“After the second veil, the tabernacle which is called Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant, and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat…”
I said last week I would tell you why we should know about the contents of the Ark, and so I shall. First, let’s dispel the idea that the Ark is lost. No, I do not know where it is and I have no desire to speculate. I know this, God knows where it is and it's His, so all is well. A second point is that the Ark is a type and shadow (a symbol) of something real. That is what the writer of Hebrews was trying to get across. Finally, there is a modern application.
You remember there are three things in the Ark. A pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tablets of stone with the ten commandments written on them. These things are all symbols of man’s rejection of God presented in a downward spiral of depravity. Rejection of God’s supply, rejection of God’s leadership/sovereignty, and rejection of God’s law/design for humanity.
During the Exodus, Israel was guilty of all three. However, they too are but a symbol of typical humanity. God chose them as examples/teachers for the rest of us. What do the memorials of their rebellion stored in the Ark teach? God’s mercy for wayward people.
The Ark was essentially a wooden box covered with gold. The lid of the box was solid gold on which stood two angels. The Spirit of God was said to reside (as much as anywhere God could reside) in space between the angels. In Samuel, God is called, the Lord of Hosts which dwelleth between the cherubims. Thus God was present and continually looking down on the contents of the Ark—the sins and rebellions of humanity.
Once a year the High Priest entered the Holiest of Holies and sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice on the Mercy Seat between the cherubim, covering the sins of the people, figuratively blotting them from God's sight. Or as seen another way, the sins that were as scarlet were seen through the red blood and therefore appeared white as snow. And so, that is how people appeared with the blood covering.
The writer of Hebrews explained what this means to us now.
“But Jesus Christ being come an high priest…by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…”
The blood of Jesus offered once, now continually covers the true mercy seat in the tabernacle of heaven, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” and purging our consciences from dead works.
The Ark was a symbol of God’s presence, our rebellion, and His mercy to the rebellious who, should they turn to Him, He will gladly receive as His own. and will in no wise cast out.