The Ark of the Covenant
Some facts about the Ark. Please remember that these are facts and do not convey The Ark’s holiness, reverence or spiritual importance.
The Ark had several other names too, The Ark of the Lord, Ark of the Testimony and it is made to God’s specific dimensions and material specifications, namely acacia wood and overlaid with gold. It was made at Mount Sinai. Moses gave the specific instructions to Bezalel and Oholiab a year after the exodus. It was used to carry the Decalogue, the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them. Atop were two cherubims and between them was called the Mercy seat were God’s presence would sit as a meeting place of inner sanctuary where the Lord would reveal His will to His servants. It is called The Throne of God (1 Sam 4:4, 2 Sam 6:2, Jer 3:16). It also carried inside the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod and the first scrolls of the Torah written by Moses( the book of Hebrews says the scroll).
The Ark would be carried leading the way 2000 cubits in front of the Israelite army and covered in animal pelt and a blue veil. It was a symbol of God’s divine presence. Whilst the men carried it towards the river Jordan, it was as their feet touched the water when the river receded to allow the Ark and all the Israelites through the river Jordan (Josh 3-4). It was carried with the Israelites around the walls of Jericho 7 times before the walls were flattened (Josh 6).
The Ark was taken from Gilgal to Bethel (Judg 2) then taken to Shiloh. Whilst it was at Shiloh it was looked after by Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas(1 Sam 1). It was captured by the Philistines at the battlefield of Ebeneazer (1 Sam 4). Without it, the glory departed from Israel. Its presence brought plagues at Beth Shemesh and it was returned to Kiriath Jeariam (1 Sam 5).
- King David installed it in his tent in Jerusalem (2 Sam 6).
- Solomon moved it into his temple (1 Kings 8).
- It was resited in the sanctuary in Josiah’s reforms (3 Chron 3)
- Jeremiah presumed there would be a time coming without it (Jer3:16)
It is not known what happened to the Ark during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian’s in 587 BC. Scholars presume that it was either destroyed or hidden. Though many historians agree that it is to be found in a guarded Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion in Aksum, Ethiopia, and only one man is permitted to see it, The Guardian of the Ark. It has never been made available for anyone to see it or verify it.