he merely promised it then but did not actually make the Covenant until fifty years afterward--when Isaac was twenty-five years old, and after Abraham had offered him as a sacrifice in a figure.
We reply that our critics are in error. God called Abraham while he was yet in Haran, to come out into the Land of Canaan and that he would there make a Covenant with him. Abraham believed and, at the death of his father Terah, removed to Canaan. Thereupon the [R4586 : page 105] Lord blessed him and consummated the Covenant with him. That Covenant was repeated in different forms from time to time and confirmed to Isaac and to Jacob long afterward. Even if the time of making oath to the Covenant were a matter of dispute it would not alter the fact that the Covenant itself was made directly after Abraham obeyed and removed to Canaan. The various statements respecting the matter are, "I have made a Covenant with thee," "I have sworn," etc. To suppose that these restatements of the Divine Purpose are either New Covenants or intimations that the Covenant had not been made is to suppose erroneously.
See where the argument of our friends would lead them chronologically. If the Abrahamic Covenant was not [R4586 : page 106] made until after the figurative offering of Isaac it would add fifty years to the chronology at that point. We base our reckoning on St. Paul's words, "The Covenant, which was confirmed before of God in Christ, the Law, which was 430 years afterward, cannot disannul." (Gal. 3:17.) If, therefore, instead of counting the 430 years from the time Abraham entered Canaan we count it from a date fifty years later when he offered Isaac, we would be adding fifty years to our chronology. What would that mean? It would throw everything out of gear--the chronology itself and the harmony based upon it. For instance, add that fifty years and it would make the six thousand years end fifty years sooner than 1872, namely, in 1822, which would mean that the Millennium, the seventh-thousand year period, would begin in 1823. The absurdity of this need not be discussed. Another beautiful time feature would thus be spoiled--the one suggested by Brother Edgar--that the giving of the Covenant is exactly midway chronologically between the time of the fall and the sending of the Gospel to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first one to receive it. However, as before intimated, we can expect anything, everything, in the way of misunderstanding and misrepresentation, bitterness and personalities from these erstwhile friends. "If the light that is in thee become darkness, how great is that darkness!" The darkness seems to affect people, not merely intellectually, but morally, blunting their sense of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, decency and honor. Let us beware of rendering evil for evil, slander for slander, or the cultivation in the slightest sense of roots of bitterness, hatred, envy, strife--works of the flesh and of the Adversary.