Blueletterbible.org (for looking up scripture references)
Lesson 6: Man’s Need for a Mediator (Pastor Barbara Caesar Stephenson)
In our last two lessons we studied the problems that God faced in providing a redemption for man.
After man died spiritually, his first need was that of receiving Eternal Life, the nature of God. God saw however, that God could not impart to man His own nature except on grounds of righteousness, which is the second need of man.
The third need of man was that of a mediator, someone who could approach God on his behalf.
We remember that after his sin of High Treason, Adam was cast from the presence of God. He had lost his fellowship with the Father-God. Man stood in the unrighteousness of Satan (John16:11). He had no standing with Deity, nor right to approach Him
The universal man (mankind) in his condition of spiritual Death, recognized that he had no standing with his Creator. The temples, altars, and priesthoods, of all nations eloquently confess man’s consciousness of his sins, his fear of death and judgment, and his inability to approach Deity in his own righteousness.
We have seen in the previous lessons that man’s sin united him with Satan
This identification of man with Satan caused the judgment and unrighteousness of Satan to become his own (John 16:11).
Romans 3:9-18 gives fourteen charges against the human race in its condition of Spiritual Death.
Ephesians 2:12 describes the condition of spiritually dead man. He has no covenant claims upon God; he had forfeited every right God conferred upon him.
In his creation by the hand of God, man had stood in righteousness with legal grounds of approach and communion with Deity. Man forfeited these by his treason and his condition is described as without hope and without God. Adam who had rejoiced in his fellowship with the Father-God, felt his inability to stand before God immediately after the entrance of Spiritual Death. This is shown in Genesis 3:8. Man then had need of a mediator, one who could stand before God in righteousness and at the same time represent humanity and approach God on his behalf.
Hopeless, and Godless in a world where Satan holds the authority of death, man’s condition is certainly desperate. As far as human efforts are concerned, man’s condition is hopeless. He has no grounds for prayer; if God hears his prayer, it is upon grounds of Grace alone.
Israel’s approach to God was through tabernacles, priesthoods and offerings. Outside of God’s appointed way man had, and has today, no approach to the Father-God
From the time of man’s alienation from God at the fall, to the time that Christ sat down at the father’s right hand, no man has had a right to approach God except through a Divinely appointed priesthood, over a blessing sacrifice, dreams, visions, or angelic visitations.
The Presence of God: By Invitation Only
In the life of Israel we have illustrations of man’s attempting to force himself into the presence of God before Eternal Life came through Jesus Christ and justification on the grounds of His Finished Work.
There are many acts of Divine Justice in the Old Testament which are hard to understand except in the light of man’s need of a Mediator.
Leviticus 10:1-3 is a recorded incident of one of the lessons that was necessary to cause Israel to know its spiritual condition before Deity.
What a calamitous closing of the dedication of the priesthood. Aaron and his family that morning had been aspiring to the highest point of Divine favor the tabernacle had been reared the Sheepskin presence had filled it with glory the majesty of Jehovah was resting upon Israel
Behind them lay a series of Divine Miracles that had marked them as God’s chosen people and now Aaron’s firstborn heir to the priesthood with his brother is suddenly smitten with death before the whole congregation. What had occasioned it?
These two sons, lingering near the tent of meeting at noon, in a spirit of bravado or curiosity took up censers with live coals poured incense upon them and entered the Holy of Holies, contrary to God’s appointed way. No one but the High Priest could go there and he could go only once a year. Suddenly the young men stagger, stumble and fall dead
As Aaron stands horrified, shocked and stunned in the presence of the dead, Moses cries to him, Aaron, this is it that Jehovah spake, saying I shall be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. Israel had learned that man could not approach God uninvited and in his own way.
We have another example of man’s attempt to approach Jehovah unauthorized in Numbers 16. It is the story of Koran and his rebellion
Koran and a company of the leaders of Israel are jealous of Moses and Aaron, and insist that they have as much right to approach Jehovah as have God’s appointed High priests.
Moses puts the issues to the test in the presence of the whole congregation. He invited Koran and his followers to appear before Jehovah with their censers, ready for worship. As soon as they came, Moses warned the people to get up from the tents of these wicked men who dared to approach God uninvited and in their own way. No sooner had Moses ceased speaking than the earth opened its mouth and the men with their families dropped down alive into Sheol. Israel ran away from the scene, frightened, filled with awe and reverence for such a holy God.
Another illustration is given to us in 1 Samuel 6:19.
The Ark of the Covenant had been captured because of Eli’s great sin. It had been taken down into Garth by the Philistines; and after a series of judgments that had fallen upon the heathen cities because of their desecration of the Ark, they put it on a cart and sent it back to Beth Shames.
The cattle that were drawing the cart turned off the road into the fields. When some of the people laboring in the field saw the Ark, the news spread rapidly over the hillsides until thousands of people gathered from the country round about out of reverence and curiosity.
Then a bolder spirit than the others drew near and threw off the heavy covering from the Ark of the Covenant and the people for the first time saw that Holy Receptacle of the Ten Commandments. Suddenly a plague struck them, and fifty thousand men fell dead upon the ground. Awful fear and consternation fell upon the people who beat their breasts as they turned back to their homes.
It has been shown again that no one can approach God but through a High Priest or over a bleeding sacrifice. Man, because of his satanic nature, cannot come into God’s presence uninvited. He needs a Mediator
Job Seeks a Mediator
Job voiced man’s cry for a Mediator. The theme of his poetry could be called the question of the ages: How can man stand right with God?
The book of Job is the oldest of all the books of the Bible. It was evidently written by Job who was a cousin of Abraham, about the time that Jacob went to Egypt. Portions of this book show how vital a problem was man’s need of a Mediator in Job’s day.
Read Job 4:12-17. We have a picture of a man asleep in his tent at night. In a vision he heard a voice saying shall mortal man be just before God? Shall a man be pure before his maker? This is the old and the eternal problem that has confronted the thinking man of all ages. Can mortal man be pure before his Maker? Note the word mortal. The word mortal applies only to the physical body it means death doomed, frail , in other words a subject of the devil
Man became mortal when he passed under the dominion of the devil. The problem is shall a mortal man or a “death-doomed” or a Satan-ruled man stand condemned in the presence of God? Read Job 9:25-35.
In the ninth chapter Job speaks out the deepest soul agony of universal man. He lies in his tent surrounded by those whom he loves. He opens his heart with perfect freedom, speaking the fear that grips his soul in the death struggle. He gives figures of speech that describe the rapidity with which life passes to the aged.
He continues: “If I say I will forget my calamity, I will put off my sad countenance and be of good cheer; I am afraid of my sorrows. I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent I shall be condemned.”
Every false hope has fled, he is alone with his guilt and despair. He says what is the use in trying to brighten up and put off my sad countenance I am afraid of my sorrows. It is the frankness of despair. It is the hopelessness of full orbed knowledge: I shall be condemned.
He cries: “Why then do I labor in vain. If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands never so clean yet wilt thou plunge me in the ditch and mine own clothes shall abhor me.” “Mine own clothes (or self righteousness) shall abhor me for he is not a man as I am that we should come together in judgment.”
Job knows that he cannot face God, for God is not mortal. He is not under the bondage and guilt of sin as is Job. Then Job utters the saddest words that ever fell from the lips of a human being.
“There is no umpire betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us both.”
In other words there is no Mediator between us who has a legal standing with God, and at the same time can sympathize – and understand – as well as represent – humanity. This is Job’s cry for a Mediator. It is not the cry of Job alone, but Job has gathered up the cry of the ages and breathed it forth into one hopeless sob. How bitterly he says: “Let him take His rod away from me and let not His terror make me afraid then I would speak and not fear Him for I am not so in myself.”
Job 25:4-6 “How then can man be just before God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold, even the moon hath no brightness and the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm, and the son of man, that is a worm.”
How can he be clean that is born of a woman? The writer here has the fall of man before his mind.
When he tells us that the stars are not pure in the sight of God he is referring us to Adam’s treason when he turned creation into the hands of the devil. Satan has defiled it so that God cannot look with joy upon it.
In speaking of man as a worm he shows the depths into which man has fallen. The worm reference to satan and the Old serpent and man who is termed a worm is spiritually a child of the devil, utterly hopeless and without approach to God.
Job has voiced clearly man’s need of a Mediator.
Jeremiah Seeks a Mediator
Jeremiah recognized that man had need of a Mediator: Jeremiah 30:21 “And their Prince shall be of themselves and their ruler shall proceed from the midst of them and I will cause him to draw near and he shall approach unto me, for who is he that hath had boldness to approach unto me? Saith Jehovah?”
The margin reads who hath been surety for his heart that he might approach Me
Jeremiah realized that no man had a right to stand in God’s presence nor power to do it and he tells us that there is one being who will be able to draw near, standing condemned in God’s presence. He foretells of the Mediator who God will provide for man.
We saw that man’s need of Eternal Life and righteousness could be met only by the Incarnation of God’s Son.
Again the Incarnation is the only answer to man’s need of a mediator.
No human being born of natural generation could approach God on man’s behalf because of the universality of Spiritual Death.
The requirements of a Mediator for man are the following:
- He must be a man – for he must represent humanity
- He must be able to understand and to sympathize with the temptations of man
- He must also possess a standing of righteousness with Deity
- He must not be a subject of satan, he must be free from all satanic authority
These requirements could be met only by the union of God and man in one individual
What in human history reveals that universal man recognizes that he has no standing with Deity?
Give a description of Man’s standing before God after his sin? Give Scripture.
Why did man need a Mediator?
What were the means of approach unto God that were given to Adam and his family?
What did the incident in Lev. 10:1-3 reveal to Israel?
Explain the two other incidents in the life of Israel that show man’s need of a mediator.
How did Job voice man’s need of a mediator?
Explain and give the scripture in Jeremiah that showed man’s need of a mediator?
What were the requirements of a mediator for man?
How could man’s need of a mediator be met?