Summary: #4 in the series on the Tabernacle in the Wilderness
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness Series
Lesson Four- The “Ark Of The Covenant”
By Pastor Jim May
Exodus 25:10-22, "And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 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."
The Tabernacle of Moses was the very special place where God’s people came to meet Him, seeking His presence, forgiveness, guidance, help, strength and power. The Ark was the most important of all the furniture that went into this "tabernacle". When Adam fell I the Garden, man could never again approach our Holy God without a sacrifice and a blood covering. The Tabernacle and the Ark are associated with that blood sacrifice. Both continually bore the stain of the blood of innocent lambs. As we look upon the Ark we must never forget that this piece of furniture is where the very presence of God would rest. His glory, power, mercy and grace would be centered on the Mercy Seat, between the Cherubim on the cover of the Ark.
The Ark of the Covenant is symbolic of God’s Throne
In the Old Testament God chose three arks to reveal His will for mankind. Each of these arks carries the thought of preservation for man who deserved death.
The first Ark mentioned in the Scripture is the ARK OF NOAH (Genesis 6:13-9:18). This Ark was made of gopher wood, pitched within and without and we learn through it that God wants to save mankind. In that ark, all the animals were saved and eight people survived to repopulate the earth. God is not willing that Satan should continue to hold all of creation that was stolen. God was showing, through the ark, that He intended to redeem man from his sinful state.
The second Ark mentioned in the Old Testament is the Ark prepared for the BABY MOSES, which we will call the ARK OF MOSES (Exodus 2:3-6). This Ark was made of reeds and pitched within and without just as Noah’s Ark. Here, too, we see that the Ark was a means of PRESERVATION for the baby Moses from the waters of death.
The third Ark referred to in the Bible is the ARK OF THE COVENANT but this ark carried a much more significant symbolism than that of Noah and of Moses. We will discuss this in detail later on.
The Ark of the Covenant was made of shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold without and within. This Ark also carries with it the thought of preservation as we see that the Ark led the way in the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land. (Joshua 3-4). In addition to this, the thought of preservation is noticed when we remember that the Tables of the Law, the Golden Pot of Manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were kept preserved in the Ark of the Covenant.