Christ, Our Eternal Mediator

christ-our-eternal-mediatorSamuel Rutherford,
The Covenant of Life Opened, pp. 363-368.

Christ, Even After Universal Judgment, Is a Mediatory Head, King, and Lord

The Son (saith Camero) shall leave off to reign, quod attinet ad regnandi actum, according to the act of reigning, but as touching the Kingdom itself, there shall be no end of the Kingdom.

But it may appear as there was a time when it was said of Christ, Philippians 2:7, He emptied himself, and took on him the form of a servant. So there is a time opposite to that, Philippians 2:9, Therefore God hath highly exalted him: which is not fulfilled in his resurrection, ascension, and sitting only at the right hand of God, but when all power, friends, and unfriends, and the Man Christ shall be subject to the Lord, yea even the Son, not as God, for Christ-God is equal with the Father, not as man, for so in the days of his flesh as man, he ever was, and is, and shall be subject to God, but the Son shall be subject, as touching the Office of a formal Mediator.

Another distinction is here needful, as Augustine and Ambrose: he shall render the Kingdom to the Father, not that he shall leave off to reign, but that he then shall declare that he reigns not of himself, but that he hath his power of reigning from the Father, and he shall profess this before men and Angels, and so shall glorify the Father. Its not to be rejected that Hilarius, lib 1. De Trinit. 11. August. Lib. Detrrinit. C. 8. He shall render the elect back to God, as now saved, and present to the Father his ransomed ones now perfected, so Ephesians 5:27

Taking the word of reigning, for this, to excel in eminency of power above all, so Christ shall reign eternally, but taking the word of reigning as it notes the exercise of royal authority, so and so by gathering a Church by the Preached word, fighting against enemies, and overcoming them, to make them his footstool, until which time he reigns, Psalm 110. And so it may be, and is said by some, he reigns, not after the day of the universal Judgment: but these are but the second acts of a King, and the not exercising of these acts proves not but Christ as a King, actua primo, and essentially, for the exercise of such and such acts are often extrinsical to the office. But the question shall remain whether he be not for ever and ever a Mediatory King, and does retain his headship over the Church; so as the Angel say, Luke 1:33. He shall reign, eis tous aiwnas, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end. And as Daniel 7:14 Cameron, and others say, the meaning of that, that his Kingdom shall have no end: is only, it shall not be destroyed by external violence, as worldly Monarchies that are made away, and others rise in their place, but that Kingdom (say they) may well be called eternal, though the King leave off to reign, when he leaves off to reign through no weakness and want of power, but because he needs not reign, there being no need of laws, because the subjects are perfected, and there are not enemies to be subdued, and the King hath obtained that eternal end, a glorified people, for which he was fighting.

But yet this seems not to satisfy, 1. Circumcision, and the Ceremonies, and the Priesthood, Exodus 40:15; Leviticus 16:29, the first in the seventh month, shall be a statute, forever. Leviticus 6:18, All the mules of the sons of Aaron shall eat the remainder of the meat offering, it shall be a statute forever in your generations: so Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 7:34, 36; Leviticus 23:14; Numbers 23:11, 23, yet these Ordinances can hardly be called eternal, as the Kingdom of Christ is: And yet they cease when the body is come, and they are not destroyed as human inventions, the hay and the stubble that are built upon the foundation Christ.

2. These reason prove the Christ shall not exercise such and such acts of royalty upon such and such enemies, for they shall be no enemies: Yet we say not, as Camero, that such a Prince leaves off to reign even as Mediator. Christ’s rendering of the Kingdom dispensatory or Economic to the Father may well be a rendering of an account of his subjects, and a presenting of them to God perfected, Ephesians 5:26, 27, without spot and wrinkle: Christ having brought them out of danger, so as they need not Word, Sacraments, or a Temple. And so, 1 Corinthians 15:24, He shall put down all rule, all power, and authority, all Magistracy and Government that now is in either Church or State: and so saith Pareus, the Son shall be subject to the Father, having subdued all the rebels, as his Father’s Deputy, he shall return to his Father the Kingdom now reduced to subjection and mad peaceable , and lay down his Mediatory Commission, and so be subject to the Father, having ended the deputed and delegated charge. And it is sure, the Son as Mediator is sent, and is a Servant, an Angel, or Messenger of the Covenant, Malachi 3, and the laying down of his written Commission is a sort of subjection, and God doth not now actually reign in such a Mediatory way as in the days of Christ’s flesh; he did reign in Christ, but now after the last judgment, God is all in all, that is, not because he is not now all in all, and is not the Lord of lords, and Kings of kings, but because it doth not so appear to be, many now rise against him and contradict him, and persecuting his Mystical body, do persecute Christ. He shall be all in all by change of the Economic Government, then the Father, Son, and Spirit, shall immediately glorify the Church, Revelation 21:22, 23. And I saw no Temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is their Temple. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the Moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

But that Christ shall leave off to be Mediatory King after the last Judgment, I deny. For there is a twofold Mediation, one, of uniting sinners to God, and mediating between God and them. This shall cease, and all the royal acts thereof, but these, with reverence, are but second operations and acts of royalty. There is another Mediation substantial, by which our natures glorified, stand in a substantial union with God forever: for to what end shall Christ stand glorified in our nature in heaven, but to be the substantial, mid-man between God and us, glorified forever? If any say that Christ God, Man after that day is no Mediator of reconciliation, because there shall be no sin then: Its true: Nay, but even now in the interval between His ascension and second appearing to Judge the world, he acts not as Mediator of reconciliation to expiate our sins, and to satisfy for them, for only he did upon the cross by dying for us, so mediate. And we will not say he is acting the part of a Priest formally by sacrificing for us in heaven, as Socinians teach: for he can offer no expiatory sacrifice for us in heaven, for he died but once, and that was on the earth only. Objection: But now he Advocates for sinners, 1 John 2:1, therefore as now in heaven glorified, he is a Mediator for sinners. Answer: True, he is a Mediator and Intercessor now, applicatione, non expiatione, by applying his blood, but not by shedding of it: And he is an Advocate, but called, dikaion, Jesus the Righteous, and an Advocate as just and righteous, supposeth a right and just cause, and that sufficient satisfaction and payment is given to God for the sins of these for whom Christ intercedes; the Advocation of Christ is not to plead that believers may sin, or their sins may be excused as no sins: But his intercession is to plead, 1. That for his blood we may stand as accepted of God, and freed from condemnation. 2. That the Spirit procured by the death of Christ, may be given to us, that we may repent and believe. But again, after the last Judgment Christ stands as Mediator, not to apply his death, nor to intercede for sinners, when there shall be no sinners, but Christ eternally shall appear for us as a picture of a perfect satisfaction once given, and as a pledge and hostage of peace, and Christ’s appearing for us forever is an allusion to the Ambassadors sent by foreign Princes, who standing in Court before the Prince they are sent unto, are speaking tokens that the confederacy of peace stands, and that no acts of hostility can be done by either of the States, and because God is eternally and not by fits just, as if he were not angry at sin, and then satisfied and pacified when the satisfaction is gone, therefore the Lord Christ stands in that Body and Nature in which he once suffered, before God, for the acquiescing of Justice forever in the once paid ransom. As also, Christ remains the substantial and natural Head (though nature be now glorified) of the Mystical glorified body forever, and of these members under the Covenant of Redemption eternally, though all be done and performed in regard of the purchased redemption: yet we then glorified, once brake the Law, and therefore cannot even then stand in our Law-righteousness, but must stand in our Lord Jesus Christ’s Righteousness, which garment shall never cast the color nor luster.

3. That love to redeemed ones, and the soul-satisfaction of Christ in his deed is eternal, looking back to the bargain he hath once made as Mediator, he cannot leave off to be satisfied in soul with what he hath done, for that were a retracting of his love, and a repenting of his royal and Princely tenderness, that as King, he once did bear to his conquered subjects whom he hath made his own forever.

4. The soul of God must be eternally well pleased with his Son eternally God-Man, and he stands resting in his love, Zephaniah 3:17, and delighting forever in all his Son’s actings and transactions in the work of Redemption, if therefore God have once given to him, God-Man, the Throne of David to reign over the house of Jacob, he must make empty that Throne, if he shall leave off to reign. And the Angel, Luke 1, speaks of his birth and conception. Luke 1:31, Thou shalt bring forth a son, and he shall be great, and the Lord God shall give unto him the Throne of his Father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: And he speaks of the eternity of David’s Throne over Jacob’s house, so that as he shall be a man (and he shall never lay down our nature) so shall he be a King upon David’s Throne forever and ever.

5. To triumph eternally over enemies, the devils, Malignant opposers of his reign, sin, and hell is an act of a Mediatory King; when head and members do both triumph, no less then it is a part of his royal Mediatory power to crush them all, and make them his footstool, Psalm 110, Psalm 110. But Christ and the Armies of heaven, when the Marriage-Supper of the Lamb shall come, shall ride upon white horses, and triumph over enemies forever, Revelation 19:7, 13-15, and the eternal living of Christ in our nature with all his, is a triumphing over the grave, and death, 1 Corinthians 15, and who can prescribe a period and an end of that triumph?

6. The River of Water of Life shewed to John, Revelation 22, proceeds out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb; then hath the slain Lamb a Throne forever. Revelation 22:3, And there shall be no more curse there: the Law of Works as threatening a curse, shall no more be there, Galatians 3:10-14; Deuteronomy 27:26, but the Gospel-blessing shall be there, and the Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. Revelation 22:5 And they shall reign forever and ever.

7. If the glorified sit with the Lamb on a Throne, as he is set down with his Father upon his Thrones, as is promised, Luke 22:29; Revelation 3:21. If Christ’s Throne be removed, the Throne of the glorified cannot stand: And all along where the state of the triumphing Church is described, the Lord Jesus keeps the name of the Lamb, in reference to the Mediatory sacrifice of the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world, John 1:29 as, Revelation 5, The Beasts and the Elders stand round about the Throne, saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, etc, Revelation 7:15-17, Therefore are they before the Throne, and serve him night and day in his Temple and he that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, nor thirst anymore. For the Lamb that is in the midst of them shall lead them unto the living fountains of waters. Though this be expounded of the Church Militant, Isaiah 49:10, yet it hath not its perfect accomplishment, but of the Church before the Throne: for all tears are wiped from the Church only. And whereas it is said, that Christ acts not as Mediator in heaven, its true, he acts not as now he acteth for sinners; but even then the Lamb, verse 17, is the midst of them, and leads them, when they need neither Temple, nor Sun-light, beside that, the Lord God Almighty is their Temple, Revelation 21, the Lamb is their Temple, verse 22, And the Lamb is their light, verse 23. Now what sort of leading, and what influences of worship and light comes from the Lamb is another question. And it weighs much with me, that its impossible that the precious Ark, God-Man, and the union personal can be dissolved.

8. Christ saith, I will be a God to the overcomer, and he shall inherit all things, Revelation 21, And if he be the God of Abraham, being dead, in regard of the soul that lives, far more shall he be a God in an eternal Covenant with Abraham, in soul and body glorified, though the acts of Christ’s reigning and the actings of his Covenanted people must be suitable to a glorified state. Come Lord Jesus.

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