9506. And thou shalt make a propitiatory [mercy seat] of pure gold. That this signifies the hearing and reception of all things that belong to worship from the good of love is evident from the signification of "a propitiatory [mercy seat]" as being a cleansing from evils, or the forgiveness of sins, consequently the hearing and reception of all things that belong to worship (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "gold" as being the good of love (see n. 113, 1551-1552, 5658, 6917). That "the propitiatory [mercy seat]" denotes a cleansing from evils and the forgiveness of sins is evident from the passages in the Word where "propitiation" or "expiation" is mentioned.
 That it also denotes the reception of all things of worship is because those only are heard who have been propitiated or expiated, that is, cleansed from evils; and their worship alone is received by the Lord; but those are not heard who are in evils, that is, who have not been expiated or propitiated. On this account also Aaron was not allowed to approach the propitiatory [mercy seat] until he had cleansed and expiated himself and the people. That for this reason "the propitiatory [mercy seat]" denotes the hearing and reception of all things of worship is also evident from the fact that Jehovah spoke with Moses over the propitiatory [mercy seat] between the two cherubs. That it is worship from the good of love that is received is because no one is admitted into heaven, thus to the Lord, except one who is in good, namely, in the good of love to the Lord and in the good of charity toward the neighbor (see n. 8516, 8539, 8722, 8772, 9139, 9227, 9230, 9274); consequently no one else is heard, and his worship received. For this reason also cherubs were over the propitiatory [mercy seat]; for by "the cherubs" is signified guard and providence lest the Lord be approached except through the good of love, thus lest any enter into heaven except those who are in good, and also lest those who are in heaven be approached and injured by those who are in hell. From all this it can be seen what was signified by the propitiatory [mercy seat] being upon the ark, and by the cherubs being over the propitiatory [mercy seat]; and further by the propitiatory [mercy seat] and the cherubs being of pure gold; for "gold" signifies the good of love, and "the ark" signifies heaven where the Lord is.
 That "the propitiatory [mercy seat]" signifies cleansing from evils, thus the forgiveness of sins, is evident from the passages in the Word where "propitiation" or "expiation" is mentioned; as in the following passages:
O Jehovah, expiate our sins for Thy name's sake (Ps. 79:9).
He, being merciful, expiated their iniquity (Ps. 78:38).
Thou shalt expiate me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7).
Evil shall come upon thee, which thou shalt not know how to avert by prayer; calamity shall fall upon thee, which thou shall not be able to expiate (Isa. 47:11).
Sing, ye nations, His people; who will avenge the blood of His servants, and will make expiation for His land, for His people (Deut. 32:43).
 Expiations were made by means of sacrifices, and after they had been made, we read, "The priest shall expiate him from sin, and he shall be forgiven" (Lev. 4:26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 9:7; 15:15, 30). Expiation was also made by means of silver (Exod. 30:16; Ps. 49:8). Therefore there was a day of expiations before the feast of tabernacles (Lev. 23:27-32). But be it known that these expiations were not real cleansings from evils, nor forgivenesses of sins, but represented them; for every ritual with the Israelitish and Jewish nation was merely representative of the Lord, of His kingdom and church, and of such things as belong to heaven and the church. (In what manner the representations presented such things before the angels in heaven, see in n. 9229.)
 As cleansing from evils and forgiveness of sins were signified by "the propitiatory [mercy seat]," there were also signified by it the hearing and reception of all things that belong to worship; for he who has been cleansed from evils is heard, and his worship is received. This was represented by Jehovah speaking above the propitiatory [mercy seat] with Moses, and commanding what the sons of Israel should do, as is evident from verse 22 of the present chapter, where it is said, "There I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the propitiatory [mercy seat], from between the two cherubs that are over the ark of the testimony, all that I shall command thee for the sons of Israel." In like manner in another place: "When Moses spoke with Jehovah, he heard the voice speaking from above the propitiatory [mercy seat] that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubs" (Num. 7:89). That a man would be heard and his worship received after he had been cleansed from evils, was represented by Aaron's not entering into the holy of holies within the veil before the propitiatory [mercy seat] until he had first expiated himself and the people, which was effected by means of washing, sacrifices, incense, and blood; and it is said, "So shall he expiate the holy place from the uncleannesses of the sons of Israel, and from their transgressions as to all their sins" (Lev. 16:16); "and that Jehovah would appear there in a cloud" (verse 2). "In a cloud" denotes in Divine truth accommodated to the reception and apprehension of men, such as is the Word in the sense of the letter (n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8443, 8781).