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According to the Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the word "mediator" (greek: mesités) has the meaning of:

one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form, or for ratifying a covenant: a medium of communication, arbitrator i. e. every mediator, whoever acts as mediator, does not belong to one party but to two or more

"One who intervenes between two" implies the mediator to be a third distinct person, party or entity.

The noun "mediator" occurs 6 times in the Bible:

  1. Galatians 3:19

What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. - Galatians 3:19

The unnamed mediator in this verse is Moses. The Law covenant involved two parties. It was made between YHWH and the nation of Israel, with Moses as mediator.

  1. Galatians 3:20

Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. - Galatians 3:20

Paul is discussing the covenant that God made with Abraham. YHWH made this covenant which was a one-sided promise, and it was up to Him to fulfill it. He set forth no conditions that Abraham had to meet. (Ga 3:18) Hence why no mediator was required in the covenant with Abraham.

  1. 1. Timothy 2:5

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus - 1.Timothy 2:5

  1. Hebrews 8:6

But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. - Hebrews 8:6

  1. Hebrews 9:15

And for this reason He (Jesus) is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. - Hebrews 9:15

  1. Hebrews 12:24

to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. - Hebrews 12:24

Jesus is called “a mediator of a new covenant.” Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all,” laying the basis for men and women of all sorts to be brought into the new covenant. (1 Timothy 2:6)

Trinitarians believe that Jesus intercedes with the Father on our behalf. He can do this because he is a distinct person, and he is the only competent mediator because only God can truly mediate with himself. (How do modalists understand the role of Jesus as mediator?)

GotQuestians, a protestant website says:

As man and God, Jesus is uniquely equipped to represent both sides. He alone stands in the gap between God and man. He alone meets the righteous requirements of the law, opening the way into God’s presence once and for all through His death on the cross and resurrection to life

However, by definition, a mediator is a third party who can represent both party interests, who acts as a go-between between 2 parties.

In the case of the Law covenant:

  • God (1st party)---Moses (Mediator)---Ancient Israelites (2nd party)

In the case of the New covenant it should look like:

  • God (1st party)---Jesus (Mediator)---Sinful Humans (2nd party)

According to Trinitarian doctrine, Jesus is both fully God and fully Human. His origin being both human and divine does indeed make him the ideal and unique candidate for mediation, as no one can represent both sides better.

The problem is Jesus being fully God (of which there is just ONE). Because if He is fully God according to Trinitarian doctrine, He fully IS the 1st party, in which case he can no longer be, by definition, his own mediator.

While Jesus is believed to be fully Man as well, he IS not fully MEN/mankind/humanity, just as Moses fully was an Israelite, but was not fully the Nation of Israel.

In the trinitarian sense, it would then look like this:

  • God (mediator & 1st party)--- _________ ---Sinful Humans(2nd party)

There's no mediation here, as the mediator link in-between is missing.

One solution attempt: from the quotes above, it is implied that the mediation happens between the first person of the Trinity, the Father, and Christians, with Jesus as the second person, distinct from the Father, who stands "alone in the gap between God and man" as the mediator.

It would then look like this:

  • God the Father + God the Holy Spirit (1st party)---God the Son(Mediator)---Sinful Humans (2nd party)

However, the mediation happens between God (not God the Father + HS only) and men according to 1. Timothy 2:5. God is one holistic party, and should not be divided into persons (Hebrews 3:20). Jesus pleads for us "at the right hand of God", not God the Father + HS only (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He appears before God on our behalf, not God the Father only (Hebrews 9:24).

When the Bible speaks about the true God, it always means the triune God and not a distinct person of the Godhead.

So how can Jesus, a person of the triune God, who is the triune God, be a mediator between that triune God and men?

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    "conflict of interest" implies one particular understanding of mediator, which your definition doesn't necessarily require. "how can Jesus, a person of the triune God, who is the triune God, be a mediator between that triune God and men" Jesus is God, but He is also Man.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 30 at 1:56
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    @ReadLessPrayMore I'm afraid we must have different definitions of truth. You continue to come here and disparagingly dismiss others viewpoints while asking questions some of which are quite reasonable. I no longer think you are asking questions in good faith.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 30 at 12:07
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    @eques - As it is said that you cannot separate God in its parts, the "official" trinitarian teaching is that when the true God is being spoken of, it always has to mean the triune God. God is One, in three persons and never divided nor showing up first as one thing and then later as another - that would be Modalism, which I take is considered by Trinitarians as heresy, and not true Trinitarianism.
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 30 at 12:56
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    I must have missed something. I thought I was the Trinitarian not you. God cannot be separated in parts. That is true. But you are conflating the name of God with the being of God. Trinitarians do not universally hold that the name (i.e. the literal word) always means the Triune God as Trinity as opposed to one of the Divine Persons. There is extensive writing on this in Augustine and Aquinas among others.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 30 at 14:19
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    The answer is right at the beginning of the question. Thayer's definition of mediator states: "whoever acts as mediator, does not belong to one party but to two or more". Ideally, mediation between God and Man should be accomplished by someone representing both parties. Furthermore, perfect mediation should be accomplished via perfect representation. Commented Apr 30 at 15:11

3 Answers 3

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The question posted is reasonable and understandable. The answer immediately following on, given by the OP to the OPs own question, might better have been put into an answer box and posted as an answer, to explain why the OP appears convinced that no trinitarian answer to this question could be correct. Unfortunately, it seems as if the OP is no longer asking a question, but has argued against the question posed before any trinitarian gave an answer. This also shows that the OP misunderstands the doctrine of the trinity, which misunderstanding can be demonstrated.

First, let’s clear up how the question posed is only a problem to those who think that the Word of God, who became flesh as the man, Jesus, had a starting point in time – yet is not a problem to trinitarians who say he is the eternal, uncreated, only-begotten Son of the Father. The OP expresses how he/she sees the problem:

“The problem is Jesus being fully God (of which there is just ONE). Because if He is fully God according to Trinitarian doctrine, He fully IS the 1st party, in which case he can no longer be, by definition, his own mediator.”

The real problem is supposing that Jesus must be fully God, in God’s entirety. No. That is not what either the Bible, or trinitarianism, teaches. The roots of the ancient heresy of Sabellianism led into adaptations today, more commonly under the name of Modalism. This claims that there is only one person in God, who has manifested himself through the human, Jesus Christ. Trinitarianism says there is only one Being of God, and that three uncreated persons share that one divine nature, with absolute unity of Spirit in that nature. This means that the question asked of trinitarians is actually addressed to Modalists! Trinitarians are not Modalists!

It only remains for the actual question to be answered from the trinitarian perspective. The simplest way of putting it so as to help any who suppose the false idea that Jesus was so “fully God” that he had to be God, in God’s entirety, is to point out that God is Spirit (John 4:24). God is not flesh and blood. The Holy Spirit is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not flesh and blood. Yet God has decreed that “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [of sin]”. (Hebrews 9:22). The Old Testament taught God’s people that fact. The arrival of the Word of God into the world, as the man, Jesus, meant that the third person of the Trinity had added human nature to his divine nature, and now had flesh and blood. This sinless One could – and did – shed his blood for the remission of sin. That was not a role the Father or the Holy Spirit took on, but the eternal Son did, and all three were equally involved in the carrying out of this unique sacrifice which meant that the Son became the only possible mediator for repentant sinners, as these verses prove:

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament… For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” Hebrews 9:14-16 A.V.

The three persons of the Godhead are in bold, highlighting the distinctive roles they played, in utter unity. Trinitarians know that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Hoy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. That is why they have no problem with Jesus becoming the only possible mediator. The Son had to become sinless man to shed his blood in sacrificial death; he had to retain his full deity to be more than a sinless man, and thus he could mediate between the offended God and the offending party – humanity; and the Holy Spirit enacted the incarnation, the resurrection, and the presenting of the blood to God. Regarding the price paid:

“It was paid, however, not in the ordinary currency of human commerce, or even in the currency o normal diplomacy, but in the extraordinary currency of God’s plan of salvation, ‘the precious blood of Christ’ (1 Peter 1:19); and this blood was shed not accidentally or even in some ordinary act of martyrdom, but in the solemn liturgical context of sacrifice. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, ‘without blemish or defect.” Christ Crucified, p. 230, Donald Macleod, Inter-Varsity, 2014

So, once all the confusion about Modalism has been swept aside, the answer of trinitarians becomes clear.

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  • „How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God„ Hebrew 9:14 - I see that you switched „God“ in this passage to „God the Father“ in your explanation thereby reading something into the text that it doesn’t say. I can say that God here is God the Father because God the Father is the only one that‘s the ultimate God and through His eternal Spirit (force) was able to send his only begotten Son as a ransom which allowed that Son (who isn’t the only true God) to become mediator between God the Father and men.
    – Js Witness
    Commented May 1 at 13:54
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    @JsWitness The reason why I speak of both "God" and "God the Father" is to show the difference between trinitarianism and modalism. Your saying "God the Father is the only one that‘s the ultimate God" shows modalistic thinking. Do you view the Son as a pen-ultimate god, then? That is Jehovah's Witness thinking - there's the Almighty God (Jehovah, the Father) and then there's the Mighty God (Isa.9) Jesus, who was created. I'm not asking to get an explanation, but just to show the problems that arise when modalistic views are incorporated.
    – Anne
    Commented May 1 at 14:02
  • That is indeed my position, with the addition that I think Jesus to have this "pen-ultimate" divinity (learned a new word here, so thanks for that) received (as it has been given to him) after his resurrection and exaltation in heaven. (Matthew 28:18)
    – Js Witness
    Commented May 1 at 18:08
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I think the difficulty you are experiencing in understanding the role of Christ Jesus as mediator between God and sinful humanity might stem from a wrong assumption. You say:

"One who intervenes between two" implies the mediator to be a third distinct person, party or entity.

That may be true of humans where someone tries to bring two parties together, but we are talking of a divine situation here where humans are incapable of approaching a holy and righteous God because of their sinful condition. Only the resurrected and glorified Christ Jesus, who was fully human and who has now ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand side of his Father, can mediate between the two parties. It is his sinless humanity along with his divinity that qualifies him, and him alone, for that role.

The simple explanation is found further on in the article that you partially quoted from:

Jesus, God’s incarnate Son, is the perfect intermediary, better than Moses because He alone is appropriately qualified to be the one mediator between God and man. Only Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 2:17). As man and God, Jesus is uniquely equipped to represent both sides. He alone stands in the gap between God and man. He alone meets the righteous requirements of the law, opening the way into God’s presence once and for all through His death on the cross and resurrection to life (John 1:17; Hebrews 3:1–6; 9:15, 22; 10:10; 12:24).

There is one mediator between God and man means that Christ is the only way to God the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If we want to experience peace with God and a restored relationship of joy in His presence, we must come “by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Hebrews 10:19–20).

Jesus Christ is the one mediator—the one and only Savior of the world (John 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:15). There is no other go-between. We come to God through faith in His Son, who is the only means of salvation. Religion cannot save us. Good works won’t make us right with God. Nothing but faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient to bridge the gap between sinful humanity and a Holy God.

Please also be aware that Jesus is Mediator and High Priest only for the 144,000:

Jesus Mediator & High Priest: Worldwide Security Under the "Prince of Peace" pp.10-1:1: "Jesus Christ is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the Mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members."

Watchtower 1 April 1979 p. 31 Questions from Readers: Is Jesus the “mediator” only for anointed Christians? “The “great crowd” of “other sheep” that is forming today is not in that new covenant. However, by their associating with the “little flock” of those yet in that covenant they come under benefits that flow from that new covenant.”

Another misunderstanding arises from a partial quote you took from this CSE question asked in 2014. You need to refer to the answer given by Mr. Bultitude, who pointed out that “in modern times, Oneness Pentecostalism has revived modalism”. This is NOT the doctrine upheld by Trinitarians. Mr Bultitude concluded:

Being a separate person is unnecessary for mediation. The game-changer of the incarnation accomplished enough on its own.

I sincerely hope this helps to clear up the confusion arising from wrong assumptions about the One Being of God and the three eternal members who are responsible for the New Covenant established by the shed blood of the one, and the only, Son of God, who came from heaven to do the will of the Father who sent him.

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    "Being a separate person is unnecessary for mediation. The game-changer of the incarnation accomplished enough on its own." - That is not what the Bible says. The Bible clearly states that it was the "ransom" sacrifice, the "blood of the covenant" that made him the only possible mediator candidate, for "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins". It wasn't the "incarnation". It's because Jesus did what was necessary to become "the door" or the mediator. He became and is called "the mediator between God and men" only after his death and resurrection as a spirit.
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 30 at 12:34
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    Ask yourself how a created angel or any mere human could possibly have become the mediator of the new covenant. One man might lay down his life to spare the life of one other person, but no mere mortal could ever lay down his life to atone for the sins of the world. Only God could do that, which is why the incarnation was essential. Yes, Jesus was able to pay the price of our sins so that we might be forgiven and have life eternal, but only because he was Immanuel, God with us. If Jesus was resurrected as a spirit, then there is no hope for any human to be resurrected with a physical body.
    – Lesley
    Commented Apr 30 at 13:08
  • Did Adam and Eve before their sin require a mediator to have direct relationship and communication with each other? What if they would never have sinned, would we ever have needed a mediator? Jesus led a perfect life in a perfect human body. Would it not have been for his voluntarily ransom sacrifice, he would still be living today, and could live eternally as a perfect human - hence why he is the last Adam, for unlike Adam, Jesus didn't fail as a human. Once Jesus has subjected everything to the Father, will he still have to play the role as a mediator between God and men?
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 30 at 13:31
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    @JsWitness As my answer shows, in order to have blood to shed, the Word had to become flesh = the incarnation. In order to mediate, he also had to retain deity so as to be more than just a perfect man, who could have only represented humanity. He represented both humanity and deity, standing in the middle, as it were, between both - the perfect mediator.
    – Anne
    Commented Apr 30 at 13:40
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    Perfect mediator yes - I just don’t see why the mediator has to be both fully man and fully deity at the same time. That he became flesh, emptied himself from his glory as God’s only begotten spirit son, turning from a perfect spiritual being into a human being, and after shedding his blood for the remission of our sins, was turned back into a spiritual being to present his offering to God for us „once and for all“ qualifies him perfectly to me as well - no hypostatic union required.
    – Js Witness
    Commented Apr 30 at 19:46
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There are two ways to look at whether Jesus can serve in the role of mediator. First is to use scripture to define what a valid mediator is, then analyze the nature of the Trinity and Christ in particular and the actions Christ took and line them up side-by-side to see if Jesus qualifies. The second way is to consider what wisdom is.

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established[d] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.
- Proverbs 8:22-31

Wisdom is a created body of concepts, relationships and judgements. There is an eternal, uncreated wisdom of God, but when He created the Heavens and the Earth, he had to instantiate a different wisdom. The wisdom operating in this world is the representation of God's eternal wisdom in terms of material processes and object relations within this universe. It takes photons, quarks, muons, electrons, water, rocks, trees, squirrels, and people and all the things they can be and do and decides what love is, what hate is, what joy is, what sorrow is, and what death and eternal life mean.

In this process of instantiating wisdom in this specific context, God also defined what a mediator is and does. Since God the Son is eternal, if there is any eternal wisdom concept of mediator, then there must be an eternal person who is and can be that mediator. The mediatorial role in our temporal world was created to represent an aspect of the eternal mediator. A God of love would never create a world that needs a mediator without also making a mediator both possible and fully realized.

So I would say that Jesus did not become a man in the incarnation and give His blood to become a proper mediator, he was already a mediator who acted in time to express who he is through sequential steps.

But back to the first approach, the Book of Job has something to say about the role of mediator. Reading that book, you see that the afflicted man gained a comprehensive understanding of all the things that would have to be done to save him. His very suffering told him what he needed. Chapter by chapter he added to the list, a veritable list of job requirements for a savior. He needed someone who would be a man like him (because God terrified him) yet have the power and authority of God to get the job done, even to the point of saying that such a one must be able to walk on the waves of the sea (Job 9:8), later fulfilled by Jesus (an association proposed by Saint John Chrysostom). He knew he needed forgiveness, to be purified like gold, a physician to heal him, and someone who could raise him from the dead. In his list, he knew he needed some one to put up security for him (Job 17:3), thus paying his ransom.

Elihu then speculates about a mediator who could pay Job's ransom:

22 His soul draws near the pit,
    and his life to those who bring death.
23 If there be for him an angel,
    a mediator, one of the thousand,
    to declare to man what is right for him,
24 and he is merciful to him, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
    I have found a ransom;
25 let his flesh become fresh with youth;
    let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
    he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
- Job 33:22-26

The later arrival of God in the Whirlwind is the proof of Elihu's words that the mediator had been found. God even tells us about the blood sacrifice that accompanies this ransom payment. Though Job 41 positively describes a terrible sea serpent named Leviathan, it is also a negative depiction of Christ's flogging, humiliation and crucifixion. All the damaging things you can't do to Leviathan because of its strength and the good things you can't force the beast to do for you because of its evil, those things were either done to Jesus or Jesus does them for you.

For example:

Pierced for our transgressions:

Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? (Job 41:2)

The covenant in Christ's blood:

Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? (Job 41:4)

Soldiers throwing lots for Jesus clothes:

Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? (Job 41:6)

Nails in his hands, crown of thorns on his head:

Can you fill his skin with harpoons or his head with fishing spears? (Job 41:7)

The Bible and Christian writings speak endlessly about the harm done to Christ's limbs, and his humiliation in being stripped naked:

12 “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
    or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame.
13 Who can strip off his outer garment?
    Who would come near him with a bridle?
- Job 41:12-13

"when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire" (2 Thessalonians 1:7b-8a):

Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. (Job 41:19)

Thus Job declares the need for a mediator, Elihu defines it further, and God endorses Job's words and describes in negative terms the actual mediatorial sacrifice of Jesus Christ that would one day complete the work.

I would say that Jesus qualifies as a mediator in light of Job, which speaks volumes on the subject.

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  • This is a very interesting biblical conceptualization, which is why you receive an upvote from me. Reading through it, I noticed one thing though: in Job 33:23 the mediator is both called "an angel" as well as "one of the thousand". What do you make out of this?
    – Js Witness
    Commented May 1 at 20:48
  • Ecclesiastes 7:28 says "One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found." I believe that is a reference to a person being very wise. As for "angel", that can be a human messenger, a holy angel, or sometimes a reference to the "angel of the Lord" which some take to be the preincarnate Christ. Commented May 2 at 2:03
  • The "biblical conceptualization" given here is a heavily abbreviated rendering of the core discovery in my book "Job Rises: Thirteen Keys to a Resilient Life". Commented May 2 at 2:06
  • "There is an eternal, uncreated wisdom of God,".... yes this would be the Eternal Logos ===> Logic ====>Wisdom... Commented May 3 at 21:30

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