Old Testament: Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant was a small box of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Inside were
the tables of the ten commandments, Aarons rod that budded, and a golden pot of manna.
It was placed in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and the Temple.
Ark of the Covenant Quick Summary Video
Brief introduction to the study of the Ark of the Covenant
in the Old Testament. (10 Minute Video)
Ark of the Covenant Slideshow with Audio
Basic overview of the Ark of the Covenant in slideshow
format with audio narration.
Background of The Ark of the Covenant
The Hebrew Name and Meaning of the Ark of the Covenant.
The Hebrew noun "Ahrohn" (Ark) is used nearly 200 times
in the Old Testament to depict the Ark of the Covenant.
The word Ahrohn means chest or container and was used in
various contexts. For example it was used for a money box
(2 Ki 12:9), and also for a coffin (Gen. 50:26), both
signifying its use as a container of something. The Bible
goes further and calls it the Ark of God numerous times,
and also the Ark of his might (Ps 132:8), signifying
power and glory. Over 30 times the Ark is called The Ark
of the Covenant of Yahweh (Num 10:33). The Covenant
represented Gods redemptive covenant with Israel and his
promise to save his people if they would not forsake him.
Yet ultimately the Bible seizes upon the ancient imagery
of the blood covenant that was cut not only for the Jews
but for all mankind, signifying the death of the One who
makes the covenant.
Hebrews 9:16-18 - "For where a covenant is, there must
also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a
testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is
of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated
The Ark of the Covenant was a picture of Jesus Christ
Biblical Description of the Ark of the Covenant
The description of the Ark of the Covenant was revealed to
Moses while he was on Mount Sinai (Ex. 25:10-22). The Box
was to be made of Acacia wood, it was to be 2.5 cubits (3.9
feet) long and 1.5 cubits (2.3 feet) wide and tall. It was
overlaid completely with gold and it had a gold crown around
the top of the box. The were gold rings with long poles of
wood overlaid with gold for transporting the Ark.
Brief History of the Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant led the way to the Promised Land.
After Moses died the children of Israel were led by
Joshua into the Land of Canaan. When they came to the
Jordan River the waters parted before the Ark of the
Covenant. The children of Israel crossed the Jordan and
conquered the Promised Land with the Ark of the Covenant
leading the way. Later the Tabernacle was erected at a
city called Gilgal and the Ark of the Covenant was kept
there for a season. Later the Ark was removed and taken
to Shiloh where it remained for nearly 400 years. Israel
had become so corrupt that they forsook the Lord and
worshiped the queen of heaven. The Ark of the Covenant
fell into the hands of the Philistines, who were forced
to return it after many plagues broke out in their land.
Later the Ark of the Covenant was kept at a place called
Kiriath jearim until David was anointed king of Israel
and brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem until
the Temple was erected. Davids son Solomon completed the
Temple in Jerusalem and placed the Ark of the Covenant in
the Holy of Holies. Later there was a civil was and
Israel was divided, 10 tribes went to the north and the
remaining 2 stayed in the south. The Ark of the Covenant
remained in the Temple in Jerusalem. The northern kingdom
continually forsook the Lord until God gave them into the
hands of the Assyrians and they were deported away in 722
BC. Later the remaining 2 tribes forsook the Lord also
and Jerusalem and the Temple was destroyed by the
Babylonians in 586 BC. The Bible does not mention what
happened to the Ark of the Covenant.
God Revealed the Design of the Ark to Moses
The Arks Design was Revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. The
Ark of the Covenant (Heb. Ahrohn HaBreet) was a small
wooden box or chest (approx. 3.9 feet by 2.3 feet) that
contained the covenant made by the LORD to the people of
Israel. God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai the exact
specifications for constructing the Ark. It was crafted
in acacia wood and overlaid with gold, and inside was
placed the unbroken stone tablets of the Law, a golden
pot of manna, and Aarons rod that miraculously budded or
blossomed. The lid was called the Mercy Seat and it was
made from one piece of solid gold, beaten into a shape
that revealed two angelic creatures (Cherubim) on each
side with wings outstretched. God appeared between the
Cherubim where the blood was sprinkled by the high priest
on the Day of Atonement. The LORD also appeared and spoke
between the Cherubim. There were poles inserted in the
rings in each of the 4 corners of the ARK for carrying.
When the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness the
Ark was carried first by the priests to lead the way. The
mysterious Shekinah Glory "Cloud of the LORD" would lead
them by day and it became a Pillar of Fire by night. When
the people encamped in the wilderness the Tabernacle was
set up and the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy
of Holies behind the Veil. When they departed the
Tabernacle was packed up in an orderly manner.
Overview of the Ark of the Covenant
Quick Overview of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the
Covenant was a physical sign that the God of all the earth
was in Israel "and let them make me a sanctuary, that I may
dwell in them" (Ex. 25:8). God made a covenant with Israel
and with all mankind that only by the shedding of the blood
of Christ would there be forgiveness of sins. Abraham, the
first Hebrew knew this when God told him to bring his only
son Isaac whom he loves to the altar, and rejoiced to see
the day of Christ (John 8:56).
The Ark led the Way
Numbers 10:33-36 - And they departed from the mount of the
LORD three days journey: and the ark of the covenant of the
LORD went before them in the three days journey, to search
out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the LORD
[was] upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And
it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said,
Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let
them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he
said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.
The Lid (Mercy Seat)
The Lid which was referred to as the Mercy Seat was crafted
from one block of solid gold that was beaten into its shape.
It was made of the same dimensions as the Ark 2.5 cubits by
1.5 cubits. On top were two angelic beings (Cherubim) which
were standing on two feet and facing each other and looking
down at the top of the lid where the blood was sprinkled.
The Cherubim were also gold and were hammered from the same
block of gold. They were 4-faced creatures as described in
Ezekiels vision (Ezek. 1:5), the face of a lion, an eagle,
an ox, and a man. The Cherubim were also the same fierce
creatures who were chosen to guard the entrance to the
Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life after Adam and Eve had
sinned. They wielded a flaming sword that turned in four
directions (Gen. 3:24).
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