Perfect Place of Mercy
The most important piece of furniture
in the Tabernacle of Meeting in the wilderness and later the Jerusalem Temple was the Ark
of the Covenant, and the lid of gold called the mercy seat or place of mercy (Exodus
The ark was also called the ark of the testimony
because it contained Gods testimony to the people of His covenant. In the ark chest
were a pot of manna, Aarons budded rod, and the two stone tablets on which was
written the Law of Moses (25:16, 33; Num. 17:10; Heb. 9:4).
The mercy seat was a slab of gold fitting over
the top of the ark chest. Once a year the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place
and make atonement for the sins of the people of Israel by sprinkling blood of bulls and
goats on the mercy seat (Lev. 16:2-16).
The ark symbolizing the presence of God with His people was
holy and was placed in the Holy of Holies and separated from the rest of the tabernacle by
a heavy veil (Ex. 26:31-33; Heb. 9:3-5). No sinful person could look upon the glory of God
above the ark and live (Lev. 16:2).
No one knows what happened to the Ark of the Covenant after
Babylon destroyed the Temple in 586 B.C. We do know that the new temple built by
Zerubbabel and later remodeled by Herod did not contain the Ark of the Covenant.
The disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant at the exile was
providential because the presence of the LORD God had disappeared from above the mercy
seat long before the destruction of the temple. God had rejected the worship that was
being offered by the idolatrous people (Isa. 1:11-14).
The full significance and fulfillment of the meaning of the
Ark of the Covenant and its mercy seat is found in the person and work of the Lord Jesus
When God sent His perfect lamb to make atonement for the sins
of the people, the blood of goats and bulls was no longer needed on the Day of Atonement.
The sprinkling of the blood of the perfect Lamb of God secured eternal redemption for
sinners (Heb. 9:11-14).
Because of His perfect once and for all sacrifice for sins,
we are encouraged to come with boldness and enter into His presence at the mercy set in
heaven (Heb. 4:14-16).
The thick veil that separated man from the LORD God no longer
hangs there as a barrier separating sinful man from the holy presence of God. The veil was
torn into at the moment Jesus died. Every person who comes by the shed blood of Jesus is
welcome into His presence (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:20).
We are always welcome because of the perfect sacrifice Christ
made for our sins.
When God became man and dwelt among us, the presence of God
was made perfect (Ezek. 36:27-29; Jn. 1:14; 14:16-17). The Ark of the Covenant was a
shadow of the perfect dwelling of God with men in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
We now long for the perfect day of fulfillment in the new heaven and
new earth. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His
people, and God Himself will be among them. . . . I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God
the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the
moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the
Lamb (Rev. 21:3, 22-23).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Click for printer friendly page
CLICK to E-mail SELAH! to a friend.