Summary: The symbolism of the Ark of the Covenant has been fulfilled in Christ. The true value of the Ark is not in the wooden box covered with gold, but in the heart that is washed in the Blood of Jesus.
Ark of the Covenant
by Pastor Jim May
One of the most sought after ancient relics of Jewish history is the Ark of the Covenant. Stories have been written and movies made pertaining to the ark. One of the most famous was call, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. They are all entertaining to watch but none of them explain what the Ark of the Covenant was really all about. Men still search for the Ark today, but for the wrong reason.
Men search for the Ark in the same manner that they follow after Jesus. In John 6:26-27, "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
Most of those who search for the Ark of the Covenant are not searching it to prove the truth of God’s Word or to know of the power and presence of God that accompanied the ark. They only want it for its earthly value. I wonder how much a solid gold plated chest would bring on the market? Couple that with the antique value alone and it would be a priceless treasure.
But the Golden Ark of the Covenant wasn’t built to symbolize wealth and power of the world. It was representative of the power, glory and majesty of Almighty God.
The Ark of the Covenant was built by Israel under Moses’ leadership as God revealed the plans of its construction. God was very specific in what materials were to be used and how the Ark was to be handled. That’s because the Ark was so wrapped up in symbolism for you and I, as a witness of the very presence and power of God in our lives.
The purpose for the Ark of the Covenant was to symbolize God’s visible presence on earth.
Exodus 25:22, "And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."
As a symbol of the very presence of God, it then shows you and I that when we follow the path to God that was laid out in the Ark, then we can have the very presence of God living within us right now!
What did the Ark of the Covenant contain? The first things that went into the Ark were the tablets of stone that contained the 10 Commandments of God.
These commandments were written in stone to show their timeless meaning and power to reveal sin the heart of man.
Ezekiel 11:19-20, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Can you see what is happening here? God has taken the hard heart that we had when we were sinners, wrote his unchanging Law, set in stone, into that heart so that God’s Law could reveal our true condition and let us know that we need a savior.