The Ark and Christ


Eric Dougherty

"And behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat;" -Hebrews 9:3-5a.

We are blessed to be under the Christian system today. We are all able to have a special relationship with God, even being called priests of God (Revelation 1:6), that those before Christ did not have. The system under the law can teach us a great deal, and we can gain insights into God's current and final system.

Compare, for instance, the Ark of the Covenant and Jesus Christ. Inside the ark were three items of special significance. One was a pot of manna (Exodus 16), the bread from heaven that God provided the Israelites in time of need. Another was Aaron's rod that budded at a time when God was showing His power and that Moses and Aaron were the ones that were His spokesmen (Numbers 17). The third item was the tablets of stone on which were contained the Ten Commandments of God, (Deuteronomy 10:1-5). These items were of extreme importance to the Israelites and parallel many aspects of the person of Jesus.

Jesus made a direct reference to the manna that sustained God's people, but He pointed out that what He had to offer was far better; "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world," John 6:32-33. Just like Aaron's rod validated his relationship with God, so did Christ and His miracles. John said of the miracles of Jesus, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name," John 20:30. The tablets of stone were probably the most well known item in the ark. Like the bread of life, the comparison of the tablets is an exact parallel of Jesus. John writes, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth," John 1:14. Jesus was the very word of God, not in stone, but in human form.

If these comparisons are not amazing enough, then there is the actual ark itself. This was a central focus of Jewish worship. The resting place of the ark was to be in the temple of God in the holy place. In Leviticus 16, Aaron is instructed regarding atoning sacrifices. It is no surprise that some of the blood was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat (the top of the ark). It was regarding this place that God said, "And there I will meet with you and will speak with you, from above the mercy seat from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel," Exodus 25:22. Other than times of worship, another function of the ark was to go before the people when they went into battle.

How closely this resembles the nature and function of Christ today. It is through Jesus Christ, our atoning sacrifice (Hebrews 9, 10), where we enter into the presence of God today, come to know and obey Him, and receive His forgiveness. Also, paralleling the physical battles, Jesus Christ has already gone before us and fought our battle so that those who remain faithful to Him will reign with Him in glory. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Corinthians 15:57.

These similarities should not be minimized but should be valued as they show us the harmony of the plan of God. A careful study of both the Old and New testaments will reveal many other similarities. Let's appreciate the wisdom and planning of our God. -1634 New Bern St., Newport, NC 28570.


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