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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seeing the Mercy Seat

On the top of the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament Tabernacle is a curious coupling: two cherubim (angels), one at each end, facing each other, their wings just about touching. Their faces were bent down towards the center of the ark. The ark was a rectangular table-like structure. 

The middle of the ark is described as the dwelling place of God. This is where the blood was sprinkled once a year (Leviticus 16:12-15). Once a year, when the priest went in to offer for the sins of the people, incense smoke clouded the middle of the ark. The ark with its mercy seat was located in the holiest part of the tabernacle, where only the high priest could enter. He went inside once a year.

Today, I was reading in my new Bible study book,* and the author made the connection between the mercy seat of the Old Testament and a scene in John 20. It takes place very soon after the resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is at the tomb.

Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping:
and as she wept, she stooped down,
and looked into the sepulchre,
And seeth two angels in white sitting,
the one at the head, and the other at the feet,
where the body of Jesus had lain (John 20:11-12).

Look back over these two verses and think with me.

What did this scene look like?

There’s an angel at the head and foot of a slab, probably a rectangular shape.

Does this remind you of something?

Of course! The mercy seat was a perfect picture of what would happen when Jesus rose from the dead. An angel at one end, and an angel at the other. Perhaps Jesus’ blood was sprinkled between them, having seeped through the grave clothes. It was the place where the perfect Lamb of God had rested after being slain.

But He was alive!

Mary turned around, and through her tears, she thought she must be talking to the gardener. Instead, the man was Jesus! He said to her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:16-17). Then, the Bible says that Mary went and told the disciples she had seen the Lord.

I don’t know about you, but that perfect image of the Old Testament mercy seat in the empty tomb—after the resurrection—was a blessing to me.

There are so many links between the Old Testament stories, laws, and ceremonies and the New Testament gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Having therefore, brethren,
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
And having an high priest over the house of God;
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22).

*Made for Fellowship: A Journey Through the Tabernacle and Feasts, by Reba Bowman, (To be reviewed soon.)

Today, on Word Salt, Lynn Dove has featured an interview with me about my new book His Ways, Your Walk. Enjoy!


  1. Si,si que hay muchas similitudes, entre historias del antiguo y las del nuevo testamento. Muchas veces me pasa que leo algo en el nuevo testamento y me viene a la mente algo del antiguo.
    Muchas veces me resulta curioso.


    1. Yes, Tere, it's amazing how there are so many links between the Old and New Testaments. I love it! (Sí, Tere, es asombroso cuántas similaridades hay entre el Antiguo y el Nuevo Testamento. A mí, me encanta.)

  2. Someone in a college class brought out that similarity -- I had never noticed it before. What a blessing!

    1. It IS a blessing! Thank you for commenting.


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