“And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called Holiest if all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold round about with gold, wherein was…the tables of the covenant…”
In the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, there is a rather dramatic scene in which the Ark is opened and everybody who looks into it dies a horrible death. Leading up to the scene the viewer is led to believe there is a secret weapon or some powerful talisman.
Students of the Ark know better. There was something of significance in the Ark, in fact, there were three things in the Ark that all served a single purpose. We will look at the other contents in upcoming blogs, today we look at the tables of the covenant.
The movie did get one thing right, when Jones was asked if he meant the Ark held the stone tablets containing the actual ten commandments, he said yes. The real. original, second edition, ten commandments were inside the Ark.
However, they held no magical power, they were nothing but carved stone. Their power lay, as with all the contents of the Ark, in what they represented rather than the things themselves.
The stone tablets of the covenant held within the Ark were there to serve as a continual reminder of man’s rejection of God’s law. The first time around Moses hadn’t descended from the mount before the people were having a high time breaking the first commandment.
Those on those tablets are the broad principles for living a life pleasing to God. Jesus summed them up in two categories, love God, and treat your neighbor as you wish to be treated. The Ark may have disappeared taking the tables of the law with it, but the need for people to live by the principles outlined on them has not diminished a bit.
The great difficulty created by the stone tablets of the law was that the words were carved in stone. “That’s just your opinion,” was immediately obvious as nonsense. When somebody said, “nobody’s perfect” all you had to do was glance at the tablets and that was clear.
Men had the law of God, they rejected the law of God, choosing in its stead to live by human opinion and flawed human example. Jesus told the Pharisees, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” So, it has been since the Garden and continues to be today.
There’s nothing strange or hard to understand about why people reject the commandments as guidelines for living. The commandments illuminate our failures to live as we were created to live. That’s pretty hard to take, especially when the remedy is to own our failures and ask forgiveness for them.
Perhaps the greatest modern affirmation of human rejection of God’s law is the ever-popular—“I’m spiritual, not religious”. Which is tantamount to declaring we are a law unto ourselves, prescribed by us, responsible to none other, and subject only to our own whims, fully rejecting the law and authority of God.
The Ark of the Covenant holds the evidence written against on tablets of stone reserved for Judgment Day.