The Ark of the Covenant               SCROLL 2.png SCROLL 2.png SCROLL 2.png SCROLL 2.png         






Introduction    An absolutely intriguing feature of the Israelite nation is the account in the Holy Bible of the Ark of the Covenant - a box made of shittim wood and overlaid with pure gold that God told Moses to build.  Sometime after 588 BC the Ark disappeared and it has been missing ever since. There are at least two well-known theories that claim to know its location - the Cave Theory and the Ethiopian Church Theory.  The Cave Theory is dealt with in SIN, THE LAW, AND THE BLOODBoth of these theories may be found by a routine search on the web. This account will provide an alternate theory which I believe to be biblically correct for several cogent reasons, and  is reinforced by SIN, THE LAW, AND THE BLOOD.

History of the Ark   The following biblical accounts relate some of the historical events in which the Ark of the Covenant played an important role in the nation of Israel's history:

  • God told Moses to build an Ark as a repository for the two tables of stone upon which He wrote His ten commandments  [Deuteronomy 10:1-5],  Aaron’s rod that budded [Numbers 17:10; Hebrews 9:4], and the Golden pot that had manna [Exodus 16:33; Hebrews 9:4]
  • Ark is carried before the host of Israel over Jordan and at Jericho  [Joshua 3:7-9,11,17]
  • Philistines capture the Ark but it is subsequently returned to Israel  [1Samuel 4:4-11; 5:1-11]                    
  • The Ark is placed into king Solomon’s temple and later disappears  [2Chronicles  5:6-10]


From time to time the presence of God was manifested on the mercy seat of the Ark, which was under the two cherubims' outstretched wings.  The Ark was symbolic of God's agreement with the nation of Israel and was not to be seen by anyone other than the High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement.  The Ark was the center of worship activity conducted by the High Priest where the blood of animals was sprinkled upon all the vessels of the Holiest, as conducted initially by Moses on behalf of the people of Israel but later by the men who were ordained by God - the Levitical Priesthood: 

Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,  Saying,  This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  Hebrews 9:18-23

Jesus Creates an Updated Testimony     When Moses sprinkled the sacrificial blood in the tabernacle this was symbolic of the covering of the Old Testament Saints’ sins at that time.  However, a more perfect covenant was in store, a perfect covenant established by Jesus’ blood at Calvary:

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  Hebrews 9:11-12 

Therefore, when the new covenant [testimony] was secured by Jesus on the cross of Calvary, the old covenant was ready to pass away: 

In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.  Hebrews 8:13

Jesus went to the Cross of Calvary and shed His blood for all believers for all time. But from the time of Moses God required the High Priest to conduct the sprinkling of the sacrificial blood of animals upon the vessels of the  ministry in the tabernacle [Hebrews 9:18-23]  for the covering of the people’s sins once a year. Therefore, it was necessary that this sacrificial blood be applied to the vessels of the ministry of the earthly tabernacle for the Old Testament Saints’ temporary sin atonement.  But this was not possible for the Ark had disappeared by the time Christ was crucified.  Some bible scholars believe that the Ark of the Covenant disappeared when the Babylonians razed the Jewish temple around 588 BC. However, there is no proof to substantiate this claim.  My belief is that the Ark disappeared under supernatural means because of what follows: In the first place, man does not, and cannot, derail what God has put into place regarding salvation.  Before Christ, the High Priest was the intercessor between God and man. And until Christ came, the High Priest performed the duties mentioned above.

But Jesus replaced the old covenant and role of the earthly High Priests with Himself, as the above scripture tells us that Christ entered in once into the Holy Place by His own blood.  But Christ did not go into the earthly temple, but into the Heavenly Temple after He resurrected. Remember that the veil into the Holiest of the earthly temple was rent from top to bottom upon Jesus’  death on the Cross, signifying that God Himself rent this curtain and explicitly showed that the way into the Holiest was now available for all to enter because His Son had paid the price of our redemption and all believers could now come boldly before the throne of God by the blood of Christ.  Therefore, His blood was applied to the earthly ark which now had to be situated in Heaven itself for the Old Testament Saints’ sake:  

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world:   but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.    Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  Hebrews 9:24-26;12

 Why is the Ark in Heaven now?     God initiated the once-a-year blood atonement for the covering of the people’s sins.  Not being Jewish, I do not know how or what the Jews did about this observance after the Ark’s disappearance.  And I suspect that today’s Jews are most reluctant to discuss the Ark at all.  Nevertheless, the true Old Testament believers’ sins had to be atoned for, according to God’s initial redemptive plan, Ark or no Ark.  Therefore, consider this diagram:

Thus, when our Great High Priest Jesus applied His blood to the Ark of the Testament in Heaven, He was also applying His blood to the earthly Ark of the Covenant, and in doing so, He satisfied all the “sprinkling of the blood” that had been missing for all the years that the Ark had been unavailable for such an observance.  So, in the end, God will have completed His original plan and purpose for the remission of mankind’s sins through the blood of Jesus, wherein both Jews and Gentiles may have access to Heaven.

This is precisely why the Ark of the Covenant had to be in Heaven - Jesus applied His blood once - and that in the Holiest of the Temple of God in Heaven - there is no mention in the scriptures that He did any other act of redemption for the remission of sins anywhere else.  If the Ark of the Covenant had not been in Heaven when Jesus went into the Heavenly Tabernacle with His blood, then all of the Old Testament saints’ sins would not have been eradicated, for Christ’s redemptive action of the New Testament was initiated to replace the old.  But the old testament was incomplete, having been compromised by the Ark’s disappearance.  This interruption had to be accounted for - and it was - when the Ark of the Covenant was supernaturally merged with the True Ark of the Testament in Heaven.  Only God could have foreseen and accomplished this reconciliation of the Old Testament saint’s redemption, granting them eternal salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Moreover, if man would not worship God’s Son Jesus, neither would God allow the Israelites to worship the Ark of the Covenant in His stead.  The Israelites were prone to depend on the perceived supernatural powers of the Ark of the Covenant when they needed help [as is clearly shown in the scriptures above], and not on God.  God would not allow such worship, even though the Ark had been commissioned by God Himself.

Note    At various times in the Old Testament, God uses the terms Ark of the Covenant interchangeably with the Ark of the Testimony.  This is by design, and not by contradiction.  In Hebrews, we read that Jesus established a New Testament with believers, and this establishment required the death of the testator:

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament,  they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.  Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  Hebrews  9:15-18

So, why did God refer to the Ark of the Covenant as the Ark of the Testimony in the Old Testament?  Because God knew that His Son Jesus would fulfill what was required of Him to be the Testator of the New Testament.  While man might have erred in stating this, the surety of God’s promise made the fulfillment of the promise so true that God could use the words interchangeably. Finally, we  read

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.    Revelation 11:19

Therefore, there is no use in looking for the Ark of the Covenant on earth.  One day, all Christians will be able to see it in Heaven, in the Holiest of the Heavenly Tabernacle, for Jesus will show it to us.



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