The Tabernacle, The Ark of the Covenant, A Type of Christ, Part 1 - Lesson 19
In our Tabernacle lessons thus far we have, on many occasions, conjectured that the Ark of the Covenant was given to Israel as a portend of the coming Messiah.
The New Testament calls that which was given to the Israelites to build in the wilderness, was but a shadow of heavenly things.
Everything about the tabernacle speaks of things to come that will be fulfilled in the fullness of time.
Everything in the tabernacle has a degree of importance, but all that is in, and on, and of the tabernacle, points to the most important piece of furniture, as the Ark of the Covenant.
It is the preeminent piece, mentioned more in scripture, than any other piece of furniture.
It is that piece that is given preeminence over all other pieces.
And that recognition ought to convince us that the Ark of the Covenant was given to the Jews to reveal the Christ to come who we are told by the Apostle Paul in:
Colossians 1:17-19, And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
So to recognize Jesus Christ as preeminent, as we should in all our teaching, we will look in the scriptures which will reveal to us that the history of the Ark is prophetic of the history of the New Testament Ark, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Noahís Ark resulted in the saving of eight souls, which is but an example of the True Ark, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into this world to seek and to save those who are lost.
The typology that is taught by Noahís Ark with reference to the saving of souls is continued in the Ark of the Covenant.
Even the journeying of the Ark speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ in his birth, his anointing, his life, his ministry, his death and resurrection, his glorification and second coming.
The history of the Ark is simply a shadow of the history of Christ.
And both histories begin with the Spirit of God for it was the Spirit of God who came upon Mary as we learn in:
Luke 1:35, ÖÖThe Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And the Ark, a shadow of Christ, was also made according to Godís pattern by the enablement of the Spirit of God in wisdom as we are told in:
Exodus 31:2-4, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
Both the Ark of the Covenant and Jesus Christ came to this world by the power of Godís Spirit.
Now Jesus Christ came to this earth as a man, deity clothed in a body.
His deity was hidden from view by His earthly body, of which the veil of the Most Holy Place is a type.
No one but the High Priest viewed the Ark in its position in the Most Holy Place.
So too was the Ark hidden from view as it was transported in the wilderness for the Ark was never exposed to the peopleís eyes in the wilderness walk.
At least this was so during its wilderness journeyings.
We read of this in Numbers 4:5-6, And when the camp
setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the
covering veil, and cover the ark of testimony with it: 6And shall put
thereon the covering of badgersí skins, and shall spread over it a cloth
wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.
There were three coverings for the traveling Ark symbolic of the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Remember Colossians 2.9, For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
The first covering, the Covering Veil, is symbolic of Christ's flesh as we are told in Hebrews 10:20: By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
The Covering of Badger's Skin is thought to be symbolic of Christ who was without natural beauty as Isaiah 53:3 speaks of, 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
And the third symbol of the Godhead is the Cloth of Blue, which is symbolic of the Lord from heaven of which the Apostle Paul speaks in:
1 Corinthians 15:47, The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As Jesus was anointed to do the Fatherís work so to the Ark of the Covenant was anointed.
It was a blessed thing to be appointed to do Godís work for that is what it means to be anointed.
It means to be set apart for service to God.
It means to be at His beckon call.
So upon the completion of the Ark of God it was called into the service of God.
Moses was called upon in Exodus 30 to take spices and oil mixed together into an anointing oil and in verse 26 God told him, And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony.
Jesus was anointed to be a Testimony for his words in Luke 4:18 declare, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
and Peter declaring at Corneliusí house in Acts 10:38, How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.)
Also notice the similarity of Godís command to Moses in Exodus 25:22 and Godís command to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration for both commands spoke of that one in whom God would meet man.
God spoke to Moses from the Shekinah cloud in 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.
In this statement God was actually telling Moses that: I will meet with you only in Jesus Christ, my Son, that one whose blood satisfies my justice for when God spoke above the Ark he was speaking of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And this is exactly what God said on the Mount of Transfiguration after Peter proposed building three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus.
Mark records this in Mark 9:7: And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.
In essence God was saying: Now listen Peter!
Moses and Elijah spoke of My beloved son.
They have done their work and are no longer in the picture, and only Jesus Christ remains, only He is preeminent, therefore hear Him.
I will meet with man only through the Ark of God, my beloved Son, Jesus Christ for I look upon His blood.
Now there are many other types in the Ark of the Covenant and its history that are revealed in Jesus Christ.
The crown of gold around the top of the ark speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus overcame the onslaught of opposition that was set against Him His entire earthly life by the religious leaders, the wealthy Jewish aristocracy, Rome itself, and even all the power of the enemy.
He overcame even death itself and rose triumphantly and was given a crown, and glory, and honor, because He is the King.
According to John it was Jesus whom Isaiah saw seated on the throne of glory with the angels crying 'holy, holy, holy.'
And again in Revelation 19:11-16 we read of His royalty, And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Remember the contents of the Ark, the tables of stone which recorded Godís law.
The Ark of the Covenant was the keeper of the law and so to did Jesus Christ keep the law for we are told in Matthew 5:17, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
As the Ark kept the law, Jesus Christ, the true Ark, kept the law and satisfied the justice of God for the justice of God demanded the shedding of blood for sin.
The unbroken tables of stone set forth Jesus as the One who perfectly kept the Law and never broke God's Commandments.
The Bible says that He "committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth."
Jesus felt the pressure of temptation at its full intensity yet he never sinned.
In the keeping of the law in the Ark, God revealed to the world the perfect law keeper to come.
Aaron's rod that budded, the second item in the Ark, also speaks of Jesus.
For the rod had died but supernaturally came to life again.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life."
Aaronís rod was a type of Christ.
The third item in the Ark, again a type of Christ was the golden pot of manna which spoke of Jesus Christ as the bread of life who came down from heaven to bring food, the Word of God, to a world in darkness and dying of hunger.
Even in the story of the Ark being with the Philistines seven terror filled months and their wonder at what they should do with it, for keeping it and its curses was beyond consideration.
Even in this experience of Ark we find similarity to the quandary of the Pharisees and the scribes as to what they should do with Jesus.
Luke 6:11, And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.
And in the return of the Ark to Israel from the Philistines there was great rejoicing as it entered the city as there was when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Matthew 21:9,10, And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved.
Another shadow revealed in the Ark concerned the results of its reception.
Jesus Christ was despised and rejected of men.
That was His reception and it brought misery and horror to Israel.
Luke records in Luke 19:41-44 that Jesus wept over the coming destruction and barrenness of Jerusalem saying: and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
The result of rejecting Jesus Christ is destruction and barrenness.
Remember what happened to Michal the daughter of Saul who came out to meet David as he returned to the city rejoicing with the Ark of the Covenant.
She saw not the greatness of the Ark, the cause for David and the peopleís celebration, and therefore diminished the coming of the Ark to the city.
Therefore barrenness not only came to her soul but Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
All those who despised the coming of the Ark were smitten with physical barrenness and those who despised and rejected Christ are also left in spiritual barrenness.
Another comparison concerns the travel of the Ark across the Brook Kidron associated with the rejection of King David as he fled from Absalom.
It was in Davidís darkest hour, the rebellion of his own son, when the Ark was brought across the brook and this reminds us of Jesus darkest hour when he crossed the same brook Kidron, with his disciples
John 18:1, When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Look at the shadow that was presented in 1 Sam 4:10 when the Philistines fought and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent.
What did the Philistines take from Israel? They took the Ark of God.
This is a shadow of the taking of Christ in the Garden, for at that taking, the disciples fled.
Matthew 26:56, But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
They left the true Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines, in this case the Pharisees, the scribes and the Romans.
The Philistines said in 1 Samuel 5:8, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?
Pilate wanted to know what he should do with Jesus.
Matthew 27:22, Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?
So everything about the Ark points to Jesus Christ, the true Ark of God.
The Ark went before the people, Jesus went before them as we learn in John 10:4, And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
The ark was positioned in the middle of God's people - Jesus is in His people as we read in John 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
The people were to follow the ark - We are to follow Jesus:
Luke 5:27-28, And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
So in example after example in the scriptures, the Ark of the Covenant points to the one and only one who is the preeminent One of God, Jesus Christ, who is the True Ark for there is none other name given among men whereby ye must be saved.