The Ark of the Covenant or Ark of the Testimony was a sacred chest that God told Moses to build in Exodus Chapter 25, verse 10
Image credit: http://mishkanministries.org/theark.php
Exodus 25: 10
“ And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. “
Two cherubim or angels were placed on the lid if the ark to represent God’s glory.
Exodus 25: 18
“And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. “
Three things were placed inside the ark. They are:
- Aaron’s rod
- The ten commandments
- A golden pot containing manna
Aaron’s rod: Aaron’s rod had budded as a sign that God wanted Aaron to continue as High Priest (Numbers 17:5)
The ten commandments: The ten commandments were on two stone tablets. Moses engraved the commandments on these two stone tablets (Exodus 20: 1-17)
A golden pot containing manna: God told Moses to fill a golden pot with manna to serve as a memorial of how God fed the people in the wildness (Exodus 16:32-33). The golden pot of Manna is an indication of eternal life.
The Ark of the Covenant was first deposited in the most sacred place of the tabernacle before Solomon placed it inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Temple.
But when the Chaldeans raided Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was lost. It was carried to Babylon along with other items in the Temple. There, the Ark of the Covenant became lost and couldn’t be traced till now. No one knows where it is now.
The Talmudists had some writings which confirmed that the Ark of the Covenant was not returned to Jerusalem. They mentioned 5 things that were in the first Temple which was missing in the second Temple. They include the following:
- The Ark of the Covenant
- The Shikinah or Divine Presence
- The Spirit of Prophecy
- The Urim and Thummim
- One last unknown thing
Some Hebrew scholars say that the Holy of Holies was empty in the second Temple and contained only the Stone of Foundation or the place that the Ark of the Covenant should have occupied.
Material used to construct the Ark of the Covenant: The Ark of the Covenant was constructed with shittim wood. Shittim wood is a species of Acacia. It is overlaid within and without with pure gold. The Ark of the Covenant about 3 Ft. 9 inches long, 2 Ft. 3 inches wide and 2 Ft. 3 inches deep.
Both sides of the Ark of the Covenant had two rings of gold which had staves of shittim wood through them. They were used to carry the Ark of the Covenant by the Levites.
The Ark of the Covenant had a covering of pure gold with two cherubim placed on it. The two cherubim had expanded wings. This covering of the Ark of the Covenant was called Kaw-far which means to pardon or blot out. It was called the Mercy Seat or the place where intercession for sin was made.
In Ancient Egyptian history, the Ark has always been mentioned. Archaeologists have often written and spoken about an ark that has been depicted on Temple walls in Egypt. Also, it had been mentioned in the Rosetta stone. The ark was carried in procession by priests that supported it on their shoulders with staves that were passed through metal rings.
The Egyptian ark was carried to an altar in a temple where ceremonies were performed in front of it. The contents of the Egyptian arks usually vary. Some contained a sacred beetle while some contained the symbol of The Sun. All the arks usually had 2 figures represented to depict the goddess Theme or Justice and Truth that overshadowed the arks with their wings. The occurrences of the Hebrew and Egyptian arks are more than mere coincidences.
More about the Ark of The Covenant
A lot of religious people believe that The Ark of the Covenant is God’s footstool where he rested his feet whenever he was in attendance within the Holy of Holies.
The Ark of the Covenant was carried through the desert by Israelites during all the years that they migrated from Egypt to the Promised Land. They also carried it to battles. The Ark was usually transported while covered with a blue cloth.
When King Solomon’s Temple was built, the original Tabernacle was dismantled, and the Ark was placed within the Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies. It was there until it was carried away to Babylon.
The Ark of the Covenant is a symbol of God’s promise of continued mercy to David. The Ark of the Covenant is the reason why King Solomon’s Temple was built. It was built for God to have a residence.
As Masons, we spend a lot of time learning more about King Solomon’s Temple. Our Lodge is an emulation of King Solomon’s Temple. We respect the wisdom of King Solomon, but we circumambulate round God’s word.
King David had a good palace. He was a strong and upright man who won a lot of battles because God stood by him. God gave him power over his enemies. Today, God stands by us and helps us with our battles.
Freemasonry makes good men better by learning and living by God’s commandments which were in the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is the light within King Solomon’s Temple while the spirit of a man is the light housed within his body. The light that emanates from the Ark of the Covenant is central to the foundations of Freemasonry.
King’s Solomon Temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant which is the symbol of God’s everlasting mercy for all our sins.
It is hoped that you will understand the light, wisdom, strength and beauty of the Ark of the Covenant.
Here are some products on Bricks Masons that have a representation of the Ark of Covenant on them.