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Selah Alphabetical Index

The 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 25:10-22).

The ark was also called “the ark of the testimony” because it contained God’s testimony to the people of His covenant. In the ark chest were a pot of manna, Aaron’s 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 Christ.

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





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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