17 “Then make the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. 18 Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. 19 Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. 20 The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. 21 Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. 22 I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel. – Exodus 25.17-22
Last week we looked at the fact that Jesus is our Ark of the Covenant, Now, I want to show you that the Ark is not just a picture of Jesus, but the lid of the ark is another picture of Jesus. The lid of the ark is called the Mercy Seat, and Jesus is our Mercy Seat. The Greek word is hilasterion which is means the place where sin is covering. It was on this lid that every year the high priest would come into the Most Holy Place and pour the blood of an animal on the golden lid of the ark. This was the mercy of God covering the sins of the people.
The lid was built to perfectly fit the Ark, it was one piece of gold hammered into shape. On top of the lid, there are two cherubim facing each other, with their wings spread. The cherubim show that God is holy and pure, and that we need mercy!
So here in the solid gold lid we see a place where in the midst of God’s holiness, the blood of mercy is saying that we can still stand.
Where else do we find in the midst of judgment and holiness the mercy of God? It is the cross of Jesus. In between the angels, the blood of Jesus Christ Himself was poured out, Jesus took the punishment that brought us peace. Last week we pointed out that the ark contained the law – the life of Jesus contained a perfect life. He lived a perfect life. But the lid covers the law – it remove the demand of a perfect life, and then the blood is poured on the lid, calling for mercy.
The ark is the picture of the life of Jesus, but the lid, the top – the highest point of the life of Jesus is the act of providing mercy through blood. And Jesus did not go and get a bull or goat, He used His perfect blood to bring us mercy.
The Mercy Seat is the only seat in the entire Tabernacle, and God sat on it. God could take the place of judgement or wrath, but God sits on mercy. He takes the place of mercy. You could not see the Mercy Seat from the outside of the tabernacle – you had to trust by faith that the priest had gone inside and poured out the blood on the altar for you to cover your sin, and you cannot see the mercy of God in the flesh – you need faith, you need to accept the blood is inside and poured out on your behalf.
Jesus sits in heaven full of mercy. Now, God told the Israelites that He would meet with His people between the cherubim, on the seat of Mercy! God still speaks to us from the place of mercy, and still is with us by the Spirit of God. The work of Christ at the cross – means there is blood for you and mercy for you!
Next week we will look at the bread of heaven, and see Jesus in that.