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Jesus Christ our Mercy Seat

Updated on December 27, 2014

Click here for the hub containing a link to the audio teaching.

  1. God designed Mankind in his own image – Genesis 1:26-28
  2. Man’s turning away from God – sin, separation from God. This is called “death.”
  3. God’s restoration for Man – the Christ, A) To being reconciled to God – Romans 5:10-11 B) Joined to (peace with) God – Romans 5:1 C) Life with God – John 10:10, John 20:30-31, Romans 6:4 & 8:2
  4. This restoration is “the Mercy Seat,” called “propitiation". This is where God had planned that every one of the sins of all the ages of Mankind would be appeased. So now, God is not holding anything against us. The justice of the Just Judge, God, has been satisfied. Jesus Christ as our Mercy Seat is our restoration to God, to the way God designed life to be in all of its fullness. One way to see this is through the eyes of the book of Romans.

Romans 3:21-26

“But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed––attested by the Law and the Prophets ––that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation (mercy seat) in His blood through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness , because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. He presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.”

"Propitiation" (Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary):

  1. The act of appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.

  2. In theology, the atonement or atoning sacrifice offered to God to assuage His wrath and render Him propitious to sinners. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of men. Romans 3:1, John 2.

“Propitiation” means to gain or regain the favor of, to appease someone who has been wronged. This results in expiation: the making amends or atoning. The Greek word translated propitiation in Romans 3:25 is the same word translated “mercy seat” in the Greek Old Testament.


When sprinkled with blood the mercy seat was where God would not extend due punishment for the sins of the people, hence, “mercy,” the withholding of merited judgment. Where there is no judgment held against one from another there is no problem between the two, and their relationship can develop. Our relationship with God develops as we submit to our relation to Him through propitiation by Jesus Christ.

  1. The mercy seat was the place where God would speak with man.
  2. Nobody could enter the presence of God over the Mercy Seat without shed blood to cover their sins.
  3. This was God’s plan from the beginning.

Numbers 7:89: "And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and He spake unto him."

Exodus. 25:17-22: "17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."

Prior to Christ's completed work at Calvary only the High Priest could enter the presence of the mercy seat, and only once per year, but never without blood shed for sins:

Hebrews 9:3-11: "3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands..."

Prior to Christ's completed work at Calvary nobody was to come to the mercy seat apart from God’s way of approach, the first point being the shedding of blood for sins:

Leviticus 16:1-3: "1 And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering"


In 1Kings 8:6-7 they protect. In Genesis 3:24 they keep the way of the tree of life – they guard. Who is “the life” today?


  • John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
  • John 6:35 “I am the bread of life.” - Jesus
  • John 10:10b “I am come that they might have life…” - Jesus

In Exodus 25:17-22 what are the cherubim guarding? What does this mean in light of Jesus Christ being our mercy seat?

We have a New Covenant, with new words which God wants to commune with us about. Gaining insight into Jesus Christ being our propitiation is a catalyst to understanding the truths of the gospel.

A Glance at the book of Romans in light of Jesus Christ being our Mercy Seat:

1:1-6 Paul’s God-given mission: get the gospel to all nations. Why?...

1:16-17 The gospel is the power of God because in it the righteousness of God is revealed. God’s righteousness is extended to Mankind by the Mercy Seat.

1:18 The wrath of God IS revealed. It has been meted out on Jesus Christ. Now God’s mercy is extended to us through the Mercy Seat.

2:3 Do you suppose you shall escape the judgment of God? No sin escapes its just consequence (Hebrews 2:2). We didn’t “escape the judgment of God.” Instead, our judgment was transferred by substitution to our Mercy Seat.

3:9-10 Nobody comes into the realm of God on their own merits. Everyone falls short. But because of Jesus Christ’s shed blood for all faults anyone can come into God’s presence.

3:27 Where is boasting in our own efforts in light of the Mercy Seat? It is excluded.

4:6-8 David prophesied of how blessed are those who accept the realities of the Mercy Seat – all our errors are paid for by Christ.

5:1 Accepting the realities of the cross leaves us having peace with God THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

5:3-5 Because of Christ’s payment for our sins we can boast in tribulation. When tribulation is upon us we boast in the power of the cross knowing that the realities there are greater than any tribulation. No tribulation can take away our life with God, eternal life, the realities of being a son of God, etc. So we boast in the cross.

5:10-11 It is by Jesus Christ as our Mercy Seat, his death, that we have been reconciled to God, and now can live as reconciled ones.

5:12-21 Here is the problem and the solution: Adam disobeyed God through which sin entered into the world and death through sin. This is the problem which results in all of the subsequent problems of Mankind and all of creation. God’s solution to this problem is the obedience of the one unto death (the Mercy Seat), Jesus Christ, unto our acquittal to life with God.

6:3-11 We are baptized into Christ’s death (the Mercy Seat – the payment for all sins). Now we are identified (unified) with his death (the payment for all sins), bringing us into being identified with his resurrection into newness of life. When he was raised from the dead was he still dealing with sin? NO! We aren’t to be dealing with sin either. We accept his payment for sin. As a result we walk in newness of life, reckoning ourselves dead unto sin, and so, alive unto God. Without accepting the realities of Jesus Christ as our Mercy Seat we CANNOT walk in the realities of newness of life in Christ.

6:19 “…so present your members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification.” How did we become righteous? It was by the Mercy Seat. Our servitude to this reality produces continued sanctification.

6:22 “But now having been freed from sin…” How did we arrive here, freed from sin?

8:3-4 Isn’t verse 3 referring to Jesus Christ’s death – our Mercy Seat? The result is in verse 4. The righteous requirements of the Law (love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:36-40) are fulfilled in us as we walk by the spirit, including Jesus Christ’s death in our behalf.

8:32 How can we believe the second part of this verse if we don’t accept the first part?

12:1 “…by the mercies of God…” This has to include the mercy extended to us in the Mercy Seat.

14:1 This entire chapter comes alive in the realization of our Mercy Seat. A "must read".

15:1-3 The high price paid for Man’s reconciliation to God makes the value of Man incalculable. See if you can gain insight into these verses in light of this truth. In Galatians 3:1-3 it is Jesus Christ publicly portrayed as crucified (Mercy Seat) which builds into understanding verses 2-3 of Romans 15. Do we mature spiritually by any works that we might do, or by the living reality of Christ crucified? The powerful realities of Jesus Christ’s payment for all of our faults, lack, failures, inabilities and great abilities in our flesh hold learning and spiritual growth for us far beyond what we are currently realizing. Seek insight from our Father on the cross of Christ being the power of God unto our wholeness and deliverance.

"Jesus Christ our Mercy Seat" realized produces God’s intended effects in us, for example, it:

  • Matures us into forgiveness of self and others because to hold a fault against one is to reckon Christ’s sacrifice insufficient.
  • Leaves no room for judgment against others.
  • Magnifies our oneness in the Body of Christ because every one of all of our sins was paid for by Christ.
  • Wells up compassion towards others because all actions contrary to the love of God find their origin in Adam’s sin and their solution in Christ’s sacrifice.
  • Develops inner peace and joy through knowing that God never holds anything against us and loves us just the way we are – flawless through Christ.
  • Develops confidence and trust toward God who would love us to the degree of ransoming his son in our behalf.
  • Causes a growing humility because by it we are reminded of our lack of worth to God before Christ’s payment for our sins, and of our value to him as a result.
  • Frees us from concerns about what others think of us.
  • Brings an awareness of our authority over evil forces arrayed against God’s purposes because they were defeated by the cross.
  • Continues to increase our partnership with God our Father because by the cross he eliminated everything about us which hindered that partnership.


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