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Above the Ark of the Covenant
In our last posting we introduced the Ark of the Covenant, which is one of the objects inside the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle. Today we will present the objects that we placed above the Ark, namely the Golden Cherubim and the Mercy Seat.
The Golden Cherubim
The Ark of the Covenant is covered with two Golden Cherubim[i], which are symbolic of the angels that surround God. Each Cherub has two of their gigantic wings overhanging and protecting the Ark[ii] and the Mercy Seat (the open space between the Cherubim, just above the Ark that is the place where God dwells[iii] – see the section on the Mercy Seat below):
And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:18 – 21)
These Golden Cherubim symbolize the protection of God’s angels over the place where God dwells and over the ark and its covenant relationship with God.
The Mercy Seat
As indicated in the above scripture the Mercy Seat was the place where the high priest would enter into true communion with the Father. God communicated His commandments and instruction to the people of Israel through His servants Moses and Aaron. It should also be noted that the Mercy Seat was a most holy place and as a result, required Aaron the high priest to make special preparations prior to entering into the presence of God:
and the LORD said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. (Leviticus 16:2 – 4)
As you might already suspect, all of this is prophetic of Christ Jesus. Jesus is our high priest whose blood has been shed so that we may enter into the place where God dwells. It is Jesus who now sits on the Mercy Seat so that we may enter into the Most Holy place as priests of the most-high God.
Grasping the overall big picture of what the Tabernacle represents is critically important. It is the place where God dwells among His people in a covenant relationship. In this relationship God leads His people out of the evil bondage of Egypt[iv], and into their desert experience where they are purged of their unbelief and sin[v]. In this regard, the people became totally dependent upon God[vi] prior to entering into the Promised Land. This proposition is supported by the fact that the Lord led the people and was continuously visible in the cloud by day (that protected them from the heat of the sun) and the fire by night (that illuminated there way).
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:21 – 22)
All of this will be continued in our next posting. May God’s blessings be upon you.
[i] Genesis 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
[ii] Exodus25:20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.
[iii] Exodus 25:21 – 22 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
[iv] Deuteronomy 7:8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
[v] Numbers 32:13 So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone.
[vi] Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.