We, at the Full Gospel Temple, built a replica of Israel's ark as a token of our love and regard for the Nation of Israel, and its people, as well as Israel's God. Because the ark typifies God's abiding love and concern for Israel, and because it is a representation of the Christian faith we hold so dear, we cherish this wonderful reproduction of an ancient and priceless expression of God's love for all mankind.

(Exodus 25: 10-16 KJV) "And they shall make an ark of shittim wood... and overlay it with pure gold, within and without... and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and...staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them...they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee."
For many, the ark is one of the most intriguing mysteries to emerge from the Old Testament, and though generations have come and gone since it physically disappeared from this earth, the influence of its ancient presence lingers. Mentioned for the first time in Exodus, when the blueprint for its construction is given to Moses, there is no indication, at first, just how significant the ark will become to Israel, or future generations.

Framed of wood, taken from the acacia tree which grows in desert climates and is naturally resistant to disease and insect infestation, the ark takes on an aura of priceless beauty upon completion, when it is overlaid with gold. A crown of gold also encircles its top, and at each of its four corners a ring of gold is attached for the golden staves, which, when once fitted into the rings, "shall not be taken from it." Simple wood is the basis of its construction, gold is its crowning finish, but rings with staves are included so that man can always share the work of God.

One of the most significant aspects of the ark is the mercy seat. Having the exact dimensions of the ark itself, the mercy seat serves as a covering for the ark, and is itself overshadowed by the wings of two cherubim, who hover with those wings outstretched, and their faces turned down, so that their gazes are forever fixed upon mercy. "There," God tells Moses, "I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat." So it will be, from that time to this, that God will always meet and commune with man at the place of mercy. Inside the ark, beneath the mercy seat, Moses is directed to place the tablets on which the ten commandments of God are written. Eventually, Aaron's rod, which budded, along with manna from the wilderness, are also placed inside the ark with the law. Wonderful types and shadows emerge here, as one considers the correlation between the ark and the heart of man.

Soon, though, the role of the ark becomes significant in other ways. In Exodus one reads that upon completion Moses "brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering." There, behind the veil, the ark remains for centuries, beyond the reach of the common man, though so crucial to his very existence. The first time it is moved is described thus, "and the ark of the Lord went before them in the three day's journey, to search out a resting place for them." From the first, it is obvious that God is concerned about both the natural and spiritual care of His creation. At the crossing of the Jordan, the ark, borne by the priests, is carried into the river and the waters divide, making it possible for the Israelites to cross over on dry ground. At Jericho, the ark precedes the people round the walls of the city every day until the seventh, when the walls fall! At the defeat of Ai, Joshua prostrates himself before the ark, as before God, seeking divine guidance and help for himself and Israel. When the ark is captured by the Philistines, the gravity of the situation is illustrated by the immediate death of the prophet Eli, and the fact that his grandchild is named "I-chabod," meaning, "the glory is departed from Israel." More than two decades will pass before David successfully reclaims the ark, and returns it to Jerusalem. During its return journey, it is left for a brief time at the Gentile home of Obed-Edom, where phenomenal blessings result, bringing to this Gentile and his household a mantle of favor and mercy previously reserved for the Israelites.

Once safely returned to Jerusalem, David begins planning a permanent home for the ark. That honor, however, is to be reserved for David's son, Solomon, who will build the temple to house the ark. There the ark will remain until the temple is destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. Oddly enough, though there is a detailed account of the destruction of the temple and its contents, no mention is made as to the final fate of the ark. It simply disappears. Jeremiah, the prophet, makes one last Old Testament reference to it. "They shall say no more, the ark of the covenant of the Lord, neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done anymore." Heartbreaking words in a sense, because they foretell the closing of a very special dispensation, a unique period of time when God's presence is physically represented through a tangible object, the ark. And yet, as always when God closes something, whether a door or dispensation, another opens.

When the Herodian temple, built at the time of the Messiah, is completed, a single stone marks the place reserved for the ark. Israel never makes any attempt to replace the original with a replica. What, after all, can replace something so precious? Finally, the ark is mentioned one last time in Holy Scripture, this time in Revelation 11:19 where John describes an astounding sight. "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament." Wonderful news! The ark is found! Once again it is at rest in Jerusalem, but this time it will rest for eternity in the New Jerusalem, the City of our God!


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