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Part I.  Old Testament

Contents of the Ark

Power of the Ark

Sacredness of the Ark

Staff of Aaron

Place of Prayer


Contents of the Ark

Hebrews 9:3-4
“Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, in which were the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 10:1-4
“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew two tables of stone like the first, and come up to me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood.2 And I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tables which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.’3 So I made an ark of acacia wood, and hewed two tables of stone like the first, and went up the mountain with the two tables in my hand.4 And he wrote on the tables, as at the first writing, the ten commandments which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me.”


Power of the Ark

The Ark is powerful.  Cf. Fall of Jericho Joshua 6: 1-20

Joshua 6:2-20   
“And to Joshua the LORD said,  ‘I have delivered Jericho and its king into your power.   Have all the soldiers circle the city, marching once around it. Do this for six days, with seven priests carrying ram’s horns ahead of the ark. .. When they give a long blast on the ram’s horns and you hear that signal, all the people shall shout aloud.  The wall of the city will collapse, and they will be able to make a frontal attack.’   Summoning the priests, Joshua, son of Nun, then ordered them to take up the ark of the covenant with seven of the priests carrying ram’s horns in front of the ark of the LORD.”

1 Samuel 5:1-8
“When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they carried it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon.3 And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place.4 But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him.5 This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.  The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy upon us and upon Dagon our god.”8 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.”  So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there.”

1 Samuel 5:9-11
“So they moved the ark of the God of Israel to Gath! But after it had been brought there, the LORD threw the city into utter turmoil: he afflicted its inhabitants, young and old, and hemorrhoids broke out on them.  The ark of God was next sent to Ekron; but as it entered that city, the people there cried out, “Why have they brought the ark of the God of Israel here to kill us and our kindred?”  Then they, too, sent a summons to all the Philistine lords and pleaded: Send away the ark of the God of Israel. Let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our kindred.” A deadly panic had seized the whole city, since the hand of God had been very heavy upon it.”


Sacredness of the Ark

The ark was so holy that it was not to be touched or carried in a normal or casual manner.

1 Chronicles 15:15
“The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders with poles, as Moses had ordained according to the word of the LORD.”

Exodus 25:10-16
“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.11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and you shall make upon it a molding of gold round about.12 And 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.13 You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark by them.15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.”

Joshua 3:4-5
“ … But let there be a space of two thousand cubits between you and the ark. Do not come nearer to it.”  Joshua also said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will perform wonders among you.”

2 Samuel 6:6-7
“When they came to the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and steadied it, for the oxen were making it tip.  But the LORD was angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there before God.”

1 Chronicles 13:9-10
“As they reached the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah stretched out his hand to steady the ark, for the oxen were upsetting it.  Then the LORD became angry with Uzzah and struck him; he died there in God’s presence, because he had laid his hand on the ark.”

[compare to the sacredness and purity that God intended for sexual activity.  It is not to be touched outside of the marriage covenant.  In previous, and less confused generations it was called the marital act.]

The Ark represented the Glory that God had given to the Israelites. 

1 Samuel 4:22
“And she said,  ‘The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.’ ”


Staff of Aaron

Exodus 7:8-12
“The LORD told Moses and Aaron,  “If Pharaoh demands that you work a sign or wonder, you shall say to Aaron: Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will be changed into a snake.”… Pharaoh, in turn, summoned wise men and sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did likewise by their magic arts.  Each one threw down his staff, and it was changed into a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs.

Numbers 17:17-20, 23  and  18:1
“There the staff of the man of my choice shall sprout. Thus will I suppress from my presence the Israelites’ grumbling against you.”  … Aaron’s staff, representing the house of Levi, had sprouted and … blossoms as well … The LORD said to Aaron, “… your ancestral house shall … the responsibility of the priesthood shall rest on you and your sons alone.”

Numbers 17:17-20
“Speak to the Israelites and get one staff from them for each ancestral house, twelve staffs in all, one from each of their tribal princes. Mark each man’s name on his staff;  and mark Aaron’s name on Levi’s staff, for the head of Levi’s ancestral house shall also have a staff.  Then lay them down in the meeting tent, in front of the commandments, where I meet you.  There the staff of the man of my choice shall sprout. Thus will I suppress from my presence the Israelites’ grumbling against you.”

Numbers 17:23
“The next day, when Moses entered the tent, Aaron’s staff, representing the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth not only shoots, but blossoms as well, and even bore ripe almonds!”

Numbers 18:1
“The LORD said to Aaron, “You and your sons as well as the other members of your ancestral house shall be responsible for the sanctuary; but the responsibility of the priesthood shall rest on you and your sons alone.


Place of Prayer

Psalm 99:5
“Extol the Lord our God;  worship at his footstool!  Holy is he!”

1 Chronicles 28:2
“King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brethren and my people. It was my purpose to build a house of repose myself for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the footstool for the feet of our God; and I was preparing to build it.”

Exodus 25:18-22
“And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.19 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.20 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.21 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.22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”



Part II  New Testament  Ark in the New Covenant




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