1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Tabernacle, The Ark of the Covenant, The Names and Purposes of the Ark - Lesson 17


Our lesson today will concentrate on some aspects of the Ark of the Covenant such as the numerous names given to the Ark in scripture, its placing in the tabernacle, its purposes and its contents.

Studying scripture will reveal that the Ark was given many names and each name tells us something about our God.

In most of scripture it is simply called: the Ark, or the Ark of God, the Ark of the Lord, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, or the Ark of the Testimony.

It is also called on fewer occasions, the Ark of God the Lord, the Ark of our God, the Ark of the God of Israel, the Ark of the Lord God, eternal, unchangeable)

the Ark of the Lord your God, the Ark of the Lord God of Israel, the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, the Ark of the covenant of our God, the Ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, the Ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth, the Ark of the covenant of the Lord of Hosts, the Ark of Thy strength, or simply the Holy Ark.

It was called "the ark of the testimony" because of the constant testimony of the tables of the law kept within.

It was called "the ark of the covenant" because it represented the Mosaic covenant between God and Israel.

That covenant was a conditional covenant made between God and the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai.

At the time of the covenant, God reminded the people of their obligation to be obedient to His law, and the people readily agreed to the covenant when they said in:

Exodus 19:8,  All that the Lord has spoken we will do!

Easy to say isnít it, but history has revealed that their easily given vow was not kept.

Remember Peter who was of this covenant, saying, in reference to Jesus, I will follow you to the death!

Ecclesiastics. 5:5,  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

Now the Ark, in calling it "the ark of Thy strength", represented what God was to Israel in power and blessing.

And it was called "the holy ark" because of the sacredness and holiness it represented.

Because it represented the throne of God, the Ark was of course placed in the most separate of places.

It was not to be in the Holy place which housed the candlestick, the table of incense, and the table of shewbread, but in the place behind the veil, the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies.

It was placed in the only place where God would grant forgiveness for the nation and the individual.

There was no place in the tabernacle set aside where the priests could grant forgiveness for only He who is perfectly holy can do that.

The Most Holy Place, wherein the Ark was kept, was of a cubical shape, measuring 10 cubits by 10 cubits by 10 cubits for a volume of 1,000 cubic cubits.

Looking at every side, ceiling or floor revealed that each was foursquare, which is also what the brazen altar, the golden altar of incense, and the Breastplate of Judgment on the Priest were, all foursquare.

The Shekinah Glory of God filled that foursquare space and covered the earth floor within the veil.

Now that word "Shekinah" is interesting.

It is not a Bible word but it is the English spelling of a Hebrew word.

In the Hebrew language it is a grammatically feminine word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling presence of God.

The Shekinah then that is pictured in scripture and referred to in Exodus as the glory of the Lord, by using the word Shekinah, is held by some to represent the feminine attributes of the presence of God.

It is interesting to picture the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies as a nesting place for God, a home like place, a place of comfort like no other place, a place of mercy, and in that picture we see characteristics that are most attributed to women, that is the nesting tendencies of women.

We are all made in the image of God.

Men have some attributes of God that are specifically masculine and women have some attributes of God that are specifically feminine but all attributes come from God, both masculine and feminine.

Now the 1,000 cubic cubits of the Most Holy Place speak to us of the upcoming millennial reign of Christ, which will be, according to John, the writer of Revelation, 1,000 years.

We are also told in the Revelation account that the Holy City is cubical, all sides width, length and height or equal, which is first pictured in shadow form in the Most Holy place.

We are given to see in shadow form, a picture of that which is in the New Jerusalem, the Eternal City of God and His redeemed, which is yet to come, by seeing the glory of God fill the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

As we have said before the Ark was a repository of that which God deemed all important to his people.

In Hebrews 9:3,4,  And 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;

The Ark of God was to contain God's testimony, the two tablets of the covenant, that is, the Ten Commandments given to Moses.

The Ten Commandments are the basic laws given to govern man's life and his society.

Therefore, they were to be preserved, secured, contained in the very throne of God Himself and by this are shown to us as that which we are to obey and keep.

They were to be under His watchful care for they are eternal.

They were of course the reason for the Mercy seat, for man in his natural state must have mercy if he is to live, for the sinner cannot keep the law.

There were three items in the Ark at the beginning, three being of course, the number of the Godhead.

Three items in one Ark.

Each of these three articles can be seen as a revelation of a different Person of the Godhead.

Each declare the righteousness and symbolism of a distinct member of the Godhead.

The Tables of the Law of course being a type of the Father, God, the Lawgiver.

It was by His voice that the Law was first given.

The Law is symbolic of all authority and power which is in the hands of the Father

The Golden Pot Of Manna is a type of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Bread of heaven, which came down from above.

He is the water that quenches thirst for all eternity.

John 6:35,  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

And the third part of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit is represented by Aaron's Rod That Budded.

In Aaron's Rod we see the principle of fruitfulness and life which Godís Spirit provides the believers.

Galatians 5:22,23,  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The three layered Ark, gold, wood, and gold again, and the contents of the Ark speak to us of the fullness of the Godhead.

And that fullness is found in Jesus Christ for we are told in Col. 2:9, For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

In Christ we see the Father, we see the Son and we see the Holy Spirit for in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead and that fullness dwells in a body as God dwelt in the tabernacle.

We see the shadow presented in the tabernacle, in the Ark of the Covenant, but we see the Godhead clearly without shadow when we see Jesus.

Each of the articles kept in the Ark tell us something of the nature of Christ and His Ministry to and through the Body:

The Tables of the Law tells us of His nature for in Israel there were three aspects of the Law.

The moral law which was written on two tables of stone by the finger of God.

Exodus 31:18,  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

The second aspect of the law is the Civil Law which is commonly referred to as the Book of the Law.

These laws were an amplification of the Moral Law.

The Civil Law proceeded from the Moral Law applying it to specific situations.

These laws were written in a book and placed beside the Ark as recorded in the American Standard Version of:

Deuteronomy 31:24-26,  It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you.

And following the Civil Law was the Ceremonial Law.

This body of law was the manifestation of the grace of God.

It had to do with all the regulations in regard to sacrificial blood, the Priesthood, the Sanctuary service, the Feasts of the Lord and the Sabbaths.

The book of Leviticus covers these ceremonies.

In these three aspects of the Law, we are able to see in shadow form the truth of John 1:17 - "for the Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ."

The Law, represented by the stone tablets in the Ark, was covered by a bloodstained Mercy Seat.

This is the shadow of the real mercy seat who is Christ, for He became our blood stained mercy seat for he is between us and the requirements of the law.

He became a curse for us to remove the curse of the law which will always be a curse to sinners for sinners cannot live by the law.

Read Galatians 3:13,  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

All the Law was perfectly kept and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

He is the one and only Person who has ever kept the Law, for it was in His heart.

He was a just God and a Saviour and he became the blood stained place of mercy at the throne of God.

Isaiah 45:21,  Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus resumes His role as the Lawgiver.

He is the one who magnifies the law and makes it honorable.

He fulfills the Moral, Civil and Ceremonial Law at the Cross.

He now calls us to a higher Law.

This is not a Law written on two Tables of Stone, but the finger of God writes this law upon the fleshly tables of our heart.

This is the New Covenant. It is much higher - it is the Law of Love!

The two tables of Law in the Ark point to the only one who perfectly kept the Father's law.

Because of this, all judgment, formerly given under the Law is now given over to the Son, Jesus Christ!

John 5:22,  For the Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

The tables of the law tell us of Christís nature as does the golden pot of manna.

In natural terms, the manna was the Bread from heaven upon which Israel fed for forty years in the wilderness.

It is named after the first impression the people had when they saw it on the ground.

Manna means "what is it?"

The characteristics of it were as the taste of Oil, coming in the stillness of the night and coming up with the dew.

It was white, round and sweet as honey to the taste:

All of the people were responsible to gather it early in the morning for them. No one could eat for another.

Spiritually speaking, this manna was a type of Christ, the Bread of Life.

It symbolized the nature, character and sustaining power of the Lord Jesus as the Bread of life.

Jesus is the Bread from heaven, anointed with the oil of gladness.

Jesus is sweet as honey and as fresh as the dew to the partaker.

The manna in the desert satisfied the daily needs of the flesh but Jesus is the TRUE MANNA satisfying the eternal needs of the spirit.

All must eat of Him or die.

No one can eat for another.

He is the source of life eternal.

He sustains His people in the wilderness journey.

Now as to the third item in the Ark, Aaron's Rod That Budded, another picture of Christ emerges for this dead rod came forth with bud, flower, and an almond fruit, a three fold manifestation of fruitfulness.

Again this three fold fruitfulness tells us of the Godhead.

The Bud is the Father, the source, the beginning.

The flower is the Son, that which is crushed to bring forth fragrance.

And the almond fruit, shows the Holy Spirit the fruit giver.

As the fruitfulness of Aaron's rod attested he was the God-chosen, God-anointed and God-appointed High Priest in Israel even so does the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead attest to His eternal Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.

In Aaron's rod, life came out of death.

In the resurrection of Christ, our Great High Priest, the only Mediator between God and man also rises out of death.

In Christ is manifested all life, beauty and fruitfulness.

He is the only way of approach for man unto God.

Thus, all the contents of the Ark testify and witness to the fact of the Godhead.

ALL witness to the fact that in CHRIST dwells ALL that the GODHEAD loves and empowers.