The Ark of the New Covenant
by: Eric Love
Notes from the teaching on April 5, 2009 (podcast available)
The Ark of the Covenant
Hebrews 7-11 talks about the New Covenant God established with Christ and makes a comparison between it and the Old, imperfect Covenant.
We’re going to look at this comparison, paying special attention to the Ark of the Covenant…
The elements of the tabernacle were made exactly according to the model God showed Moses on the mountain (the model of Heaven)
Hebrews 9:4: Holy of Holies
Inside the Holy of Holies in Tabernacle was the golden alter of incense and the ark of the covenant, containing a golden jar filled with manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the stone slabs of the covenant (if you look at the alter of incense: this is worship – incense is seen as worship in both the OT and in Revelation)
2 things is the holiest place on earth: the alter of worship and the Ark of the Covenant
- Instructions for creation given in Exodus 25 (created to hold the Covenant which God was going to give Moses)
- carried by sons of Levi during wilderness wandering (Deut 31:9)
- taken across Jordan by the priests (Josh 8:1)
- captured by Philistines (1 Sam 4)
- brought to Jerusalem by David (2 Sam 6, 1 Chron 13, 15)
- finally installed in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8, 2 Chron 5), around 960 BC
For Israel (in OT), the ark represented God’s localized presence in judgment, mercy, forgiveness and love and was a visible reminder (due to Ten Commandments inside it) to be loyal and obedient to the Lord, to live life under the authority of God
Martin Luther termed the “covering” or lid of the Ark the “Mercy Seat” – because God “sat” enthroned over it in mercy. Essentially the Ark was the Throne of God on earth.
(Mercy: says a lot about God’s character and purpose.)
- Ark is believed to have been lost in the Babylonian invasion of Judah (587/586 BC)
- Ark last seen during Josiah’s sweeping reforms in Judah (God’s law recovered after 200 hundred years of being lost), Josiah returns Ark to the Temple (2 Chron 35)
- At same time (around 620 BC), Jeremiah (3:16) prophesies about Ark: “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you … and bring you to Zion. Then I will shepherd you after my own heart… Men will no longer speak of the ‘Ark of the Covenant’, it will not be missed… At that time they will call Jerusalem the Throne of the Lord.”
- Immediate image here: Revelation 21 – We are the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, where God dwells so there is no need of a temple or sun or moon
- In fact, the next time the Ark is SEEN, not simply mentioned, is in Revelation 11:19 – when the “mystery of God is accomplished,” and the Kingdoms of the World have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,” in the throes of heavenly worship where the 24 elders are singing, God’s temple in Heaven is thrown open and there, inside it, is the Ark of the Covenant – surrounded by lightning, thunder, and earthquake and hailstorm
A few exploits of the Ark during its heyday:
- substantial enough to make the Lord’s enemies shake with fear and Israel to shout loud enough to shake the earth when it was brought to the battlefield (1 Sam 4)
- without a single Israelite soldier, it brought devastation on 3 Philistine cities (when it had been captured) (1 Sam 4)
- waged war against the Pagan God, Dagon – knocked it on its face, broke off its hands and head (keep following 1 Sam 4)
- held enough power to kill a man (1 Chron 13)
- held enough power to bless (1 Chron 13)
- held something of such substantial importance that King David practically danced naked before it when it was put in its proper place (after being neglected for 50 years during Saul’s reign)
If it was such a big deal, how could it have been lost? Remember Jeremiah’s prophecy: it was because God was establishing a NEW COVENANT, one in which no one would look to a man made box to be the manifested, concentrated imprint of His presence. Under the New Covenant, the Bride is Zion. We are the New Jerusalem. We are the Temple. We are the Ark of the Covenant.
We needn’t be distracted by a thing that can take the place of US being put in our rightful place as the personification of the manifested and concentrated presence of God on earth.
New Covenant Law: I will imprint my laws upon their minds, even upon their inner most understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God and they will be my people
(again in Hebrews 10:16 – imprint my laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their innermost thoughts and understanding)
Under Old Covenant - One Priest could go into the Holy of Holies once a year!
New Covenant: (Heb 10:10) We are consecrated and made holy by the perfect blood of Jesus and can enter into the Holy of Holies anytime (vs. 19)
Because of this, we should “seize and hold fast without wavering the hope we confess (acknowledge) – because we know He will make good on His promise –coming boldly before the throne of Grace (the pattern for the earthly Holy of Holies) (4:16). And let us consider how we may stir each other up and incite us to love and good deeds, gathering together to worship.
Love and good deeds. Remember: God is enthroned on mercy.
We Are the Temple Now
1 Cor 3:16, 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16 – We are the temple of God’s permanent dwelling, bought with us a price (not ours anymore). He is our God. We are His people. Our bodies, then are treated as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
In the Temple was kept the Ark
The Ark contained the stone tablets of the Law of Moses, Aaron’s budding staff and a golden jar of manna. Above it was the seat of God’s mercy. Next to it was the alter of incense – the alter of worship.
Ezekiel 11:19 – God would remove our hearts of STONE and replace them with hearts of FLESH, living, changeable, moveable. A heart that can respond! Instead of God’s law being written on stone, it will be written on our hearts (Hebrews 8, 10).
Our bodies are the temple. We –at our core, our hearts – are the Ark (the chest) of God’s covenant with us.
Look at these four elements in the New Covenant:
Law – prophetic word of God, God’s law of love tattooed on our hearts and minds, on our deepest places of understanding. This includes the prophetic ministry.
Luke 16:16 – the Law extended all the way to John. Then the gospel of the Kingdome came (the good news of the Kingdom of God: this is the New Covenant)
Acts 13:39 – we are justified through faith in Jesus in a way that the old Law could never justify us
Aaron’s Budding Staff – this followed the rebellion of Korah and his followers, when they caused many in Israel to rebel against Moses. The earth opened up and swallowed them. Fire from the Lord consumed them. (Numbers 16, 17) It was a big deal because they rebelled against God’s chosen authority.
Then, in order to show where God’s true authority lay, Aaron’s staff began to bud. The sign of God’s authority.
Philippians 2, John 13 – the authority of Christ manifested in humble service – extreme humble service (the same attitude we are to walk in)
In fact, Jesus commissioned us to GO in His authority – Matthew 28:18-20
Luke 9:1 – Jesus gives power and authority to disciples
John 14:10-12 – Jesus acted under God’s authority. We act under His.
Manna – the daily miraculous provision of God for Israel, an act of faith to live on only what they eat that day. A mater of FAITH they engaged in every single day for 40 years in a wilderness.
Hebrews 11 – faith is the substantial proof of what we hope for and “see” in Christ
Revelation 2:17 – the “hidden manna” associated with our identity in Christ, “the name written on a white stone that only we understand” (there is a connection between our faith being a response to God’s provision and us knowing who we are in Him)
The Seat of God’s Mercy and the Alter of Worship – “mercy seat” hovers above the “Ark” – us: as we are bathed in the incense of worship, we are covered by Mercy.
Remember who we are.
Remember the Kingdom.
We must be diligent to ACKNOWLEDGE what is in us, who we ARE, to discipline ourselves continually to remember God’s throne of grace, His seat of mercy and to BE the personification of those things on earth – His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth just like in Heaven – through supernatural faith and authority and through the Word of the Lord imprinted on our deepest understanding.
It is a matter of us BEING DELIBERATE to remember and act.
Our lives are an act or worship.
Eric Love, 4/7/2009 1
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