This is the sixth article of our Living Tabernacles series, where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua. It is also more challenging when we examine what each element means for us, since each of us is now a living tabernacle of YHVH. We are posting two articles each month as part of this series.
YHVH is building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. A king reigns from his throne and also pronounces judgment from there. The Ark of the Covenant was designed to be the throne of YHVH on earth. There are two carved cherubim on the lid of the ark, just as there are live cherubim who protect the throne of YHVH in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant is one phase of the continuing saga of YHVH building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We see this clearly by examining two other “arks” mentioned in Scripture. Let us first examine two words that are translated as “ark” in the Bible.
The word that is translated as “ark” for the Ark of the Covenant is aron (Strong’s Concordance, Hebrew #727). It is most often used in Scripture (194 times) to refer to the Ark of the Covenant. It is used six times in Scripture to refer to a chest (for money offerings, for example) and one time to refer to Joseph’s coffin (Gen 50:26). Another word that is translated as ark is tebah or tevah (Strong’s Concordance, Hebrew #8392). It means a box or a chest and is used in reference to Noah’s ark and the ark (basket) where Moshe was placed as an infant. Both words are of uncertain origin but since both Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant were personally designed by YHVH, we can speculate on the origin of those words.
There are numerous striking similarities with the three arks. We will cover several in this article, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. As we study the three arks we find recurring themes as YHVH continues with His kingdom building plan.
Noah’s ark was used as a sanctuary to protect and preserve the tiny remnant of people and animals that it housed. From those people would eventually come the Messiah. Moses’ ark sheltered the infant until he was rescued. Moses later became the leader of the Israelites and brought them out of Egyptian slavery. Messiah Yeshua is a descendant of the Israelites. The Ark of the Covenant was YHVH’s earthly throne, but was also referred to as the “mercy seat”, a sanctuary for the Israelites and, by extension, all those who choose to be part of His kingdom. We are spiritual descendants of YHVH.
There is a covenant associated with each of the three arks. YHVH made a covenant with Noah and his descendants to never again destroy the earth by flood. YHVH made a covenant with Moses and the Israelites to be their God and they would be His people. YHVH makes a covenant with us to be a part of His kingdom.
Water also plays a significant role in each of these stories. The inhabitants of Noah’s ark were surrounded by water for many days. Moses was drawn from the waters of the Nile. The water of the Nile would later be turned into blood. He and the Israelites would miraculously cross through the waters of the Red (Reed) Sea. The walls of water then collapsed and destroyed their enemies. The waters of the Jordan River parted as the Ark of the Covenant and the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land (Joshua 3). We are immersed in water at baptism and are filled with the living waters of the Holy Spirit.
Noah’s ark was covered with tar or pitch, a covering to keep it watertight and to protect the humans and animals inside. Moshe’s ark (basket) was covered with tar or pitch to keep out the waters of the Nile and to protect the infant inside. The blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled on the mercy seat once a year (on Yom Kippur or the day of covering) to protect the Israelites from judgment. Yeshua is the Savior who covers and protects us with His blood.
The ark Noah built did not have any oars. The ark’s inhabitants were totally dependent on YHVH for their salvation, and could not rely on navigational skills. Moses’ ark was also at the mercy of YHVH to stay protected in the Nile until Moses was discovered and rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter. The Ark of the Covenant had poles attached through gold rings, but the Ark was to be moved only at the direct order of YHVH. We are helpless to save ourselves and must rely totally on YHVH for our salvation. We even rely on His gift of faith to receive our salvation (Eph 2:8).
The Ark of the Covenant was made of acacia wood and covered with gold. Yeshua was sacrificed on a wooden cross. He has now exchanged His crown of thorns for a crown of gold (Rev 14:14).
Let us examine now the contents of the Ark of the Covenant:
- Manna, the bread from heaven. Yeshua is the Living Bread that came down from heaven.
- Aaron’s budding rod showed “who is holy (set apart), who is His and who He chooses to come near to Him (Numbers 16 and 17). Yeshua is our High Priest and King, worthy, able and appointed by YHVH to be our representative and leader.
- The stone tablets with the Ten Commandments which are a summary of the Torah. Yeshua, our Rock, is the Living Torah.
In each story, there was threat of death, yet at least some people were spared so that YHVH could continue with His kingdom plan. In His justice, YHVH must condemn the guilty, yet His desire is to show mercy. We, as citizens of His kingdom, are condemned for our guilt, but are also redeemed by His loving sacrifice. Our King is our true shelter in the storms of life.