The Ark Of The Covenant
Exodus 25 vv.10-16
Before instructions are given for the building of the tabernacle itself, God lays down the plans for the ark, the table of showbread and the lampstand. The ark has the place of most prominent importance, for it speaks of Christ as the Sustainer of the throne of God, just as the ark sustained the mercy seat, All the authority of God is therefore seen to be centered in the person of the Lord Jesus.
The ark was made of acacia wood, speaking of the humanity of Christ as a Root out of dry ground. But it was overlaid with gold, which emphasizes His deity, for He is God over all. Its length was two and a half cubits. Two speaks of testimony, for God's throne bears testimony always to what is true. The added one-half is interesting, however. It reminds us of the Queen of Sheba's words to Solomon, "the half was not told me" (1 Kings 10: 7). Therefore this indicates that the glory of Christ is beyond human apprehension.
The height and width of the ark were each one a half cubits. Therefore in every dimension the glory of Christ exceeds our understanding. The one cubit however speaks of unity. In the authority of God there can be no inconsistency, but one perfect standard of judgment for all.
The ark was a chest overlaid with gold both inside and out. A crown of gold was on the top, crowning the entire circumference. This speaks of the glory the Lord Jesus has now acquired by reason of His sacrifice and His resurrection, that is, He is now "crowned with glory and honor" (Heb. 2: 9) in answer to His willing humiliation.
Because the ark was to be carried by means of staves, there were two rings of gold attached to the ark on each side. The staves were made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and those were slipped through the rings in order for the ark to be carried. The priests did not touch the ark, but carried it by the staves (vv. 12-15). Thus believers have the place of priests in order to carry the Lord Jesus as a testimony before the world. The staves were to remain always in their place. This continued until the temple was built, when we read that "they drew out the staves" (1 Kings 8: 8) because the ark was then in its proper resting-place.
The testimony God would give Israel (the law written on tables of stone) was to be put into the ark (v. 16). This reminds us that in contrast to all others, the Lord Jesus could say, "I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart" (Ps. 40: 8).