Mediator in the OT?

Reading through book two of Calvin’s Institutes, something has struck a chord with me. Calvin seeks in 2.6.2 to show that Christ was always Mediator between God and man in the OT. I agree that Christ is ultimately the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), but many of the Scriptures that Calvin goes to seem to do very little for his proposition.

Calvin is saying that Christ was always the mediator of the covenant in the OT, when it was clear (at least to me) that Moses was properly the mediator of the covenant that commonly bears his name, and that’s some of the distinction that the author of Hebrews makes between the two covenants. Thoughts? Any insight to add to this?

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  1. #1 by Scott Cline on August 18, 2009 - 8:09 am

    Yes, I’ve read an excerpt from Calvin elsewhere, also, in which he makes the same claim.

    Calvin does not seem to be claiming that Christ vs. Moses mediated the OC, and that salvation was obtained through that covenant. In fact, in this portion, Calvin explicitly says that the purpose of the OC sacrifices was to teach “believers…that salvation was not to be found anywhere but in the expiation which Christ alone completed.”
    He goes on to say, “All I maintain is that the prosperous and happy state of the Church was always founded in the person of Christ.”

    We cannot disagree with Calvin in principle: the spiritual state of God’s spiritual people was purchased at the cross, whether those people lived before or after it. So, if this is “all” that Calvin is saying, why does he go a step further, and claim that Christ was “mediating” this under the OC?

    Because he sees the necessary connection between expiation and mediation. Christ will not fail to mediate the blood He shed (Is. 53:12, Hebrews, etc.). Christ’s cross-work is not the whole ball of wax: it is completed by His mediation of it.

    So, if OC believers were saved by the blood shed at Golgotha, then the blood shed at Golgotha must have been mediated to them.

    Now it gets sticky. What did this mediation of Christ’s blood look like under the OC? Was it the same thing as Christ’s NC mediation?
    There are two ways I could go on this:

    (a) No, because Christ’s NC mediation is presented in Hebrews as a new thing…a better thing than previously experienced.

    (b) Yes, the only difference is in understanding. Christ has always stood at the right hand of the Father, pleading His blood for His people; but, now we KNOW that, and that’s what’s new in the NC.

    There are too many questions here. To what degree are descriptions of Christ’s intercession only a metaphor? Is there a timeless quality to that intercession?

    I don’t think I can take this line of thought any further. Point is, there is some sense in which Christ mediated His blood to OC believers, but I’m just not sure of the details.

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