The Tabernacle, The Ark of the Covenant, Its Construction, Part 2 - Lesson 16
We have learned that the Tabernacle of Moses was the very special place where God's people came to meet Him, to seek His presence, his forgiveness, his guidance, his help, his strength and power.
And in the tabernacle the Ark of the Covenant was the most important of all the furniture that went into this dwelling place for God.
For the Ark of God represented the presence of God, His Glory and His mercy.
As the Ark of Noah and the Ark of the baby Moses were vessels made for preservation, the Ark of the Covenant also carries with it the thought of preservation.
For it was made to carry the Tables of the Law, the Golden Pot of Manna symbolizing Godís provision and Aaron's rod that budded, not only symbolizing Godís authority, but symbolizing resurrection, for by Godís power it came from a dead branch to a living branch.
Compare the Ark of God as that which was designed to preserve, and also a shadow of things to come and you will see that the body of Christ is also an ark designed to preserve the Church.
This was clearly told to Peter by our Lord in:
Matthew 16:18, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The Ark of the Covenant was designed to hold that which God valued, his law, his provision, his authority, those things which are eternal and that is what is carried forth in the body of Christ.
Now all of Israel's worship was directed to Jehovah who dwelt upon the Blood-stained Mercy Seat that was atop the ark.
This is so well described in Hebrews 9:1-7, Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaronís rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
So as God must, in the construction of the tabernacle, He begins with himself.
For He alone is God, from everlasting to everlasting.
This is a picture of the grace of God.
God dwelling in eternity becomes flesh and Tabernacled among us.
God begins first with His Throne, the Ark of the Covenant, and proceeds in Grace to man and the place of sacrifice - the Brazen Altar.
This is the opposite of man's approach to God, which must begin at the Brazen Altar.
Man must experience the Cross and the Blood before he can approach the Ark of the Covenant or the presence of a Holy GOD.
This is indeed a true picture of Grace.
For unless God first comes out to man, man has no access whatsoever to God.
Without God telling you, can you know the way to heaven?
Put the place "heaven" in your GPS and see.
You will be disappointed for the map to heaven lies not in a man-made book, but it lies in a person and that person says that he is the way; that is, he is the map, for there are no other maps.
Any man that tried to come straight into the presence of God without approaching the prescribed way through the blood was slain.
Violation of God's order means death.
The Ark and all it contains are representative of the holiness of God and God has ordained that he cannot be approached except though the blood.
For as Hebrews 9:22, tells us: ÖÖ..without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
So therefore what takes place at the Brazen Altar is necessary because of man's sinfulness.
But because of the provision of God on the Brazen Altar, there is a day when the High Priest can enter beyond the veil and cast that very blood unto the ark and receive the mercy of God.
Now the instructions for constructing the Ark were given in great detail and were precise and exact.
The Ark was to be made of Shittim wood: a hard, durable wood, resistant to weather and insects.
The Ark was to be a box-like or chest-like structure.
Assuming a cubit to be 18" it was 45 inches long 27" high and 27" wide.
The Ark was to be overlaid with pure gold within and without, and it was to have a gold molding of a crown like appearance around the rim.
The Ark was to have four gold rings attached to its four corners.
The New American Standard version of the Bible renders the word "corners" as feet.
If this is the case the rings were mounted on feet of the chest which would elevate the Ark above the shoulders of those carrying it when it was moved.
The rings and poles so placed would cause the Ark to be higher than the rest of the sacred furniture, for the Ark was in the forefront of the priests and Levites carrying the Tabernacle parts.
The two poles, made of shittim wood overlaid with gold, were inserted into the rings parallel to the short side of the Ark as indicated in I Kings 8:8.
The poles were to be slid into the gold rings on the Ark for the purpose of carrying it for it was always to be carried by four men and never transported otherwise.
Once inserted, the poles were never to be removed for they were a permanent part of the ark of God.
The Testimony of God, the stone tablets of God's covenant given to Moses (the Ten Commandments), was to be placed inside the ark.
But we are to remember that God inserted the Mercy seat, sprinkled with blood which came from the sacrifice of the living, between himself and the law for which we will be eternally thankful for without Godís mercy we have no hope.
In addition to the shittim wood, the Ark of the Covenant was composed of pure gold.
In Bible typology, gold is always typical of deity or the divine nature.
Wood, on the other hand, speaks to us of Humanity or Human nature coming from the natural growth in the earth.
Hence, we have a blending of the two materials in the Ark.
This could be a picture of the two natures in one person as seen in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ - "God manifest in the flesh."
The gold symbolizing his divine nature (Hebrews 1), and the wood symbolizing His Human nature.
These two natures remain separate, though brought together in one person.
God and Man are united in one person, the new creature, the firstborn of every new creation, Emmanuel (God with us), the Word made flesh, the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The second picture we see in that the Ark was overlaid with gold both within and without, is that of the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily.
When the wood was overlaid with gold within and without, it produced a three layered Ark.
Gold on the inside, wood in the center, and Gold on the outside, symbolic of the Three Persons of the Godhead.
The gold without typifies God the Father who created all things.
The gold within is typical of the Holy Spirit who dwells within.
And the central material or the wood represents the central figure of the Godhead, God the Son, who was crucified on a Cross of wood.
All of these together united in one ark speak of the fullness of the godhead bodily - the Lord Jesus Christ."
Peter proclaimed the marvelous truth on the great day of Pentecost that God had made this "same Jesus...both Lord and Christ."
Acts 2:36, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Atop the Ark Moses was told to make upon it a crown of gold round about the top.
This crown surrounds the mercy seat, another picture of Christ.
Exodus 25:11, 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.
Again this is instruction to provide a shadow of things to come.
For we read in Hebrews 2:9, But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Three pieces of furniture in the Tabernacle received Crowns - the Golden Altar of Incense, the Table of Shewbread and the Ark of the Covenant.
The Crown of gold tells us what the Father thinks of His Son.
When the Son of God became flesh, man crowned him with thorns (Mark 15:17), but God crowned him with glory and honor.
The Crown signifies the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ
He was born King Of The Jews (Matthew 2:2)
He was revealed as the King in the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of the Kingdom
He was crucified as King (John 19:14) and he will return as King.
We read of this in Revelation 19:16, And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Ultimately, when Jesus comes again, He will be crowned with many crowns, and we will lay our crowns at His feet in worship.
Now as to the four rings on the ark located on its feet we read in:
Exodus 25:12 of the New American Standard Version, And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four feet thereof; and two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it.
These four rings were built for the two carrying staves.
The number four is prominent in the scriptures.
Four corners of the earth, four gospels, portraying Christ as king, servant, perfect man, and Christ as the Son of God.
The order to go into all the earth (pictured as four parts) and preach the gospel, pictured in Acts 1:6, as Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth
The four rings were mounted to provide balance to the Ark as it was carried.
It was not to tip to the right or to the left but to be upright.
Picturing Christ four ways in the gospel provides a complete picture of Him.
Now into the rings were inserted two staves.
Exodus 25:13-15, 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.
God instructs Moses to make staves of shittim wood, overlaid with gold.
The staves were to be put through the rings so that the Ark could be carried upon the shoulders of the priests without actually touching the Ark itself.
1 Chronicles 15:15, And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord.
The staves were to remain in the rings of the Ark which signified an earthly pilgrimage.
It speaks to us of the fact we are but pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land.
1 Peter 2:11, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and
pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
This world is not our home, we're just passing through like Abraham who was "looking for a city."
The staves remained in the Ark for in I Kings 8:8, at the dedication of Solomonís temple, we are told in the New American Standard version, And the staves were so long that the ends of the staves were seen from the holy place before the oracle; but they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
The King James version says "And they drew out the staves" which could be interpreted they removed the staves but that is not what took place.
They drew them out means they were pulled forward from the Ark toward the Holy place so apparently they were not evenly centered in the Ark.