This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.
Recap of Owen’s Argument
P1: Christ’s intercession is not vocal or supplication, but rather a presentation of Christ Himself
P2: The presentation of Christ to God is joined with the offering of Christ to God
C1: Therefore, intercession is joined with the offering of Christ to God
Scripture supporting P1:
Scripture supporting P1:Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:12-14)
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:24)
P1 is false. Owen is confusing the offering Christ made, which is one time and before Christ sat down at the Father’s right hand, from intercession which is ongoing and done from the Father’s right hand. Intercession is vocal and a supplication. It’s a prayer. In John 17 Christ prays to the Father to sanctify believers. He says:
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (John 17)
How can Owen claim intercession is not vocal? It is a prayer. Owen confuses the offering, which is the presentation of Christ’s blood to the Father, with intercession, which is Christ’s request of the Father to sanctify believers. Is it based on the offering? Sure, but we shouldn’t confuse the two.
Owen’s Next Argument
P1: In John 17 Christ both offered and interceded
P2: Christ intercedes for the elect alone
C1: therefore, Christ offered for the elect alone
Scripture quoted in support of P1:
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)
P1 & P2 are true but the conclusion does not follow. Just because Christ offered for everyone He intercedes for does not mean He intercedes for everyone He offers for. Christ’s offering is the basis for His intercession, so of course Christ talks about both in John 17.