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For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the violations that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Heb 9:15

There are other passages mentioning the same role,

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, to the extent that He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises Heb 8:6

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel Heb 12:24

So the main question is how does Jesus mediate, the secondary question is whether the mediation is already done or ongoing?

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  • 1
    Note that there are three words used to describe Christ's ministry in this regard: mesites = mediator (as listed below), parakletos = advocate (1 John 2:1), and eutunchano = intercessor ((Rom 8:27, 34, 11:2, Heb 7:25).
    – Dottard
    Jul 24 at 22:05
  • One more question, since I am thinking about answering, but are you interested in how Jesus mediates as described in the book of hebrews or just a general doctrinal question (e.g. all the books of scripture)
    – Robert
    Jul 28 at 5:55
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    @Robert ty, Hebrews does not stand alone - so any specific understanding from Hebrews must compliment everything else in the NT.
    – steveowen
    Jul 28 at 6:05
  • @steveowen yeah, but Hebrews focuses on Christ's priestly role. If you want all the roles emphasized by all the texts, then that's either a very long answer, or a very concise one.
    – Robert
    Jul 28 at 6:30
  • @Robert we know what he does and the role he has - the Q is how and why. Who is he mediating for is prob. part of that also? I've tried to approach from another angle here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/77639/…
    – steveowen
    Jul 28 at 6:37

3 Answers 3

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The operative word here is μεσίτης (mesites) which occurs only six times in the NT (as listed below) and has the BDAG meaning:

one who mediates between two parties to remove a disagreement or reach a common goal, mediator, arbitrator, eg

  • Gal 3:19, 20 - Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the seed to whom the promise referred. It was administered through angels by a mediator. A mediator is unnecessary, however, for only one party; but God is one.
  • 1 Tim 2:5 - For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
  • Heb 8:6 - But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted upon better promises.
  • Heb 9:15 - And because of this, He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those having been called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
  • Heb 12:24 - and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkling of blood, speaking better things than that of Abel.

[The mediator of the new Covenant as listed in the last four verses above is clear - it is Jesus Himself. However, the identity of the mediator in Gal 3:19, 20 is disputed: some of the early church fathers (eg, Origen) believed it was Christ, but it is now generally agreed that it was Moses.]

The whole point of a mediator is to bring two parties together and reconcile them in agreement, etc. That Christ does this is indisputable:

  • Rom 5:10 - For if, being enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved in His life!
  • 2 Cor 5:19 - how that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and having put into us the word of reconciliation.
  • Col 2:16 - and He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, by it having slain the hostility.
  • Col 1:20 - and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace by the blood of His cross through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.
  • Col 1:22 - but now He has reconciled in His body of flesh through death, to present you holy and unblemished and blameless before Him,

Thus, the very fact that Jesus is the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) means that he is an effective mediator to reconcile us to God.

There is one more fact that we should keep in mind:

  • 2 Cor 3:18 - And we all having been unveiled in face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Thus, while Jesus atonement on the cross was full and complete, it provided the basis for reconciliation with God, that reconciliation does not leave us as fallen sinners but transforms us (over our lifetimes) into the image (= character) of Jesus.

Therefore, in one sense, Jesus' reconciliation via His mediation is complete at the cross but in the other sense it is not complete until we are made like Him. That is, Jesus' atonement was complete and nothing needs to be added; but we need to cooperate with the divine will to be transformed because nothing impure will enter God's presence.

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OP's First question

"So the main question is how does Jesus mediate"

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant,

It's important to remember that this new covenant that Jesus is the mediator is for Israel and Judah only.

The old covenant is the compact made with Israel at Mount Sinai. It was two-sided where the people had to do their part and then Jehovah would do His. Since they failed miserably to ever obey Him, it made Him unable to fulfill His promise to bless them. The new covenant which He will make with them after they have been restored to their land, and have received their Messiah, is radically different from the old. The people have no active part it whatever. All depends on Jehovah. Hence it will not be a failure. The law that was written on stones will be written on their hearts." Concordant Commentary

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

This also goes along with Ezekiel 36: 22-29.

I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.a 28You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:25-28

The new covenant with Israel as a nation has yet to go in effect. This will not happen until the deliver comes from Zion and Rescues Israel as it is written:

And so all Israel will be saved, as it has been written: “The One Delivering will come out of Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. 27And this is the covenant from Me to them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27

The way Jesus mediated His new covenant between Israel and God is made know in the Scriptures.

And Christ being come, chief priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands — that is, not of this creation — 12neither through blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, did enter in once into the holy places, age-during redemption having obtained; Hebrews 9:11-12

It is for this reason He is the mediator of the new covenant.

how much more shall the blood of the Christ (who through the age-during Spirit did offer himself unblemished to God) purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And because of this, of a new covenant he is mediator, that, death having come, for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those called may receive the promise of the age-during inheritance, 16for where a covenant [is], the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary, Hebrews 9:14-16

On the other hand He is also a mediator between God and all men. It is the man Christ Jesus.

God our Savior, who wills all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth; 5for [there is] one God, also one mediator of God and of men—the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself [as] a ransom for all—the testimony in its own times— 1 Tim. 2:4-6

"Christ is Adams greater son, a Man, And as such, is the mediator for the whole human race. Nor is Israel's God limited to them: For there is only one God For all mankind. The man Christ Jesus is giving himself as a ransom for all." concordant commentary

The way Jesus mediates between God and men is by giving himself as a ransom.

Ransom defined;

antílytron (from 473 /antí, "corresponding to, instead of/exchange" and 3083 /lýtron, "ransom-price") – properly, a full ransom, referring to Christ paying the complete purchase-price to secure our freedom (redemption) – i.e. Christ exchanging His eternal righteousness for our sin (cf. Ro 3:26; 2 Cor 5:21). What is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption.

So then, as through one offense to all men [it is] to condemnation, so also through one declaration of “Righteous” [it is] to all men to justification of life; 19for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the One, will the many be constituted righteous.

OP's second question, "the secondary question is whether the mediation is already done or ongoing?"

The Mediation in both cases has been secured and is still in process of being made known.

Through Jesus'-one act of obedience to the Father the course had been set for His complete mediation to be seen in the coming ages.

Definition of mediator, one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship.

and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself—having made peace through the blood of His Cross—through Him, whether the things on the earth, whether the things in the heavens. Colossians 1:20

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How does Jesus mediate? It depends on two criteria - who he is mediating for and when he mediates.

Based on some key verses, Jesus has already mediated a New Covenant. Those who have been called and set aside - sanctified, are in no need of mediation. Their sins are forgiven, they bear no guilt before God, they are declared righteous in Christ and are without sin. Even as they do sin, these sins are already covered by the one sacrifice. In Christ, past, present and future sin is all covered under the one offering. Jesus doesn't need to be offered again for further sin of those God deems His, in Christ, in this physical, mortal age.

Jesus does not mediate for the saints - there is no need. We are 'at one' with the Father and we need no High Priest to go between us and God. The veil was torn, allowing direct access to God.

Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

The New Covenant is already established - the old - of sin and law and death, has been replaced. It has been mediated by Christ's blood in the heavenly places. Jesus mediated with his blood. By his blood offered before the heavenly alter, he brought humanity back to God. He mediated a reconciliation that was previously impossible. Heb 10:4 (blood of bulls etc.)

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified Heb 10:14

  • 'those called may receive the promised inheritance'. The promise is fulfilled, all is needed is time for it to be realised at Jesus' return. There is no further judgement for 'those in Christ'. (Obviously, God decides who are His and who are not - the sheep and goats at Jesus' return)
  • 'since a death has occurred that redeems them'. Once redeemed, bought back, they need nothing further that the death hasn't already provided.

Both Heb 8:6 and Heb 12:24 speak the same message about the New Covenant that is already accomplished.

However, that is not the end of Jesus' role as Mediator.

1Tim 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

From the passage, we can safely determine the focus are the unsaved. They still need a mediator and Jesus is the only one for them who goes between them and God.

First of all, then, I urge that requests... be made in behalf of all people, 2for kings and all who are in authority ... 3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all. 1Tim 2:1-5

Jesus, then remains as a vital go-between for the masses of ignorant and unsaved who are yet to know about what Jesus has accomplished for them. For them the wrath of God remains. His wrath is against sin and the evil one who 'was a murderer from the beginning'. His wrath is not against the sinner but has included them in His plan of redemption, except for those unrepentant who have neglected (or will) the offer made already. John 3:36, Rom 2:5, Eph 5:6...

you turned to God ...and to await His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath. 1Thes 1:9-

Just as Jesus has delivered believers already, those yet to know the true Christ and his true God, will also be offered delivery from wrath by and through the Mediator who died for all men. He mediates by teaching them - through the risen saints, the new covenant of his blood.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2Cor 5:18

This is not some kind of Jesus reminding a vengeful God of what he did on the cross, or convincing a mean God not to wipe them all out. Jesus' God is a loving God who knows exactly what Jesus accomplished on the cross (having sent him for that express purpose) and delights in providing opportunity for all to be saved through His beloved and exalted son who now sits at His right hand. We remember Jesus is the judge appointed by God (Acts 10:42) he is also the Mediator.

He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed Acts 17:31

Summary -

Jesus is no longer Mediating for the people of God - they are already part of the New Covenant he has established. He remains the Mediator for all others who are presently dead or alive and unsaved.

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    Many thanks for this informative answer - I found it helpful in understanding your position. Might I ask a question by way of clarification? What do you understand as Jesus' on-going function as high priest, Heb 2:17, 3:1, 4:14, 15, 5:5, 6;20, 7:26, 8:1, 9:11, 25?
    – Dottard
    Jul 31 at 21:22
  • 1
    As answered in the other similar Q, (Sherrie?) the 'eternal' nature of Jesus' role as HP, is also able to be translated and understood as 'age-lasting'. This aspect of treating 'eternal' can be applied in many instances where eternal can give the wrong interpretation.
    – steveowen
    Jul 31 at 22:16
  • What is the difference?
    – Dottard
    Jul 31 at 22:18
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    Eternal is forever - which doesn't make sense in the broad scheme, but age-lasting is not.
    – steveowen
    Jul 31 at 22:24
  • What is the difference?
    – Dottard
    Jul 31 at 22:31

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