Friday, December 25, 2015

God's Instructions Include Not Only What, But How


The Mercy Seat and The Two Cherubs
 

Exodus 25:17-21: “And you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. And you shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. And the cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I shall give to you.”
To my knowledge there is only one “mercy seat” and thus its definition is singular.  Simply put, the mercy seat is physically the gold lid that sits on top of the Ark of the Covenant or Testimony that God told the Israelites to build. But its intended meaning goes much deeper.
To begin with, it would be part of the two gold winged angelic beings that God’s instructions included – one at each end of the lid, each facing inward and thus each other – and together with the lid itself, all made of one piece of crafted or hammered gold.  Hammered gold results from the process of beating gold into an extremely thin unbroken sheet for use in gilding.  The modern process of gilding involves the application of different decorative techniques with a fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give them a thin coating of gold. It is of note here that when God gives us instructions of what He wants, He also tells us how He wants it done.
In particular, the two cherubim (or angelic beings) were to have their wings spread upward and covering the mercy seat.  Thus we assume that in order for the seat to be covered, the tips of the wings of the cherubim must touch.  The eyes of the cherubim were to be looking or focused on the main part of the mercy seat – the part of the lid in the middle between them.
However, the mercy seat is also where God comes in a formal sense and dwells among His people in the Old Testament.  Later, we learn it becomes critical in the Day of Atonement – it is on the mercy seat that the sacrificial blood is poured.  Put another way, it represents the locale of where our sins are covered, when in fact, later in the New Testament, Christ’s blood is shed for us in the ultimate act of atonement (payment of the penalty) on our behalf.
And then in our current passage, once again, God repeats His instructions of what is to go inside the ark – He wanted the law, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments to be placed inside (as given to Moses already).  But here we have a bit of a snag in the text for God tells them to “put (in) the testimony which I shall give to you.”  How do we explain the future tense here?
The perplexity is best explained by having a broader definition of ‘testimony’ to include all of God’s laws that He gave and was to continue giving to the Israelites with respect to how they should live and worship.  The testimony in essence becomes God continued “communication” with His people regarding formal instructions that they are to observe and carry out.  Thus, on this day when He was giving these instructions to Moses for the people, while He had already given them the Decalogue or Ten Commandments, He knew there were still more instructions that He would give the people in the near future.  (Verse 22 of this chapter that follows this passage actually speaks of this. And once again, we find that if we sincerely want to allow Scripture to answer the questions that Scripture itself raises, it will.)

I believe that for us today, God’s instructions collectively for His people have been given.  His communication to His Body as a group has been completed. The finished work of Christ when He died for us on the Cross resulted in a completed work of salvation.  That is not to say that He cannot or will not speak to His people again as a group in the future, but I believe that will be after the return of Christ to the earth in what we refer to as “the second coming”.  For now, what remains is for each of us, individually, to heed God’s specific instructions to us – as we pursue our personal relationship with Him.  And in attempting to carry out those particular instructions to each of us, it is of paramount importance that we react the same way as the Israelites were intended to react – following all the specifications with respect to both the what and the how.


Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.

 

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

No comments:

Post a Comment