By Ellsworth A. Archer
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
Ex. 25 :17-21
We now come to the most important part of the tabernacle, the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holiest the place where dwelt the presence of God.
The Most Holy Place was 10 cubits each way, thus forming a cube. It was separated from the Holy Place by a wail or curtain of beautifully woven linen--blue, purple and scarlet, with figures of cherubim worked in it. This curtain hung from four pillars overlaid with gold which rested in silver sockets. Within the Most Holy Place was only one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant.
Just above the Cherubim dwelt the Shekinah, the presence or glory of Jehovah. (Ex. 25:22.) This room was absolutely dark except for the light which came from the presence of Jehovah. But His presence illuminated the place with a light beyond the brightness of the sun.
So it is with our lives. They are absolutely dark without the presence of Christ. Education, culture, refinement -- which are good and proper and necessary -- will not take away this darkness. It takes the indwelling presence of the Christ who "is light, and in Him no darkness at all." When He comes He dispels the gloom; darkness disappears, and the light of His presence illuminates our lives.
God was believed to be present in a peculiar manner above the Mercy Seat, to make known His will to the high priest concerning the people, and to hear and answer prayer.
We, too, have a Mercy-seat where we can make our wants and wishes known, and where God hears and answers prayer.
If we make use of the mercy-seat we will be able to pass safely at the judgment seat. For "He bath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities," but He hath dealt with us in mercy - that is, with favor, with pity, with leniency. Mercy means an unexpected act of pity or clemency; the act of treating an offender with less severity than he deserves.
The ark was a type of Christ because it was the leader and guide of the children of Israel. It was to be their guide "to search out the resting places for them." It led them through many places. When they came to the great swollen waters of the Jordan the priests, carrying the ark, stepped into the waters, which separated, and Israel went through safely. (Josh. 3:7-17.) But though they were at last in the promised land there were other victories to be won, and almost immediately it was necessary to capture Jericho. Again the priests carried the ark, and obeying the command of Jehovah they encircled the city according to direction, when, at the promised time, the walls fell down and the city was theirs. (Josh. 6.) Other instances could be cited, but these are sufficient to show that the ark was the constant pledge of guidance and victory.
So Christ is our leader, and He will go before and prepare the way for us, and if we trust in Him and follow Him He will lead us through the deep waters and the hard places safely with constant victory all the way. It is perfectly safe to trust such a guide.
Within the ark there were three articles, namely: the tables of stone - or the tables of law the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.