Summary: #5 in the series on the Tabernacle in the Wilderness
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness Series # 5
The Mercy Seat
By Pastor Jim May
Exodus 25:17-22, "And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."
Forgiveness and reconciliation were made possible because the blood of the sacrifice (propitiation) was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat once a year on the Day of Atonement. The root word for Mercy Seat or "Atonement Cover" is a Hebrew word that is spelled, “kaphar”, which means: To cover; To make atonement or reconcile; To appease, placate, cancel, or annul and finally; To cleanse, forgive, pardon, purge away, put off
It is at the Mercy Seat where man’s sin is covered by the blood. It is there that God makes atonement for that sin and reconciles man to Himself.
Just like you would do when you reconcile your checkbook, there was a debt that was owed by mankind, that he could never pay. He had “written checks” on his relationship with God when there was nothing in that account to cover the checks. Mankind had no means of making deposits into his “sin debt account” because nothing that he had, nothing that he could say, and nothing that he could do, had any value to it whatsoever in the Bank of Heaven. Mankind had sold the only valuable thing that he possessed that could be used as collateral. He had sold his eternal soul to the devil in exchange for an eternity without God. Needless to say, mankind got the worst end of the deal. Not only could he never repay his debt, but the debt, with penalties and interest, on top of more penalties and interest, just continued to grow and drive man deeper into slavery.
At the Mercy Seat, the payment for that debt was made, not by man, but by God, for God only could give something that was worthwhile as repayment for our debt of sin. In effect, God covered our “worthless checks”; He paid every debt we owed; and He redeemed, or bailed us out of our jail of slavery to sin and the devil; and He then signed over all that Heaven has to us as joint heirs to His only Son, Jesus Christ. He cancelled our debt of sin with His own blood upon the Mercy Seat.
By paying our debt with His own blood, Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law that were on our record. Then He blotted out the ink of that record and expunged any and all charges against us, canceling the death penalty, annulling the convictions and sentencing as passed by the Law, and appeased the requirements of a Holy God by simply saying three little words, “I FORGIVE YOU”!