In the Old Testament, there was a place where God met with His people. In Exodus 25:22, God said, “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…” This place was above the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, under the wings of the two cherubim. The psalmist calls it “the secret place of the Most High…under the shadow of the Almighty”.
The mercy seat covered the ark which contained the three emblems of man’s rebellion: the golden pot of manna—man’s rebellion against God’s provision, two tablets of stone on which God wrote the Ten Commandments—man’s rebellion against God’s standard, and Aaron’s rod—man’s rebellion against God’s authority.
Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animal on the mercy seat and so make propitiation for the sins of Israel. Today, it is not the blood of animals that makes propitiation for our sins, but the holy blood of the Son of God. (Romans 3:24–25) The word for “propitiation” in the original Greek text is hilasterion, which actually means “mercy seat”.
So Christ is our mercy seat. His blood speaks for us and puts God on our side. God does not see our rebellion. He sees the blood of His Son and accepts us! That is why we can come boldly to the secret place of the Most High, in Christ, and feel secure that we have every right to be in God’s presence.
We can come boldly to Him to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) And because Christ, our mercy seat, covers us with His blood, we are under God’s protection. We are in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty. Here, no evil will befall us, nor will any plague come near our dwelling. (Psalm 91:9–10) In the secret place of the Most High, we are favored and kept safe from all harm!