Ark of the Covenant

Text: Hebrews 9:2-5

Prop: A picture of menorah below

Summary: God used objects that were symbols of things to come in the Ark of the Covenant.

Today we will learn how the Israelites worshipped God when they were in the wilderness. God told Moses to build a tabernacle. It was a portable tent that could be packed and moved as God led them. It was the place where the priests came to offer sacrifices at the altar. It was a place where God met with Moses and Aaron and told them all the laws that the people were to follow. Now inside the tent there was a second veil, or curtain, that led to the holiest place of all. God had Moses put certain objects in that special room.

Can you guess what may have been in that room? Let’s read in the Bible to find out. (Read the text]

menorahIn the first room (the sanctuary) was the table with the showbread and a special lamp stand with seven olive-oil lamps, called the menorah. God used objects that were showing us about Him from the earliest worship ever established with his people. The showbread was a special offering that was always on display [Exodus 25:30]. It reminds us of Jesus because Jesus said in John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. The lamp stand had seven lamps signifying the seven spirits of God. It also reminds us of Jesus because Jesus said in John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.


Ark of the Covenant
Graphic of Ark of Covenant ©1996 Karl Kofoed, Kofoed Design, used by permission.

In the second room, the Holiest of Holies, there was an altar of incense that burned continuously, giving off a sweet smell throughout the area. The Bible says our prayers are like sweet-smelling incense that rises before the Lord. In Psalm 141:2, it says Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense. [see also Revelation 8:3-5] The main attraction in the second room was the Ark of the Covenant, because this is where God sent His presence to talk to Moses. What was the ark? The word ark means chest. It was a box of wood that was covered with pure gold. Inside the box, Moses was commanded to place the Tables of Law, the actual stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. As time went by, other items were placed in the ark, including the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded.

Again, God was revealing more and more about His nature and how much He loves us with each item used in the worship services. The law meant that we had to be obedient to God. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it. The manna reminded the people that we are to depend on God daily for our life. It was a constant reminder that God provides for us. The rod that budded showed that God chooses who He desires to serve Him. Aaron was chosen to be a priest before God. God loves each of us and shows favor to some to become priests. The rod was a symbol of authority and all authority rests with God. Finally, the mercy seat sat on top of the ark. The cherubim or angels on each end faced each other and covered the ark with their wings. How appropriate that it was called the mercy seat, because this was where God met with his people and forgave them of their sins.

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. (Hebrews 9:24) Like those three-dimensional pictures that you stare at until you see the picture in the background, the more you study the Old Testament the more you see Jesus. So you see, in all of the worship objects that God commanded Moses to make, God was making a picture of things to come. He was giving us a picture of Jesus before Jesus came to earth. Next week we will learn more about that when we look at the veil of the temple, and why it served as a separator between God and man.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

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