January 26 Today’s Reading: Exodus 25-27
If we could go behind the veil with the High Priest on the Day of Atonement into the holy of holies, the very first thing that would strike our eyes would be “the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat;” but we would not look long at the cherubim. Their eyes, their faces, their wings direct our attention away from themselves to the mercy-seat.
Christ Our Propitiation
The mercy-seat represented Christ, God’s propitiation, the propitiation for our sins (Exodus 25:17, 21-22; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:9-10; Romans 3:24-26). In fact, the word translated “propitiation” elsewhere in the New Testament is the same word that is translated “mercy-seat” in Hebrews 9:5.
The Day of Atonement
In the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement, Aaron took the blood of the paschal lamb behind the veil, into the holy of holies, and sprinkled the blood on the mercy-seat, making ceremonial atonement for the sins of the people of Israel. And the holy Lord God promised to meet His people there upon the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, in peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
That ceremonial service was a beautiful, instructive picture of the obtaining of eternal redemption for God’s elect by Christ, our great High Priest. “By His own blood (by the merit of His blood) He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” The mercy-seat of the Old Testament was typically what Christ is in reality: the place of substitution, sacrifice, satisfaction, atonement, reconciliation, forgiveness, peace and worship.
The Publican in Luke 18 cried, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” He understood exactly what was portrayed in the Old Testament mercy-seat. It is reflected in his prayer. He prayed, “God, look on the blood upon the mercy-seat, the blood covering Your holy law, which I have broken, and be propitious to me, the sinner, forgiving my sin for Christ’s sake.”
Standing in the holiest of all with Christ, our Aaron, our great High Priest, suddenly we realize that we are standing before the mercy-seat, the symbol of God’s presence. With blood upon the mercy-seat covering the broken tables of the law, there we see the glory of God in the pardon of sin by the sacrifice of Christ (Leviticus 9:23-24). This is exactly what Isaiah saw when he saw the Lord Jesus in His glory (Isaiah 6:1-6). And this is what the heaven born soul is made to see when he sees “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6; Psalm 85:9-11). The holy Lord God not only meets us upon the mercy-seat, there in Christ, He abides with us. No matter where we are if we are in Christ, the name of the place is Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there. Our lives are hid with Christ in God (Isaiah 43:1-5).
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