As we come to the dwelling place of God in the Tabernacle, the emphasis is removed from the work of Christ to the Person of Christ Jesus.
THE TWO ARTICLES OF FURNITURE
The two articles of furniture placed in the Holy of Holies:
1. The ark of the covenant.
2. The mercy-seat.
First, lets look at the ark; the instructions for it are found in Exodus 25:
“They shall make an ark of acacia wood: two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high [One cubit = one foot and a half]. You shall overlay the ark with pure gold, inside and out, and make a gold crown, a rim or border, around its top. You shall cast four gold rings and attach them to four lower corners of it, two rings on either side. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And put the poles through the rings on the ark’s sides, by which to carry it. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it [that the ark be not touched]. And you shall put inside the ark the Testimony [the Ten Commandments] which I will give you” (Exodus 25:10-16—Amplified version).
Israel was a theocracy and Jehovah God was their king. In this, they were unlike the surrounding nations. The ark was God’s throne; He did not sit on it in any anthropomorphic sense, but He did dwell between the cherubim.
“He sits [enthroned] above the cherubim, let the earth quake!” (Psalm 99:1).
If it’s place in the blueprint had anything to do with it, the ark was the most important article of furniture in the Tabernacle.
The instructions for it were the artist George Howell’s sketch of the Tabernacle interior, without the separating veil. I am not sure the above picture is actually his, but you can get his idea from what you are seeing above.
The rear compartment shows the Holy of Holies, housing the Ark of the Covenant. The front compartment pictures the Holy Place, hosting the Lampstand of Gold, the Altar of Gold, and the Table of Shewbread. It’s the first given of any part of the Tabernacle.
The fact that the ark was God’s throne lent importance to it; no Israelite ever saw it, only the high priest was permitted to see it. On the wilderness march, it was no less important. It was carefully wrapped with the veil and with badger skins. The chest, measuring two and one-half by one and one-half by one and one-half cubits. was made of shittim or acacia wood; depending on the bible translation. The chest was overlaid both inside and outside with gold.
It was a true symbol of the Lord Jesus christ:
—His deity by the gold.
—His humanity by the wood.
—”very God of very God” and “very man of very man”.
—It pointed to Jesus as God-man.
He wasn’t merely a worker of wonders and miracles, nor was He a man with over-developed God-consciousness. HE WAS GOD!
“For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]“ (Colossians 2:9).
HE SPOKE AS GOD!
“DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me” (John 14:1).
“Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Phillip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, Show us the Father?” (John 14:9).
HE WAS PERFECT MAN IN HIS HUMANITY
He grew tired and sat down at a well in Samaria in the cool of the day. He slept, He ate, He drank, He laughed and wept. And beyond that, He suffered. All of these are human characteristics; you have them, I have them and the world has them.
THE GOLD AND THE WOOD IN THE ARK
Both required, yet neither was mingled with the other; the identity was not lost in the other. Jesus was both God and man. These two natures were never fused or merged. Jesus never functioned at the same time as both God and man. What He did was either perfectly human or perfectly divine. Christ was a theanthropic Person; the only Mediator between God and men.
“For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
THE ARK WAS NOT MERELY AN EMPTY BOX
The ark contained three items: “This [ark] contained a golden jar which held the manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the [two stone] slabs of the covenant [bearing the Ten Commandments]“ (Hebrews 9:4).
The “two stone slabs of the covenant” speaks of the Kingship of Jesus:
1. He was born a king.
2. He lived a king.
3. He died a king.
4. He is coming again to this earth as The King of kings.
God’s program is moving today; from eternity passed to a time when Christ Jesus will rule over this earth, King of kings and Lord of lords.
“A GOLDEN JAR OF MANNA”; JESUS AS PROPHET
This particular article in the ark speaks of Jesus as prophet. He spoke for God in John 6:32-35:
“Jesus then said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. For the Bread of God is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. Then they said to Him, Lord, gives us this bread always (all the time)! Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time).”
Jesus not only spoke for God but, He was God’s message to man. He was the Logos; the Word of God; the very Alphabet of God; the Alpha and Omega. He was God’s final message to mankind.
“AARON’S SPROUTED ROD”; JESUS AS PRIEST
Aaron’s rod in the ark speaks of the work of Christ as Priest. The prophet spoke for God before men and the priest spoke for man before God.
Jesus offered Himself as a Priest when He passed into heaven; He sits at the right hand of God. It is sufficient to say here, there’s a man in glory, right now for us.
As Aaron’s rod that budded (the authority of His priesthood) was in the Holy of Holies, today there is in heaven at God’s right hand the man Jesus; who was raised from the dead. He is a unique example; the resurrection up to the present hour and He is there for us!
THE THREE FUNCTIONS
Describing the office of Christ as Mediator, has to be one who can represent man before God, and one to represent God before man. He must have authority to rule.
Jesus fulfills all of this: He was God before man; today He is man before God because He is both God and man. He is able to bring a holy God and sinner man together. He is the answer to Job’s heart cry;
“For [God] is not a [mere] man, as I am, that I should answer Him, that we should come together in court. There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand upon us both, [would that there were!]“ (Job 9:32, 33).
Let me leave you a last thought for you to chew on regarding “The Nature, Person and Deeds of Jesus”:
“And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth” (John 1:14).
The final chapter is entitled; “The Mercy Seat of Gold” : Opening Your Spiritual Eyes”.