The mercy seat was where the blood from the sacrifices made outside Holy of Holies was sprinkled. While this was not an atonement for their sins and that wouldn’t come until Jesus died, was resurrected and the person sought His forgiveness; it was the only hope the people had at the time. It was also a type of the redemption the Son of God would someday bring. Our ability to approach His presence today is an invaluable blessing that was made possible only by His perfect blood sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. That sacrifice would no longer require the blood of animals and would not longer just cover our sins for a year. It would be true, eternal redemption and absolute propitiation.
The rest of the Ark was gold plated, but the mercy seat, where God’s presence would rest was to be made with solid gold. It was a hallowed place where a righteous judge would sit and in mercy issue His judgments. Hebrews 12:22-29 gives a wonderful example of the Judge of all. We are not in a place of judgment. It is not our place or right to do so. Only He has the authority and He does it with perfect judgment, wisdom and mercy. It is important that we walk softly when forming our opinions and understand that He alone is able to perform perfect judgment for others and also, for us.