The Ark of the Covenant

Pastor Richard Gordon, Living Springs Church

Most people have no idea what the Ark of the Covenant is. They aren’t aware of the details or its importance… except what Hollywood has told them. What most people think they know is through the 1980 adventure thriller – “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” After some study, I found out that the movie states about 50 percent of the truth regarding the Ark …not bad for Hollywood. 

In the Bible, the Ark of the Covenant has a well-documented history. I count the “Ark of the Covenant” at least 67 times between the Book of Exodus and Revelation. Exodus 25 is the first mention of the Ark.  

The Ark speaks of the holiness, power, and majesty of God. The word “Ark” itself just means “box” or “chest.” However, what made this “box” unique was that it symbolized the presence of the holy God of the universe. God Himself gave Moses the exact instructions for building and caring for the Ark!

It was to be a rectangular-shaped box about 3.75 feet by 2.25 feet and made of wood with gold plating inside and out. On the top of the lid were two Cherubims, (angels), facing each other made of solid gold. Inside were three items: 

1.) Aaron’s rod he used while High Priest. 

2.) A golden jar containing manna from the wilderness. 

3.) Stone tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments. 

The Ark was designed to be mobile, transported from place to place. The Ark started its journey with the Israelites in the desert at Mt Sinai. After the Israelites entered the land of Canaan in Joshua’s day, the ark found its home within the Tabernacle (a large tent), in an area 30 miles north of Jerusalem called Shiloh. 

At one point, the Ark was transported from the Tabernacle and was taken into battle. However, the Israelites didn’t follow God’s instructions but took the Ark of the Covenant into the battle as a “good luck” charm. God doesn’t play those games.  

The Ark was captured by the Philistines who learned the hard way that the God of Israel was to be feared and honored and so the Ark was returned to Israel and taken to a town called Kiriath Jearim (or Baalah) about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. Eventually, King David would bring the Ark of the Covenant to his new capital of Jerusalem.

Years ago, I was at the town of Kiriath Jearim (an Arab/Jewish town) in Israel. I remember the town well as it had a fully kosher McDonalds. There were numerous Jewish groups living there, alongside many Arab families. Two distinct people groups living peacefully alongside one another to this day. It gave me hope that there might be a settled peace between the Jewish and Arab populations.

The current Middle East situation can be very discouraging, but I’m comforted remembering Kiriath Jearim, and those two totally different cultures living alongside one another in harmony. We don’t know if the Ark of the Covenant still exists however, we do know God is eternal and His presence is real. He is much bigger than our problems and our issues. Our God is the Living, Almighty, Sovereign God, who someday will bring peace to our entire world. (Romans 14:11)


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