Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

On the Mediatorial Dominion of

The Lord Jesus Christ.

Excerpted from

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism

By William Roberts.


On Christ’s Mediatorial Dominion in general.

Q. What is the import of the title mediator given to Jesus Christ?

A. It is an official title, which exhibits Christ as transacting between God and man for man’s salvation; and in the discharge of the functions of this office, he acts in the capacity of the Father’s servant.  1 Tim. 2.5. There is but one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.  Heb. 12.24. To Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.  Isa. 42.1. Behold my servant whom I uphold: applied to Christ, Matt. 12.18. Isa. 53.11. “My righteous servant.”

Q. What is the dominion of Christ?

A. The authority, or unlimited power, which he possesses over the creatures.

Q. What is his mediatorial dominion?

A. Not that which essentially belongs to him as God, but that with which he has been officially invested as the Messiah, by the authoritative act of the Father.

Q. What is the essential dominion of Christ?

A. It is that which pertains to him as the Son of God, a Person in the Godhead, and is the same with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost, original, inherent, and underived.

Q. His mediatorial dominion is, then, that which was {9} delegated, conferred by gift, bestowed by the Father, in short, “the government” which was “laid upon his shoulders,”—that “power” which was “given him in heaven and in earth,” [Isa. 9.6. Matth. 28.18.]?

A. Yes.  Because, as the Son of God essentially viewed, he cannot be the recipient of a gift, but is “equal in power and glory” with the Father. [WSC 6.]

Q. Do his essential and mediatorial kingdom differ in matter or extent?

A. No.  They are really the same, both in matter and extent; the difference consists in this: The kingdom over which he, as the Son of God, rules by inherent and original right, he is, as mediator, authorized to manage and direct, for a new end, namely, the salvation of men, and the best interests of the church.

Q. By whom was Christ appointed to this mediatorial dominion?

A. By the Father. Ps. 2.6. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”  Luke 22.29. “My Father hath appointed unto me a kingdom.”  See John 5.26,27.

Q. When was he appointed?

A. From all eternity. Prov. 8.23. “I was set up from everlasting.”  See Psalm 2.6,7. Mal. 5.2.

Q. In what transaction?

A. In the covenant of grace. Psalm 89.3,4. “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.”

Q. What is this covenant?

A. It comprises the whole scheme agreed upon by the divine persons for the salvation of fallen man.

Q. In what capacity did the Father make this appointment?

A. As the representative of Deity in the economy of redemption.

Q. Did not this appointment proceed from the Father necessarily and originally by an inherent right?

A. No.  This would be at variance with the perfect equality subsisting among the divine persons. {10}

Q. Were the divine persons designated to their respective economical characters and offices by a sovereign act of the divine will, essentially considered?

A. Yes.  For this presupposed act preserves inviolate the essential equality of the persons in the Godhead.

Q. Has not all power and authority been, by this sovereign act of the divine will, economically vested in the Father?

A. Yes.

Q. Does this appointment of the Son proceed formally from this economical authority with which the Father is thus invested?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it not necessary to suppose that the Son was designated to his mediatory office and dominion by the above mentioned sovereign act of the divine will?

A. Yes.  For this view of the case preserves inviolate the voluntariness of the Son in the whole transaction, as well as his equality with the Father.

Q. What is the first source of proof of the reality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion?

A. Several interesting prefigurations of his royal authority.

Q. Was not Melchisedec one of these instructive types of Christ’s dominion?

A. Yes.  He was a distinguished type of Christ. Psalm 110.4. “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

Q. How is it evident that he was a type of Christ’s royal dominion?

A. In three ways.  1. The import of his name, Heb. 7.2. “King of righteousness.” Beautifully prefiguring Christ as the Sun of righteousness—the sceptre of whose kingdom is a right sceptre.  2. His designation “King of Salem,” Heb. 7.2. That is “King of Peace”—fitly representing Him who is designated the Prince of Peace.  3. His combining in his own person the royal and sacerdotal offices.  He was a royal priest—a sacerdotal King, and suitable type of Him who, exercising his power upon the footing of his purchase, sits “a priest upon his throne.”

Q. Was Moses an eminent type of Christ in his mediatorial dominion? {11}

A. Yes. As “King in Jeshuran.” Jeshuran, which signifies “upright,” refers to the people of Israel, who were required and understood to possess this character.  The Jewish legislator thus typified Him, who, being “King in Zion,” at once rules among the upright in heart, and governs them in integrity and truth.

Q. Was David another of these royal types?

A. Yes.  Particularly in his signal overthrow of Goliath, the vaunting champion of the Philistines, in his valour in war, and wisdom and humanity in peace, in the principles and character of his administration, in which he led his people, according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands, and in the covenant of royalty made with him and his seed forever. [Psalm 78.72.]

Q. Wherein does David’s typical character most remarkably appear?

A. 1. In the fact that the Messiah himself is repeatedly spoken of by the prophets under the very name of David. Jer. 30.9. “They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them.”  Hos. 3.5. “Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their King; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.”  See also Ezek. 34.24.  2. In the fact that Christ in his incarnation is described as recovering the throne of David his father, according to the flesh. Luke 1.32,33.

Q. Was not Solomon the most illustrious type of Christ’s mediatorial dominion?

A. Yes.  In the wisdom of his administration—the extent of territory over which he reigned—the wealth of his subjects, and the peacefulness of his reign, he was a remarkable type of the Messiah—so much so that in Song 3.11, Christ is designated by his name, “Go forth ye daughters of Zion and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.”

Q. What is the second source of proof of the reality of Christ’s mediatorial rule? {12}

A. Prophecy is a fruitful source of evidence in favour of his royalty.

Q. Which is the first proof from this source?

A. The very first prediction, Gen. 3.15. “It,” the seed of the woman, “shall bruise thy head,” is conceived in terms which allude to the ancient mode by which victorious kings expressed their conquests, namely, by placing their feet upon the necks of their vanquished foes.

Q. Which is the second proof from prophecy?

A. The language of the patriarch Jacob, Gen. 49.10. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come,” clearly imports that, on Christ, at his coming, shall devolve that judicial and legislative authority which had been previously exercised by others.

Q. Which is the third evidence from this source?

A. The prophecy of Balaam, Num. 24.17. “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre (the emblem of regal power) shall rise out of Israel.”

Q. Which is the fourth proof from prophecy?

A. The declaration of David in the second psalm, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” Applied to Christ, Acts 4.25,26.

Q. Which is the fifth proof?

A. The forty-fifth psalm, which undoubtedly refers to the Messiah, and in which the royal character is sustained thoughout: verses 1, 3, 6. “I speak of the things which I have made touching the King—gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.  Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” Applied to Christ, Heb. 1.8.

Q. Which is the sixth proof, among many others which may be adduced from prophecy?

A. The forty-seventh psalm, which undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus in his ascension from the mount of Olives, “God is gone up with a shout,” and in which also the regal character is sustained throughout: verses 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, &c. “The Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all {13} the earth—he shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet; sing praises unto our King, for God is the King of all the earth; God reigneth over the heathen; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.”

Q. Do not the titles given to Christ afford another source of proof in favour of his mediatorial dominion?

A. Yes.  They afford ample and conclusive testimony.

Q. Which is the first title?

A. He is designated “Lord.” Acts 2.11, “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Q. Which is the second title?

A. Leader and Commander. Isa. 55.4, “I have given him for a witness to the people; a Leader and Commander to the people.”

Q. Which is the third title?

A. He is entitled Judge. Isa. 33.22, “The Lord is our Judge.” [Acts 10.42.]

Q. Which is the fourth title?

A. He is denominated a Ruler. Micah 5.2, “Out of thee, (Bethlehem Ephratah,) shall he come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel.”

Q. Which is his fifth title ?

A. He is called the “Captain of the Hosts of the Lord.” Josh. 5.14.

Q. Which is his sixth title?

A. “Prince of the kings of the earth;” “King of kings.” Rev. 1.5, 17.14, 19.16, “Jesus Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth,—the Lamb is Lord of lords, and King of kings,—he hath on his vesture and thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

Q. Does not Christ himself claim this dominion?

A. Yes.  John 18.37, “Thou sayest, (Pilate,) I am a king.  To this end was I born.”

Q. Does not the Father acknowledge his claim?

A. Yes.  Psalm 21.3, Phil. 2.9, 10, 11, “Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.” “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee {14} should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Q. Do not angels proclaim his sovereignty?

A. Yes.  Luke. 1.31-33, Rev. 5.11,12.  Gabriel thus proclaims his glory: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”  “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Q. Did not the wise men of the east recognize his royalty, and perform an act of homage?

A. Yes.  They proclaimed him “King of the Jews,” and unfolding their gifts, laid them at his feet. Matt. 2.2.

Q. Did not Nathaniel witness this good confession?

A. Yes.  He confessed he was “the King of Israel.” Jno. 1.49.

Q. Does not Paul make the like confession?

A. Yes.  He proclaims him “the King eternal.” 1 Tim. 1.17.

Q. Do not his enemies proclaim his great dominion?

A. Yes.  The Jewish multitude rent the air with their shouts as he entered into Jerusalem, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!”  The Roman soldiers unwittingly bore their part as they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  And Pontius Pilate inscribed upon his cross the unalterable title, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” Jno. 19.12,—a title which was, perhaps, the principal means of conveying to the malefactor that knowledge of the Saviour’s character which led to his conversion.

Q. Are not royal appendages assigned him?

A. Yes.  He has a kingdom, a throne, a radiant crown.  He sways a sceptre, the symbol of royal authority, and hath {15} a numerous and glorious retinue. Psalm 45.5,6; 102.2; 2.9; 21.; 8.5; 132.18; Rev. 3.21; Deut. 33.2; Luke 2.13,14; Psalm 68.17; Dan. 8.10; Jude 14.

Q. What is the extent of Christ’s mediatorial dominion?

A. It is universal.

Q. Is it not limited to the church?

A. No.  The church is the special kingdom of Christ—the great central province of his empire, around which all other provinces are made to revolve.  Therefore the dominion of Christ necessarily extends beyond its hallowed precincts. Eph. 1.22, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”

Q. Why is it necessary that Christ’s mediatorial dominion should extend beyond the limits of the church, or be universal?

A. It is necessary, 1. That he might give a general commission to his ministers to go forth among the hostile nations and preach his gospel. Matt. 28.18, 19, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.”  2. That he might gather from among them his elect. Jno. 17.2, “ Glorify thy Son, as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”  3. As a reward of his mediatorial sufferings. Rev. 3.21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father on his throne.”  See also Phil. 2.8,9.  4. To subdue all his own and his people’s enemies. “He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet,” 1 Cor. 15.25.

Q. Is not the gospel call, as it is general to all that hear it, founded rather upon Christ’s kingly than his priestly office?

A. Yes; for Christ says, Matt. 28.18,19, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth: go ye, therefore, and teach.”  The commission to teach, or preach, proceeds evidently from his universal dominion.

Q. Does not this view of the matter obviate the objection made to the doctrine of a definite atonement, derived from the fact of the call being general? {16}

A. Yes.  Because the ambassadors are not authorized to declare, as the ground of Christ’s invitation to those addressed, to believe, that Christ died for them, but that he died for sinners, and, as Lord of all, Christ, by them, commands all men, who hear the voice of the gospel, to believe and repent.

Q. In how many ways can you prove the universality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion?

A. Two.  1. From those passages which assert its universality in general terms.  2. From those which describe the various departments or provinces of his dominion.

Q. Which are the passages of the first class?

A. They are, 1. Matt. 11.27, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.”  2. Matt. 28.18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  3. Acts 10.36, “He is Lord of all.”  4. Eph. 1.22, “And hath put all things under his feet.”  5. Col. 2.10, “He is the head of all principality and power.”  6. 1 Cor. 15.27, “He hath put all things under his feet.”  7. Heb. 2.8, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”

Q. Is it not Christ’s essential dominion of which these passages treat?

A. No.  It is his mediatorial dominion.

Q. How does this appear?

A. The terms “delivered,” “given,” “put,” designate his mediatory office; because, as the Son essentially considered, he cannot have authority conferred upon him, for as such he is equal with the Father, and all power belongs to him originally and inherently; but as mediator, the Father’s servant, he is properly the subject of a gift.

Q. How do these passages prove the universality of his mediatorial dominion?

A. 1. The word all occurring so frequently designates this universality.  2. There is but one exception made—the Father, “who put all things under him,” which confirms the doctrine, as all beside the Father, (even the Spirit, who is called the Spirit of the Son), are made subject to Christ for mediatorial purposes. {17}

Q. Is not this subjection of the Spirit in the fullest sense voluntary?

A. Yes.  As that of the Son to the Father, it is altogether economical; a part of that covenant arrangement from all everlasting between the Persons in the Godhead.  He is still the “free Spirit.”

Q. Of how many provinces does Christ’s mediatorial dominion consist?

A. It consists of seven.  1. The inanimate creation. Psalm 8.6, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Matt. 8.27, “But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”  2. The irrational tribes. Psalm 8.7, “All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field.”  Heb. 2.6-8.  3. All good angels. 1 Pet. 3.22, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him.”  See also Isa. 6.1,2; Heb. 1.4; Rev. 5.11,12; Heb. 1.14.  4. The wicked angels. Luke 10.17,18, “And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through thy name; and he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”  See Matt. 8.28; Rev. 12.9,10; Col. 2.15.  5. All men. Jno. 17.2, “Power over all flesh” (flesh, the human race at large).  Psalm 2.8, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (THE NATIONS) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”  See verses 10,12; 18.43.  6. All associations, particularly civil and ecclesiastical. Psalm 72.10,11, “The kings of Tarshish and the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts; yea, all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him.”  Dan. 7.14, “And there was given him dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages should serve him.”  Col. 1.18, “He is the head of the body, the church.”  7. The kingdom of providence. Rev. 5. The sealed book of the divine purposes, respecting the church and the world, is put into the hands of the Lamb, and he rules in their accomplishment. {18}

Q. For what end is Christ invested with this universal dominion?

A. That he should render the whole administration of providence subservient to the erection, progress, and final perfection of his special kingdom, the church.

Q. What is the true nature of Christ’s mediatorial kingdom?

A. It is a spiritual kingdom.

Q. What is the proper definition of its spirituality?

A. It is a kingdom not designed merely to promote man’s corporeal and temporal interests, but chiefly the best interests of his immortal nature.

Q. In what respects is it spiritual?

A. It is spiritual, 1. In its origin.  It is not from men by any mode by which men convey authority—but his dominion originates solely from the spiritual grant of the Father from all everlasting in the covenant of grace.  2. In its ends—which are, in substance, To gather his church—to protect it on earth—to sanctify the hearts and lives of her members, and to render subservient all secular things (even civil rule), to the spiritual and eternal interests of men.  Eph. 1.22, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.”  3. In its administration.  As to the ecclesiastical department: Its officers are pastors and teachers, elders and deacons (spiritual officers to administer all the temporalities of the church), persons endowed with ministerial authority, whose weapons are not carnal but spiritual (instruction, advice, censure and remonstrance)—and as it respects the civil department, those who bear rule according to his ordinance are the ministers of God, and are just, ruling in the fear of the Lord whilst the rule in both cases is the same—The Law of the Lord. [2 Sam. 23.3; 2 Kings 23.25; Ezra 7.23-26.]

Q. Is civil government a spiritual dominion?

A. Civil government is not strictly spiritual as it is in a good measure occupied about man’s temporal interests, but as it is subjected to Christ, among the all things put under his feet, it is designed to subserve, in his hands, the religious as well as temporal interests of the human race. {19}

Q. Is the mediatorial dominion of Christ in such a sense spiritual that it can have no sort of connection with the world, or with things that are secular?

A. By no means; because, 1. Even a portion of the most spiritual of its subjects, regenerate men, for a time, have their residence on the earth, and are occupied with secular things; and their bodies are earthly and nourished by carnal things.  2. Besides, there are things specified in the grant of dominion, which are strictly and literally worldly and secular, Psalm 8.6-8, “Thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea.”

Q. Is not his kingdom deprived of a portion of its spirituality, and secularized by this connection?

A. Not in the least.  Because whatever is connected with Christ’s kingdom, however carnal in its nature, is, in his infinite wisdom, and by his almighty power, somehow or other, rendered subservient to spiritual objects. Eph. 1.22, “And gave him to be head over all things to the church.”

Q. Does not Christ himself in John 18.36, (“My kingdom is not of this world,”) disclaim all connection between his kingdom and secular things?

A. By no means: Because, 1. His kingdom is in this world. Matt. 28.18. “All power on earth, is given unto me.” His Church, his peculiarly spiritual kingdom, is in this world.  2. The world itself, is a part of his kingdom. Eph. 1.20,21. “Hath set him at his own right hand, far above every name that is named—in this world.”  3. In its origin, (as stated above,) it is not of this world.  This Christ himself affirms, in the disputed text.  “But now is my kingdom, not from hence.” (Men do not confer authority upon Him.)  4. It signifies that Christ is not to reign upon earth, seated upon a visible throne as earthly kings, defending his kingdom by armies—“else would my servants fight.”  5. Its laws are not of this world.  They are from heaven.  “Its laws, its powers, are all divine.”  6. It is not of this world, as to its benign moral influence upon society.  Worldly kingdoms debase and enslave; this is designed to free, to {20} elevate and sanctify the subject, and subordinates all things, to the eternal happiness of men. John 8.32,36. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  2 Cor. 3.17, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  7. It is not of this world, as it is designed to overthrow all the kingdoms of this world, and put them under the dominion of his saints, that they may subserve the spiritual interests of men.  Dan. 2.44, “And in the days of those (kingdoms) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.”  7.27, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.”  8. The doctrine of the absolute spirituality of Christ’s kingdom, would deny Christians the right of holding any worldly property—engaging in any secular enterprise—or entering into any political connection whatever; because Christ says of them, using precisely the same phraseology, “ye are not of this world!” now such an interpretation is manifestly contradictory to scripture and common sense, in this case—it follows that it is equally so in the other.

Q. Do not other religious denominations, besides the Reformed Presbyterian, recognize in their systems the doctrine of Christ’s Mediatorial dominion?

A. Yes.  A few others hold it in theory—but their theoretic profession is neutralized by a practical denial.—They do not make it a matter of testimony.