God was dwelling above the Ark, enthroned between cherubim. Beneath His feet was His Law, the perfect commands from a perfect God for His people.

But there was a problem with this arrangement. God’s people are not perfect. In fact, as we get more familiar with the nation of Israel, we will see how faulty they are in keeping God’s Law. Again and again they break it. They will sin against God. And the place of the Law is the place of God’s presence! They cannot enter His presence because they have broken His commands.

Read 25:17. What does the term “Mercy Seat” mean to you? Why do you think God used this language for this part of the Ark?



The English phrase, “Mercy Seat,” is taken from the single Hebrew word, כַפֹּ֖רֶת (“kap-po’-reth”), which is translated literally, “atonement cover.” This noun is in the same form as the Hebrew word translated “curtain” (which we will look at a bit later in our study) and carries the connotation of covering, or “to cover over.” In Leviticus we will learn that this “atonement cover” is also the place where the blood of the sacrifice would be sprinkled. 

Why do you think this is significant?



Commentator Moyter draws this profound conclusion:

“The solid golden lid of the ark was both its cover and also the place where the atoning blood was sprinkled (Lev. 16:14). The ark contained the law of the Lord; the כַפֹּ֖רֶת was a precise ‘covering,’ and when identified with the atoning blood – the price paid in respect of sin – there was an exact covering/payment/atonement.” 

God’s presence is protected by a covering. The people cannot approach God because He is holy and they are not. And yet … God made an atoning cover for His people. The sprinkled blood of the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat testified to the people before God that their sins were covered, that they were atoned for. They would not bear God’s wrath against their sin because God looked upon the sacrifice and considered it sufficient, in His charity and grace. 

The very design of the Mercy Seat points you and me forward to the One who would be the Atonement for our sins, Jesus Christ! In Christ, God provided a bloody sacrifice for our sin, and a covering for our shame. In God’s unchanging character, even before the Messiah was born, He provided atonement for His people – one that would point them straight to the coming Savior.

How do you see the Gospel reflected here?



Praise God for providing an atonement cover for your sin. Praise Him for sending His Son to be the Savior we all need.

Author: amygannett

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