Our Spiritual Journey Inside the Tabernacle – Part 9: The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat
To this point in this series we’ve see how YHWH has gone to great lengths to create a path for sinful man to approach His holiness – all with the goal of having His children dwell with Him continually. This path has led us through the fence surrounding the courtyard, progressing past each piece of furniture in the tabernacle, into the Holy Place and even beyond the thick, heavy curtain that separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
In this spiritual journey, we’ve entered into a special partnership with YHWH to bring about His will on earth. Now we’re ready to receive new revelation of our role with Him. We’re ready to approach His very presence – the Ark of the Covenant.
If you’ve ever envisioned yourself standing in the Most Holy Place, you’ve probably felt both privilege and humility. This is the place where YHWH’s physical glory dwelt, the place where he spoke to Moses, the place where our sin was atoned for annually and once and for all. This is a very special place: this is where God’s presence resides.
When Moses finished erecting the tabernacle and placed its furniture according to the pattern God had shown him, Exodus tells us that YHWH’s glory filled the Most Holy Place and dwelt there:
Exodus 40:33-38 “Thus Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out, but if the cloud was not taken up , then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”
God’s presence, represented by the cloud, dwelt with the people and physically resided inside the Most Holy Place.
Inside the Most Holy Place is one piece of furniture: The Ark of the Covenant made up of two parts: The Ark and its cover, called the Mercy Seat. This is THE Ark – not just the one from the movies, but the real one; the original one.
- It was used to divide the Jordan River so the Israelites could pass through to the Promised Land. (Joshua 3)
- It was used to destroy the walls of Jericho so the Israelites could conquer the Land. (Joshua 6)
- When Israel’s enemies stole it from the temple, they soon gave it back because of the destruction it brought them. (I Samuel 5-6)
In Exodus 25:22 God tells Moses: “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the Ark of the Covenant, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.” So we see that God spoke to Moses in the Most Holy Place.
Once we accept Yeshua as our righteousness and our intercessor at the Altar of Incense, then venture beyond the curtain that previously separated us from our holy God, we come fully into the presence of the living God – at His invitation, as it is written in Revelation 3:21:
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Remember when Moses descended from the mountain and his face radiated with the glory of God? This was the result of him spending 40 days in God’s presence. It would be as though he stayed in the Most Holy Place for 40 days. In the spiritual sense, this is what happens to us as we spend more and more time in God’s presence – we radiate His glory.
Nowadays, we don’t carry an ark to bring God’s presence with us. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 tells us our bodies are His temple; Acts 1:8 informs us that we represent His presence in the world. As we dwell in God’s presence and take on His Spirit, we gain the same spiritual authority that the Ark had.
If we are now God’s presence on earth just as the Ark was, what can we learn from the Ark as to what YHWH considers representative of Himself? In the next post we’ll go inside the Ark.