The 'Ark' Principle

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The 'Ark' Principle


Exodus 25: (10–21) 22

“… there above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites”


What interests me in the design of the ark was the instruction given by Joshua in Jos. 3: 2 – 4a;

“…After 3 days, the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people, ‘when you see the ark …, then you will know the way to go, since you have never been this way before’ ”

In exodus above, we see a model depicting the conditions for a relationship between God and spiritual leadership, or even any relationship between God and man at all; as it is over the “mercy seat” that God promised to come to talk with man. It is also the ark that was to lead the people into a new territory; a new experience of the grace of God.

The ark is a wooden box made of incorruptible wood, overlaid with gold, carried with wooden beams overlaid with gold upon the shoulders of Levitical priests and covered by a solid gold cover with the forms of two “cherubs” (or witnesses) on it; looking at the top of the cover as if looking into the box to oversee the “testimony” (or covenant) inside the box..

Gold symbolizes value; unlike silver, it is incorruptible, thus divine value. It was used to overlay the wood of the box and its carrying rods to indicate that divine value was imputed into a set of “corruptible” values. Thus, spiritual value was imputed upon physical events or actions by the wisdom inherent in the design of the ark. This explains why our religious activities, tough physical and of no spiritual value, can call for spiritual response at all; because they have been given spiritual value, somehow. The box and its rods symbolizes the context in which our activities; religious or otherwise, come to have spiritual value at all.

The mercy seat “or the atonement cover” was made of solid gold. Thus, the mercy (or atonement) is purely divine. Nothing human or natural about it; it is purely a divinely imputed convention. It is also a “cover” to the box. I would like to point out that the same name – “ark” – is given to this box that was given to the boat used by Noah. Noah and everything in the ark was spared from the destruction that befell all that was outside; all that partook of the cover of the ark.

The atonement cover covers for all that is inside the ark or all who partook of what was inside the ark. The ark was in effect a box of divine separation from all that was not cover by the atonement imputed by God.

The cherubim or faithful witnesses are there to see to it that the “terms” or “testimony” or “covenant” of divine imputed value was adhered to; that the convention was adhered to.

Returning to the word atonement and mercy, atonement means to make amends for an “offence”, or to give satisfaction. A state of offence or sin is in essence a state of a broken relationship with God. Thus this means that a relationship established between God and men based on a convention of valuation indicated in the testimony.

As men, we cannot thus have any relationship with God to whatever degree or extent, except in context of a “testimony” or covenant that gives our acts eternal value before God. Thus;

“… without faith, no man can please God”


“… I watch over my word to fulfil it”

But what is the “testimony”? Exodus 25: 21;

“Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the testimony which I will give you”.

The testimony is in God, and He has to reveal it to us for us to have a ‘testimony’. The testimony is a covenant of allegiance between us and God that makes you compatriots in an affair. It must be personal or else it will not stand;

“The righteousness of the father will not save his son on the day of my wrath; every man will be saved by his own faith”

It was based on the ark that Moses received instructions concerning the Israelites and it is based on those instructions and the ark, carried on the shoulders of the priest who Levites, that the children of Israel entered into the promise even when Moses was no longer around. God will not be involved in our lives and affairs except based on covenant. He must have a contract attached with an aspect of our lives for Him to involve Himself in it and for us to eventually experience His blessing in that area of our lives.

The people of Israel were led into the promise by the ark. Every change in the life of a believer should originate as an aspect of our covenant with God. We should be led into change by God and not by desire, opinion polls or expedience;

“You will not go in haste, or in flight, but the LORD will go before you and He will be your rear guard”

This means, every change should fall under the cover of the covenant and should be allowed for by God or else we fall out of fellowship with the testimony in the ark of covenant.

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