Exodus 25:17-22

The Mercy Seat and Cherubims


Verse 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.

I.    Mercy seat.

A.  Made of pure gold.

1.   The shittim wood is a sign of humanity.

2.   The mercy seat comes from the pure love of God, no humanity causes it.

3.   Eph. 2:1-10.

a.   All humans are actively following the devil.

b.   God's mercy, caused by His great love quickened us in Christ Jesus.

c.   Our works are not involved.

B.   Fits exactly the ark.

1.   There is exactly the right amount of mercy to cover the law (testimony in the ark) and to cover the glory of God which conceals our humanity.

2.   There is none lacking.  Therefore there is no excuse for any of our sins (or our humanity revealing itself).

3.   There is none left over.

a.   None wasted because mankind wouldn't turn to the Lord.

b.   God knows beforehand whom He will elect and the extent of their sinfulness.

c.   He provides exactly the right amount of mercy for each person.

C.   The blood and the mercy seat - Lev. 16:1-4 (14).

1.   Blood is sprinkled seven times - signifying completion.

2.   Heb. 9:1-12 - The blood offering of the tabernacle compared to the blood offering of Jesus Christ.

3.   Rev. 5:9 - The 24 elders (representatives of all the saved of all the ages) sing that they are redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

4.   Heb. 9:22 - Without shedding of blood is no remission, forgiveness, or mercy.


II.   Verse 18,  And thou shalt make two Cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.  The Cherubims on the mercy seat.  A visual image of the mercy God has bestowed on mankind.

A.  What is a cherubim?  (means imaginary figure)

1.   Not an angel - A messenger of God.  An angel is never said to have wings.

2.   Not a seraphim - A declaration of the holiness of God.  Is. 6:2,6.

3.   These both are heavenly creations that God uses to reveal His will (angels) and His personality (holiness).

4.   The Cherubims will actually represent Jesus Christ in His judgment and mercy.  It is not a type or a symbol, but a representative of God revealed in Jesus Christ.

a.   Gen. 3:24 - Cherubims with a flaming sword placed at the east of Eden.  Two purposes.

1.   Judgment - drive men from Eden because of their sin.

2.   Mercy - Keep men from the Tree of Life so they won't eat and life eternally in a sinful condition.

b.   Ezk. 10:22 - Ezekiel said the living creature he saw was the same as he saw by the river of Chebar, Ezk. 1:1.

c.   Rev. 4:6-8 - John saw the same 4 beasts (living creatures).

d.   No flaming sword here - the mercy of God covers the law of God, therefore, there is no judgment of God.

5.   Although we don't know exactly what the Cherubims looked like, the Israelites did.  There is no description given of the shape of the bodies, but a very detailed description of the placement of the wings, and face.

6.   The height of the Cherubims is not given, but it seems to me that the height is not as tall as Solomon made, I Kings 6:23-26.  Ex. 26:16 - The length of a board of the tabernacle was 10 cubits and the height of Solomon's Cherubims was 10 cubits.  The height of the ark was a cubit and a half.  Therefore, the tallest the Cherubims could be is 8½ cubits.

B.   Ex. 20:4-6 - Making the Cherubims does not break the second commandment.

1.   God told them to make the Cherubims.  He wouldn't have told them to make them if it had broken the second commandment.

2.   There is no doubt that the people soon began worshipping the ark.  (I Sam. 4:3 as they worshipped the brazen serpent made by Moses in II Kings 18:4.)

3.   The Cherubims are not something the people see.  Only the high priest sees the ark and the mercy seat and Cherubims; and that only once a year.  It is kept in darkness.  In the imaginary of their minds.

C.   Verse 19, 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.  The Cherubims and the mercy seat are made of 1 piece of gold.

1.   The Cherubims will actually represent Jesus Christ which is the mercy of God in a human form to suffer and die for our sins.

2.   Verse 18 - It is a beaten (not cast {melted}) work.  Is. 53:4-7 - Christ was beaten for our sins.

D.  Verse 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.  The placement of the Cherubims.

1.   The Cherubims are a representative of Christ with wings stretched on high looking toward the broken law, but no seeing it for the mercy of God.

2.   Ps. 57:1 - David found refuge in the shadow of God's wings.

3.   Matt. 23:37 - Christ would have gathered Jerusalem under His wings, but she would not.

E.   Verse 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.  The broken law.

1.   Ex. 32:15-19 - Moses destroyed the tables and the writing of God when he saw Israel had made a golden calf.

2.   Ex. 34:1 - God commanded Moses to make two tables of stone and he wrote the law thereon.

3.   The Cherubims (representatives of God) looked down at the broken law, but couldn't see it because of the mercy of God.

F.   Verse 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.  A place of communion.

1.   Because of the mercy of God.

2.   Num. 7:89 - God spoke to Moses from between the Cherubims.