The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant

A model of Israel's ark of the covenant

The ark of the covenant was a symbol of God?s presence among the Israelites?a visual reminder that the one true God had made a covenant with them. It was so important to God that he described the ark?s construction before describing any other sacred object (Ex. 25:10—22).

God revealed himself to his people at the ark of the covenant. It was often the place where God would meet with Moses and give commandments to his people. Each year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies, where the ark was kept. There, God would appear in a cloud over the cover.

Inside the ark, the Israelites kept the Ten Commandments tablets. Although Christians have traditionally assumed that each tablet held a portion of the commandments, nothing in Scripture supports the idea of two partial tablets. From what we know about ancient covenants, it is more likely that all ten commandments were written on each tablet.

According to ancient custom, each covenant party would take a copy of their terms and store them in their most sacred place. By giving his copy of the commandments to Moses, God symbolically told his people that their most sacred place would also be his most sacred place: the ark of the covenant.

Today, God chooses to reveal himself through the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer. His most sacred place is now our very own hearts and minds. Our thoughts, actions, and words should show others that the one true God is present among us.

Interesting details about the ark of the covenant:

– It was made of acacia wood, an extremely hard wood common to the Sinai Peninsula.
– It was three feet nine inches long, two feet three inches wide, and two feet three inches tall.
– It was gold plated and had a gold rim around the top.
– It stood on four legs, and on each side were two gold rings in which poles could be inserted so the ark could be carried.
– It had a cover, called the mercy seat or atonement seat, that was made of pure gold. On this cover were two cherubim whose wings stretched over the lid. The cherubim expressed the people?s longing to feel safe in God?s sheltering arms. Follow The Rabbi 

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