Exodus 25:17-20 You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
The mercy seat is the cover or lid for the Ark of the Covenant.
The Hebrew word for “mercy seat” is kapporeth. Per Strong’s Concordance it means: mercy seat, place of atonement; the golden plate of propitiation on which the High Priest sprinkled the seat 7 times on the Day of Atonement symbolically reconciling Jehovah and His chosen people; on the lid were two golden cherubim facing each other whose outstretched wings came together.
The Hebrew word kapporeth comes from kopher (means propitiatory or substitution).
The mercy seat or the lid of the Ark is a substitution for the covering of sin. Remember, cherubim are physically present on, covering, protecting, and observing the mercy seat.
Leviticus 16:15b-16 and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
For God, the shedding of innocent blood on the mercy seat is a satisfactory substitution for sin. Only the High Priest can make the sacrifice in the presence of God. Jesus Christ is our High Priest.
Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
What role do the cherubim play in all of this? Matthew gives a physical description of one of the angels at the tomb of Christ. The being is clearly an imposing looking figure. The guards were literally scared stiff and rocked at their core.
Matthew 28:3-4 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.
Luke describes their appearance accordingly. The women who followed Jesus had a similar response as the guards. They were mortified.
Luke 24:4-5 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. As the women bowed their faces to the ground in terror, the two men asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
At the core of the issue, the angels bear witness to humanity the gospel message. This is the reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Matthew confirms His death and burial and resurrection. John picks up from Matthew and informs of the burial and alludes to the resurrection. Luke closes with the confirmation of the resurrection. Angels present the evidence according to the gospel accounts.
Matthew 28:5-6 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
John 20:11-12 But Mary (Magdelene) was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.
Luke 24:6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee…
The angels were present with the resurrected Jesus Christ. See John 20:11-12 above for context.
John 20:14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Deuteronomy 19:15 A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
God the Father sent angels to earth for confirmation of Christ’s good news. For Heavenly legal purposes, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are established, observable facts. At least two if not three angels confirm the events. Matthew 28 accounts for one angel. John 20 observes two angels. Angels present and confirm the fact of the gospel. Multiple angels verified. God’s legal standard has been satisfied.
Jesus Christ is the mercy seat. This gift is received only by faith. Nothing you can do.
Romans 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Angels authenticate and substantiate our good news.