I don’t understand Question #66: Did Christ go into the heavenly tabernacle and sprinkle his blood on the Mercy Seat (Throne of God)? If Jesus did do this then why did Paul, In Romans 3:25, say that Jesus was our mercy seat? Is Rom 3:25 just being figurative? If the Mercy Seat is God’s throne then how can Jesus be God’s throne? The scriptures talk about the son of man (Jesus) sitting upon his throne, but if the Mercy Seat is the throne, and Jesus is the Mercy seat… ahhhh I just don’t get it. Can you please help me understand?
The confusion has multiple sources.
Christ did enter the heavenly tabernacle. Neither scripture nor the Answer to Question 66 says that Christ sprinkled his blood on the Mercy Seat. What it does say is that he appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The Greek word for “Mercy Seat” appears nowhere in Heb. 9:23-26. It appears only 2 times in the New Testament – Rom. 3:25 and Heb. 9:5. In Rom. 3:25 the ESV translates it “propitiation,” the ASV “propitiation,” the RSV “expiation,” the ISV “place where atonement by the Messiah’s blood would occur,” the NKJV “propitiation,” the NIV84 “sacrifice of atonement,” and the GW as “the throne of mercy where God’s approval is given.” (There is a difference between “Mercy Seat” “throne of mercy.” It is the equivalent of “place where atonement would occur.”) There may be some that translate it as “Mercy Seat,” but these are certainly representative. Not one of them says that Jesus is our “Mercy Seat.” Why the different translations? They arise from the fact that the same Greek word does not always mean the same thing. Louw Nida Greek-English Lexicon (LN 40.12) defines the term used in Rom. 3:25 as the “means of forgiveness.” It defines the term used in Heb. 9:5 as a “place of forgiveness” (LN 40:13). In Greek as in English context affects definition. For example, look up “run” in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Rom. 3:25 does not say that Jesus is God’s throne in the sense that Jesus is the “Mercy Seat.” He is God’s throne in the sense that He is the means of forgiveness. The ISV has perhaps tried to join the two aspects of Louw Nida’s definitions by its reference to “a place,” but the contest clearly supports the concept of “a means” of atonement.
Christ’s blood was the basis of salvation. Blood has always been associated with redemption as demonstrated in Cain’s and Able’s sacrifices. Bloodless offerings were what got Cain into trouble. The blood of bulls and goats reaches its pinnacle with Israel in connection with the Tabernacle and the Temple. The Tabernacle and Temple were types of the heavenly Sanctuary. If blood was required in the type, it must in some sense be involved in the antitype. Thus, blood must be involved in connection with the heavenly sanctuary. But what blood, when was it shed, and when was it offered. 1 Cor. tells us that the mortal must put on immortality and corruption must put on incorruption. The earthly blood was shed on Calvary. It was mortal man’s mortal blood. Since nothing mortal can enter into heaven, mortal blood is excluded from the heavenly Sanctuary. What then did Jesus offer? The Hebrew writer answers (9:24): “for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” To this passage add Heb. 9:7 (“but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people”) and 9:14 (“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God”). Jesus offered Himself, but that does not mean it was a bloodless heavenly offering. “12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:12-14). Having finished the work that His Father sent Him to do (John19:30), having shed the only blood that could open Heaven’s doors, the Messiah entered triumphantly into the heavenly Sanctuary as the blameless Lamb slain for the sins of the world, and appeared before the face of God on our behalf. There he presented the sacrifice he had offered, Himself, including His life in which was His blood shed on Calvary.
The One who shed His blood is the only possible Messiah. His blood is infinitely more precious than all of the blood of all the ages prior. It alone is forgiving, redeeming, atoning, and expiatory.
You Must Hear the Gospel
You Must Believe
You Must Repent
You Must Confess
You Must Be Baptized
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death