The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat

Ark of Covenant 2

Exodus 25:10–22, Ark. The ark of the covenant was a small box of acacia wood overlaid in gold, which contained the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the two tablets of stone containing the ten statements of Elohim—commonly called the Ten Commandments. Against the ark was leaned a scroll of the complete Torah (Deut 31:26).

Covering the ark was a golden cap called the mercy seat or kapporet and is related to the word kippur as in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Both share a common Hebrew root, which is the word kapar (Strong’s G3722), which according to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT 1023) means “to make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge”) and the mercy seat—the golden “lid” covering the ark of the covenant located in the D’veer (i.e., the inner shrine of the Tabernacle of Moses)­—which in Hebrew is the word kapporet (Strong’s G3727, TWOT 1023c) was “the place of atonement or the place where atonement was made.” The TWOT defines what happened at the kapporet as follows:

“It was from the … mercy seat that [YHVH] promised to meet with the men [of Israel] (Num 7:89). The word, however, is not related to mercy and of course was not a seat. The word is derived from the root ‘to atone.’ The Greek equivalent in the LXX is usually hilasterion, “place or object of propitiation,” a word which is applied to [Messiah] in Rom 3:25. The translation ‘mercy seat’ does not sufficiently express the fact that the lid of the ark was the place where the blood was sprinkled on the day of atonement. ‘Place of atonement’ would perhaps be more expressive.”

The mercy seat covering the ark that contained the Torah is a vivid symbolic picture of Continue reading


Blood on the Mercy Seat…Facing Mount of Olives

Leviticus 16:14, Mercy seat eastward. What possibly could be the significance of YHVH’s command to specifically sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animal on the east side of the mercy seat? Simply this. If one has ever had the privilege of standing on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, it all makes sense. The east side of the mercy seat faces directly toward the Mount of Olives, where the altar of the red heifer was located. It was likely near this exact spot that Yeshua was crucified just outside of the Jerusalem city gates (Heb 13:12), and where he sprinkled his blood as an atonement for men’s sins (Heb 11:24).

View of the Mount of Olives taken from the Dome of the Spirits on the Temple Mount. Some scholars believe this was the location of the holy of holies in the original Temple of  Solomon.

View of the Mount of Olives taken from the Dome of the Spirits on the Temple Mount. Some scholars believe this was the location of the holy of holies in the original Temple of Solomon.

At this same spot, one had a full frontal view of the temple, which is why those attending Yeshua’s crucifixion were able to see the rent veil in the temple from the spot where he was crucified (Matt 27:51 cp. 54).

Therefore, the high priest sprinkling the blood of the bull and goat sin offering on the east side of the mercy seat on Yom Kippur was a prophetic act pointing to what would take place some fifteen hundred years later on the Mount of Olives.

Yeshua’s shedding of his blood there as an atonement for men’s sins was a fulfillment of the high priest sprinkling blood on the mercy seat on Yom Kippur. When Yeshua was crucified, although his cross faced the mercy seat in the temple, the holy of holies no longer contained that item. To this day, no one knows what became of it.

The sprinkling of blood on the east side of the mercy seat is a small detail that’s easily overlooked in the Scriptures, but it has profound spiritual and prophetic significance. This detail meshes with other seemingly insignificant details found elsewhere in the Scriptures. When these puzzle pieces are placed together, they form another picture of Messiah’s work. This is another proof that only the hand of YHVH Elohim could have inspired the writing of the Bible. May your faith in the divine origination of the Scriptures be strengthened to the glory of Elohim!