Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Christ our Satisfying King

Exodus 25:17-18 17“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. 18“You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.

The Throne of God represented by the lid of the Ark of the Covenant
As we saw in yesterday's blog, the ark of the Covenant in the most Holy Place of the Tabernacle represents the very presence of God among His people.  Furthermore, we saw that the wood overlayed with Gold on this "Ark" pictured for us the Humanity and Deity of Christ.  Today we will be looking at the "lid" that was placed upon this "Box of God", the "Ark of the Covenant" which is referred to as the "Mercy Seat." 

Like the other furnishings and materials of the Tabernacle, the Mercy Seat tells us something about the dwelling place and character of God in the Heavenly realm.  Psalm 80:1 reveals that God dwells "between the Cherubim" in Heaven as He sits upon His throne.  Other passages, such as Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4-5 further reinforce this fact that the Lord God of Eternity is seated upon His Throne over and among the Angels.  Thus in addition to representing the presence of God among the people, the Mercy Seat demonstrates that God is the King over His people.

The Mercy Seat - the Place of Satisfaction
In the Hebrew the word translated "Mercy Seat" is the word "propitiation", which we could also translate to mean "satisfaction".  In Leviticus 16 we see the details surrounding the Jewish ritual and Festival of the "Day of Atonement", "Yom Kippur", wherein the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle blood upon the Mercy Seat. 

When God from Heaven would look down through that Mercy Seat on other days, He would see straight down into what was contained in the Ark of the Covenant - The tablets of the Ten Commandments, the Jar of Manna and Aaron's Rod that had budded.  These objects were testimonies of God's unending faithfulness and Israel's failure to follow the Law of God.  Thus God had ordained the Day of Atonement for the High Priest to sprinkle blood upon the Mercy Seat, so that when God looked through that "lid", He saw only the blood.  Thus His wrath would be satisfied and He would deem Israel fit to approach Him for another year. 

Christ - Our Satisfaction
The New Testament uses a word to refer to the wrath of God being satisfied - propitiation. 1 John 4:10 describes Christ as our "propitiation" or "satisfaction" - In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. For all those who by Grace through Faith believe on Him, satisfaction or "propitation" from the wrath of God is granted.  This word is taken straight out of the rituals surrounding the mercy seat - the place of satisfaction.  Other New Testament passages such as 1 John 2:2 speak of Christ's work on the cross (called "Atonement") as propitiating the wrath of God upon the whole world, prolonging the age of Grace to give everyone a chance to hear the Gospel. 

Thus the King who reigns came to be the One who would die for His unruly subjects.  Those who had committed High Holy Treason against this King would be offered immunity from Divine wrath.  The Mercy Seat, like the other parts of the Tabernacle, tells the Gospel in its fullest and most robust richness.  When I by grace through faith believe on Christ, His blood makes me fit to approach God for eternity!  Thank you Lord for the satisfaction of wrath payed for by Jesus, applied to all who by grace through faith believe on Him.

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