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The Mercy Seat

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Loyal
In Exodus 25. God instructs Moses to build something called "the ark of the covenant".

Exod 25:10; "They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high.
Exod 25:11; "You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it.
Exod 25:12; "You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it.
Exod 25:13; "You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
Exod 25:14; "You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.
Exod 25:15; "The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.
Exod 25:16; "You shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.

Exod 25:17; "You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide.
Exod 25:18; "You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.
Exod 25:19; "Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.
Exod 25:20; "The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.
Exod 25:21; "You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you.
Exod 25:22; "There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.

In verse 17 God tells him to make something on the ark called a "mercy seat". This is this first time the mercy seat is mentioned in the Bible. verse 21 says the mercy seat was "on top of the ark". This was between two cherubim (angels).

We aren't really told all the details here yet, but in verse 22 God says "There I will meet with" (and from above the mercy seat between the two cherubim).

In Exodus 26 God tells them to build a tabernacle. (temple, house of God) and gives them very specific instructions on how to do this.

Exod 26:32; "You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver.
Exod 26:33; "You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies.
Exod 26:34; "You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies.
Exod 26:35; "You shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand opposite the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side.

There was a place called "the Holy place, but in the center of this was a veil (curtain) around another area called the "holy of holies". The ark of the covenant with the mercy seat was in the holy of holies.

We see this phrase again...

Exod 30:6; "You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you.

"where I will meet you".

of course all of this was in the old testament.... what does this have to do with Jesus?
... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
Exod 31:7; the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent,

This ark of the covenant, is also sometimes called "the ark of testimony". In Exod 25:16; God tells Moses to put a testimony into the ark.

On a side note: (this has little to do with the mercy seat)

Exod 31:2; "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
Exod 31:3; "I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship,
Exod 31:4; to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze,
Exod 31:5; and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

As I am reading this... I can't help but wonder. Are you good at something? Perhaps exceptional? Do you sing, play an instrument,
or paint pictures? Are you a craftsman who builds houses? Maybe you make web pages? Maybe you decorate cakes or design clothing.
It seems God "fills" some people with a spirit that gives them the ability to do these things exceptionally well.

At the beginning of Exodus 37, we have a little more description about the ark and the mercy seat.

Exod 37:6; He made a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide.
Exod 37:7; He made two cherubim of gold; he made them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat;
Exod 37:8; one cherub at the one end and one cherub at the other end; he made the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at the two ends.
Exod 37:9; The cherubim had their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward each other; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat.

I was watching an old "Indiana Jones" movie the other night, of course it is hollywood fiction, but it had the ark of the covenant in it, it had the two cherubim on top,
but there was no mercy seat.

In Exod 39:35; it is called the ark of the testimony again.
In Exod 40:20; Moses finally puts the "testimony" into the ark. What was this "testimony"? What does it have to do with Jesus?

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
Exod 31:18; When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Exod 32:15; Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other.
Exod 32:16; The tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets.

This testimony was not written upon the stone tablets by a man, not even Moses. They were written by God Himself.

There were actually two sets of tablets of this testimony. The first set was broken by Moses (Exod 32:19; ) when the Israelites made the golden calf.
So God had Moses get two more stone tablets and wrote upon them again. (Exod 34:1-4; ) What did He write? The answer is in Exodus 34:10-28;

This testimony is also known as the 10 commandments.

I have heard some people say Moses put the "broken" tablets into the ark of the covenant, but no... there were new tablets, not broken.

Now we have to jump through the Bible a little ways to get to this next part. Leviticus 16.

Aaron was the first person to go into the holy of holies, but this couldn't be done at just any time, it could only be done when something called the "glory cloud"
came down over the temple. Apparently this only happened once a year. This was called "the day of atonement". Atonement for what? Sin!!

Lev 16:2; The LORD said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.

Lev 16:5 "He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.

There were two goats, one was for the sacrifice, and one was to remove the sins in a manner of speaking.

Lev 16:7; "He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Lev 16:8; "Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Lev 16:9; "Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering.
Lev 16:10; "But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.

This "scapegoat" was just released into the wilderness. This was something like Psalms 103:12;

Lev 16:21; "Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
Lev 16:22; "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

But it is the blood of animal sacrifices that have to do with the mercy seat.

There was an incense holder that had to lit. The smoke had to cover the holy of holies before Aaron could enter.

Lev 16:13; "He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, otherwise he will die.

This blood had to be applied to the mercy seat.

Lev 16:14; "Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
Lev 16:15; "Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.

This had to be done with the blood of the bull and of the goat. It says "upon the mercy seat", but also... "in front of" the mercy seat.

Lev 16:24; "He shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on his clothes, and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people.

This blood was for the atonement of sin. It was a "sin offering".

Lev 16:25; "Then he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

Lev 16:27; "But the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh, and their refuse in the fire.

It was the blood that atoned.

Lev 16:30; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.

Lev 16:34; "Now you shall have this as a permanent statute, to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year." And just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did.

still... what does this have to do with Jesus?
... to be continued ....
 
Loyal
Lev 17:11; 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, ... (there is a reason, I am leaving out the second half of this verse, but we will get there)

And yet... even all of this was just a temporary band-aid until something better came along.

Some people have asked, if Moses wasn't allowed to go into the holy of holies, how did he "meet" God there? Where does it say that?

Num 7:89; Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him.
Num 8:1; Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 8:2; "Speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you mount the lamps, the seven lamps will give light in the front of the lampstand.'"

It doesn't say if Moses was in the holy of holies or outside the curtain.

Now there is a long story about the ark of the covenant (it was captured by the enemies of Israel for a while - 1 Sam 4-5; ) and how when Solomon built the second temple
he included a place for the ark.

1 Chron 28:11; Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat;

But no one knows what happened to the ark or where it is now. But that doesn't really matter now.... why don't we still practice animal sacrifices for atonement of sins?

We don't really hear anymore about the mercy seat and the ark of the covenant until we get to the book of Hebrews in the new testament.

What does this have to do with Jesus? ... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
Heb 8:1; Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
Heb 8:2; a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
Heb 8:3; For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.
Heb 8:4; Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law;
Heb 8:5; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.

Everything Moses was instructed to make, was just a copy of something already in heaven. The pattern God showed Moses was a copy of the original in heaven.

Heb 9:24; For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Jesus (our high priest) never physically entered the holy of holies that was made by Moses as a man. But He did go to the "true one" in heaven. Why did He have to do this?

Heb 9:1; Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
Heb 9:2; For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
Heb 9:3; Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
Heb 9:4; having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;
Heb 9:5; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
Heb 9:6; Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship,
Heb 9:7; but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

What is the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant?

Heb 9:11; But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
Heb 9:12; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Heb 9:13; For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Heb 9:14; how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:15; For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Jesus himself was both the sacrifice, and the priest who put the blood on the mercy seat. Not the earthly mercy seat built by Moses, and not the blood of animals.

Heb 10:1; For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Heb 10:2; Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
Heb 10:3; But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
Heb 10:4; For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Heb 10:5; Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

The blood of the animals in the old testament didn't really take away sin. They were just a "symbol" a token of the sacrifice to come. The perfect sacrifice
with perfect sinless blood.

Heb 10:11; Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
Heb 10:12; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

I guess now we know... what does this have to do with Jesus?
 
Loyal
Heb 10:19; Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20; by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

The flesh of Jesus is the veil between the holy of holies.
When Jesus's flesh was torn, so was the veil of the temple. ( Matt 27:51; Mark 15:38; and Luke 23:45; )

Heb 10:21; and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22; let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Some take this verse along with Mark 16:16 and Rom 6:3; to mean baptism in water.

Heb 10:23; Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
Heb 10:24; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
Heb 10:25; not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Heb 10:26; For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

Even though Jesus died and shed his blood for our sins, there is a condition for it to remain a sacrifice for us.

Heb 10:27; but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
Heb 10:28; Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

It's interesting to note, that if the ark of the covenant and mercy seat were a copy of the "true one" in heaven. Then the testimony (commandments)
must be in the real one as well.

Heb 10:29; How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
 
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