Have them make a chest of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold both inside and out, and make a gold moulding around it (Exodus 25.10-11, KJV)
Now we are continuing our series to look at Moses’ Tabernacle and how it is one of the clearest images of Jesus Christ in the whole Bible. Today, I want to look at the Ark that was in the tabernacle. It was a box, four foot by two and a half foot by two and a half foot, so not particularly huge. It was the main item in the Most Holy Place.
God tells us about the Ark first because it was the central part of the Tabernacle, it was the place where God lived with His people. As we look at the Ark, we can see several reflections of the Lord.
- It had to be made from acacia wood. The acacia tree only grows in the midst of deserts and because of this, it is a very hard wood that simply will not decay. That wood formed the ark, and it is a beautiful image of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. You all know Jesus was human? Did you know that he “grew up before the Lord like a tender shoot” (Isa. 53.2), did you know that Jesus never rotted or decayed either (Acts 2.27)?
- Then the wood had to be covered with gold inside and out. There was one Ark made with two materials – wood and gold. Just like Jesus is one person made of two materials – fully human and fully God! The gold is an image of the fact that Jesus was and is fully God. He was the Word from the beginning! The gold completely covered the wood, but the wood made the shape of it. Jesus looked like every other human, but was covered inside and out with gold – He was the Word made flesh, He was fully human. Did you know Jesus is still human today? A lot of people seem to not realize that, but He is. Jesus Christ, the place where we meet God is fully God and fully man, and the Ark is fully gold and fully wood! What a powerful image.
- Inside the ark we get three items: a jar of manna, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments and Aaron’s budded rod. The manna was in a golden jar, and is a picture that Jesus is the true bread from heaven. Jesus told us in one of his sermons that he is the “bread that came down from heaven”. So we see that Jesus is the manna for us in the New Covenant, feeding us and giving us life. The Ten Commandments represent the law, and we know that Jesus was righteous because He perfectly kept the Law. There were two sets of tablets with the Ten Commandments on. The first were broken and smashed – that is an image of Adam failing and breaking the law, but God then produced a new set of tablets – a picture of Jesus coming and not breaking the law. Jesus Christ kept the whole law His whole life. Finally, the rod of Aaron had budded – and blossomed and had almonds on it. It speaks of what? New life – resurrection life. It was a dead stick, but as it was in the hands of the High Priest, it came back to life and produced fruit after being dead. That is a powerful image of Jesus – He was a dead stick, who then flourished and produced fruit and is alive forevermore!
This ark is the only item from the tabernacle that made its way into Solomon’s Temple. It has a number of titles, but the main one is “the Ark of the Testimony”, because it is such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ. I hope you can see Jesus in this Ark today. Next week, we will discuss the lid for this box – another powerful picture of Jesus.