Jesus the Mediator
Joseph Smith is a revealer of Christ. As the founding prophet of the Mormon Church, one part of his mission was to teach about Jesus Christ. On many occasions Joseph Smith was asked if he were a prophet. His response was an unequivocal yes. He would also quote a passage from the Bible:
Here is a typical example of what he said and how he said it:
“If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore, if I profess to be a witness or teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet; and any man who says he is a teacher or a preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and impostors may be detected.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 269. Cf. p. 119, 264, 300, 312, 314 and Ch 33)
Specifically Joseph Smith taught about Christ’s role as a mediator between God and man. As with most things, before we can understand this principle, we need to know the preliminaries.
Here are the three key principles, sometimes called the Three Pillars of Eternity:
Creation: Jesus Christ, under the direction of His Father, created the world for us. It was a perfect creation, with Adam and Eve living in obedience to God’s law.
Fall: Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Law, and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Two curses were placed upon them. The first is physical death. The second is spiritual death. By death we mean separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body. Spiritual death is separation from God. This spiritual death is the reason why we feel homesick for places we have never been, or a nagging feeling that things are not quite right—or at least they are not as good as they can get. Behind it is this traumatic divorce from God.
Atonement: In addition to these curses, God promised them a mediator who would fix the problem. Christ’s resurrection overcomes physical death, and His atonement overcomes spiritual death. We need to repent to activate this power.
Mediation is somewhat a synonym for the Atonement. It emphasizes how we conquer spiritual death. Right now we are alienated or estranged from God. This is like when a married couple is separated. We are still God’s children, as the couple are still married, but in both cases the relationship is not what it should be.
The promise is that Christ stands between us and God, and pleads mercy for us. In this sense it is not so much as an estranged couple as it is a criminal standing before the judge. The lawbreaking estranges the criminal from society. But in this case we are the accused and Christ is the lawyer. That is why Christ is sometimes called “the advocate with the father,” and why the prophet Isaiah wrote:
“The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” (Isaiah 3:13)
So salvation is like these courtroom dramas we love to watch.
Elder Cree-L Kofford, a leader in the Mormon Church explained it this way:
“In an allegorical sense, I am here today as a member of the trial team assembled by your chief advocate. We have now received the legal action in which each of you has been named as a party defendant. I and others of the trial team have reviewed the pleadings carefully and have confirmed that the real purpose of opposing counsel is to prove that you are not eligible to receive your ultimate inheritance. Our adversary’s trial team is even now working tirelessly to assemble the facts necessary to bring about your defeat.”
“By virtue of motions made, heard, and previously decided, we have been compelled to produce, on behalf of each of you, all records relating to your business and personal transactions. These include a schedule of your neighbors, friends, and business acquaintances. Additionally, full disclosure concerning your spouse, your children, your parents, and members of your extended family has been made.”
“You should know that our adversary is prepared to spend such time, effort, and money as is necessary to deprive you of your inheritance. They have already expended untold millions of dollars in preparing their case against each of you. They have hired gifted, talented, and experienced people to work for them. They intend to win!”
“Fortunately, you are represented by the most skilled, capable, and diligent counsel I have ever seen. It’s amazing to watch him as he argues on your behalf before the Supreme Judge.” (Cree-L Kofford, “The Ultimate Inheritance—An Allegory,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 27)
The good news is that Christ is our attorney, our advocate: He mediates between us and God. He loves us. He suffered for us. He died for us. He pleads for us.
One of Joseph Smith’s revelations records this tender conversation:
“Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.” (D&C 45:3-5)
With this type of legal counsel, we cannot go wrong.