“Now when Moses went into the tabernacle of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.” Numbers 7:89
Moses was given instructions for constructing the tabernacle by God in order for the Lord to meet (tabernacle) with His people. His Presence would go with His people. He would tabernacle with His people. This of course prefigured “Immanuel” – God with us – the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And He said [to Moses], “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” Exodus 33:14
God tabernacled with His people by this moving sanctuary until they were delivered into the land of rest and promise called Canaan.
Moses was given instructions for constructing the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat which would reside inside the holy of holies. This is the place of God’s meeting with His people to speak to them and give commands to them. This place was between two cherubim which resided on the mercy seat on top of the ark of the Testimony, or the Ark which contained the Testimony which was placed inside the ark.
“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. 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.” Exodus 25:21-22
The law, which was placed inside the Ark of the Covenant, represented God’s demands for righteousness. It was broken by the people immediately after it was given to Moses. It contained His covenant requirements for them to walk with Him and be holy as He is holy.
Since the mercy seat sat on top of the ark of the Testimony, God would speak to the people of God from above the place of justice and righteousness and the place of mercy.
On the yearly Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the holy of holies after cleansing himself and sprinkle the blood of the sin offering with his finger on the mercy seat. The Mercy Seat was the place of propitiation. It is the place where the blood of the atoning sacrifice would satisfy the wrath of God.
Both the Ark and the Mercy seat prefigured Jesus Christ, who as High Priest would bring His own blood into the Holy of Holies to make atonement as a sin offering for His people. His sacrifice of Himself would propitiate His father’s wrath against His people and they would be fully acquitted from their sin.
When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of Jesus following His crucifixion, she found two angels at the head and foot of the tomb, book-casing the place where Jesus was laid to rest. These are the two cherub that resided at either end of the Mercy Seat.
“But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” John 20:11-13
Christ Jesus is the mercy seat for His people. God set forth His son, as a propitiation to satisfy His wrath. God satisfied His own wrath by sending Jesus Christ as our means of propitiation, as our mercy seat and our righteous law keeper.
“Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26
Christ is the means of God’s meeting with His people. He is Immanuel, God with us. He is the mediator of the everlasting covenant between God and man.
God could not tabernacle with His people without cleansing them so that they might come into His presence. All the cleansing rites that the priest performed to cleanse the tabernacle and its furniture and utensils represented the cleansing of Jesus Christ of His people, in order that they might be reconciled to God and come into His presence.
At the Mercy Seat of Jesus Christ, mercy and righteousness is executed.
At this place of propitiation, God’s people’s sin is forgiven.
Christ Jesus is the Mercy Seat and the Ark of the everlasting covenant. His atonement propitiated the wrath of His father for His people.
He perfectly kept the law. He was the Ark of the Testimony for His people. The law given to Moses was perfectly harbored in the heart of Jesus for His people, just as it was placed inside the ark of the Testimony.
“Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven” Psalm 85:10-11
Christ is the righteousness revealed from God.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed”
Written by: Mr. Terry Miller
(All quotes from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.)