the basf - its importance and teaching
“That on the third day, God raised him from the dead, and exalted him to the heavens as priestly mediator between God and man, in the process of gathering from among them a people who should be saved by the belief and obedience of the Truth (1Cor 15:4; Acts 10:40; 13:30-27; 2:24-27)”
The means of Redemption having been provided through the shed blood of the Slain Lamb, it is the Father’s expressed purpose to gather out from among men a people to show forth the praises of His Name, as James showed following Simeon’s discourse to the believers at Jerusalem: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name …” (Acts 15:14). But what were actual the words of Simeon in which such a declaration was set forth? This is what he said:
“Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us …” (Acts 15:7,8).
From this, we find that this visitation of God to the Gentiles was via the preaching of Simeon-Peter, and commenced with the conversion of Cornelius. The Father selected Peter for that purpose, making “choice” among all the disciples, that he should be the One through whom the word of the Gospel would be brought to the Gentiles. Notice this, however; his mission differed to that of modern day self-appointed evangelists, who compass sea and land to proselytise the world – it was not to convert the world – rather it was to be a Divinely appointed means of selection; to “take out of them a people for his name”. The entire process was one of Divine selection, from the preacher who was chosen to convey the word of the gospel, to the people who were taken out of the masses for the Father’s purposes.
But the BASF states that it was “in the process of” accomplishing this work – a work which is not yet complete – that the Messiah was “exalted to the heavens as a priestly mediator.” That is to say, his present position as both Priest and Mediator is part of the means whereby the selection of peoples for the Father’s Name might be accomplished. We need then, to consider both of these roles in order to see how it is so.
Within the pages of Scripture, we find that the roles of priest and mediator, although related – and intimately so – are nevertheless distinct from each other. That was plainly shown under the Law of Moses, the Divinely appointed “Schoolmaster” (Gal 3:24) leading to Christ. Here, a different personage was selected to perform each role; Aaron, and his descendents through Eleazar were to be priests, whereas Moses alone was to be mediator. Moses could not take on Aaron’s role as priest, and in turn, Aaron could not take on Moses’ role as Mediator – as will become evident, they are two distinct offices, yet both come together in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is both priest and mediator.
Another significant detail, is that there were many priests, for each could not continue perpetually “by reason of death” (Heb 7:23), and were therefore continually replaced – but there was only one mediator, the man Moses (Gal 3:19). He had no successor in that capacity; although Joshua was appointed to succeed him in the role of Captain of the people, thus foreshadowing the Lord Jesus (Heb 2:10) in leading them to inherit the promised land. But he was not a mediator, as becomes apparent upon a consideration of how the Scriptures define the role of Mediatorship.
The Apostle declared concerning the Law:
“it was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator” (Gal 3:19).
The Mediator then, was the One in whose hands the Law was placed, that it might be relayed to the people. And historically, this was Moses; the law was given to him through Angelic hands and then by his hand, it was brought to the multitudes. So, Moses, in his mediatorial capacity, stood between God and man as the channel of communication through whom the ways of the Most High, and his requirements of His People were made known.
Accordingly, Moses spake of himself, in recounting the events at Sinai to do with the giving of the Old Covenant:
“Yahweh our Elohim made a covenant with us in Horeb. Yahweh made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. Yahweh talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between Yahweh and you at that time, to shew you the word of Yahweh: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount)” (Deut 5:2-5).
Moses stood between Yahweh and the People, as the Mediator of the Torah, conveying His Word to His People, that a covenant might be made with them on His terms. This is why there was no successor appointed to be a Mediator after Moses, until the appearance of the Lord Jesus; there was only one Law given, there was only one Covenant given and therefore there would be no requirement for a further Mediator – there would have been nothing for him to mediate. Until Christ, that is, through whom the New Covenant is brought to us, for even as Moses stood between Yahweh and the People, so it is said of the Master:
“There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all” (1Tim 2:5).
Christ then, as Moses, is a mediator between God and men. The order is important here, in their capacity as Mediator, neither Moses, or Christ were stood between Man and God but between God and men. They each brought a covenant from Him to the people – that of Christ being greater, hence he is apostolically styled the “mediator of a better covenant:”
“now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Heb 8:6)
“for this cause, he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15)
“Ye are come unto Mount Sion … and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb 11:24).
The Role of Mediator then, was to receive a Covenant from Yahweh, and to bring that Covenant to the people of Yahweh, seen firstly in Moses, and secondly in the Greater than Moses, through whose sprinkled blood the New Covenant has come to us.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
Whereas the Mediatorial Role is to stand between God and Man, the Priestly function is the reverse; to stand between Man and God, as can be seen in the example of Aaron and his successors, who represented the Nation before Yahweh once yearly on the Day of Atonement. The Lord Jesus Christ performs both functions, hence, he is a priestly mediator, as the BASF styles him.
The Spirit to the Hebrews describes the functions of a priest thus:
“Every High Priest, taken from among men, or ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity” (Heb 5:1,2).
The Lord Jesus, being “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb 4:15) can therefore be a merciful High Priest, having compassion and offering a Greater Sacrifice; even himself, for the sins of those he came to deliver.
But the Spirit continues, demonstrating the superiority of Christ’s priesthood, over the ancient Aaronic order:
“no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, “Thou art my son, today have I begotten thee.” As He saith also in another place, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”” (Heb 5:4-6).
Christ then, is not simply a High Priest, but the “Great High Priest” (Heb 4:13), of a greater order; a King-Priest after the Order of Melchisedec, concerning whom we cannot speak particularly in this place. Moreover, whereas the Levitical order required a continual succession of priests, “by reason of death”, Christ is “a priest for ever” after the Melchisedec order:
“this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them … the word of the Oath maketh the Son, who is concecrated for evermore” (Heb 7:25-28).
As our Great High Priest, Christ appears in the Presence of the Eternal El “for us” (Heb 9:24), and as such is the means whereby we can “come to God”. He represents us before the Father, and enables us therefore to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
A MEANS OF GATHERING
Returning to the BASF; we saw how it teaches that Christ was raised, and exalted to the heavens “as priestly mediator between God and man, in the process of gathering from among them a people who should be saved by the belief and obedience of the truth.” The priesthood/mediatorship of Christ provides the means whereby such a gathering of peoples may take place; men are drawn to the Father by being united in identification with Christ. He, as Mediator, has instituted a “better” covenant than that of Old, even a covenant which gives life to those who desire a justification through faith. And as Priest, having received that Covenant by his hand, we can draw night the throne of Grace through him, presenting all our petitions and praises in His Name before the Father. But notice this – it is not every man who might so draw near to the Father, only those who become part of the Household of Christ; those who are united in him, who believe and obey the Truth. Only these benefit from the intercession of the Great High Priest, and this we shall proceed to examine in our next study, if Yahweh wills.