The Tabernacle - 5
The Ark - Part 3
by Brad Scott
Well, I lied. I am not finished with the ark yet. This subject is too important, and I do not want to leave out a lot of good stuff just for the sake of moving on. So, with that in mind, let's talk some more about the cherubim and the contents of the aron. Last time we discussed briefly the purpose of the cherubim being there, but the text gives us some more details into the structural design that is important. In Shemot (Exodus) chapter 25 verse 19-20, we are told that these special beings are to cover the kapporeth with their stretched forth wings. Wings notoriously speak of trust in the Scriptures.
Mizemor (Psalm) 61:4I will abide in thy tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of thy wings.
Mizemor 36:7How excellent is thy loving-kindness O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Mizemor 91:4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.
Listen carefully to the writer of the book of Ruth:
Ruth 2:12YHVH recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee by YHVH ’Elohiym of Israel, under whose wings thou are come to trust.
These cherubim picture the act of batach or trusting YHVH. Many times in Scripture trust is associated with children.
In Mattityahu Yeshua‘ says:
Mattityahu (Matthew) 18:3Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Children are the epitome of trust. They rely totally on the wisdom, nuturing, and direction of their mother and father. It is then no coincidence that in Rabbinic literature the cherubim are pictured with the faces of little children, hovering over the ark containing the instructions of our Father. The Word of God is "under the shadow of thy wings."
The ark contains, or will contain, three objects: The law - (Ten Commandments, or Ten Words) Devariym (Deuteronomy) 10:2; Aharon's rod - Bemidebar (Numbers) 17:1; and the pot of manna - Ivrim (Hebrews) 9:4. All three of these objects are part of the testimony of YHVH, as well as the tabernacle itself, Bemidebar 9:15. Specifically, however, the ark is the testimony of God. So, what is God's testimony? Well, this English word is often translated as "the witness". The Hebrew word is 'edut. This ark was to be God's witness. This ark, a furnishing in the singular, is God's instructions covered by His mercy. This is to be HIS witness of HIS character and nature. Many times when we witness His good news, we focus on the kapporeth or mercy, and not the rest of the testimony. Yeshua‘ witnessed of His Father by extending mercy and grace to a lost people and obeying His commandments. This is a perfect continuing picture of God's witness, not man. The three objects in the ark all testify of the way, truth, and life of God. In Bemidebar 17, we see that true life is expressed by the blossoming buds of Aharon's rod. We see a picture of the High priest being the only way into the Holy of Holies, and we experience the truth through the revelation of the one true rod of God, the one that produces fruit. In spite of the kind of food that Israel lusted for, the only way they would be fed by God was to eat His manna, or His bread. This bread was a picture of the true life of God.
Yochanan (John) 6:33For the bread of God is he who cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Verse 32 of this same chapter tells us that this manna is a picture of the true bread from heaven. The manna was always a yad or a pointing stick to the words of God.
Devariym 8:3And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knew not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of YHVH doth man live.
The Ten Commandments, a representation of all of God's commands, is also a witness of the way, truth, and life of God.
Mizemor 119:1Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of YHVH.
Mizemor 119:50This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word has given me life.
Yeshua‘ expresses this perfectly well in Yochanan 6.
Yochanan 6:63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
In Mizemor 119 we again read:
Mizemor 119:142,151Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is truth ... Thou art near, O YHVH; and all thy commandments are truth.
For further study on this subject I would recommend going to our archives under these subjects. I can assure you that there are myriads of verses similar to these.
I believe that the heart is where God's Torah resides, and that it has always been that way. Many biblical scholars teach that Mesopotamia is the cradle and heart of civilization, and that the garden of Eden was at the heart of Mesopotamia. The Scriptures go on to reveal that from this heart of the land four rivers went out from Eden to water the garden. (Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 2:10). This, of course, would be the source of water to give life to the garden, and a picture of the source of living water.
Yochanan 7:38He that believes on me, as the Scriptures hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.
It was in this garden that God gave Adam instructions or Torah. Adam was told that he could freely eat of all of the trees of the garden. The garden was Adam's world, and he was given freedom in that world if he obeyed God's command.
Bere’shiyt 2:17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Pretty simple instructions. Do what I ask and you will have freedom, disobey and you lose your freedom and your life. From the heart and center of Adam's world comes freedom if he listens to God and death if he does not. Freedom does not come from release from God's instruction but obedience to it. In Bere’shiyt chapter three the serpent will contradict this basic scriptural truth and teach that freedom comes from liberation from God's commands. This perversion of a basic scriptural truth will be the basis for most religions from this point on. After Adam and Chava's (Eve's) removal from the garden, this ancient paradise will disappear from the scene. From this point on, the garden will be placed in the hearts of men by the act of sacrifice of innocent blood. Every person since Adam cannot enter this garden. God's truth, by faith, would dwell with us, and one day we would once again go to be where He is (Yochanan 14:3).
God would soon once again paint a picture of His dwelling place in the tabernacle. A place for His mercy and instructions, the ark. This tabernacle in the wilderness for His people would have a heart or a source for the rivers of God to give life from. It will be the heart of this structure that will give instructions and life to the Holy place and the court. This is where YHVH must first begin, and this is why from His point of view, He starts here. The heart or the lev in Hebrew is the center of man. Sometimes it is also referred to as the belly or beten. This word's verbal root also means to protrude from the center. The beten or womb is the source of nourishment for the child. The Scriptures teach that what we see externally comes forth from the very center of our being, or our heart.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 12:34O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
If the heart contains not the words of God, then it is not the words of God that will be displayed. When we, as believers, receive a new heart, we have His Torah written there. Why? Because God is placing His ark into the center of our very being. An ark that is covered by His mercy but contains His laws. His laws must be written on our heart. Yeshua‘ expressed what God means by that by doing what His law says. In Mizemor we read:
Mizemor 40:8I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law [Torah] is within my heart.
Yeshua‘ always did what His father told Him. He always obeyed Torah. This is why the new birth or new heart has Torah in mind. Listen carefully to:
Yechezeq’el (Ezekiel) 36:26-27A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.
This is also why it is the heart that is the source of true circumcision (Devariym 30:6, Yiremeyahu (Jeremiah) 4:4). When the heart is circumcised, it is made clean by the word of God. Only then can man say no to sin.
Mizemor 119:11Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.
So the ark is to be constructed first. It will be the center and heart of the tabernacle. The heart of the Mishkan is to be a unity. This one structure is to be a unity of God's mercy and Torah. Torah without mercy is death. It cannot stand alone, and there is no other helpmate for it. Think about it. If Adam (Torah) had no helpmate, then how would he multiply? How could life flow from him? Mercy without Torah is empty. If Chava (Mercy) has no seed, no source of germination, then how can she produce life? True grace is filled with the seed of life.
Yochanan 6:63The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The testimony or witness of the ark is to be the same witness of Yeshua'. The same testimony or "good news" to be taught and observed by God's people throughout all generations. The testimony of a Father, inherited by His Son, to be given to His children.
Mattityahu 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Amen.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊