Tuesday, February 27, 2018

you'll meet him at the mercy seat

The Word for today:
Hebrews 9:1-15
Mark this: Hebrews 9:5
Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. (Hebrews 9:1-5)
Pictures can “rhyme” just as well as words can, and maybe even better. Here are three pictures that rhyme:
From Genesis 3:24:
From Exodus 25:18-22:
From John 20:11-13:
These pictures don’t resemble each other by accident. God is visually rhyming theses scenes in order that we see the connection between them. He wants to stir within us the sense that we’ve seen these scenes before and that they are meant to be seen as reflections of each other.
Let’s view them one at a time, with brief captions:
East of Eden, cherubim stand guard at the entrance to the garden. As Adam and Eve looked back, the blood of an animal, slain to provide a covering for their nakedness, darkened the ground just inside the entrance. See Genesis 3:24.
The Ark of the Covenant (in the Tabernacle’s innermost compartment, known as the Most Holy Place) had a golden lid that was known as the “mercy seat.” Cherubim, fashioned of gold with overspreading wings, were stationed on either side of this lid, gazing down upon the place where the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement. It was here, between the cherubim, where God met with man. See Exodus 25:18-22.
Angels are stationed at the tomb where Jesus’ body had been. See John 20:11-13.
These pictures perform the same function as the chorus (or refrain) does in a song. When we think of the Bible (as we should) as one long song with many verses, these visually repetitive scenes hold the verses together and give the whole “song” a coherent meaning.
Let them do just that for the rest of the day until we reconvene tomorrow, when I will provide some further commentary and connective material (which by that time you won’t even need!)
But before we go, I want to leave you with a pivotal passage that will help you make the connections God wants you to make:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. (Romans 3:23-25/NET)
Let these pictures make their way into your heart and head. Let them settle (as pictures will) deep beneath your consciousness. And may you meet God there, in the innermost compartment between the cherubim.

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