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Thursday: Heavenly Ministry — 29 Comments

  1. Today's lesson paints a certain picture of Jesus heavenly mediation ministry - that in turn paints a certain picture of God and of the 'sinner's' condition and primary need.

    According to today's lesson, Jesus heavenly ministry is about trying to prevent God's presence 'breaking-out' against the sinner and consuming them.

    The lesson states: "We have a Representative standing before the Father on our behalf. Think of how loving, forgiving, and accepting Christ was when here on earth. This same Person is now our Mediator in heaven?"

    Do the sentiments of this statement imply that God and Jesus are both equally working for our salvation - or that one is somehow able to be more loving, forgiving and accepting than the other? That Jesus mediation is about protecting the sinner from God's consuming presence?

    The lesson says that this view of things "makes perfect sense".

    Does this make perfect sense to you?

    • Perhaps, consider the fact that there is also before the Father the "accuser of the brethren" who accuses "day and night". Didn't Jesus say: "I and the Father are One"(John 10:30)?

      Also, it is not Jesus' argument, but our repentance which the Father will acknowledge. Jesus is not arguing with God, but for us against the accuser, if in fact we have repented in faith. The impenitent have no advocate and need no accuser.

      I understand the wording sometimes may lead the unwary into a wrong conclusion, but we each have the word of God, the Life of Christ revealed within it, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. The confusion of others does not need to become ours. There are many that share your concerns Phil. Yes, more often that we would like to see.

    • Phil – to me it makes sense in that the ‘iniquities’ confessed and asked to be removed are being ‘done-away-with/burned up’ and replaced by the 'Righteousness found in the Word of God'; desired/requested to be planted in the heart and mind of the believer where they will become rooted as the new nature.
      It makes perfect sense as the consuming ‘fire’ is that of the Righteousness of God burning away the iniquities in our heart and mind as they are in the process of being renewed.

    • I think it's a false view that God the Father is harsh and Jesus is nice, but one that many buy into, even in the church.

  2. Today's lesson gives me more humble before God and will praise Him in everything I do. God did not stop only at the cross but continue His eagerness for everyone to be with Him. In heaven,doing mediator works just for us. In our part,as christians let us keep faith in Him, follow Him , praise Him in everything we do. Do good to our neighbors and testify with Jesus in our life.

  3. I see it this way: As in a Supreme Court, God is the judge and Christ is our attorney. Judges make decisions on how a trial will proceed and lawyers advance their client’s interests before the court. Their duty is to act in the best interest of their clients, without acting against justice, public interest and ethics.

    In the past, I did voluntary work at a state prison in Germany. The accused when confessing their „sin“ and manifested earnest good ethical behavior while imprisoned, their sentence is reduced to half, which I had actually experienced. When compared to how Christ our attorney mediates for us before God, our case is resolved and we are free and justified to „sin no more“. For this reason Jesus died for us. What an act of grace!
    E.White states in Prophets and Kings the following:
    Men of all future time must see the God of heaven as an impartial ruler, in no case justifying sin. But few realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Men flatter themselves that God is too good to punish the transgressors. But in the light of Bible history it is evident that God‘s goodness and His love engage him to deal with sin as an evil fatal to the peace and happiness of the universe.“

    • And the judge is not bent on punishment but merely seeking to get “both sides of the story” and then make an impartial decision.
      He doesn’t want to destroy.
      Satan accuses and only those who are Christ’s have Him as their attorney/defender against all of Satan’s charges.

        • Mark 1:15, John 3:16, 1 John 1:9, if understanding the full meaning of "believe". There is no defense offered without this.

        • That is the difference in the earthly and heavenly courtrooms.
          Christ is not only our defender against Satan. He has already paid the penalty and we are to be set free, if we will accept His gift.
          Praise God for His mercy!

          • …and the Judge’s part is to see that the law has been applied correctly. So Christ met all the requirements of the law on behalf of the sinner, without sin, and the Father Judge accepts that on our behalf when giving his judgement.

  4. Yes, our God is a consuming refining fire and if Jesus does not cover us with His righteousness we will be consumed.
    Heb 12:29; Heb 10:26-27; Zec 13:9; 1Cor 3:11-13

    However it is God who through Jesus' sacrifice is reconciling us to Himself, that is why He gave us His only Son. That is also Jesus' ministry after cleansing us from our sin by His blood, He is reconciling us to the Father because our carnal nature is at enmity with God.
    John 3:16; 2Cor 5:18-19; Rom 5:8-11; Rom 8:7

    • Ah, thank you, Shirley, for introducing another analogy of the Atonement - the analogy of reconciliation. That's a relational analogy that brings both sides together, rather than one in which an accused stands before a judge. May we consider that we should keep all of the biblical analogies in mind when we consider the Atonement and the Judgment? If we focus only on law-breaking, could we be missing something?

  5. Only a God Who signifies LOVE could do such a thing! Jesus came to Earth because of us! He did not need to do this at all, but WE NEEDED Him! His human nature was just made real because we as fallen beings were too far from understanding God! Jesus figure is purely didatic, not only for us, but for the entire Universe! God can do anything, even becoming (physically) flesh. Our minds are too limited and could never understand the Divine Nature, but we can certainly relate much more to another human. Trying to grasp Jesus is trying to comprehend God.

  6. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection........he liveth unto God. Rom 6:5-10

    According to the lesson 'Jesus, with that perfect righteousness, wrought out in His life through suffering' (Hebrews 2:10)

    Hymn says- Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while other fought to win the price and sail through bloody seas.
    It is through trials, hardship, temptations, worries, etc etc that the Christian character is formed. Many want to have a perfect and righteous character without going through any of those that Christ went through. We are told he was tempted as we are yet without sin. To put on the 'robe of righteous' has nothing to do with someone putting on a cloth garment on another person. Righteous is a change of someone character. From evil to good. Christ was tempted to become evil yet he remained good. Christ is now changing our character in heaven when we are for forgiveness of sins.

  7. When the veil of the earthly temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom without hands, the whole nation of Israel should have rejoiced that the types were now met in the promised Christ, but no one understood it, even among the followers of Jesus. Today we should understand this clearly, and have an experimental knowledge of the types, how they are now fulfilled, and what our lives should be as a result. As promised, Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for all who “keep the commandments of God and have the faith/testimony of Jesus”. This means they love as Jesus demonstrated love as a man on this fallen world, and like Jesus, their prayer is “not my will, but thine be done”.

    Jesus suffered the penalty for sin as the propitiate, and is now the high priest once represented by Aaron and his sons on earth. We also should understand the time we are in, the great Day of Atonement, in the midst of the sealing work(Eze 9:4).

    "What kind of hope and encouragement does that bring?"

    For me, it is the "exceeding great and precious promises of God" that bring hope as I realize the fulfillment of them taking place in the work of Jesus now in heaven, as promised.

      • To me it means forgiveness and Life.

        If you consider the story of Genesis 22, and what Jesus says of Abraham in John 8:56, does that explain it?

        The sinner Isaac(representing all the seed of Abraham) never felt the blade or the fire, but lived to go home with Abraham while the ram's ashes cooled on the altar. God, as Abraham said, provided the substitute ram, which was innocent of any wrong.

        What is a just Sovereign to do when His law/will is violated(Rom 3:5,6)? Without justice, the law is made void. Jesus accepted the justice, and the sacrifice of His blood(life) propitiates the demand of justice/law/will of God, while the repenting sinner is justified. According to the dictionary, you can replace propitiate with satisfy or appease. Just remember WHO it is that offers the propitiation(Isa 53:10, John 3:16, Rom 3:25,26, Gen 22:8). Without this "gift of God"(Rom 6:23), there is no hope or life for sinners.

        • Robert, you expressed an important principle when you wrote, "Without justice, the law is made void."
          I think we can agree that without consequences the law is made void.
          I think we can see that in the US cities with soaring crime rates since criminals are released back into the population without bail.
          We can see it at the southern border of the US in the human flood crossing the border illegally after consequences for illegal entry were essentially removed. (We live several hours north of the border, but our towns are experiencing the impact.)

  8. I think the lesson author got it right if one thinks in terms of God’s character. God is defined by goodness (Ex 33) and justice. His law demands justice and Christ provides that justice for us in His sacrifice. Using the theme provided in Hebrews as type meets anti type, in the Temple it is the Mercy Seat that sits above the Law. God’s mercy reigns supreme in Christ our Savior.

    • How would you summarize the law that "demands justice"?
      And I suppose the second question would be, how do we define the justice this law demands?

      Just trying to stir up your pure mind. 2 Peter 3:1

  9. I look at the Heavenly Ministry as something miraculous and mysterious which commenced when the Son of God, now also as the Man Jesus Christ, returned back to Heaven and received the authority from the Father to officially conduct His Ministry of Reconciliation between the Father and all mankind.
    By Grace through Faith in the Righteousness of God as taught by Christ Jesus will be the work to transform the living soul; and Christ Jesus is our Mediator.
    God’s Glory – His Righteousness – ; the time had come, foretold so many millennial ago, and now is, that God’s Word is being transferred into our heart and mind through the Holy Spirit which the Father sent on all mankind's behalf to guide us to His Truth and Light – His Righteousness - and live by it.

    His call went out to all mankind, inviting everyone who has an ear to hear to come to Him to be cleansed of their iniquity – injustice, wickedness and sin. His Righteousness consumes the sin-nature as it establishes the born-again, new nature to be formed in His Image by the faith of the believer.
    Jesus Christ's Ministry of Reconciliation holds/is the power to change fallen man to become the man which can now come boldly before the Throne of God to plead his cause in the Name of our Savior Christ Jesus.

    What are the names and Titles of Christ Jesus?
    Almighty - Alpha and Omega – Amen[Rev.3:15) – Author of Life – Bread from Heaven – Chief Shepherd - Christ – Deliverer – Immanuel – The Gate – God – Good Shepherd – Heir of all Things – High Priest – Holy and Righteous One – I AM – Lamb of God – Last Adam – Light of the World – Lion of the Tribe of Judah – Lord – Lord of All – Lord of lords and King of kings – Lord of Glory – Master – Mediator – Messiah – Morning Star – Prince of Peace – Resurrection and Life – Righteous One – Ruler of God’s Creation – Savior – Son of Man – Son of the Most High – Spiritual Rock – Way, Truth, and Life – Word! [from ‘A Cru Ministry’]

    He is our spiritual All-in-All – our beloved Savior Christ Jesus!

  10. Is it possible we do not have a correct understanding of the word "mediate"? All three of the Trinity are united/unified in love for each other and all created beings! I'm reminded of this week's study of John 16:26, 27:"In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed I came from God!"

    • I believe your suggestion is very possible.

      Ty Gibson, in his book "The Sonship of Christ: Exploring the Covenant Identity of God and Man", proposes the following:

      “God is love, and love by its very nature desires relationship. Love wants to be known. But how is an uncreated God, who transcends all created-material categories, to make Himself known to created beings who only exist within created-material categories?

      The answer, in a word, is mediation.

      Mediation is the means by which a transcendent God builds bridges of understanding into the minds of His created-material creatures… because God is love, God chooses to enter into complete mediatorial communion with us.”

      I find this to be a very insightful and accurate conceptualisation of God’s/Jesus’ mediatorial ‘work’ from a Covenant perspective.

      • Phil,interesting you bring up "mediation" as Ty uses it; in my copy of the book [which I highly recommend to every true Bible student],I crossed out "mediation" and wrote two possibilities: "communication or communion". One of the frustrations with me in this lesson is the word "mediation" is not really defined. If one looks the word up in a dictionary, there's a connotation of a difference of opinion. Thank you for bringing this up. Ty's book, "The Heavenly Trio",IMO is just as beautiful!

    • Please keep in mind the book of Job, and realize such a book could be written about every believer. Satan is accusing the repentant sinner(see Zech 3:1-7, Rev 12:10). Jesus isn't trying to change His Father's mind, for they are One. He's mediating for the repentant sinner against Satan's accusations. The impenitent sinner has no advocate, but Satan doesn't accuse the guilty, for why would he need to?

      • Yes! Read the description of IJ as presented in Zech 3 in PK, especially p 589.
        The picture of Jesus "pleading with the Father" is better described as Jesus and the Father pleading together.


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