Christ’s Mediatorial Dominion; or, What Our Standards Teach in Relation to the Headship, or Dominion of Christ the Mediator.
1. Our Standards teach us that Christ the Redeemer, or Mediator, “reveals to us by his word and spirit the will of God for our salvation.” Again, in the Larger Catechism, “Christ was exalted in his ascension, in giving them, (his disciples) commission to preach the gospel to all nations; forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head, triumphed over enemies,” etc. And now, we should remember that it is the God of grace that deals with man—with the nations, in giving a revelation of his will, and commissioning the apostles to “teach all nations.” But the God of grace does not deal with men except through a Mediator, and there is but “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” It is not true that God speaks to the nations as the God of nature, under the broken covenant [i.e., the Covenant of Works]; and to the church as the God of grace, under the new covenant [i.e., the Covenant of Grace]; it is not true that God has spoken to the nations, by his Son, in his essential character [i.e., the second Person in the Trinity], and to the church in his mediatorial character; but it is true that he has spoken to both church and state in the same character, and under the sanction of the same covenant. If he dealt with man as the God of nature, it would be under the covenant of works, and only to inflict the penalty of that covenant.
2. The Confession of Faith, (chap. VIII.3.), says that the Father has “put all power and judgment” into the hand of the Mediator. “Which office (of Mediator) he took not to himself, but was thereunto called by his Father, who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him a commandment to execute the same.” And it should be remembered that this chapter is treating directly of Christ the Mediator. Again, Larger Catechism, Q. 54.: “Christ is exalted in sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father, with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven and earth.” Now if the Father has put all power and judgment into his hand, and has commanded him to execute the same—if he has given him power over all things in heaven and earth, certainly his headship or dominion is not confined to the church. It can’t be denied but that both these passages are speaking of the Mediator.
3. The Confession of faith, (chap. XXXII.3.), says that “the bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.” Then the fact that the bodies of the unjust are raised by the power of Christ shows that his dominion extends beyond the church, and it is manifest that the framers of the Confession of Faith that it is the power of Christ the Mediator, that raises the unjust, for they quote as proof-texts, (Phil. 3:21), “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,” and John 5:28, “all that are in their graves shall hear his voice (the voice of him that shall cause the dead to live) and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” Again, Larger Catechism, Q. 87., “the bodies of the just, by the power of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head shall be raised in power; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor—by him, as an offended judge.” That is, by him who was raised from the dead, as the living head of the just.
4. The Confession of Faith, (chap. VIII.1.), says, the Mediator is “the Heir of all things and judge of the world,” and it must be remembered that the title of this chapter is “Of Christ the Mediator;” and in the third section of this chapter it is said that Christ “took not unto himself this office (of a Mediator), but was thereunto called by his Father, who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.”
Again, (sec. 4) it is said the Mediator “shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.” Again, (chap. XXXIII.1.), “God hath appointed a day wherein he will in righteousness judge the world by Jesus Christ, (by that man whom he hath ordained—Acts 17:31), to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.” Again, Larger Catechism, Q. 56, “Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power,...to judge the world in righteousness.” The Son in his essential character does not come again, in this character he was not unjustly judged and condemned. It was as Mediator that he was judged and condemned, in was in this character that he came the first time, and will come again, the second time. Again, Larger Catechism, Q. 90., “at the day of judgment, the righteous being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there being openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,” etc. Now it is manifest that the saints cannot be joined with the Son in his essential character, in the judging of reprobate angels and men; it is being joined with the Mediator that they judge angels and men, for he will then “grant unto them to sit with him in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21). Thus it is undeniable that our Standards teach that the Mediator shall judge reprobate angels and men; therefore, according to our Standards, he is head over reprobate angels and men—he is head over all principalities and powers.
5. According to our Standards, the Mediator “conquers and restrains all his and our enemies.” Shorter Catechism, Q. 26, Christ executes his offices as a redeemer, but the Redeemer is the Mediator. Confession of Faith, chap. VIII.6., the Mediator is said to be “revealed and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent’s head.” The seed of the woman is the Mediator, and not the Son essentially considered, it was he that took upon him flesh and blood that destroyed the Devil, and he took upon him flesh and blood that he might destroy the Devil. Section 8 [chap. VIII.], the Mediator is said to overcome all the enemies of his people. Larger catechism, Q. 53, he is said to triumph over enemies—conquer and restrain—lead captivity captive, that is, he who ascended up on high—the Mediator. So it was one “like the Son of man,” that reaped the harvest of the earth, that is yet to destroy the Western Roman Empire—that reaped or gathered the vine of the earth—destroyed the Romish church. (Rev. 14:14-20). Thus Christ, the Mediator, destroys the Devil, the beast, the false prophet; this he could not do without having, and exercising dominion over them.
Then, our Standards teach that the Mediator authoritatively commissioned the Apostles to teach all nations—that the Father has put all power into his hand—that the bodies of the just and unjust are raised by his power—that apostate angels and men are judged by him—and that he conquers and restrains all his and our enemies, whether they be in heaven or on earth, thus showing that he is head over all things to the church, and has such control or dominion over all things, that he can make all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.
I know that some believe that the headship or dominion of Christ the Mediator, is confined to the church, but we are fully persuaded that this is neither the doctrine of the Bible, nor of our Subordinate Standards.—John McAuley. (1863).