The Tabernacle, the Ark and the Mercy Seat (Exodus 25:1-22)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, June 14, 2015, the Adult Sunday School class reviewed Exodus 25:1-22 related to the tabernacle.

Verses 8-9 are significant because they highlight the two main attributes of the tabernacle. The word “sanctuary” means “holy place” and refers to God’s holiness and transcendence, whereas the word “tabernacle” means “dwelling place” and refers to God’s immanence. Immanence means being within the limits of possible experience or knowledge. God was camping out with his people. Certainly this reminds us of our Lord who tabernacled among us (John 1:14) yet was transcendent in holiness. One class member rightly pointed out that our sin stands between God’s transcendence and his immanence.

The remainder of this section describes the design of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat (atonement cover). The ark also speaks of God’s transcendence and immanence. In verse 22 God tells Moses that he will meet with him there, between the two cherubim. Thus God will be immanent. But in Numbers 4 God instructs that the ark is to be touched or seen by no one except the high priest on the annual Day of Atonement. God is transcendent.

The significance of the ark and mercy seat were detailed in regard to the glory of God dwelling between the cherubim. The cherubim were positioned to be looking down on the top of the mercy seat under which were the tablets of the testimony representing Israel’s failures to keep the law. But on the Day of Atonement the high priest poured blood on the mercy seat signifying God’s atonement for the sin of his people by the blood of a substitute, our Lord.—Chuck Cain

Listen to “The Tabernacle, the Ark and the Mercy Seat” (Exodus 25:1-22) at

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