The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 35

“The Ark of the Covenant (Testimony)”

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof,
and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou
shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall thou overlay it, and shall make upon it a
crown of gold round about. And thou shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the
four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other
side of it. And thou shall make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou
shall put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark that the ark may be borne with them.
The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shall put
into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. And thou shall make a mercy seat of pure
gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth
thereof. And thou shall make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shall thou make them, in
the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on
the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And
the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings,
and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim
be. And thou shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shall put the
testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee
from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the
testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel
Exod 25:10–22; 37:1–9)

Beyond the `Vail,’ in the `Most Holy,’ there was but one piece of furniture— the `Ark.’ It was a
rectangular box made of wood overlaid with gold, having a lid or cover of pure gold called the Propitiatory
or `
Mercy Seat.’ Upon it (and of the same piece), were two cherubs of gold a beaten work. (T17)

The Ark of the Covenant or `Ark of the Testimony’ was the only article of furniture in the Most
. (Heb 9:2–4 Diaglott footnote) Its name suggests that it illustrated the embodiment of Jehovah’
s plan, which he had purposed in himself, before the beginning of the creation of God—before the
minutest development of his plan had taken place.
It represented the eternal purpose of God—his
foreordained arrangement of riches of grace for mankind in
(and through) the Christ (Head and
Body)—`the hidden mystery.’
It therefore represents Christ Jesus and his Bride, the `little
to be partakers of the divine nature, and to be imbued with the power and great glory—the prize
of our high calling—the joy set before our Lord, and all the members of his Body.” (

“The value… attributed to the Decalogue results from its being a testimony of God, revealing not merely,
as perhaps we have been accustomed to think, what he wills, but what he is. The `
ten words’ inscribed
on these tablets do, indeed, contain commandments; but first of all they testify that God is a deliverer.
The inscription commences, `
I am Jehovah thy God, which has brought thee out of the land of
Egypt, out of the house of bondage
.’ (Exod 20:2) By its requirements and prohibitions, the
document testified that Jehovah was holy, and required holiness of his people.
Because of this witness
which the inscription bore concerning Jehovah,
it was called the testimony; and because its
Author had propounded it as the basis of the covenant he wished to make with the Hebrews,
and they had formally and solemnly consented to receive it as such,
it was also called the
. For corresponding reasons the ark was sometimes termed the ark of the testimony and
sometimes the ark of the covenant.” (
Atwater, “The Sacred Tabernacle of the Hebrews”, Page
) Compare Exod 25:16 with Num 10:33

The slab which covered the Ark of the Covenant was called the “Mercy Seat” or Propitiatory
Exod 25:17; 37:6); and yet it represented more particularly that most basic and fundamental attribute
of Jehovah’s character—
one that can know no mercy, Justice.” (See T124)

It was here that Israel’s high priests had once each year to sprinkle the blood of atonement, to satisfy
the demands of a violated Justice. Only then could the high priest come forth as the administrator of
God’s mercy, to bless the people with forgiveness and peace.

In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus is referred to as both the
propitiation (hilasmos)—1 John 2:2;
—and propitiatory (hilasterion)—Rom 3:25, Rotherham, Fenton, Wilson. The former of these
expressions means “
satisfaction” whereas the latter means “the place of satisfaction”—i.e., the place
where satisfaction is made (
justice is satisfied); hilasterion has been so translated in Hebrews 9:5.
See also E442)

Putting first things first, we see that God’s Mercy (an essential element of his love) could not
act on behalf of sinners until Justice had been satisfied. How beautifully this also is illustrated in
the position of the two cherubim representing Love and Power upon the “Mercy Seat.”

The two cherubim represent divine love and divine power. These attributes, justice the
foundation principle, and love and power of the same quality or essence, and lifted up out of it are in
perfect harmony. They are all made of one piece (
Exod 37:6-8): they are thoroughly one. Neither Love
nor Power can be exercised until Justice is fully satisfied
. Then they fly to help, to lift up and to
bless. They were on the wing, ready, waiting; looking inward toward the `
Mercy Seat’ toward Justice, to
know when to move.” (

Over yonder is the stream of God’s Mercy, dammed up by Justice. In the dam, however, is a sluice gate,
representing that God intended to find a way in which he could remain just and yet justify the sinner
who would believe. The sluice gate would permit the waters to pass beyond the dam if someone would
only open it. This is just what Jesus did by way of his ransom sacrifice, so that the gate which once was
an integral part of the dam of God’s Justice, now becomes the channel of blessing. It is just so that
cover of the ark first of all represents God’s Justice,
but after the sprinkling of the blood of
atonement upon it
, it becomes the “Mercy Seat” or channel
by way of which God’s Mercy flows man-ward.

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness [by extension: the realm of truth] and peace [by
extension: the realm of mercy and love]
have kissed each other.” (Psa 85:10)

As for the rectangular box overlaid with gold upon which the Mercy Seat was placed this
represented the divine nature granted to the glorified Church
. (T121)

As the “Ark” represented the Christ, so the “Mercy Seat” or cover represents God,The head
of Christ is God
” (1 Cor 11:13)

Now it might be noted that in this particular post with its illustration of the Ark of the Covenant that
the placement of the “
poles” which were used to carry the Ark have been changed from that which is
typically shown in most illustrations of the Ark, generally shown as running
North and South even as
was illustrated in our presentation of the Day of Atonement, however upon further reflection and study
we believe that this typical view is incorrect, let us examine the texts once again.

Then Bezaleel made the ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits was its length, a cubit and a
its width, and a cubit and a half its height” (Exod 37:1)

Now generally when one is given the measurements of a specific object, that is a three dimensional
object, take for example a house, the first measurements given generally relate to the face or that
portion considered as being the front of the object (
its length), followed by its width (its sides) and
its height, if however it were a two dimensional object which we were speaking of such as an
opening in a wall the measurements then given are generally the length times height.

Now the narrative goes on to state, that Bezaleel
cast for it four rings of gold to be set in its four
two rings on one side, and two rings on the other side of it. He made poles of acacia
wood and overlaid them with gold, and then he put the poles into the rings
at the sides of the
, to bear the ark.” (Verses 3-5)

Now it is possible for one to conceive that the two sides referred to could just as well have been in
reference to the front and the back sides, but to us this does not seem the correct thought. We are
expressly told that two rings were to be placed on
each side of (IT), thus in our minds the viewer is
standing in front of
(IT), i.e. the object itself an object whose face dimension is 2 ½ cubits in length
(across) with two sides of 1 ½ cubits
in width or depth.

Another thought to consider the staves or poles are identified with the movement of the Church
in its journey toward the Heavenly Canaan
. Therefore their placement at the two ends or sides of
the Ark in an
East to West direction seems to typify the journey of the Church which began from the
east at the courtyard entrance traveling ever westward toward the Most Holy and God. (
See Brother
Frey’s thoughts on this as were expressed in our last post

“Within the `
Ark’ (under the Propitiatory), within the rectangular box, were placed the golden bowl of
manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the two Tables of the Law
. (Heb 9:4)

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