Home >> Articles >> Bible Studies - Home and Church
Ark of the Covenant|
Q. Can you explain in simple terms what the Ark of the Covenant was all about? Is it necessary that we find it someday just like the portrayal of its retrieval in the movie Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Tabernacle - God Living Among Us
We find detailed plans for the creation of the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25:10-22. The Lord said,
"Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you" (Exodus 15:8, NLT).
Container for 10 Commandments
This verse is followed by intricate details for building the Ark of the Covenant. Then the Lord told Moses,
"When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you" (Exodus 25:16, NLT).
As we can see the Ark was specifically to be used in housing the Ten Commandments.
From its description the Ark was around four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet high. The materials for its construction were acacia wood overlaid with gold inside and out.
The Mercy Seat
The long, flat lid that covered the box was called the "mercy seat." Two golden cherubim (angels) were placed on each side of the lid with their wings spread out toward each other hovering over the mercy seat.
Other Items Placed Inside Ark
Later in the Bible we learn that two other things were added to the Ten Commandments inside the Ark (Hebrews 9:4).
- The first is a pot of manna - a symbol of God miraculously feeding the children of Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16).
- The second was Aaron's rod that budded miraculously signifying his chosen status to aid Moses in ruling the peoples (Numbers 17:5).
Day of Atonement
The Ark of the Covenant itself was placed in the Holy of Holies - the most sacred place inside the Tabernacle. On the yearly Day of Atonement the High Priest entered inside the Holy of Holies and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat to atone for his and the Israelites' sins. We find this in Leviticus 16:1-34 and Hebrews 9: 19-22.
It is here that God's people learn, "without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).
God With Us
God had made a promise to Moses that he would personally… "meet with you (Moses) there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel" (Exodus 25:22, NLT).
Because of this the Israelites believed the Lord was enthroned (i.e. "Glory of God") on the Ark's cherubim. We are told that from Shiloh "they carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts who sits above the cherubim…" (1 Samuel 4:4, NASB). Isaiah tells us,
"O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth" (Isaiah 37:16).
A "Type" of Christ
According to many theologians the Ark of the Covenant foreshadows and symbolizes Jesus Christ.
- The acacia wood represents the Lord's humility.
- The gold represents His Deity.
- The 10 Commandments inside is a picture of Jesus with God's Law in his heart as he perfectly obeys his Father.
- The manna represents Jesus as the Bread of Life and our Savior from death.
- The budding of Aaron's rod foretold of the resurrection.
The Mercy Seat of Our Lord
But, the blood sprinkled over the mercy seat gives a powerful testimony of Jesus shedding his blood in atonement for our sins.
Now for a stunning insight:
In John 20:12 we see Mary looking into the empty tomb. "Listen" to God's Word to us very carefully:
…"and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying" (NASB).
Here Mary saw two angels sitting at each end of the slab which had held the broken body of our Lord. This very scene resembles the original Ark of the Covenant where the two cherubim (angels) hovered over the blood splattered upon the mercy seat!
Remember, between the cherubim were the tablets of the covenant - signifying that Jesus is now the "New Word of God."
No Need to Search Anymore
This gripping portrayal of Christ's atonement for our sins speaks to our hearts as we see its application upon our lives today.
There is no need to search for the mercy seat or the Ark of the Covenant again. The prophet Jeremiah says,
"It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land," declares the LORD, 'they shall say no more, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again" (Jeremiah 3:16, NASB).
This verse tells us that during the Millennial rule of Christ we will not need or even remember the Ark of the Covenant! While the world finds its fun and entertainment in wild, adventurous pursuit of things like the Ark of the Covenant, we have found our true Ark in Jesus of Nazareth. We need look no longer.
Life Application Study Bible, NLT. 2004. Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale.
Ryrie Study Bible, NASB. 1996. Chicago: Moody.
The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV. 1997. Nashville, TN: Nelson.
The Reformation Study Bible, ESV. 2005. Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
Reagan, David. 2009. The search for the Ark of the Covenant. Available from: www.lamblion.com. (accessed 10/1/09).
Two interesting ideas. 2005. Available from: http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2005/08/26/two-interesting-ideas-2/. 26 August. (accessed 10/1/09).
© RemnantReport.com. All Rights Reserved.