Monday, November 20, 2017

Mercy Seat

In Romans 3:25, Paul says that Jesus became “a mercy seat by faith in his blood”. Commentators have argued about whether the expression mercy seat should be translated as expiation or propitiation without reaching agreement. I believe that it would be more sensible to take the words as are, and assume that Paul meant what he said. He was saying that Jesus became our “mercy seat”.

Clearly Paul was referring the lid of the covenant box that sat within the holy of holies in the tabernacle. The lid of the covenant box was made of gold. In English Bibles, it has been called the “mercy seat”. The reason is that the Hebrew word “kapporeth” which means “lid” or “covering” comes from a word meaning “cover” or “pardon”. Therefore, a good translation would be “lid of grace”. So mercy seat is quite close.

The priests went into the tabernacle via the bronze altar. It was a place where blood sacrifices were offered. This blood was offered to satisfy the spiritual powers of evil who demanded that the full penalty of the law be implemented for sin. The accuser demands the shedding of blood as a penalty for sin.

Paul refers to faith in Jesus blood. He was explaining that the powers of evil who accuse and demand our blood have to be satisfied with his blood, so their power to accuse us and demand punishment is broken.

The covenant box was in the holy place, which is God’s place. Except for a little dabbed around once a year, there was no blood in the holy place, because God does not demand blood. He is gracious. Incense was placed on the gold altar in the holy place every day, because all God requires a pleasant aroma of love.

Paul says that Jesus became the mercy seat of covenant box. It symbolises grace. This box contained the two tablets of the covenant, Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. The covenant was a free gift, not earned. The manna in the box was free gift to people who did not deserve it.

Therefore, the covenant box represents grace freely given. The mercy seat or lid of grace represents grace and forgiveness. It the place where God came and spoke, because he wiped out the effects of sin. He forgives us because he loves us. Our faith in the blood of Jesus allows him to become our mercy seat. In the new covenant, Jesus becomes the source of our forgiveness and grace from God. He enables us to hear God speak.

No comments: