Copyright © 2003, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

      In a previous article it was pointed out that many things in the Old Covenant pointed to and were replaced by BETTER and the more-meaningful things of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9). This is because the NEW Covenant is indeed NEW! The article dealt with the idea that we no longer have a physical edifice (Temple) in which to worship God but its replacement ... OUR VERY BODY as the House for God (1 Corinthians 6:19; Acts 2:38).

      By again comparing the old and new Temples an interesting parallel shows up. The OLD Temple (which was but a permanent Tabernacle) contained a physical "mercy seat" in the heart of the structure (Exodus 26:24). How does this parallel with the NEW Temple of the Christian age?

      Jesus clearly taught that the MAIN AIM is to be like God (Matthew 5:48). God is the Father of mercy (2 Corinthians 1:3). Hence, His people should be full of mercy as God is (James 3:17). They should love mercy and delight in giving it (Micah 6:8; 7:18; Romans 12:8). As mercy is a trait that defines God (2 Samuel 24:14; Daniel 9:9; Exodus 34:68; 2 Chronicles 30:9), it should also define Christians (Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:48; James 5:11). Hence, NEW TEMPLE should have a "mercy seat" in its very heart (Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:36; Hebrews 8:10; Ephesians 6:6).

      Mercy is a "weighty" matter but it IS POSSIBLE to relegate it to a "minor" matter (Matthew 23:23). It is "weighty" because to be merciful one lines up with the character of God. Hence, mercy is more weighty than ritual (Matthew 9:13; 23:23).

      Those who have received mercy should freely give mercy (Matthew 18:23-35) and they will reap happiness themselves (Matthew 5:7). Mercy causes compassionate acts (Romans 12:8; Matthew 9:36; 14:14, etc.). It makes one ready to pardon (Nehemiah 9:17) and slow to anger (Psalm 103:8). Kindness is mercy expressed (Psalm 117:2). Mercy will save one when their faith is weak (Matthew 14:25).


  1. Because of our history and current writings in the local newspaper, churches of Christ are known for judgement and truth rather than for the grace and truth that characterized Jesus (John 1:14, 17). But when mercy becomes a " weighty" item in our life, it will be expressed and people will take notice and not be repelled.

  2. Being a people of mercy does not mean we are flippant about truth nor that we stop attempting to do what we know is pleasing God. It is not an "open-door" to do what we want and like (1 Thessalonians 2:4). It is being patient and longsuffering with those who may not see something as clearly as we do (Romans 14). In spite of all our debating, it is doubtful that we ever vacated the building of others on the following Sunday.

  3. What can "go on" inside the physical church building has always plagued us. If we were living in the OLD COVENANT, it should rightly concern us as it did Jesus (Mark 11:15 ff). Yet, the new and better Temple, with its heart of mercy, replaced the old physical Temple with its physical mercy seat. Concern over a physical building is OLD COVENANT thinking. Instead, we should be concerned if our spiritual "mercy seat" is present or not.

  Read earlier article about this issue

  Link to other Evidences by John Lankford

West-Ark Church of Christ