16:2mercy seat. Lit. “atonement covering” or “place of atonement” (Ex. 25:17 note). This slab of pure gold served as a lid for the ark and as a base for the two golden cherubim. The divine presence appeared above the lid of the ark (Ex. 25:22; Ps. 99:1), and Aaron sprinkled the mercy seat with blood on the Day of Atonement. God symbolically revealed the gospel through this cover on the ark. The ark contained the two stone tablets of the law inscribed by the finger of God Himself, representing the eternal moral law of God (Deut. 10:1–5). Since all humans have violated this law, the righteousness of God demands death (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23). God provided the only means of atonement for His chosen people and for their reconciliation to Him—the atoning blood on the ark’s cover. That blood-drenched cover was the meeting point of the holy God with His unholy people. It symbolized the heavenly sanctuary where Christ has entered with His own blood (Heb. 9:12), blood that is efficacious for all the sins of His people, past, present, and future (Rom. 3:21–26; Heb. 9:15).
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