The Heart of the Gospel – The Mercy Seat – The Ark of the Covenant – Part 3

The last piece of the Ark of the Covenant is the Mercy Seat, the covering. For Christians, it is likely the most important piece of the entire Tabernacle. Read on and see if you agree.

The instructions for it are found in Exodus 25:17-22. “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 

19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 

20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 

21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 

22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”

The craftsmen made this entire piece with the two cherubim and the Mercy Seat out of one piece of gold. Some say that the cherubim here are not angels but represent Yahweh and Holy Spirit. They are gazing with satisfaction at the price Yeshua paid.  It is a picture of the Oneness of the Trinity–Elohim.

In Romans 3:25-28, The Passion Translation, it says, “ Jesus’ God-given destiny was to be the sacrifice to take away sins, and now He is our mercy seat because of His death on the cross. We come to Him for mercy, for God has made a provision for us to be forgiven by faith in the sacred blood of Jesus. This is the perfect demonstration of God’s justice, because until now, He had been so patient—holding back His justice out of His tolerance for us. So He covered over the sins of those who lived prior to Jesus’ sacrifice. 

26 And when the season of tolerance came to an end, there was only one possible way for God to give away His righteousness and still be true to both His justice and His mercy—to offer up His own Son. So now, because we stand on the faithfulness of Jesus, God declares us righteous in His eyes!  

27 Where, then, is there room for boasting? Do our works bring God’s acceptance? Not at all! It was not our works of keeping the law but our faith in His finished work that makes us right with God. 

28 So our conclusion is this: God’s wonderful declaration that we are righteous in His eyes can only come when we put our faith in Christ, and not in keeping the law.” [I capitalized the pronouns to bring glory to Him.]

The throne of judgment was now the throne of grace.

Hebrews 4:14-16  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Up to this point, Israel’s experience with atonement was ongoing. 

Hebrews 10:11-12 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God 

This mercy seat is not merely a symbol of mercy but God’s throne, His resting place. 

Psalm 99:1 The Lord reigns;  Let the peoples tremble!  He dwells between the cherubim;  Let the earth be moved!

The Mercy Seat was all of these:

1. A place of holiness, justice, and righteousness

2. A place of atonement

3. A place of mercy and reconciliation

4. A place of communion of God with redeemed man

5. A place of the Glory of God

6. A place where God recorded His Name

In the order of things, the Ark of the Covenant always went before the people when they moved from one place to another. In Joshua 3 and 4, we see how the Ark went before them as they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. 

Joshua 3:6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

Joshua 4:18 And it came to pass, when the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord had come from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet touched the dry land, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before.

And in Joshua 6 seven priests with trumpets preceded the Ark in Israel’s march around Jericho for seven days. God’s presence was a top priority.

In Exodus 33:15 Moses tells God, “And Moses said to the Lord, If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here!”

How about us? Do we consult Yahweh about our lives and decisions? Do we insist He leads or we won’t move? Just asking…

Now to close out this blog I am going to end with a transcription from a 3-minute video I found by T.D. Jakes.   We will celebrate Pentecost this year on May 28th. And in this video, Jakes links the meaning of the Mercy Seat with Pentecost in an eye-opening way.

The Tabernacle is the spine of the gospel. You can never truly appreciate who Jesus is until you understand the Tabernacle. You won’t understand why He died. You won’t understand the Day of Pentecost. 

The High Priest went into the Holy of Holies one day a year. On His way in, He had to stop and change His garments. He took off the beautiful garment with the bells and the pomegranates around the bottom of it. And He went, dressed in white linen and barefoot, into the Holy of Holies. Because God would not share His glory with another. So, the Priest went in humility. 

The children of Israel waited outside of the Tabernacle. They waited to see if the blood hit the mercy seat so they could have another year of atonement. They cannot see inside, they can only hear. They are waiting to hear the bells ring. 

After the Priest pours the blood on the Mercy Seat, he changes back into His beautiful garment and in doing that, the bells ring. It is the sign to the people outside that the blood has hit the Mercy Seat and that they have been redeemed.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He tells His disciples to go into Jerusalem and wait until they hear a sound from heaven. When they heard a sound from heaven, it was a sign that the blood had hit the Mercy Seat. They couldn’t see it, but they heard the sound. That sound announced they were redeemed. The disciples couldn’t preach until they heard the sound. They had to wait for 40 days. Because you have no gospel if the blood has not hit the Mercy Seat. 

And the Bible says, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4

Peter got up and started preaching because he heard the sound. 

So, understanding the Tabernacle makes the Gospel come alive.

Take time this week to thank God for the blood of His sacrifice poured out at the Mercy Seat. Thank Him for the good news of the Gospel. We are forgiven of sin and reconciled to God. Praise His glorious name. 

The Ark of the Covenant holds the message of salvation for every Christian. This is not just an Old Testament story. It is truth for you and me in every age.

Shalom ♥

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