Exodus 25:21 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. 22 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.
There is a renewed emphasis of teaching on grace that is very much needed. The true teaching of grace, though, doesn’t change the standard but helps us reach it by imparting God’s righteous and holy nature within us. Ephesians 4:24 says, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. The goal to continuously live holy and blameless is why we needed and why He gave us grace Ephesians 1:4. Only by grace can we be holy and blameless. Grace is the means to that end, not the end in and of itself. It makes us what we could not be on our own and enables us to do what we could not do on our own. The standard of holiness is under assault both within the church through extreme unbalanced teachings and in the Last Days culture of the world’s sliding into more and more immorality.
What is needed, instead of lowering or adapting down the standard, is understanding God’s mercy. A beautiful picture of mercy in our relationship to God’s high standards can be seen in the Old Testament type and shadow of Jesus’ blood. If you will remember from Exodus 25 where there are instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and various articles of furniture in it, the main piece being the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. One of the items inside the Ark of the Covenant (a rectangular box like structure with a lid on it) was the tables of the Law etched in stone. This was a symbol of His Word and never changing standard. Etched in stone it speaks of His Word is established, forever settled, and non-negotiable. It says it is impossible to approach, worship, or walk with God without coming into right relationship to His Word. The tables of stone also showed God’s high holy standard did not change with the tables as a testimony to it and it would also be a witness against the sin of the people.
Herein is the difficulty: we do not always measure up to God’s high holy standard in our behavior and actions. What do we do? Exodus 25:17‑22 shares about the lid on the box like structure called the Mercy Seat (The Old Testament term means “covering, and to make atonement” like the New Testament word, “propitiation”). It is the place where every year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would bring the blood of the sin offering for himself and the people, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat seven times (See Leviticus 16). The mercy seat was in the Holy of Holies and sometimes called the place of the mercy seat (1 Chronicles 28:11; Leviticus 16:2). The interesting point is that God said it is “there will I meet thee.”
The communications from God to Moses are represented as being made from above the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony (Exodus 25:22; 30:6; Numbers 7:89). If it was not there, God would see the His Word with its high holy standard and their failure to measure up to it; but instead, He sees the blood of the innocent sacrifice. The sacrificial blood provision did not change the tablets of stone that the Commandments were on, nor did it change the Holy of Holies into a less Holy Place. There was no problem with the standard or God’s holiness. The problem was with man’s sinful nature and sin. The sacrificial blood on the mercy seat made a way for their relationship and fellowship. It made a relationship with God possible that could not exist any other way.
The Good News is that Jesus is our “Mercy Seat,” which is what the word the Bible translates “propitiation” in Romans 3:25 and 1 John 2:2.
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Thank God for the Blood of Jesus and thank God we can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Oh the Blood of Jesus that washes white as snow.