The name for the lid or covering of the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:17, etc.). The Old Testament term means "covering," then, like the New Testament word, "propitiatory" (compare kipper, "to cover guilt," "to make atonement"). The ark contained the two tables of stone which witnessed against the sin of the people. The blood of sacrifice, sprinkled on the mercy-seat on the great day of atonement, intercepted, as it were, this condemning testimony, and effected reconciliation between God and His people. See ATONEMENT; ATONEMENT, DAY OF; PROPITIATION; ARK OF THE COVENANT. In Ro 3:25, Jesus is said to be set forth as "a propitiation (literally, "propitiatory"), through faith, in his blood," thus fulfilling the idea of the mercy-seat (compare Heb 9:5,7,11,12, etc.).

W. Shaw Caldecott