The trial of man has ended. We have seen the guilty sinners received by the Judge. We have heard His words of welcome and we have seen that the place where they met was a “mercy seat.” Let us linger a while longer and learn more about this wonderful place where a righteous God can meet a guilty sinner in mercy because of the blood of Jesus.
We read about the mercy seat in the book of Exodus. You remember God said concerning it “There will 1 meet with thee and commune with thee from above the mercy seat” Ex. 25:22.
The mercy seat was the most important article in the tabernacle that was pitched in the wilderness. In fact God commanded the Children of Israel to build the tabernacle in order that there might be a place for the ark and the mercy seat that covered the ark. Beneath that golden lid were hidden the two tables of the law, and above upon it, one with it, were two golden cherubim stretching their wings on high with their faces looking one toward the other. There between the cherubim God had His throne, it was there He dwelt in the midst of His earthly people. Psa. 80:1. And that throne was a mercy seat. Once every year, on the great day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of the sin-offering and sprinkle it upon the golden lid between the cherubim and also upon the ground where his feet stood. Then the priest would go out to the people and tell them that the work was finished. In all this God was teaching them that it was only on the ground of the shed and sprinkled blood that He could have dealings with them and dwell in their midst.
As the tables of the law lay concealed within the ark so Christ could say “Thy law is within my heart” Ps. 40:8. He was the only One who ever kept it. He magnified it and made it glorious. But that could never save sinners. That could only condemn us. Above the law, on the mercy seat, the blood was sprinkled and the cherubim (symbolizing God’s justice) were satisfied; so the Lord Jesus died, His precious blood was shed and God is perfectly satisfied. He rests in the accomplished redemption and He wants us to rest there.
The veil hid from view the holy place where were the ark and the mercy seat. At the moment when the Lord Jesus yielded up His life to God as a sacrifice for sin the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Matt. 27:50-52. Thus the way was open into the holiest, and the mercy seat was disclosed. God and sinful man could meet in peace and through “faith in His blood” the sinner is justified.
It is this salvation that God “sets forth”— Christ as the mercy seat. God is so eager that sinners shall be saved that He Himself comes out in the glory of His mercy and displays His Son to the view of a guilty world. He lifted Him up on the cross that all might see Him and placed Him on the throne that all might receive Him for
“There in the glory He waits to impart
Peace to the conscience and joy to the heart
Waits to be gracious to pardon and heal
All who their sin and their wretchedness feel.”
A young woman visiting an asylum was much interested in the strange actions of an old lady who was an inmate. She saw her approach a trellis of flowers, pull out the lath supporting them, and break it in two uneven portions. Then with a piece of string she bound the two pieces together, thus making a cross. The young woman looking on was filled with sorrow and indignation until she heard the old lady with tear-dimmed eyes exclaim, “Enough for God, enough for justice, enough for me.” She understood the deeper meaning of the cross. Mercy cries, “If sentence of death be executed, how shall I be glorified?” Truth cries, “If sentence of death be not executed how shall I be honored?” The Cross is the answer.
The perfect righteousness of God
Is witnessed in the Saviour’s blood.
’Tis in the cross of Christ I see,
How God can save, yet righteous be.
1. What was the mercy seat?
2. In what way did God teach His earthly people that He could only deal with them on the ground of the blood?
3. Find three references in John’s Gospel to the Lord Jesus being “lifted up.”
4. What did the veil in the temple speak of? (Heb. 10).