The Mercy Seat is the throne of heaven, the throne of God. The Lamb-Having-Been-Slain is found upon that Mercy Seat, He is found nowhere else. If and where the Lamb is, the Mercy Seat also is.
The Mercy Seat is our hearts, does not the Lamb dwell there?
Knowing the Mercy Seat is so completely brand new that I am aghast at the wonder and possibility it holds. In the first letter of this series, I laid out the terms of my “experiment,” the experiment of speaking all that Christ is as my life. This knowing of the Mercy Seat also begins a far grander experiment, if that be possible, an experiment I can do, an experiment the Lord Jesus and I will do together over the next few years and forever.
God says, “Prove Me.” Let's prove Him together. This is not “making” something happen, but the expectation of God. Everything is brand new, but that translation is not yet known. It is inside our knowing of God that God has ordained the translation of the universe into glorious liberty.
First, we must know what we mean by “The Mercy Seat.”
You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. Exodus 25:17-22
Gold is an incredible element. Anyone who loves the beauty of God's creation must love gold for its supreme qualities of beauty and value. God, obviously, has a high estimation of it, for the Mercy Seat is hammered out of a single block of pure gold. That is the wonder of gold. You can beat it and beat it and beat it, and it will take on the most exquisite of shapes according to the skill and vision of the one beating it.
In my path in life, I veered away from metals and towards woods. I love the beauty of wood. Metal, for me, is too stark. On the other hand, many others prefer working with metals. Gold is the most beautifully pliable of all the metals. Lead is slightly more pliable than gold, but not as attractive. On the other hand, lead will not keep its shape over time, gold will.
Gold and Acacia Wood are actually very similar. The beauty of both comes out of endless hammering in difficult conditions.
Everything in the Holy of Holies is beaten fine, the wood, the gold, and the incense.
The cherubim face the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat covers the Ark, the Container of the Covenant, and God MEETS together WITH us, there, between the cherubs, upon the Mercy Seat.
It is the Mercy Seat that is sprinkled with blood.
Blood mixed with our earth stains the Mercy Seat.
Here is the Mercy Seat in the New Testament.
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation (the Mercy Seat) by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness . . . Romans 3:24-25
And He Himself is the propitiation (the Mercy Seat) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the Mercy Seat) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace (the Mercy Seat), that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne (the Mercy Seat), as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (the Mercy Seat). Revelation 3:21
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled (the Mercy Seat) from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
That Christ may dwell in your hearts (the Mercy Seat) through faith . . .— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. Ephesians 3:17-19
. . . the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Hebrews 9:4-5
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne (the Mercy Seat) . . . stood a Lamb as though it had been slain (the Mercy Seat) . . . Revelation 5:6
The Mercy Seat is the place where God meets with man.
God meets with us in Christ in our hearts, sprinkled with blood. Now is the time to speak in detail.
The first thing we MUST understand is that there is NO passivity in mercy. Mercy does not in any way say, “Oh, it's okay, forget about it.”
Sin is hell.
Mercy cannot BE except it cause sin to cease while in the same instant cause the object of Love to live forever in Him.
Thus, these words of Jesus:
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive through all the ages of the ages. Amen.
I spoke of the “Lamb-Having-Been-Slain” as a room inside of God. We cannot ever say “inside of God” without also saying, “inside of us,” for God fills us full with ALL of Himself. This room has more than one name; it is also called “The Mercy Seat.”
And it is also called “God's heart.”
I have found Me a man after My own heart.
Christ, who dwells in our hearts by faith.
So what did I do, on Thanksgiving evening, that opened the door to this room inside of God inside of me? What did I do that left me exhilarated and scared, filled with joy and very angry, all at the same time? What did I do that has forever changed my life, though I am still edging around in befuddlement as a complete novice in the authority of Christ?
Let me explain.
Three years ago I discovered that I have lived in the autism spectrum all my life, Asperger's Syndrome, sometimes called “high-performing autism.” That discovery explained everything that had zero answers until that moment. Every time I read anything about Asperger's, every page is an explanation of me and the difficulties and triumphs I have known in life.
And every other person who discovers late in life that they are Asperger's, as I did, also tell the same story, different contexts, yes, but the same story.
Asperger's is many-faceted. Let me explain its most important facet in me and in many others similar to me.
In early 1992 I was asked by the brethren at Graham River for help in building them a community hall, known as a Tabernacle. The only way it could happen would be if many men gathered and did the entire work in an extended “weekend.” And the only way that would be successful is if everything was fully planned before they arrived.
I cannot tell you how much such a challenge reverberated through me, body, mind, and heart. I cannot express the depths of excitement in which I tackled that challenge. I spent three months prior to the Tabernacle raising doing little other than preparing the drawings and the plan of attack. I can see almost “movie-like,” and thus I not only drew out every individual piece going into the building, but I envisioned the construction of every part of the building. That ability to see is common to greater or lesser degree with others who are Aspergers.
The construction of the building took around 50 hours of labor over four days by 65 men. I had divided the men into 11 separate crews and laid out charts showing what each crew would do each hour of the four days. By hour two reality was diverging from the plan, thus for all of those 50 hours, my sole task was to move as the symphony conductor, circling around and around, from the concrete crew down below to the three framing crews, to the men building cabinets in a nearby shed, to the materials handling crew to the electricians and plumbers, to all eleven crews and coordinate all their movements. I knew more of what they were doing, all 65 men, all the time, than they did. The anointing of God rested upon me.
It was GLORY! It was also Asperger's.
By that same quality of Asperger's, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling. By that same quality, Newton wrote Mathematica Principia and gave us the age of engineering. By that same quality, Edison gave us the light bulb, the single greatest invention of comfort we enjoy.
At the same time, by that same Asperger's, all of these also stumbled through life, hurting and bruised, never understanding why.
Another gift of Asperger's is the simple ability to see the truth everyone else studiously avoids. The little boy who said, “But, the emperor doesn't have any clothes on,” was Asperger's. He had no idea of the implication or meaning of his words, how others heard them, he only stated what seemed quite clear to him.
Thus I am able to say, “There is no such thing as the United States of America; it doesn't exist. If you remove all violence and treat all individuals with the respect of Christ, the United States would cease to be known.” People can't get a hold of that, but it's simple reality.
And that's a big part of the difficulty. Asperger's say things that other people object to, having no idea whatever, either about “other people,” or how they may or may not be responding. Then, when the reaction comes back, sarcastic and mean, they have no idea what just happened or why.
I share of my own ups and downs, my own failures and triumphs honestly and from the heart. If you want to know the proof of any of my stories, just ask and I will connect you with others who can give you an account of those same things. Their perspective may be different, but the sincere honesty of my account will hold true.
Yet that same “honesty” is derided by many. One person who visited my website wrote to me saying that it was like the “grand parade of Daniel Yordy.”
I have no idea how else to be or how else to share. I receive little from those who divorce truth from person. Truth has always been personal to me, both in Jesus and in myself; I don't know any other way to know Truth.
Now, the quality of being by which I could do the Graham River Tabernacle is that I can live in a bubble of FOCUS and perception. We finished the work on Saturday night by moving the community into their new Tabernacle. Sunday morning we held the first meeting of praise in their new temporary meeting/dining room. The glory of the Lord came upon the house of God. Everyone there knew we had been part of something holy.
But that quality of living in a bubble by which I can do wonderful things that benefit others also made me oblivious to those same “others” as persons. I learned that they were persons just like myself, but only through a difficult and pain-filled path. And this is how all Asperger's have done who had no help or knowledge of their condition.
Yet Asperger's are deeply compassionate people, the very opposite side of the social spectrum from the psychopath. The contradictions can sometimes be confusing.
One quality of Asperger's that I possess is the ability to go for days all by myself in complete contentment and lack of any shadow of boredom AND the drawing to the gathering of other people like iron to the lodestone. Both, back and forth, all the time. However, I was 22 years old before the thought pierced my consciousness that these “other people” were persons just like myself. The thought was too scary to keep. Though for some strange reason, I loved being in the gathering together and was always drawn by heart into community, yet I protected myself in a bubble of fantasy and dream worlds.
God brought me out of that bubble of ignorance of others through teaching school and going to college. It took Him and others several years of coaxing me out, bit by bit.
Then, finally having come out of that complete lack of understanding “others,” at least a little bit, I married, moved us into our first home, and did the Graham River Tabernacle project.
Yet, when I spoke of “the most concentrated bullying I have ever endured in my life,” that was a month after Graham River and it was what I had done there that was openly mocked and ridiculed in every conceivable and personal way. And all in the context of a clear disapproval of what I had done as “fleshy and proudful” by the elders to whom I had submitted my life.
Inside that bubble in which I had lived, I was absolutely confident in what I could do. I was willing to tackle anything inside my interests and make it happen. I loved doing difficult and challenging things.
But I often said things that made others feel very uncomfortable, though I had no idea of such a thing. When they spoke back, I had no knowledge of why they were reacting the way they did.
And so, in that in-between time, the first three years of my married life, it came very clear to me from others, those whom I looked up to in the Lord and trusted, that every aspect of myself, that which I have come to know as Asperger's, both the qualities and the deficiencies, were very much “FLESH” and “bad” and the fact that I “persisted in them” demonstrated that I was walking in a proud and unsubmissive manner, in rebellion against God.
I came to believe, against my own self, that there was some terrible, nameless thing wrong with me. And that terrible nameless thing meant that I was in trouble with God.
In those few years the confidence I had known without question vanished and with it my physical strength and drive. Those same brethren wondered some years later why I no longer had the drive that had benefited them in material things so very much.
I have not worked beyond a modest part-time inside the one arena I can still function in, a pressure-less classroom, for three years now partly because I don't have the physical strength to produce what employers require and partly because I have no confidence, or rather, because I am confident, from long experience, that a full-time job in the system will blow up on me very quickly and became one more nightmare of confusion and pain. My last Asperger's/Employment debacle was just two years ago and incredibly humiliating and painful.
Last Thursday, Thanksgiving, I found a book my wife was reading titled, Asperger's on the Job: Must-Have Advice for People with Asperger's, or High Functioning Autism, and Their Employers, Educators, and Advocates, by Rudy Simone. As I read through the first chapters, every paragraph was a description of my own experience all through my life.
One difference between Asperger's and general autism is that Asperger's can and do learn to function in society; they can learn to compensate and to cope. It takes time and it doesn't come easily, but after awhile they figure out why they sometimes fail people or why people react the way they do and what not to say or do that creates such a problem. Nevertheless it takes much energy to “appear normal” in social settings and is very draining.
Rudy Simone, Asperger's herself, directs her “Advice” both to the Asperger's person AND to the employer and colleagues of an Asperger's person. She explains the tremendous benefit an Asperger's person brings to any endeavor and how to understand their eccentricities and make room for those without “blame.” And she explains to the Asperger's person how not to trigger people's negative reactions, things many of us have learned the hard way.
As I lay back to ponder the things I was reading and all the memories, I did so inside the two articles I had just written, “Carry Your Cross,” and “Resurrection Life.” I pondered those things inside the new-found knowledge of this room in God called, “the Lamb-Having-Been-Slain.”
I saw the great value I have brought to many people by the very qualities of Asperger's. In that seeing, I did something – I said something I have never done before. Here is what I said.
“THANK YOU so much, oh God FOR Asperger's. I LOVE being Asperger's.”
In that moment I took a mighty step forward in my knowledge and experience of where I sit.
The Mercy Seat.
Let me continue with what happened inside of me next. First, I was filled with such gratefulness and joy both of the many qualities of Asperger's by which I have brought such goodness into peoples lives over many years AND all the difficulties that came with those qualities, both equally. Second, I was filled with trepidation, almost shaking in concern over the power of this room I had just entered, that these things CANNOT be played with by foolish minds, mine or anyone else's. Third, I was filled with anger, anger against the false theology and those who wielded it that had robbed me of strength all through my married life and the growing up of my children. And fourth, I re-knew that confidence of person that I have not known for over twenty years, confidence that was the only way I knew through the years of my strength.
I must say two things before continuing in spite of what I have just written. First, all of His ways concerning me are perfect. It doesn't matter if things were “not right,” God was in me, carrying me through the good and the not so good, teaching me of His ways and working all things for good together with me. Second, I freely forgive all with joy and with all my heart – knowing that they also both have need to forgive and do forgive me.
These two realities continue in spite of fluctuating human emotions.
What happened inside of me inside of God at the instant that I said, “Thank you FOR Asperger's. I love being Asperger's”?
You see, the truth is, up until that moment, though I thanked God, I was thanking Him only IN my difficulties. I was still disturbed and distraught at times by them.
Now, it is a fascinating thing, but many teachers of the gospel insist that we thank God IN all things NOT for all things. I just heard that again the other week.
What is their point? It never made any sense to me. If I wish to thank God for the difficult things, what business is it of theirs to tell me I can't? And what makes them think they have found “wisdom” by keeping difficult things far away from God?
There are two places only where anything can exist, inside the Mercy Seat or far away from the Mercy Seat, inside the Lamb Slain or far away from the Lamb Slain, inside of God or far away from God.
Either I place my sin inside of God or it is far away from Him, remaining entirely upon me. Carrying responsibility for one's own sin is hell. If I must carry my sin, I cannot cause it to cease, I cannot absolve it; rather, it bears me down into death. There is only one place where my sin can be absolved and where I can be brand new, and that is inside the light inside of God.
Those who teach you to “deal” with your sin and “stop it” before you enter into God are teaching you the rebellion and fall of Adam. They are the mouth of the serpent.
Asperger's is not sin. Why should I place it inside of love inside of God inside of me?
Inside this room in God, the Mercy Seat, everything that is placed there is transformed from the old creation to the new. It's as simple as that. It's not possible to understand that reality except by story.
First, I urge you to go to Netflix.com and rent Penelope (follow the link) with Christina Ricci. This is a classic fairy tale in a modern setting. I will explain the story here, though – watch it to have the picture of the climax clearly in your mind.
A wealthy blue blood family of New England was cursed sometime back when. That curse finally shows itself in a new-born infant, Penelope, as a hideous pig nose in the middle of a lovely girl's face. The curse, it was said, will be broken only if a young man from another blue blood family marries Penelope.
The mother hates the curse and keeps her daughter hidden. When she is of age, the mother brings in prospective young men to visit with a girl they do not yet see. However, the moment they see her, they flee the house screaming. The mother is desperate to eliminate this hideous thing from her daughter's life.
Finally, Penelope runs away from home and from her mother's obsession and manipulation. She finds friends in the world who turn out not being bothered by her “curse.” She relaxes and no longer keeps her face hidden. Her kindness to others begins to transform the public perception of her “hideousness.” She becomes a bit popular – her nose is okay.
But, her mother persists and finally arranges a marriage with a blue blood young man who is forced by circumstance to grit his teeth, close his eyes, and marry Penelope. Penelope goes along only because of her mother. Just before she walks down the aisle, she runs away to her room. She cannot marry where there will never be love, just more hatred of who she is.
In that moment she flings her arms up and says, “I love my nose, just the way it is.” – Thank you God FOR what has always been so distressing, I am so grateful.
In that same moment, her nose was transformed and she became the beautiful young lady she always was.
Some time later, as she sits with her students in a park, one young boy says, “It's not the curse, it's what you do with the curse.”
It's a very simple thing. When we draw anything, either circumstance or people, into Love inside of us, the dynamic workings of the Mercy Seat transforms that circumstance or that person from the old creation to the new, from difficulty into joy.
This is the authority of Christ, authority given fully to us.
We are given the authority to transform everything from darkness into light, from evil into goodness.
This is the authority of the Kingdom; it has nothing to do with “power over,” and yet, it is absolutely powerful.
Let me give here portions out of Chapter 18 in Hind's Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. Much-Afraid has stumbled and fallen all her life, all her journey all the way up the mountain.
On the third day, while it was still almost dark, she woke suddenly, and springing to her feet with a shock of joy tingling through her. . . Then it came again – tingling through her – a call ringing down from some high place above. (She sees a hart and a hind leaping up the mountainside.)
Much Afraid did not hesitate one instant. In a moment she was on the rock altar herself, the next, with a flying leap, she, too, reached the ledge on the wall. Then, using the same footholds as the hart and the hind, leaping and springing in a perfect ecstasy of delight, she followed them up the cliff, the hooves of the deer ringing on the rocks before her like little silver hammers.
In a moment or two all three were at the top of the canyon, and she was leaping up the mountainside toward the peak above, from which the summons had come . . . He was there – standing on the peak – just as she had known he would be, strong and grand and glorious in the beauty of the sunrise, holding out both hands and calling to her with a great laugh, “You – with the hinds' feet – jump over here.”
She gave one last flying spring, caught his hands and landed beside him on the topmost peak of the mountain . . .
“At last,” he said, as she knelt speechless at his feet, “at last you are here and the 'night of weeping is over and joy comes to you in the morning.'” Then, lifting her up, he continued. “This is the time when you are to receive the fulfillment of the promises. Never am I to call you Much-Afraid again.” At that he laughed again and said, “I will write upon her a new name, the name of her God . . . This is your new name, “he declared. From henceforth you are Grace and Glory.”
Still she could not speak, but stood silent with joy and thanksgiving and awe and wonder.
(Through the next paragraphs, she finds that the pain she has born in her heart was really the seed of Love planted in her by the Shepherd. She thought it was only a thorn. Then, the Shepherd gives her a crown filled with jewels. Every one of those jewels IS each time and place where she thanked God FOR the pain and FOR the difficulty. Now that same pain and difficulty is seen as it really is, emeralds and rubies, far above value.)
. . . Then he added, “now that you are to live with me here on the High Places, to go where I go, and to share my work in the valley below, it is fitting, Grace and Glory, that you should have companions and handmaidens, and I will bring them to you now.”
At that Grace and Glory regarded him earnestly, and there were almost tears in her eyes, for she remembered Suffering and Sorrow, the faithful companions whom he had given her before. It had been through their help and gentleness and patience she had been able to ascend the mountains to the High Places . . . for why should she receive everything? They had endured the same journey, had supported and helped her, had been through the same trials and attacks of the enemy.
Now she was here and they were not. She opened her mouth . . . to beg her Lord to let her keep the companions he had chosen in the beginning . . . Before she could speak, however, he said with the same specially lovely smile, “Here are the handmaidens, Grace and Glory, whom I have chosen to be with you henceforth and forever.”
Two radiant, shining figures stepped forward, the morning sunshine glittering on their snowy garments, making them dazzling to look at. They were taller and stronger than Grace and Glory, but it was the beauty of their faces and the love shining in their eyes which caught at her heart . . . They came toward her, their faces shining with mirth and gladness, but they said not a word.
“Who are you?” asked Grace and Glory softly. “Will you tell me your names?”
Instead of answering they looked at one another and smiled, then held out their hands as though to take hers in their own. At that familiar gesture, Grace and Glory knew them and cried out with a joy which was almost more than she could bear.
“Why! You are Suffering and Sorrow. Oh, welcome, welcome! I was longing to find you again.”
They shook their heads. “Oh no!” they laughed, “we are no more Suffering and Sorrow than you are Much-Afraid. Don't you know that everything that comes to the High Places is transformed? Since you brought us here with you, we are turned into Joy and Peace.”
“Brought you here!” gasped Grace and Glory. “What an extraordinary way to express it! Why, from the first to last you dragged me here.”
Again they shook their heads and smiled as they answered, “No, we could never have come here alone, Grace and Glory. Suffering and Sorrow may not enter the Kingdom of Love, but each time you accepted us and put your hands in ours we began to change. Had you turned back or rejected us, we never could have come here.”
Looking at one another again, they laughed softly and said, “When first we saw you at the foot of the mountains, we felt a little depressed and despairing. You seemed so Much-Afraid of us, and shrank away and would not accept our help, and it looked so unlikely that any of us would ever get to the High Places. We told ourselves that we would have to remain Sorrow and Suffering always, but you . . . did bring us here. Now we are to be your companions and friends forever.”
With that they came up to her, put their arms around her, and all three embraced and kissed one another with a love and thankfulness and joy beyond words to express . . .
~~~He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. Revelation 3:12
The only possible way ANYTHING in our lives can be transformed into what it really is is if we draw it with joy into the Love that fills our hearts.
Endurance changes nothing. Continuing to thank God in spite of our difficulties changes nothing.
No, to see those difficulties in their true state, as they really are, we must draw them into thankfulness itself.
We defeat the Lie of the serpent by turning the curse itself into all Joy. That's what Jesus did; He turned the Cup into Joy.
It's not the curse, it's what we do with the curse. It never was the curse; God made us the way we find ourselves to be in all ways in all things ONLY for the revelation of His glory. Our hatred of anything is a hatred of God's glory.
And all things that are not, death, the world, sin, the fall, vanish in an instant as we KNOW that all that we are, every circumstance God has brought us through IS and has always been the revelation of His glory.
The High Places and the Mercy Seat are the same thing. John, in his vision, called it “Pearls.”
In my next chapter I hope to search out the practical meaning of this incredible reality that has always been right there, but we could never see it until we see God filling us full.
~~~I must add part of a dream I had last night.
I was a small tree in a large forest. Before me was a great and mighty tree that was God Himself. He invited me to climb high up into Himself, high up the tree. When I was not far from the top, He told me to hold on tightly. As I did so, the part of the tree just above my eye level broke off. Suddenly, I was a foot from the top, with my little tip extending above. I was frightened. The He told me to press myself into Him, to focus myself, sending all of my roots into Him. I knew that He was doing the same into me. I sent my roots into Him with all my heart, knowing the storms that were about to blow.
Then, at a certain point, He told me to pause and brace myself because now something incredible and overwhelming, almost painful momentarily, was about to happen. My tree and His tree then merged as one. His life and thoughts and consciousness came rushing into me, and my life and thoughts and consciousness merged into His in a flash of light and life. Now, my tree was the top of His tree; I was the visible expression of Himself.
We had become one tree.
Now, this is the terms of the New Covenant – “I in you and you in Me” – “that they may be one as We are One.” But it becomes much more personal and real when God speaks to us in this way.
When I awoke, I knew that the way in which we send our roots into Him with all our hearts is to speak Christ, to acknowledge the good things of Christ inside of us. Speaking Christ comes first, then, every part of His ministry through us to others flows just naturally out of who we are in our minds and hearts.
The Christian practice of speaking things God does not say concerning Christ our life is a much worse idea than I have ever thought.
Speak Christ as our very AND only life.
You see, there was only one possible way I could “send my roots” into God. And that is that I looked into His eyes as His equal in heart, that I had no knowledge of anything impure, any reason why I did not belong utterly inside of Him. I had full right and place to send my roots all the way into the heart of God. And the thought of His Person and Life rushing into mine in a merger of reality, in a spark of fire, was not threatening in any way, but only right and true.
It was for this Covenant that I was made. I know that only by speaking Christ my life until I believe what He says, until I see just as He sees.