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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE DEATH OF THE TESTATOR

Hebrews 9:15-18 And for this cause He is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

A mediator is one that intercedes between two groups, or two persons, to resolve differences, and come to an amicable agreement. A mediator is necessary where a situation exists that cannot be resolved otherwise. During the Old Testament era, prophets, priests, judges, and kings were all, at times, recognized as mediators between God and mankind. Of specific note, both Moses and Aaron served in this capacity as mediators.

Because Jesus died for the redemption of the sins of the world, He is the Mediator of the New Testament. By His intercession, they that are reconciled to God - they that answer God's call to salvation, might receive the promise of eternal inheritance, that is, eternal life in heaven. Paul confirmed this fact in his letter to his fellow servant, Timothy: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

Although volumes are written about words translated "covenant," "testament," and "will," all are similar and interchangeable in most usages. When the word covenant is used it generally refers to an agreement between two parties. There was a covenant relationship established between God and mankind under the Patriarchal Dispensation with the family heads, or patriarchs, being the mediator. Under the Jewish Dispensation, there was a covenant relationship between God and the children of Israel given through His servant Moses. Under this law, the priests served as mediators between God and the Jewish nation. With the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven, the Old Covenant was fulfilled, and the Christian Dispensation was ushered in, with the giving of a New Covenant. In it, Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and mankind.

The word testament, or will, has a different usage in the establishment of the New Covenant. As used in the lesson text, it carries a meaning common in the language of today's society. A testament is the act of one party; a voluntary act recording, the will of the testator regarding matters that are made effective following his or her death. Likewise, the New Testament, in which God's plan of eternal salvation, through Christ, is made known to all mankind, is the "last will and testament" of its Testator, Jesus Christ. Although Jesus is the Mediator of the New Testament, He is also its Testator. The New Testament is the gospel of Christ. By inspiration, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, knew Him and recorded the events and the teaching of His ministry on earth. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, all of His apostles, and other devoted disciples, taught His gospel message throughout the known world. The complete New Testament came either directly, or indirectly from Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, and was sent to deliver God's plan of salvation to the world. Of Him God said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5).

Included in the New Covenant between God and mankind is found the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And when did it become effective? Like all wills and testaments, it became effective with the death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. With His death, the New Covenant era began and the previous covenants between God,the Jewish nation, and the Gentile world became old, and were superseded. Now that which is decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away (Heb. 8:13).

While Jesus Christ was alive on earth, the Old Testament law was in full affect. The New Testament, that is, the will of Jesus Christ, required His death before it became God's new law, for where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. The Old Covenant was confirmed with the shedding of blood from animal sacrifices. However, the blood of Jesus was required to confirm the New Covenant. The perfect sacrifice confirmed the perfect law of liberty contained in His last will and testament. The New Testament law, between God and mankind, was established and became effective with the death of its Testator, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!