THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
(Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-9)
The Ark of the Covenant, with its covering, the mercy seat, was the first article that God commanded Moses to make.
In the work of salvation, it is always from God to man
It was God who said, "Adam, where art thou?" instead of Adam calling to God.
In the actual construction, the tabernacle was made first in order that the Ark of the Covenant might be put in
the secrecy of the most holy place, and protected from inquiring eyes by the inner veil
Like all the other articles in the tabernacle, save the candlestick, (pure gold) the Ark of the Covenant was made
of acacia wood overlaid with gold
The wood in the Ark of the Covenant was the same as the wood in the altar of sacrifice. We must never lose
sight of the fact that the Man in the glory is the Lamb of Calvary. He was the God-man on earth; He is the God-
man in the glory
He was full of sympathy and compassion. He gave to those who suffered, "The oil of Joy for mourning, beauty
for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. Jesus was real and an actual man and He was
God. He healed the sick, raised the dead, stilled the storm, and did it by his word. He was man yes, but he
was God come In the flesh
Jesus was the Ark of the Covenant in the center of his people in the flesh. The Mercy Seat was the throne of
God. Here in the Holiest of Holies, in the tabernacle, in the midst of the Camp of Israel, we see Jesus the
Christ, Messiah; all man; all God; dwelling together amongst his people
“In HIM dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9)
Think for a moment and you will have to stand speechless in awe. He created the universe. He raised the dead. He walked on the water. He knew the hearts of men, healed the blind, unstopped deaf ears, touched the lepers and cleansed them, and so much more. But he was weary and slept in a boat. He wept at the grave of a friend named Lazarus. He wearied at the well. He hungered and was thirsty. HE WAS TRULY MAN. HE WAS GOD and HE WAS MAN.
Jesus said, "Ye believe in God, Believe also in me" (John 14:1)
2. The mercy seat
“And over it the cherubim's of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.” (Hebrews 9:5)
The word translated "mercy seat" is "hilasterion" and means "place of propitiation". The place of
appeasement. The place of favor
This mercy seat was made of pure gold with a cherub of beaten gold at either end. Between the cherubim
with their outstretched wings and bowed heads, stood the glory cloud of God. Thus the mercy seat was the
throne of God
3. The position
The Ark of the Covenant stood in the midst of the most holy place (Hebrews 9:4)
Revelation 5:6 (Jesus is in the center of worship in heaven)
John 20:19 ( where two or three are gathered in my name there I AM
4. The contents
Three things were put into the ark and covered by the mercy seat.
a. The first were the tables of stone
When Moses came down from the mount with the first tables of stone, he found Israel breaking the first two commandments written thereon. He threw the tables to the ground and broke them to pieces. In spite of the fact that they were demolished, three thousand Israelites fell.
The second tables were put into the ark and covered over with the blood-sprinkled mercy seat
When God looked upon the demands of the law, He saw them through the atoning blood
Jesus had the Law hidden within his heart, "I, Lo, I come: In the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight
to do thy will, o my God: ye thy law is written within my heart." (Psalms 40:6-8)
Jesus was circumcised under the law, on the eight day according to the law
He kept the law perfectly towards God and towards man
Every word and thought He had was of love towards his father (when he saw sheep he spoke of his Father’s
sheep, when he described a simple Lilly he did so that men and woman would glorify God and see His
When asked who is my mother, brother and sister he said, "All who do the will of God were his mother and
b.The second article was a pot of manna
The manna was kept as a memorial of God's provision for their wilderness journey. This spoke of Christ who came from heaven to meet the needs of perishing man.
“And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day. And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations. As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” (Exodus 16:14-35)
Here are just a few things to think about concerning this manna:
The Manna was a symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the bread of life on which we must feed daily on our
journey through this wilderness; TO OUR INHERITANCE
The manna fell at night
The Manna fell right where the people were (Romans 10:8-10)
Each person had to gather for themselves
... Had to be gathered by stooping
The Israelites had never seen anything like it before (John 7:46; Mark 2;12)
The "Mixed Multitude" caused the Children of Israel to despise the manna!!!!
Manna kept over the Sabbath day
c. The third article was Aaron's rod that budded (Numbers 16)
Aaron's right to the high priesthood had been questioned; the budded rod was God's answer. Moses and
Aaron were accused of having too much control
God required that a rod be taken from each tribe with the name of the head on the rod. Aaron's name was
written for the tribe of Levi. The rods were commanded of God to be placed before the Ark. The one whose
rod should blossom would be God's man, ordained to be priest. The next day Aaron's rod had budded,
blossomed, and bore almond fruit
Did you ever stop to think the almond tree today is the first to bloom after the cold of winter? IT IS A SYMBOL OF THE RESSURECTION LIFE
Arron’s rod incident was also a symbolic prophecy that Jesus would be a priest after he rose from the dead
forever (Hebrews 7:24,25). The resurrection of Christ authenticated every claim He made. In these three
articles we see Him foreshadowed in His perfect life, death and resurrection
5. The day of atonement
Into the holiest of all none ever entered save the high priest on the tenth day of the seventh month, the day of
atonement. On that day, the first time that Aaron went in, he sprinkled the mercy seat, and before it, seven
times with the blood of a bullock for himself and family. Then he took the blood of the slain goat and
sprinkled it in the same manner for Israel. Thus the Ark of the Covenant, and especially the mercy seat,
became to the sinning Israelite a throne of grace, due to the blood of atonement. Christ is both the "hilasmos"
(that which propitiates) and the "hilasterion" (the place of propitiation)
These sacrifices declared yearly MAN HAS SINNED and come short of the Glory of God. The sacrifices could
not atone for our sin (Hebrew 10:3-4)
God wanted a sacrifice that meet the demands of his law, his government, his being
“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, (that’s the
sacrifice of bulls and of goats)…but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou
hast had no pleasure.” (Hebrews 10:5-7)
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God
We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) because we are sanctified by the offering of his
body (the prepared body spoken of in verse 5) which is our "spiritual worship
The use of the ark
When Israel marched, the ark was in the center of the marchers (Numbers 10:21)
When the Jordan was crossed, the priests bearing the ark stood in the middle of the walled-up river until all
were passed over (Joshua 3:14-17)
In the conquest of Jericho, the priests carried the ark (Joshua 6)
About three hundred years later the ark was captured by the Philistines in the battle at Ebenezer (I Samuel 4).
It became a curse to them and they sent it away upon a new ox-cart drawn by two kine. After a varied
experience of about one hundred years, the ark was brought back to Jerusalem by David (II Samuel 6).
Great destruction came to the men of neth-shemesh who dared to lift the mercy seat and look upon the law uncovered by the atoning blood (I Samuel 6:19), yet people proudly boast that they expect to be saved by keeping the law.
Tragedy also followed David's first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem by employing the Philistines' expedient of the new ox-cart (II Samuel 6:1-9). Yet we find professing Christians are employing many of the "new ways" of the world to carry on the work of God.
I have been told I was “unspiritual” because I did not endorse a revival where people were barking like dogs, and walking and clucking like chickens, where men raised their arms and people fell over in waves. When they arose to their feet many could remember nothing but all said, “I feel wonderful”. I was told that one particular woman lay on the floor for hours with her dress over her head exposing herself. This is NOT the SPIRIT OF GOD MOVING beloved. "The spirit is subject to the prophet" and God never "takes over" your mind while you coast in neutral. I'm sorry folks but God is not glorified by your barking like a dog and forgetting who you are and what you are doing and exposing your undergarments for everyone to see your shame.
In conclusion we see in the Ark of the Covenant, Jesus in his humanity, the perfect man and we see him as
God. He has fulfilled to the letter, the Law of Sinai (the Ten Commandments)
He is the PREPARED body of God, the perfect sacrifice, The Bread of Life, The everlasting Priest, King of the
Jews, King of Kings, Immortal Man, Very God
(We have only begun to scratch the surface of a study on the Ark of The Covenant.) I would recommend you do an
in depth study on the Tabernacle. There are many books at the Christian book store on this subject.