What is the ark of the covenant?


By BibleAsk Team

The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant was the only piece of furniture in the most holy place in God’s sanctuary or temple  (Exodus 25:10-22). It was a box or chest of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Standing atop the chest were two angels made of solid gold. Between these angels was the mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-22), where the supernatural presence of God dwelt. This symbolized God’s throne in heaven, which is likewise located between two angels (Psalms 80:1).

Inside the ark laid the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 10:4, 5). God made a covenant (a conditional covenant) with the children of Israel. “And he (God) wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments” (Exodus 34:28). The Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant. The agreement was made “concerning all these words of the law” (Exodus 24:8).

The Ten Commandments, which God wrote on tables of stone with His own finger (Exodus 31:18), are His moral Law for us to obey today (Revelation 14:12; 12:17). But the mercy seat was above them, which signified that as long as God’s people confessed and forsook sin (Proverbs 28:13), mercy would be extended to them through the blood which was sprinkled on the mercy seat by the priest (Leviticus 16:15, 16). The blood of the animal represents Jesus’ blood that was shed for us to bring us forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22).

The second item inside the Ark was Aaron’s Rod. “The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die” (Numbers 17:10). The third item inside the Ark was the Manna. “And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations” (Exodus 16:33). For more information, check: https://bibleask.org/inside-ark-covenant/

Jesus and the Ten Commandments

Some teach that the Ten Commandments were canceled in the New Testament. But Jesus declared, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). Jesus specifically asserted that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill (or keep) it.

Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus magnified it (Isaiah 42:21) as the perfect guide for right living. For example, Jesus pointed out that “thou shalt not kill” condemns anger “without a cause” (Matthew 5:21, 22) and hatred (1 John 3:15), and that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:27, 28). He added, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience is the acid test of man’s love to God. Jesus asserted, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). Man can’t keep the commands by his power (John 15:5). It is God that gives man the grace to obey (Philippians 4:13).

The new commandment of love (John 13:34) that Jesus gave did not replace the Ten Commandments. It merely summed them up. “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). For the first four commandments (Exodus 20:2-11) deal with man’s relationship with God and the the last six commandments deal with man’s relationship with his fellow men (Exodus 20:12-17).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories Law

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