Not many Christians have seen that Christ is the place of propitiation. Speaking of Christ Jesus, Paul says in Romans 3:25, “Whom God set forth a propitiation-cover through faith in His blood.” Here the Greek word for propitiation-cover is hilasterion, which means the place of propitiation. In Hebrews 9:5 this word is used for the cover, the lid of the ark within the Holy of Holies. In Exodus 25:17-22 and Leviticus 16:12-16, the Septuagint also uses this word for the cover of the ark. The King James Version adopts the rendering “mercy seat.” This indicates that those translators regarded the place of propitiation as a seat, realizing that Christ as the place of propitiation was a seat for God to grant mercy to us.
It is important to see that propitiation is not only an act; it is also Christ Himself as a place. According to Romans 3:25, God set up Christ Himself, the Person, to be a propitiation-cover. It is upon this Person that God can meet with us and we can meet with God.
In the book of Hebrews Paul speaks of the propitiation-cover as the throne of grace: “Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace for timely help” (4:16). Hebrews 10:19 and 20 say, “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He dedicated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” The throne of grace is in the Holy of Holies, for it is the cover of the ark, which is in the Holy of Holies. Thus, the cover of the ark is a place where God gives us grace. For this reason, the place where God gives grace to us is surely the throne of grace. Now we must see that this throne of grace, the place where God gives us grace, is actually Christ Himself.
In these messages on the ark of the testimony we have seen that the entire ark with its cover is a type of Christ. This is a matter of great significance. Christ is all-inclusive. We should not think that the propitiation-cover on the ark is something other than Christ Himself and regard propitiation simply as an act accomplished by Christ. To repeat, Christ is the entire ark, including the top, the cover.
Because few Christians have seen that Christ is the place of propitiation, the propitiation-cover, they do not appreciate the preciousness of the blood on this cover. Rather, the majority of Christians appreciate the preciousness of the blood at the cross. Instead of entering into the Holy of Holies, they continue to linger at the cross, the altar. Most of the hymns written about the redeeming blood are centered on the cross. Can you find one hymn which speaks about the preciousness of the redeeming blood on the propitiatory cover? I do not know of such a hymn.
We have seen that both Paul and John spoke of matters related to Christ as the propitiatory cover. Both Paul’s completing ministry and John’s mending ministry cover this point. Certain points in the mending ministry of John are stronger than the points in the completing ministry of Paul. When something is mended, often it is stronger than it was before. For example, when you mend a worn part of a garment, the area that is mended is usually stronger than the original cloth. This is true of the mending ministry of John with respect to Christ as the ark.
In John 1:1 and 14 we see that the Word which was in the beginning and which was God became flesh. According to verse 14, the disciples beheld the Lord’s glory. In other words, they saw the cherubim, the shining of Christ’s divinity. John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” An important element related to the Lamb of God is the redeeming blood. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.” In John 17 we read more concerning the glory, concerning the cherubim. In verse 1 the Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.” In verse 22 the Lord went on to pray, “And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one.”
In chapter one of the First Epistle of John we read of life, fellowship, and the blood. Verse 1 speaks of the Word of life, and verse 2 says that the life was manifested. In verse 3 John says, “That which we have seen and heard we report also to you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed the fellowship which is ours is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Concerning the blood, verse 7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Eternal life has been proclaimed that we may have fellowship with the Father and the Son. Although we are sinful, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us.
In the book of Revelation we see the shining Christ, beginning with His unveiling in chapter one: His head and hair are white as white wool, as snow; His eyes as a flame of fire; His feet like shining brass; and His face “as the sun shines in its power” (vv. 14-16). Revelation 10:1 also describes a shining Christ: “And I saw another strong Angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon His head, and His face was as the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire.” Revelation 18:1 also speaks of Christ as the shining One: “After these things I saw another Angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illumined with His glory.”
The book of Revelation also emphasizes the blood. Revelation 1:5 says, “To Him who loves us and has loosed us from our sins by His blood.” Revelation 5:9 declares, “You were slain and did purchase to God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 7:14 speaks of “those who come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Speaking of the overcomers, Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.” The blood with which we are cleansed also shuts the slandering, accusing mouth of the Devil.
In the book of Revelation we can see the very Christ typified by the ark made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Much is said concerning gold in this book. The Son of Man in the midst of the golden lampstands is the One typified by the acacia wood.
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