Exodus 25:10-16

The Ark


Verse 10-16, 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. {11} And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. {12} And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. {13} And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. {14} And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. {15} The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. {16} And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

I.    The outward appearance - an open box with no top (the top is the mercy seat).

A.  Dimensions - (18" = 1 cubit).

1.   Height - 27".

2.   Depth - 27".

3.   Length - 45".

B.   Shittim Wood.  (Pronounced (kit-um")

1.   Probably a tree now called the Acacia tree - common to the area.  A close grained, hardwood, very good for find cabinet work.

2.   A symbol of humanity (whether of Christ or humans).

C.   Pure gold.

1.   Gold without any blemish - refers to the glory of God.

2.   Refers to humanity covered with the glory of God.

a.   A picture of Christ.

b.   Especially to humans covered by the blood of Christ.

D.  Within and without.  Not without to within - God always starts on the inside and works toward the outside.

1.   Matt. 23:27 - The Pharisees started on the outside and didn't bother with the inside.

2.   I Samuel 16:7 - When Samuel is trying to choose a king to replace Saul, God explains that He looks not on the outward appearance, but on the heart.

E.   Crown of gold - a layer of gold placed around the top edge of the ark.  This completely hides all the wood and leaves a resting place for the mercy seat.

F.   Rings and staves.

1.   The rings were apparently cast separately, then attached permanently and immovably to the four corners of the ark.

2.   The staves were never removed.

a.   II Sam. 6:30 - David set the ark of God on a new cart like the Philistines did, in spite of the fact that the staves were in plain sight.  How often we do things like the world does in spite of the plain teaching of God's Word.  Like David of old, we miss so much!

b.   Matt. 8:20 - Jesus had no certain place on this earth, ready and willing to leave at any time.

G.   Verse 16 - The testimony - 31:18 - The law of God.


II.   Symbolic appearance of the ark.

A.  The first article of furniture.

1.   Communication with God is established first.  Numbers 7:89 - Moses heard God speaking from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony.

2.   The first thing we need to establish in our religious life (or otherwise) is communication with God.  Everything else will then fall into place.  Without communication (a fruitful prayer life) nothing will be right.

B.   Position of the ark.

1.   Within the veil, in the most Holy Place.

2.   The beginning of our spiritual life is a very special, intimate communication with God, in the very heart of man.

3.   With the mercy seat in place, the satisfied law is symbolized.  With the mercy seat removed, the righteousness of the law is symbolized.

4.   I Sam. 6:19,20 - God killed 50,070 men because they looked into the ark.  They had to move the mercy of God out of the way to look at the perfect law of God.

C.   Use of the ark.

1.   Lev. 16:14-16 - Day of Atonement - the priest goes into the Holy of Holiest and sprinkles blood on the mercy seat.

2.   Heb. 9:7, 11,12 - Jesus offered His own blood for our sinfulness.

3.   No wonder the ark is made first.  We must be saved before we can do anything else.

D.  Other uses of the ark in the Bible.

1.   Gen. 6 - Noah and his family survived the flood in an ark.

2.   Ex. 2:3 - Moses was delivered in an ark of bulrushes.