GOD’S SPECIAL PURPOSE
Ark – A shelter or refuge
Covenant – to cut; a testament
God uses the lesson of an Ark to teach us of His mercy and salvation. Even very young children can comprehend the lesson of the safety of the ark that Noah built where he and his family were spared from death by drowning because Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. His covenant assures us that we can trust a His divine mercy and salvation if we trust and obey.
The Ark of the Covenant was a structure made by the Israelites as directed by the LORD God. We find God’s instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25.
This ark, like Noah’s Ark, represents safety for mankind. God is a God who keeps His covenants with His people. The covenant required a cutting.
The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Most Holy Place where God dwelt.
1 Kings 8:6, 9 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims…There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
CUTTING OF A COVENANT
The seriousness of a covenant is demonstrated by the killing of an animal and cutting the animal in half. The parties to the covenant walked between the halves of the animal. Here is what happened when God made a covenant with Abraham:
“Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
“As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land […]” (Genesis 15:5-18)
God’s covenants are important. God’s ark is important as well. The Ark of His Covenant means for us that we can depend upon a place of safety if we are in Christ. Because we are sinners, the Ark of His Covenant contains a Mercy Seat.
THE MERCY SEAT
Along with the fact that the Ark represented the very presence of God, the importance of the Ark is seen in the Mercy Seat. As was stated at Got?Questions…
The real significance of the Ark of the Covenant was what took place involving the lid of the box, known as the “Mercy Seat.” The term ‘mercy seat’ comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to cover, placate, appease, cleanse, cancel or make atonement for.” …The Mercy Seat on the Ark was a symbolic foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice for all sin—the blood of Christ shed on the cross for the remission of sins. The Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee and one familiar with the Old Testament, knew this concept quite well when he wrote about Christ being our covering for sin in Romans 3:24-25: “…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
God uses the Ark to teach Israel about Himself, about His mercy, and about His steadfastness.
Numbers 10:33 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.
THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT
We are blessed to be covered under the fullness of God’s promises in the new covenant that God promises for all who will trust Him.
Hebrews 9:14-14 How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God? [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance — “since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement. (Amplified Bible)
The final mention of the Ark is in the book of Revelation when John is allowed the vision of the temple of God in heaven.
Revelation 11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
Judgment is pending for many, but the ark remains for those who have faith in God the Father and Son, Jesus Christ.
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