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The Mediatorship of Christ and the Jehovah's W...

Written by: Oliver, Timothy    Posted on: 05/02/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

Note:  This article makes several references to the Watchtower, which stands for the Jehovah's Witness Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  Watchtower has no connection with, and is not affiliated with in any way, the Watchman Fellowship, Inc.

    The Mediatorship of Christ and the Jehovah's Witnesses                         by Timothy Oliver                       Watchman Fellowship                       Salt Lake City, Utah

Many cult members have a shallow understanding of the real teachings of the cult that they are involved with.  Often cult members just do not study their doctrine all that deeply.

However, the "fuzzification" of doctrine is frequently the result of deliberate policy of the cult leaders.  This is especially true of those cults claiming to be the only "true" Christianity, such as Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The leaders of these groups are walking a tightrope, necessarily maintaining as much as possible of being Christian, yet without compromising on those core fundamentals which separate them from orthodox, historic, Biblical Christianity.

No cult could pretend to be Christian without giving some place in its doctrine to Jesus Christ and to the idea that as a Mediator between sinful man and a holy God, He made some kind of atonement for sin.  The hope of Christians is based upon that atonement, and so the hope offered by any pseudo-christian cult must also somehow be tied to the atonement.

But whereas the Christian believes that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), and confidently expects to enjoy eternal life in the presence of God as a "joint- heir" with Christ (Romans 8:17), with all the blessings of Christ given to him as a free gift on the basis of the merits of Christ alone, the cults cannot allow such assurance without obviating their own existence.

While they may refer to Christ as a mediator, and to His atonement as indispensable, they always maintain a system of doctrine that makes the cult itself as indispensable as Christ.

The "all-sufficient" aspect of the power of the atonement is vitiated.  It is a clear case of "having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:5).

What power is left in the atonement must be supplemented by the cultist's own works.

The cult and its leaders are necessary to provide the cultist the direction he needs to do what he must do to make the atonement effective for himself.

While the cult leaders may not apply the specific terms "savior" or "mediator" to themselves, yet their actual place and function in the cult's doctrine constitutes them as much mediator as Christ.

An example of the falsification of Christ's role as the Mediator, with the exaltation of the cult and its leaders to the function and role of mediator, is found in the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The case also demonstrates how cult leaders obfuscate doctrines to maintain the appearances of Christianity, and how few cult members actually understand important cult teachings.

            The Biblical View of Christ As Mediator

To really understand this issue one must first have a clear view of the mediatorship of Christ, and of the covenant which He mediates.  As mentioned above, Christ is the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5).

The covenant which He mediates is through His blood, and is, first, for the forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24,25; Matt. 26:28; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17).

Second, God promises that He Himself will write His laws into our hearts (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; 10:16).  That is, He is at work for all those brought into the new covenant to change their innermost being.  The believer can be assured that He is going to cause them to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28,29).

Third, because it is only sin that brought about death and put a barrier between Man and God (Rom. 5:12; Isa. 59:20) and because in the new covenant God has promised (as stated above) to both forgive and remove sin from Man's life, then death is abolished and Man can again live in the presence of God (Rom. 6:23; 2 Tim. 2:10; Jn. 14:2; Jer. 31:33,34; Heb. 8:10,11; 10:19-22).

Last, it must be pointed out that the roles of Christ as Mediator and as High Priest cannot be arbitrarily separated.  They are virtually one and the same thing.  The function of the high priest, his job, was to mediate.  Christ is Man's Mediator because He is the High Priest.

As High Priest, He mediates.  Mediation for Man, fully and exorably effective for bringing in all the blessings of the covenant for all those in the covenant, is what He does as High Priest (Heb. 8:1; 9:11-15,24,28).

The scripture knows of no work of Christ as High Priest, and no blessings provided by Him as High Priest, except those specifically stated as belonging to, and provided by, His work as Mediator.  The scripture knows of no one receiving covenant blessings without being adopted into the covenant.

          The Watchtower's View of Christ as Mediator

What does the Watchtower teach of the mediatorship of Christ? First the Watchtower teaches that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p.360).  It states that out of all human history, those who are in the covenant, "spiritual Israel" will number only 144,000, that only these 144,000 will ever be together with Jesus in heaven, and that, "...Jesus's mediatorship operates solely toward those in the new covenant...," (Ibid, p.362).

Again, "My means of this covenant it became possible for them (the 144,000) to gain heavenly life with Christ..."  In heaven, they are evidently transformed into some kind of beings other that human, for it also states, "...humans will never see the glorified Jesus Christ with their physical eyes..." (Survival Into a New Earth, pp.72, 26).

Out of several million registered members of Jehovah's Witnesses, only a few thousand are considered to be members of the 144,000 in the new covenant with a "heavenly hope."

Thus, it is expressly declared that for the great mass of Watchtower members, Jesus is not their mediator, and they can never expect to be with Him in heaven.  This sounds truly dismal to Christians who may ask, "How can they attract or hold on to their members

Watchman Fellowship's experience with Jehovah's Witnesses is that though they would not regard themselves members of the 144,000, they still are somehow under the mistaken impression that Jesus is their mediator.  And though they cannot expect to ever be in heaven, they still hope someday to have a better life than this one, here on earth.

Why the confusion of Christ's mediatorship, and what is the basis of this "earthly hope?"  The Jehovah's Witness' confusion is probably not just ignorance.  The fact is that Watchtower leaders have deliberately obfuscated the issues by arbitrarily and unscripturally, separating Jesus Christ's being Man's Mediator from His being High Priest (Insight, Vol. 2, p.362).

Forgiveness of sins and eternal life, blessings scripture declares integral to the new covenant, are then said to be available to those outside the covenant.  The possibility of forgiveness of sins and eternal life for those in the covenant is the result of Christ's work as Mediator.

The possibility of the same for those outside the covenant is the result of His work as High Priest (Ibid, pp.362,363).  The idea that forgiveness of sins (a blessing of the covenant) can be obtained outside the covenant is urged on the basis of 1 John 2:2.

But when the scripture says that Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world," it is not saying that forgiveness is available for people outside the new covenant.  Rather, it means the value of the atonement was not limited, but was of infinite worth; people outside the covenant may be adopted into the covenant, and receive forgiveness of sins.

But according to the Watchtower, the "other sheep" referred to by Jesus in John 10 "...are persons who are not in the covenant...who...are being gathered within Jehovah's provision for eternal life on earth on the basis of their faith in the sacrificial value of Jesus' blood.  They are the same as the 'great crowd' of Rev. 7:9,10,14, and so they have the prospect of surviving the coming great tribulation...they are included in the great crowd of prospective survivors of the coming day of divine wrath," (Survival, p.73,80).

They are said to be "putting faith in the merit of his ransom sacrifice" and "the sacrificial value of Jesus' blood" not only gives the appearance of being Christian, it naturally leads many Jehovah's Witnesses to thinking of Jesus as their Mediator.  That so many Jehovah's Witnesses think this way is, in fact, testimony to the real truth that forgiveness of sins cannot exist nor eternal life be given apart from a mediator.

Those are the provisions of the covenant, mediated by Jesus' blood of the covenant," which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28(.

Forgiveness is necessary because man has sinned against God and is "at variance" with Him.  Forgiveness that upholds God's law cannot exist without atonement for sin.  A mediator is necessary because nothing man can do can atone for his sin.  Atonement requires a perfect sacrifice.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.

As High Priest, His offering up of Himself in sacrifice made Him our Mediator - mediating forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It cannot be stated too clearly nor too often: Forgiveness of sins cannot exist nor eternal life be given, apart from a Mediator.

Speaking of Christ providing these blessings as High Priest and not as Mediator in nonsense.  It not only ignores all the biblical facts concerning the role of the High Priest and the nature of this work - to mediate - it also contravenes the Jehovah's Witnesses' own definition of a mediator: "One who interposes between two parties who are at variance to reconcile them; an intercessor; an intermediary agent or go-between," (Insight, Vol. 2, p.360).

If Jesus forgives the sins of those in the "great crowd," then He certainly has "interposed between" them and God, "two parties who are at variance to reconcile them."  He has become their "intercessor."  By their own definition, this makes Him their Mediator.  To say He is the Mediator only for the 144,000 is actually to deny the possibility of forgiveness of sins for any others.

To claim forgiveness of sins for others is to deny the claim that Christ is the Mediator for only the 144,000.  Forgiveness is impossible without a Mediator.

This morass of confusion is still not the worst of Watchtower doctrine on the subject.

                    The 144,000 as Mediators

Since it is denied that Jesus is the Mediator for all but the 144,000, Watchtower doctrine has elevated the 144,000 to the position of being mediators themselves.  Note carefully again the last section of the Watchtower definition of a mediator, two paragraphs above.  Then read the Watchtower statements about the 144,000 below:

"With Christ they make up the agency by means of which blessings will be extended to all other obedient ones among mankind," (Survival, p. 65).

"Being made kings and priests by reason of the new covenant that he [Jesus} mediated, they will share in administering the blessings of Jesus' sacrifice [forgiveness of sins, for instance] and of his Kingdom rule to all the nations of the earth. Christ's mediatorship, having accomplished its purpose by bringing 'the Israel of God' into this position, thus results in benefits and blessings to all mankind," (Insight, Vol. 2, p.363).

In direct and blasphemous contradiction to the Word of God, (1 Tim. 2:5), these statements unequivocally class the 144,000 as mediators for the rest of humanity surviving Armageddon, according to the Watchtower's own definition: "an intermediary agent or go-between."

It is noted, however, that the Jehovah's Witnesses, the other sheep, are only "prospective survivors" of Armageddon.  They can never know for certain in this life that they will live to receive the benefits of their 144,000 mediators, with eternal life on even this earth.  This would still seem a hopeless religion to Christians.

But the average Witness may be cheered by the presence of still another mediator here on earth - the Watchtower Society and its leaders.  To be sure, the leaders do not dare call themselves mediators; rather, the faithful slave class.  But their role is "an intermediary agent or go-between" providing "meat in due season," teaching the Witness cannot do without if he is to be "reconciled" to God.

"All who want to be marked as having God's approval must accept the instruction that Jehovah is providing through that 'slave' class and become true worshippers of Jehovah," (Survival, p.96). The role they have assigned themselves unmistakenly qualifies as "mediator" according to their own definitions.

It is sad that even with so many mediators, without Christ the Mediator, the Witness can never be sure he will receive eternal life even on this earth.  Hope is dangled before him by the use of vague terms like "persons of godly devotion," (Ibid, p.52), and "right hearted people," (Ibid, p.86).  Perhaps he will qualify as such!

But is there any concrete standard by which "godly devotion" and "right heartedness" will be gauged?  Actually there is.  Though nearly all Witnesses can never hope for the same reward, "No less faithfulness is required of them than of those who are spirit- anointed Christians," (Ibid, p.67), the 144,000.

The standard is "...full harmony with Jehovah's requirements," (Ibid).  And so one must ask their Witness friends, "Do you give Jehovah your exclusive devotion, allowing nothing to infringe on the place that he should hold in your heart?" (Ibid, p.64).

Remember, "Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah's executioner today, cannot be tricked..." (Ibid, p.60).

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