Great conquered the Persian Empire and occupied Media. Following his death the southern part of Media came to form part of the Seleucid Empire, while the northern part became an independent kingdom. Though it was dominated variously by the Parthians and by the Seleucid Empire, Greek geographer Strabo indicated that a Median dynasty continued in the first century C.E. At Jerusalem, Medes along with Parthians, Elamites and persons of other nationalities were present at Pentecost in the year 33 C.E. Since they are spoken of as “Jews, reverent men, from every nation,” they may have been descendants of those Jews exiled to cities of the Medes following the Assyrian conquest of Israel, or perhaps some were proselytes to the Jewish faith.—Acts 2:1, 5, 9.
By the third century C.E. the Medes had merged with the rest of the nation of the Iranians, thus ceasing to exist as a distinct people.
One who interposes between two parties at variance to reconcile them; an intercessor; an intermediary agent or go-between. The Greek word me·siʹtes, “mediator,” used in the Christian Greek Scriptures, appears in the Septuagint at Job 9:33: “Would that he our mediator were present, and a reprover, and one who should hear the cause between both.”—Bagster.
BLOOD REQUIRED FOR COVENANT VALIDATION
The inspired writer of the book of Hebrews discusses two principal covenants, the Law covenant and the new covenant. In this discussion he refers to Christ’s mediating the new covenant. (Heb. 9:15) His words at Hebrews 9:16 have been a subject of controversy among Bible scholars. Accordingly, the text has been rendered in the following ways: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (AV) “For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.” (RS) “For where a covenant is it is necessary for the death to be brought in of him that hath covenanted.” (Ro) “For where there is a covenant, the death of the human covenanter needs to be furnished.” (NW) “For where a covenant is, the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary.” (Yg) “For where a Covenant exists, the Death of that which has ratified it is necessary to be produced.” (ED) “For where a covenant is, there is necessity for the death of that which establisheth the covenant.”—Improved Newcome Version.
Since the text is controversial, we herewith present the literal rendering as set forth in interlinear translations of the Greek text: “Where for covenant, death necessity to be borne of the one having made for self covenant.” (Heb. 9:16, Kingdom Interlinear Translation) “Where for a covenant, death necessary to be produced of that having been appointed.” (ED) “For where there is a covenant, the death there is necessity to be offered of the one making covenant.”—The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, by Alfred Marshall.
The rendering of di·a·theʹke as “covenant” appears to express more correctly the writer’s meaning than “testament” or “will.” The latter renderings are inconsistent with the use of the term in the Septuagint as well as in many places in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Luke 1:72; Acts 3:25; 7:8; Rom. 9:4; 11:27; Heb. 8:6-10; 12:24) “Will” and “testament” also appear to be out of harmony with what the writer of Hebrews is talking about, as he is speaking of the Law covenant and the new covenant in the context. Neither the Law covenant nor the new covenant was a “will.”
At Hebrews 9:16 the writer was evidently speaking of covenants between God and man (not man and man) as requiring sacrifices. And it may be noted that, particularly with the Hebrews, approaches to God and covenants with God were regularly based on sacrifices. The root from which the Hebrew word berithʹ, “covenant,” is drawn means “to cut,” the allusion being to victims sacrificed and sometimes cut in pieces on the occasion of entering a covenant. It is quite obvious that the Law covenant and the new covenant required the shedding of blood in order to go into operation or to be effective before God. Otherwise God would not have recognized them as valid, nor dealt with the persons involved on the basis of a covenant relationship. (Heb. 9:17) For the validation of the Law covenant the sacrifice used was that of animals—bulls and goats. (Heb. 9:19) For validating the new covenant, the sacrifice was the human life of Jesus Christ.—Luke 22:20.
THE MEDIATOR OF THE LAW COVENANT
Moses was the mediator of the Law covenant between Jehovah God and the nation of Israel. Jehovah spoke with him “mouth to mouth” (Num. 12:8), although actually Jehovah’s angel spoke representatively for God. (Acts 7:38; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2) Moses was an intermediary spokesman for Jehovah to Israel. (Ex. 19:3, 7, 9; 24:9-18) As mediator he was “entrusted with all [Jehovah’s] house.” (Num. 12:7) In mediating the Law covenant he assisted the nation of Israel to keep the covenant and to receive its benefits.
Validation of the Law covenant
The apostle Paul says: “Now there is no mediator where only one person is concerned, but God is only one.” (Gal. 3:20) In the Law covenant God was one party; the nation of Israel was the other ‘party.’ Due to their sinful condition, they were unable to approach God in a covenant. They needed a mediator. Their weakness was demonstrated in their request to Moses: “You speak with us, and let us listen; but let not God speak with us for fear we may die.” (Ex. 20:19; Heb. 12:18-20) Accordingly Jehovah mercifully constituted Moses as mediator of the Law covenant, and arranged for animals to be sacrificed to validate the covenant. Moses, of course, was also imperfect and sinful; however, he was undoubtedly declared righteous on the basis of his faith, as Abraham had been so declared earlier. (Heb. 11:23-28; see DECLARE RIGHTEOUS [How “counted” righteous].) On the occasion of the inauguration of the covenant Moses officiated, directing the sacrifice of the animals. Then he sprinkled their blood on the scroll or the “book of the covenant.” He read the book to the people, setting forth the terms, and the people responded by agreeing to obey. Moses then sprinkled them (doubtless the representative older men) with the blood, saying: “Here is the blood of the covenant that Jehovah has concluded with you as respects all these words.”—Ex. 24:3-8; Heb. 9:18-22.
Inauguration of the priesthood
The designated priests of the house of Aaron could not begin functioning as priests on their own. They had to be installed in office under the direction of God’s mediator Moses. When this took place, Nisan 1-7, 1512 B.C.E., Moses anointed the tabernacle and its furniture and utensils and also anointed Aaron with the oil of special composition. After filling the hands of Aaron and his sons with sacrificial materials, Moses waved their filled hands before Jehovah, thereby consecrating them or ‘filling their hands with power’ for the priesthood. Afterward he spattered them with the anointing oil and blood from the altar. So one function of Moses’ mediatorial office was the installing and setting in operation of the priesthood, which was a feature of the Law covenant.—Lev. chap. 8; Heb. 7:11; see INSTALLATION.
Moses also played a significant part in connection with the first services performed by the newly installed priesthood, Nisan 8, 1512 B.C.E., as he directed the procedure and, along with Aaron, blessed the people. (Lev. chap. 9) Throughout the institution of all things pertaining to the Law covenant he acted in his official capacity as mediator.