Note: This article makes several references to the Watchtower,
which stands for the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower Bible and Tract
Society. Watchtower has no connection with, and is not
affiliated with in any way, the Watchman Fellowship, Inc.
The Mediatorship of Christ and the Jehovah’s Witnesses
by Timothy Oliver
Salt Lake City, Utah
Many cult members have a shallow understanding of the real
teachings of the cult that they are involved with. Often cult
members just do not study their doctrine all that deeply.
However, the “fuzzification” of doctrine is frequently the result
of deliberate policy of the cult leaders. This is especially
true of those cults claiming to be the only “true” Christianity,
such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The leaders of these groups are walking a tightrope, necessarily
maintaining as much as possible of being Christian, yet without
compromising on those core fundamentals which separate them from
orthodox, historic, Biblical Christianity.
No cult could pretend to be Christian without giving some place
in its doctrine to Jesus Christ and to the idea that as a
Mediator between sinful man and a holy God, He made some kind of
atonement for sin. The hope of Christians is based upon that
atonement, and so the hope offered by any pseudo-christian cult
must also somehow be tied to the atonement.
But whereas the Christian believes that Jesus is the only
mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), and confidently
expects to enjoy eternal life in the presence of God as a “joint-
heir” with Christ (Romans 8:17), with all the blessings of Christ
given to him as a free gift on the basis of the merits of Christ
alone, the cults cannot allow such assurance without obviating
their own existence.
While they may refer to Christ as a mediator, and to His
atonement as indispensable, they always maintain a system of
doctrine that makes the cult itself as indispensable as Christ.
The “all-sufficient” aspect of the power of the atonement is
vitiated. It is a clear case of “having a form of godliness but
denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5).
What power is left in the atonement must be supplemented by the
cultist’s own works.
The cult and its leaders are necessary to provide the cultist the
direction he needs to do what he must do to make the atonement
effective for himself.
While the cult leaders may not apply the specific terms “savior”
or “mediator” to themselves, yet their actual place and function
in the cult’s doctrine constitutes them as much mediator as
An example of the falsification of Christ’s role as the Mediator,
with the exaltation of the cult and its leaders to the function
and role of mediator, is found in the teaching of the Jehovah’s
The case also demonstrates how cult leaders obfuscate doctrines
to maintain the appearances of Christianity, and how few cult
members actually understand important cult teachings.
The Biblical View of Christ As Mediator
To really understand this issue one must first have a clear view
of the mediatorship of Christ, and of the covenant which He
mediates. As mentioned above, Christ is the only mediator
between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5).
The covenant which He mediates is through His blood, and is,
first, for the forgiveness of sins (Rom. 3:24,25; Matt. 26:28;
Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17).
Second, God promises that He Himself will write His laws into our
hearts (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; 10:16). That is, He is at work
for all those brought into the new covenant to change their
innermost being. The believer can be assured that He is going to
cause them to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom.
Third, because it is only sin that brought about death and put a
barrier between Man and God (Rom. 5:12; Isa. 59:20) and because
in the new covenant God has promised (as stated above) to both
forgive and remove sin from Man’s life, then death is abolished
and Man can again live in the presence of God (Rom. 6:23; 2 Tim.
2:10; Jn. 14:2; Jer. 31:33,34; Heb. 8:10,11; 10:19-22).
Last, it must be pointed out that the roles of Christ as Mediator
and as High Priest cannot be arbitrarily separated. They are
virtually one and the same thing. The function of the high
priest, his job, was to mediate. Christ is Man’s Mediator
because He is the High Priest.
As High Priest, He mediates. Mediation for Man, fully and
exorably effective for bringing in all the blessings of the
covenant for all those in the covenant, is what He does as High
Priest (Heb. 8:1; 9:11-15,24,28).
The scripture knows of no work of Christ as High Priest, and no
blessings provided by Him as High Priest, except those
specifically stated as belonging to, and provided by, His work as
Mediator. The scripture knows of no one receiving covenant
blessings without being adopted into the covenant.
The Watchtower’s View of Christ as Mediator
What does the Watchtower teach of the mediatorship of Christ?
First the Watchtower teaches that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of
the new covenant (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p.360). It
states that out of all human history, those who are in the
covenant, “spiritual Israel” will number only 144,000, that only
these 144,000 will ever be together with Jesus in heaven, and
that, “…Jesus’s mediatorship operates solely toward those in
the new covenant…,” (Ibid, p.362).
Again, “My means of this covenant it became possible for them
(the 144,000) to gain heavenly life with Christ…” In heaven,
they are evidently transformed into some kind of beings other
that human, for it also states, “…humans will never see the
glorified Jesus Christ with their physical eyes…” (Survival
Into a New Earth, pp.72, 26).
Out of several million registered members of Jehovah’s Witnesses,
only a few thousand are considered to be members of the 144,000
in the new covenant with a “heavenly hope.”
Thus, it is expressly declared that for the great mass of
Watchtower members, Jesus is not their mediator, and they can
never expect to be with Him in heaven. This sounds truly dismal
to Christians who may ask, “How can they attract or hold on to
Watchman Fellowship’s experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that
though they would not regard themselves members of the 144,000,
they still are somehow under the mistaken impression that Jesus
is their mediator. And though they cannot expect to ever be in
heaven, they still hope someday to have a better life than this
one, here on earth.
Why the confusion of Christ’s mediatorship, and what is the basis
of this “earthly hope?” The Jehovah’s Witness’ confusion is
probably not just ignorance. The fact is that Watchtower leaders
have deliberately obfuscated the issues by arbitrarily and
unscripturally, separating Jesus Christ’s being Man’s Mediator
from His being High Priest (Insight, Vol. 2, p.362).
Forgiveness of sins and eternal life, blessings scripture
declares integral to the new covenant, are then said to be
available to those outside the covenant. The possibility of
forgiveness of sins and eternal life for those in the covenant is
the result of Christ’s work as Mediator.
The possibility of the same for those outside the covenant is the
result of His work as High Priest (Ibid, pp.362,363). The idea
that forgiveness of sins (a blessing of the covenant) can be
obtained outside the covenant is urged on the basis of 1 John
But when the scripture says that Jesus “is the propitiation for
our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole
world,” it is not saying that forgiveness is available for people
outside the new covenant. Rather, it means the value of the
atonement was not limited, but was of infinite worth; people
outside the covenant may be adopted into the covenant, and
receive forgiveness of sins.
But according to the Watchtower, the “other sheep” referred to by
Jesus in John 10 “…are persons who are not in the
covenant…who…are being gathered within Jehovah’s provision
for eternal life on earth on the basis of their faith in the
sacrificial value of Jesus’ blood. They are the same as the
‘great crowd’ of Rev. 7:9,10,14, and so they have the prospect of
surviving the coming great tribulation…they are included in the
great crowd of prospective survivors of the coming day of divine
wrath,” (Survival, p.73,80).
They are said to be “putting faith in the merit of his ransom
sacrifice” and “the sacrificial value of Jesus’ blood” not only
gives the appearance of being Christian, it naturally leads many
Jehovah’s Witnesses to thinking of Jesus as their Mediator. That
so many Jehovah’s Witnesses think this way is, in fact, testimony
to the real truth that forgiveness of sins cannot exist nor
eternal life be given apart from a mediator.
Those are the provisions of the covenant, mediated by Jesus’
blood of the covenant,” which is poured out for many for
forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28(.
Forgiveness is necessary because man has sinned against God and
is “at variance” with Him. Forgiveness that upholds God’s law
cannot exist without atonement for sin. A mediator is necessary
because nothing man can do can atone for his sin. Atonement
requires a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.
As High Priest, His offering up of Himself in sacrifice made Him
our Mediator – mediating forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
It cannot be stated too clearly nor too often: Forgiveness of
sins cannot exist nor eternal life be given, apart from a
Speaking of Christ providing these blessings as High Priest and
not as Mediator in nonsense. It not only ignores all the
biblical facts concerning the role of the High Priest and the
nature of this work – to mediate – it also contravenes the
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own definition of a mediator: “One who
interposes between two parties who are at variance to reconcile
them; an intercessor; an intermediary agent or go-between,”
(Insight, Vol. 2, p.360).
If Jesus forgives the sins of those in the “great crowd,” then He
certainly has “interposed between” them and God, “two parties who
are at variance to reconcile them.” He has become their
“intercessor.” By their own definition, this makes Him their
Mediator. To say He is the Mediator only for the 144,000 is
actually to deny the possibility of forgiveness of sins for any
To claim forgiveness of sins for others is to deny the claim that
Christ is the Mediator for only the 144,000. Forgiveness is
impossible without a Mediator.
This morass of confusion is still not the worst of Watchtower
doctrine on the subject.
The 144,000 as Mediators
Since it is denied that Jesus is the Mediator for all but the
144,000, Watchtower doctrine has elevated the 144,000 to the
position of being mediators themselves. Note carefully again the
last section of the Watchtower definition of a mediator, two
paragraphs above. Then read the Watchtower statements about the
“With Christ they make up the agency by means of which blessings
will be extended to all other obedient ones among mankind,”
(Survival, p. 65).
“Being made kings and priests by reason of the new covenant that
he [Jesus} mediated, they will share in administering the
blessings of Jesus’ sacrifice [forgiveness of sins, for instance]
and of his Kingdom rule to all the nations of the earth.
Christ’s mediatorship, having accomplished its purpose by
bringing ‘the Israel of God’ into this position, thus results in
benefits and blessings to all mankind,” (Insight, Vol. 2, p.363).
In direct and blasphemous contradiction to the Word of God, (1
Tim. 2:5), these statements unequivocally class the 144,000 as
mediators for the rest of humanity surviving Armageddon,
according to the Watchtower’s own definition: “an intermediary
agent or go-between.”
It is noted, however, that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the other
sheep, are only “prospective survivors” of Armageddon. They can
never know for certain in this life that they will live to
receive the benefits of their 144,000 mediators, with eternal
life on even this earth. This would still seem a hopeless
religion to Christians.
But the average Witness may be cheered by the presence of still
another mediator here on earth – the Watchtower Society and its
leaders. To be sure, the leaders do not dare call themselves
mediators; rather, the faithful slave class. But their role is
“an intermediary agent or go-between” providing “meat in due
season,” teaching the Witness cannot do without if he is to be
“reconciled” to God.
“All who want to be marked as having God’s approval must accept
the instruction that Jehovah is providing through that ‘slave’
class and become true worshippers of Jehovah,” (Survival, p.96).
The role they have assigned themselves unmistakenly qualifies as
“mediator” according to their own definitions.
It is sad that even with so many mediators, without Christ the
Mediator, the Witness can never be sure he will receive eternal
life even on this earth. Hope is dangled before him by the use
of vague terms like “persons of godly devotion,” (Ibid, p.52),
and “right hearted people,” (Ibid, p.86). Perhaps he will
qualify as such!
But is there any concrete standard by which “godly devotion” and
“right heartedness” will be gauged? Actually there is. Though
nearly all Witnesses can never hope for the same reward, “No less
faithfulness is required of them than of those who are spirit-
anointed Christians,” (Ibid, p.67), the 144,000.
The standard is “…full harmony with Jehovah’s requirements,”
(Ibid). And so one must ask their Witness friends, “Do you give
Jehovah your exclusive devotion, allowing nothing to infringe on
the place that he should hold in your heart?” (Ibid, p.64).
Remember, “Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah’s executioner today,
cannot be tricked…” (Ibid, p.60).
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