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Mercy, Way More Than I Ever Thought

If you have read my blogs over the past few weeks you will have noticed a pattern. I have written a lot about Romans chapter 3. I just cannot get past this; the more God teaches me and the more I learn the more there is to learn in this incredible passage. My focus has been directed by the LORD to a single passage in Romans chapter 3 that I have written about previously; the passage begins in verse 22 and ends in verse 26. This passage is so incredible it is the gospel and it answers all the questions of the faith. My focus this week has been narrowed down to a single word in that passage and has caused me to go on a journey in discovery; and what God has thought me is just amazing. I think that next to the names of God that this word is quite possibly the most important word in the entire bible yet you seldom here it spoken. This word is so important to the Christian faith, that when I stand back and look at it I am amazed that it is not used in everyday Christian language. We have several words in the Christian faith that if it were not for the faith we wouldn’t use, but use all the time; but this word is not one of them and it is the understanding and meaning of this single word that defines the Christian faith.

We know from reading Romans 6:23 that, “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23 from the above mentioned passage says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then verse 24 the very next verse says “being justified freely by his grace.” How can this be, this just does not fit and when you read all throughout scripture and come to understand the nature of God and who He is, this just does not fit. I have been talking about this for some time now but it completely goes against the nature of God to let a criminal just go free. We in America have a vague since of justice because we see so many injustices done in or criminal system. But I’m telling you, if someone is guilty of a crime and the law clearly states that the crime is punishable, and the law clearly states what that punishment is to be; if the judge lets the guilty criminal go free he is unjust. And every single one of us has broken God’s laws and is guilty, and the law clearly states that the guilty are to be punished and cast out of the kingdom of God into the lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death. Proverbs 17:15 clearly states that “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” So if it is an abomination to the LORD to justify the wicked how then does He justify us who are clearly guilty and have broken His laws with the clear penalty being death and hell. You see many men state that God simply forgives sin, and what they are doing wither they know it or not are declaring God to be unjust, and they are degrading the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

The answer to this dilemma is in this single word that I spoke of earlier, “Propitiation”. It was obvious to me that this passage, all of chapter 3, and all of Romans hinged on this one word and even more so the One in whom this is fulfilled, or LORD Jesus Christ. I use the NKJV of the English translations, it is a good literal translation, and now that I have memorized so much of the text it would be difficult to change, but with all translations it is not the original text. This word was so vitally important that I thought that I needed to research it in the original text and found out something wonderful and powerful, that what was being said here goes far beyond anything I would have imagined. In the NKJV this word propitiation occurs 4 times; Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10; but in Romans 3:25 which is where my focus was, the Greek word that it was translated from was different than the word the other three were translated from. The Greek word is( ἱλαστήριον) - pronounced Hilasterion, in the Greek New Testament this word Hilasterion occurs twice; Romans 3:25 and Hebrews 9:5. In Hebrews 9:5 the text is referring to the Mercy Seat, the covering of the Ark that contains the Testament of God, written with God’s own hand the moral law, the Holy Ten Commandments. In the Septuagint; which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament this word Hilasterion occurs 20 times translated from the Hebrew word (Kapporeth). In the Septuagint (Hilasterion) occurs many times in Exodus, several times in Leviticus, and in Numbers. So in Exodus God tells Moses what the Mercy Seat was to look like, and that it would sit atop the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the testament of God, (the Holy Ten Commandments).

Let’s take a look at that from Exodus 25:17-22. “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

The Mercy Seat is where God and man meet; it is the covering for the moral law of God and is the meeting place between God and man. In the temple was the Holy place in which only a priest could enter, there was another curtain which divided the Holy place from the Holiest of Holies which is where the Ark of the Covenant was, containing the law of God and the Mercy Seat. The high Priest and only the high priest could enter into the Holiest of Holies and could do so only once a year, on the Day of Atonement; all of this can be found in Leviticus Chapter 16. I will describe this briefly, leaving out much detail in order to be brief; I highly recommend that you read all of Leviticus Chapter 16 yourself. So once a year the high priest would enter the Holiest of Holies on the Day of Atonement and in order to enter, atonement had to be made for his sins. He the priest had to sacrifice a young bull without blemish, then would come before the Mercy Seat, sprinkle the blood of the bull on the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat to atone for his own sins. Then he would take two kids (two goats) and cast lots between the two, one was sacrificed before the LORD and the blood of the kid was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat to make atonement for the sins of all the people. Then the other kid was taken before the LORD the high priest would put his hand on the kid and confess all the sins of the people before the LORD transferring their sins to the kid. Then verse 22, “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”

After reading all of this and now knowing what propitiation is referring to, I have to tell you, I was beside myself, the Spirit of God had revealed something to me in His scripture that is incredible and I am just overwhelmed with it. God set forth Christ Jesus as a Mercy Seat; only God can sit on the Mercy Seat, it is His place alone. The sins of the people are atoned for by blood; the one on the Mercy Seat shed His own blood to atone for the sins of the people. The sins of the people were placed on Him and He died alone, forsaken by the Father, cast out into outer darkness, He carried our sins with Him into Sheol, into death, He bore our sins on Himself, all of our iniquities to an uninhabited land. While in that uninhabited land He defeated sin and death and arose from the grave, victorious over sin and death, now that my friend is propitiation. To top all of this off I later read in the gospel of John the resurrection of Christ and how Mary Magdalene remained outside of the tomb weeping after Peter and John had departed, and then she stooped down and looked into the tomb and what she saw was amazing. “And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain” (John 20:12). Just like the Mercy Seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant, the place of God. Wow!!!! Propitiation – the Mercy Seat, the One on the throne, the Judge, shed His Own blood to atone for the sins of His people in His mercy, then bore the sins of His people into the wilderness, cast out alone into death, defeated sin and death and arose from the grave, so that all who put their faith in Him shall live. How can God be both Just and Justifier? God the Father demonstrates His Just punishment for sin which is death in pouring out His wrath on His Son for the sin of man; and God the Son demonstrates Himself as justifier in mercifully taking the punishment for sin as a Man, “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) Propitiation!


Repent of your sins and trust alone in Jesus Christ,
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ