We shall take a journey with this devotion—the Ark of the Covenant through the Bible.
The furnishings of the Tabernacle, including the ark of the covenant which is the special focus of this devotion, were all made from the TERUMAH (free will offerings) of the people: gold, silver, brass (copper), turquoise (blue), purple, scarlet wool, fine linen and goat hair, ram skins dyed red, badger skins (porpoise?), acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for anointing oil and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. Thus, all of the construction of the Tabernacle of Witness arose from the free-will gifts of the people who had taken “loans” from the Egyptians as they left the house of bondage—the back wages of an entire people for four hundred years of uncompensated servitude.
God has provided for all our needs in the Redemption that we have in Jesus the Messiah, our LORD. Some of our temporal provision is for past labors that are paid in super-abundance to us by God through the hands of men after a long duration of uncompensated labor.
The very first item of furnishing dealt with in the Tabernacle of Witness is the Ark of the Covenant.
Here is a short summary of the history of the Ark in the Bible:
25:10-11 (the ark itself); 12 (the rings); 13-15 (the staves), 16, 21 (the contents of the testimony); 17, 21-22 (the mercy seat above); 18-19 (the two cherubim—according to Jewish tradition one was male and the other female, beaten from a single lump of gold, facing each other with their wings spread over the mercy seat and looking toward it—this is the Throne of God’s Shekinah, His Divine Presence manifested on earth from the midst of Israel; its dwelling place is in the most holy place within the Mishkan (tabernacle); 30:6 et al, the initial service; 31 and 35, especially Betzalel (chapter 37) , its construction was by special artisans who were given the Spirt of Wisdom from God to build it; 39, the finished work according to God’s design as given to Moses—“And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them”; 40:1-33, Moses erects the Ark on the first day of the first month of the second year following the Exodus (showing the priests how it was to be done); 40:34-38, The Cloud of the Shekinah covered the tabernacle and abode upon it (in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night), “for the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, through all their journeys.”
We who are in Messiah—individually and corporately—have been made the living temple of God indwelt by the Blessed Holy Spirit; and in our inner sanctuary, our consecrated human spirit, the throne of God is established by the abiding Holy Spirit. We are One Unity, One Body in the Holy Spirit of Messiah. (Ephesians 4) We are commanded to live consecrated lives worthy of the Divine Presence, living in peace with one another so that the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace and love among us may not be broken. The Blessed Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts through faith in the Messiah—“Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
“The ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth” passed over the Jordan to lead the people into the land of promise.
Joshua 6: the ark led the procession that brought down the walls of Jericho as the conquest of the land began.
Joshua 7: Joshua fell on his face before the ark because of the sin of Achan.
Joshua 8: the ark was in the midst of the people while the blessings and the curses were iterated between mount Ebal and mount Gerazim, when the people were initiated into their inheritance of the land.
Judges 20:27, the ark was ever present with the generation that entered the land and enquiry of the LORD was made before it.
1 Samuel 3: the ark was in the tabernacle during the days of Samuel when the prophetic office was initiated through Samuel by means of “the school of the prophets.”
1 Samuel 4: the ark could not be used as a talisman by a sinful priesthood. The ark was taken by the Philistines when Israel under the wicked priests Hophni and Phineas were in charge of it. Eli died when he heard the report of its capture.
1 Samuel 6-7: the ark among the Philistines. It became a curse to them and they desperately sought to return it to Israel. Samuel exhorted the Israelites to put away from them their pagan idols in order to be prepared to receive the return of the ark into their midst. How strange! Israel still struggling with idolatry mixed with the worship of the LORD! And the Apostle John ends his first epistle with these words: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
1 Kings 8: the ark brought by King Solomon into the Temple in Jerusalem, and his prayer of consecration and petition to the LORD for favor upon Israel.
1 Chronicles 6 and 13 with 2 Chronicles 1:4: the Davidic Ministry of Praise before the ark, “after it had rest.” Chapters 15-16, the return of the ark from the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite after twenty years from the time that the Philistines gave it back. The ark abode “in the tent of David” in Zion in Jerusalem. (See Amos 9 and Acts 15:16, concerning the restoration of the “tabernacle of David” as the sign of the LORD’S return to apostate Israel. The fulness of this is the infilling of the Holy Spirit given to the followers of Yeshua in the Book of Acts.) The return in the days of King David was with great ceremony and rejoicing.
1 Chronicles 17, 22 and 28: David’s desire to build “a house of rest [The Temple]” for the ark.
2 Chronicles 5: when the ark was brought from the city of David into the newly-constructed Temple of Solomon, the Shekinah appeared upon it and the priests could not enter because of the weight of the Glory of the Presence of God that descended upon and filled the House.
2 Chronicles 35: Revival in the days of Josiah was accompanied by restoring the ark to its place in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Solomon—indicating that through the long history of apostacy in Israel the ark had been removed into storage. Thus, the Light of God’s Presence among Israel had been dimmed in times of backsliding and apostacy.
An apostate people will not endure the convicting Presence of the Holiness of God in their midst.
Hebrews 9: The writer shows how that Christ has brought to fulness that which was foreshadowed by the tabernacle and its furnishings (including the ark, v. 4) and has “obtained eternal redemption for us.” (9:12) Our LORD has ascended into the heavenlies and has consecrated once for all the Holy Place that is in the Eternal Realm. See Revelation 4-5 where the Heavenly Court is revealed, where God in Manifestation resides enthroned. In the Heavenly Temple resides the Eternal Ark of The Testimony.
Revelation 11:19, the ark of God in the Temple in Heaven. This is the last reference in the Bible to the ark. It’s final resting place is in the Eternal Realm of Heaven. There it can never be contaminated or removed.
Any future building of a copy of the ark on earth will be other than that which we have known of it before. Jeremiah is the last prophet to have had oversight of the ark of the Temple of Solomon. It is believed that he hid it before the Babylonians took the city and wasted the first Temple. The Romans later devastated the Second Temple which was built following the return under Ezra and Nehemiah and the Great Assembly of the Sages. It is not known with certainty where the hidden ark of the covenant now resides: there are many theories but they are all speculative. In my generation there is a movement in Modern Israel to restore the full Levitical worship and ritual in a third Temple in Jerusalem. But whether or not God will honor such a motivation and construction remains to be seen.
As an aside: Worship in Ezekiel’s Temple is likely a vision of Transcendence fulfilled in the Heavenly Temple and Precincts. If that is so, then that reality will probably be a future inter-dimensional overlay upon topographical Israel (with Israel’s total land grant from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and the Lebanon to the Negev) when the New Jerusalem descends from God out of Heaven upon Earth. (Revelation 21-22)
THE ISSUE WHERE WE WHO ARE IN MESSIAH ARE CONCERNED:
Walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called and which you have received from our Lord Jesus Christ; for in him is the fulness of that which was foreshadowed by the Shekinah that abode between the Cherubim above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The True Ark now resides with Him in Heaven as an Eternal Testimony and Witness; and we are seated in Him before the Throne of Glory of the Majesty on High. Amen.