Category: The Covenant Stones



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Inside the Ark of the Covenant

 

In today’s posting we present information pertaining to the objects found inside the Ark of the Covenant. This information will be used latter as supporting material that proclaims Jesus to be our Ark of the New Covenant, the manifestation of the Most Holy Place and our passage way to both.

 

The Ark of the Covenant

 

The Ark of the Covenant symbolizes the Divine Presence of God and for this reason it is the most sacred of all the objects found in the Tabernacle. Fundamentally, the Ark is a box made of wood and is covered in gold. It is approximately 5 feet long, three feet wide and three feet high. The Ark has a lid covering it and it is also covered in gold. The Ark has four golden rings, one placed near each corner. Two poles made of gold covered wood can be placed into the rings on each side of the Ark. They enabled the Ark to be transported from place to place.

The Ark of the Covenant Covered by Cherbim

 

Three items were stored inside the Ark. They are the covenant stones, a pot of manna, and the rod of Aaron.

 

The Covenant Stones

 

First of all, the Ark contained the Covenant Stones which served as a continual reminder of the covenant between God and Israel. The Covenant Stones were engraved with the Ten Commandments[i] given by God.

 

Moses and the Ten Comandments

These commandments served as the foundation of God’s covenant with Israel. If the people obeyed God’s commandments then He promised to give them life and prosperity in the Promised Land, which is the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey:

 

That you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you; ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’  (Deuteronomy 6:2-3)

 

‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, ‘then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. ‘(Deuteronomy 11:13-15)

 

For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do; to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him;  then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. (Deuteronomy 11:22-25)

 

The Pot of Manna

 

A second item found inside the Ark is the Pot of Manna. It represented the bread of God that came down from heaven and fed the nation of Israel as they wondered through the desert:

 

I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’  So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:12-16)

The Falling of the Manna, Moses Drawing Water from the Rock - from Túrócbéla, 1480 - 1490

The Falling of the Manna, Moses Drawing Water from the Rock - from Túrócbéla, 1480 - 1490

The Rod of Aaron

 

The third item found in the Ark was Aaron’s rod and it testified to God’s choice of Aaron as the royal priest. The following passages communicate that Aaron was challenged for the right to be the high priest by members of the community. God’s choice was communicated in a miraculous way:

 

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses; twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house. Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you. So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.  Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod. And the LORD said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.” (Numbers 17:1-10)

 

Moses Displays the Budded Rod of Aaron

Moses Displays the Budded Rod of Aaron

 

Therefore, God performed a great miracle in selecting the Rod of Aaron for the priesthood. A rod, which was a carved piece of wood, came to life, blossomed and bore fruit. So significant was this event that the rod was stored in the Ark as a testimony against those who would not believe.

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Jesus Is The Fulfillment Of The Law

 

The most important items in the Ark of the Covenant are the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments are written. This law was presented to the people of Israel by Moses and since has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who came not to destroy the law but rather to make it perfect. The following scripture reinforces this point:

 

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)

 

Jesus teaches us that the law came to enable us to change our hearts based on an understanding of the things that are offensive to God. This is far superior to blindly following rules without conviction and hoping that God will see us as a righteous people because of it. God gave us the law so that we would change our nature and in doing so no longer desire evil but rather the presence of God in our lives. Paul correctly describes this condition in some of his disciples when he wrote:

 

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:2)

 

Therefore in Jesus, the law (the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets) is perfected because He extends the law to the condition of our heart. Therefore, in accepting Jesus as our Savior and earnestly seeking to be like Him through the power of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are changed, which means that we have adopted a higher standard. We have adopted a standard that not only eliminates the physical act of sinning but also eliminates the desire to do evil as well. Here is an example that demonstrates this point:

 

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:20-30)

 

Jesus fulfilled the law that was at first written on stone tablets, through the love and compassion that is instilled into the hearts of men by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through this teaching we understand that looking at a woman with lust in our hearts is also adultery. Simply refraining from the act itself is insufficient as it is our heart that must be changed. Jesus replaced blind obedience to the law with real change in the character and nature of men that no longer blindly follow rules of acceptable conduct, but rather, through the conforming of their hearts to the nature of God:

 

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them, then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)

 

In this regard, we are conformed to be like Him.


 

The Morning Star Rising on the First Day

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Jesus is the Ark of the New Covenant

 

We plan in this and subsequent sections to present evidence that substantiates Jesus as the Ark of the New Covenant, replacing the old Ark and old covenant in a far superior way.

Priest Before The Ark Of The Covenant

Priest Before The Ark Of The Covenant

 

Over the course of several presentations we will demonstrate that Jesus had a very close relationship with the Father and that angels frequently ministered to Him. These things of course are the fulfillment of Tabernacle prophesy in that they reflect the relationship established with God before the Mercy Seat (directly above the Ark of the Covenant) in the presence of the Golden Cherubim (Angels).

 

We will also present information that supports the notion that all of the items found inside the Ark of the Covenant are displayed more perfectly in the life of Jesus. This means that in Him we find a perfected law, one that is based on the changing of one’s own heart rather than simply following the letter of the law. It means the in Jesus we find a perfected provision and favor in the sacrifice of His body and blood for us. In Him we find a perfected priest hood in the order of Melchizedek. This priesthood eliminates the need for continual sacrifices at the Tabernacle by providing a single but perfect sacrifice of His life on the cross.

 

A very important point in all of this is that Jesus brought perfection to the Tabernacle that was otherwise imperfect in that it was made by man. He accomplished this by demonstrating His attributes and character with His actions and words. The Tabernacle was built as place for God to dwell among His people. It was however, built based upon the design specifications provided by God and therefore represents a model of the perfect Tabernacle that was to come, Christ Jesus.

Jesus and Moses at the Transfiguration Discuss the Fulfillment of the Tabernacles Prophesy

Jesus and Moses at the Transfiguration Discuss the Fulfillment of the Tabernacles Prophesy


 

So, in support of the proposition that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Tabernacle built by man we offer the following examples:

 

1. The Covenant Stones containing the commandments of God that are housed in the Ark of the Covenant are simply laws carved in stone. Jesus on the other hand is the perfected law that is written on the hearts of men. What this means is that the practice of blindly following rules is greatly inferior to a change in heart that eliminates the desire to do evil.

2. A second point of support for this proposition is that Jesus provides us with a more perfect priesthood. Jesus eliminated the need for continual animal sacrifices by replacing them with the single, but perfect sacrifice of His own body and blood on the cross.

3. We also find a more perfect Ark of the Covenant in that the Promised Land of Canaan is replaced with the more perfect New Jerusalem that came down from heaven. Therefore, Jesus is the Ark of the new covenant which is far superior to the old.

The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem

 

We know that Jesus is the Ark of the new covenant for two reasons. First, because He, Himself said that He was, and second, the actions of God support His claims directly. Let us start with a scripture that documents Jesus’ statement about being the new covenant:

 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

last-supper-window-st-giles-cathedral-edinburgh


 

These words He spoke before His suffering and death on the cross. His body and His blood were the price that God paid for the forgiveness of our sins which enable the reestablishment of our relationship with Him. His shed blood replaces the blood sacrifices that had previously covered the sins of the people in a far superior way, in that they are not just covered, they are forgiven. Therefore, the blood of Jesus became the new covenant and Jesus is the Ark of it:

Jesus on the Cross

Jesus on the Cross


 

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; In the volume of the book it is written of Me; To do Your will, O God.’  Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:1 – 22)

Jesus at the Tomb

Jesus at the Tomb


 

In our next posting we will discuss Jesus as the Fulfillment of the law. Until then, may God bless you and yours!

 

Joe

 


Going Into The Ark Of The Covenant

In the sections that follow we will present information pertaining to the Ark of the Covenant. This information will become supporting material for later postings that proclaim Jesus to be the Ark of the New Covenant, the manifestation of the Most Holy Place and our passage way to both.

The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant symbolizes the Divine Presence of God and for this reason it is the most sacred of all the objects found in the Tabernacle. Fundamentally, the Ark is a box made of wood. It was approximately 5 feet long, three feet wide and three feet high. The Ark has a lid that covered it and both were completely covered in gold. The Ark also has four golden rings, one placed near each corner. Two poles also made of gold covered wood were placed into the rings on each side of the Ark. They enabled the Ark to be transported from place to place. The Ark contained three items inside.

The Covenant Stones

First of all, the Ark contained the Covenant Stones which served as a continual reminder of the covenant between God and Israel. The Covenant Stones were engraved with the Ten Commandments[i] given by God. These commandments served as the foundation of God’s covenant with Israel. If the people obeyed God’s commandments then He promised to give them life and prosperity in the Promised Land, which is the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey:

That you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you; ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ (Deuteronomy 6:2-3)

‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, ‘then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled. ‘(Deuteronomy 11:13-15)

For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do; to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him; then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. (Deuteronomy 11:22-25)

The Pot of Manna

A second item found inside the Ark is the Pot of Manna. It represented the bread of God that came down from heaven and fed the nation of Israel as they wondered through the desert:

I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’ So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:12-16)

The Rod of Aaron

The third item found in the Ark was Aaron’s rod and it testified to God’s choice of Aaron as the royal priest. The following passages communicate that Aaron was challenged for the right to be the high priest by members of the community. God’s choice was communicated in a miraculous way:

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses; twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house. Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you. So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod. And the LORD said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.” (Numbers 17:1-10)

Therefore, God performed a great miracle in selecting the Rod of Aaron for the priesthood. A rod, which was a carved piece of wood, came to life, blossomed and bore fruit. So significant was this event that the rod was stored in the Ark as a testimony against those who would not believe.

The Portability of the Ark

Because the people often moved from place to place, the Ark was designed to be portable. For this reason it was created with rings attached to its sides that enabled it to be transported via golden poles.

The Position of the Ark

The Ark is positioned along the wall that is directly across from the entry way (the semi transparent veil called the Life) to the Most Holy place. This veil fills the doorway separating the Holy place from the Most Holy. The result is that the Golden Altar of Incense and the smoke that rose from it (symbolizing the spiritual warfare of the people) were visible through the veil because it is positioned directly across the doorway from the Ark. Therefore, the spiritual warfare of the people (their prayers symbolized in the smoke going up from the altar) was visible by God as he sat on the Mercy Seat. In addition, it was from this Mercy Seat that God would speak to His people and bring either blessing or cursing in reaction to their obedience or disobedience to the covenant (law).

The Priesthood and the Ark

The Most Holy place was visited by the high priest just once each year. The high priest entered the chamber on this special occasion to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the corners of the altar for the forgiveness of the sins of the people:

And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD. (Exodus 30:10)

Other Names for the Ark

The Ark is called the Ark of the Covenant because it represented the Mosaic covenant between God and Israel. It was also referred to as the Ark of the Testimony as it was a continuous testimony to the covenant law housed in the Ark. It was sometimes referred to as the Ark of Thy Strength because it represented God as both powerful and a blessing to Israel. In addition, it was often called the Holy Ark because of the sacredness and holiness it represented.

So, in summary, the Most Holy Place is the most precious of all the places found in the Tabernacle. It is so special that only the High Priest was allowed to enter into it, and then only once a year[ii]. The Most Holy Place is where God talked to Moses directly and therefore is the place where the closest of all relationships with God is established. This relationship is symbolized by covenant and the symbols of the covenant that are found inside the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is covered by the Cherubim and the presence of God Himself, who sits directly on the Mercy Seat which is between the angels (Cherubim). This symbolizes the importance and the sacredness of the Ark and its contents.

The Ark contained the stone tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments, which are the foundation of the law for the people. The law reminded the nation that God’s favor would be upon them if they remained in covenant. This included the conquest and inhabitation of the Promised Land. The Ark also contained the Pot of Manna, which symbolized God’s provision of their every need as they wandered in the desert and were transformed to become totally dependent on Him. Again, the Pot of Manna is symbolic of God’s provision. The Ark also contained the Rod of Aaron which miraculously budded when the authority of Aaron’s priesthood was challenged. This symbolized Gods favor on Aaron but also is prophetic of God’s choice of Jesus as the high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. We will investigate this further in future postings.

Our next posting will present the claims of Jesus that correlate to the objects found in the Most Holy place. In addition, we will look at the miraculous actions of God that support these statements of Jesus and support the notion that He is the manifestation of the Most Holy Place, a place that can be entered through the doorway called, “the Life.”



[i] Exodus 24:12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”
[ii] Exodus 30:10 And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.