Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Mercy Seat

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1: ἱλαστήριον

(Strong's #2435 — Noun Neuter — hilasterion — hil-as-tay'-ree-on )

"the lid or cover of the ark of the covenant," signifies the Propitiatory, so called on account of the expiation made once a year on the great Day of Atonement, Hebrews 9:5 . For the formation see Exodus 25:17-21 . The Heb. word is kapporeth, "the cover," a meaning connected with the covering or removal of sin (Psalm 32:1 ) by means of expiatory sacrifice. This mercy seat, together with the ark, is spoken of as the footstool of God, 1 Chronicles 28:2; cp. Psalm 99:5; 132:7 . The Lord promised to be present upon it and to commune with Moses "from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim," Exodus 25:22 (see CHERUBIM). In the Sept. the word epithema, which itself means "a cover," is added to hilasterion; epithema was simply a translation of kapporeth; accordingly, hilasterion, not having this meaning, and being essentially connected with propitiation, was added. Eventually hilasterion stood for both. In 1 Chronicles 28:11 the Holy of Holies is called "the House of the Kapporeth" (see RV , marg.). Through His voluntary expiatory sacrifice in the shedding of His blood, under Divine judgment upon sin, and through His resurrection, Christ has become the Mercy Seat for His people. See Romans 3:25 , and see PROPITIATION , B, No. 1.

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Mercy Seat'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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