The Mercy Seat
And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him. ~Numbers 7:89
Mercy is sympathy exercised towards someone who is under fire for a crime. It is compassionate forbearance shown toward an offender or enemy. It is the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially if that person is deserving of imprisonment or the death penalty. When you are the one who is in great trouble with the law, you desire mercy and not judgment. This morning, we are considering the symbol and meaning of the Old Testament mercy seat.
We see the function of the mercy seat.
The mercy seat was an integral part of the Tabernacle. It was the covering over the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant contained the two tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written, Aaron’s rod that budded, and a pot containing the manna that God had provided Israel in the wilderness. The Hebrew word for mercy seat means a covering. It was made of pure gold. Overshadowing the mercy seat were two cherubims with their wings outstretched. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter alone and would sprinkle the blood of a goat upon this mercy seat with his finger. The sprinkling of the blood of the goat represented propitiation: that a payment that satisfied God’s demands for sin was made and accepted.
We see the forgiveness at the mercy seat.
The sprinkling of the blood upon the mercy seat with the two cherubims overshadowing it spoke of payment in full, washing of sins, and forgiveness. The Day of Atonement was an anticipated moment each and every year. The high priest would enter therein only once a year for his sins and the sins of the people. Once that blood was sprinkled on that mercy seat, it meant relief and release from sin! It was a reminder that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.
We see the fellowship of the mercy seat.
There at the mercy seat, God met with the high priest. Sin breaks fellowship with God. Our sin separates between us and our God. The shed blood that was applied upon that mercy seat reconciled the sinner to God and afforded him the pleasure of fellowship. Fellowship is our ability to meet, converse, and agree on similar grounds. God told Moses, “I will meet with you.” Every day is an opportunity for us to seek the Lord’s face and fellowship with Him because of Jesus' shed blood on the cross.
We see the figure of the mercy seat.
The mercy seat was a figure of things to come. It spoke of a covering and forgiveness of sin when Jesus voluntarily shed His blood on the cross for every sinner. When we place our complete faith in the atoning death of Christ for our sin, our sins are forever covered and paid for, we are reconciled to God, and we are able to enter into His presence perpetually. Jesus is our mercy seat! Under the law, the high priest had to enter into the Holy of Holies each year to make atonement for his sin and that of the people. A complete and sufficient payment could never be made. Jesus did not need to make atonement for His sin because He is a great High Priest Who is sinless, holy, and separate from sinners. Jesus was the Lamb for sinners slain! He shed His blood for our sins. God the Father accepted His shed blood and death as the perfect sacrifice. Thus, every sinner who comes to Him in repentance and faith receives mercy and pardon immediately.
Have you been to the mercy seat for the forgiveness of your sins? Do you come each day to this mercy seat for fellowship and a reminder of the great price paid for you? Come to the mercy seat today!
Have a mercy-enriched God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 49-50