The Ark of the Covenant
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. Exodus 25:8-15 (ESV)
The ark was the first and most important piece of furniture that God told Moses to build, because it was the focal point of God’s presence.
The ark was smaller than four feet by three feet.
The poles remaining in the ark remind us that one who touched the ark would die, a reality that emphasized the holiness of God. Numbers 4:15
At the bottom of the ark were four feet to keep the Ark from resting directly on the ground. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. 17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Exodus 25:16-22 (ESV)
The cherubim are angels who deny access to anyone or anything that is unholy. Ezekiel 1:5-11; 13-14
The picture of the ark and the cherubim is a three dimensional representation of God on His throne in heaven.
The cherubim look down as they are bowing in God’s presence.
The space above the cherubim is left empty for that represents the place of God’s presence, and nothing created can represent God.
If the top of the ark was God’s throne, then the ark was God’s footstool. Psalm 132:7-8
The tablets that contained the ten commandments were deposited in God’s footstool under His feet.
The author of Hebrews states that a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were also in the ark. Hebrews 9:3-4.
*Outline primarily by Kent Hughes: