From Exodus 25-27
Not all of Exodus is story. There are large sections of law giving and instructions for the construction of the place of worship. In today’s passage we look at the LORD’s instruction for creating the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Moses is on mount Sinai and the LORD is giving him instructions for the tabernacle and the items of worship.
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. (Ex 25:10–16)
Acacia is a Palestinian wood, also known thorn tree, whistling thorn, or wattle. The Ark was over layed with gold. The ark will contain the testimony. I assume the written tablets of the law.
“The piece of gold which formed the covering for the Ark was to be shaped at either end into the form of an angel, or cherub, with the two cherubim stretching their wings over the covering and looking at each other. In Psalm 80:1, God is said to be enthroned between the cherubim. In 26:31, this is further emphasized with the image of cherubim upon the veil which separated the Holy from the Most Holy Place.” (Campbell, I. D. (2006). Opening up Exodus (pp. 105–106). Leominster: Day One Publications.)
17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth.
18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. (Ex 25:17–22)
The ‘mercy seat’ was intimately related to the sacrifices brought to the LORD. Especially the sin offering in the day of atonement.
The LORD meets with the people from above the mercy seat.
All people have sinned and because they have atonement must be made.
Story of Israel
The instructions for the day of atonement and the mercy seat are located in Leviticus 16. The passage includes a number of instructions concerning the mercy seat and how it is involved in atoning for sin and uncleanliness.
The mercy seat was sprinkled with the sacrifices blood.
This was practiced in the Old Testament for years and in fact it always anticipated the atonement made by the Christ.
Story of Jesus
More specifically Jesus’ death on the cross. So we read in the gospel.
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. (Mt 27.32-44)
The mercy seat Moses was instructed to make and the commands regarding the day of atonement have been fulfilled in Jesus death on the cross. No longer do people need to offer sacrifices over and over again. Jesus did it all.
If you feel you need to be forgiven again, receive by faith his precious gift.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.