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Tuesday
Jun032014

Theological Term of the Week

Ark of the Covenant
The box or chest made of acacia wood covered with gold which the Israelites used to hold the tablets of the Law, along with a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod which had blossomed. It was kept in the Holy of Holies, first in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.

  • In scripture:

    The Ark of the Covenant “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. (Exodus 25:10-22 ESV)

    The mercy seat was set on top of the ark. When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat. This foreshadowed the atoning blood of Jesus. Israel’s sin had formed a barrier between God and the people. Our sins have also separated us from God. God must look at man through the lens of His law on account of His holiness. How then can unrighteous man stand before the presence of the righteous God? The dilemma is resolved through the blood of Jesus. His blood stands between the wrath of God and the believer. When the Lord saw the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat, He withheld His wrath against sin in anticipation of the full outpouring of it at the cross. The blood of Jesus alone satisfied God’s demands, and through it, the transgressions of God’s people have been forgiven. Now the Lord sees believers not through the lens of the law but through the lens of the gospel.

Learn more:

  1. ESV Study Bible: The Ark of the Covenant
  2. Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: Ark
  3. GotQuestions.org: What is the Ark of the Covenant?
  4. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: Ark of the Covenant
  5. Nicholas Batzig: The Ark of the Covenant
  6. R. C. Sproul: The Ark of the Covenant
  7. Daniel Hyde: The Ark of the Covenant and God’s Presence with Us
  8. Daniel Hyde: The Ark of the Covenant - Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-9 (audio)

Related terms:

Filed under Old Testament

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