When Israel came out of Egypt, one of the first things God instructed Moses to build was the Tabernacle. This would be the place where God’s presence was with them in a special way. And the heart of the Tabernacle was the Holy of Holies. Inside that place was the ‘Ark of the Covenant.’
The Ark of the Covenant was a kind of chest, measuring two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height. Made of incorruptible acacia wood. It was overlaid within and without with the purest gold, and a golden crown or rim ran around it. At the four corners, very likely towards the upper part, four golden rings had been cast; through them passed two bars of setim wood overlaid with gold, to carry the Ark. These two bars were to remain always in the rings, even when the Ark had been placed in the temple of Solomon. The cover of the Ark, termed the “propitiatory” (the corresponding Hebrew means both “cover” and “that which makes propitious”), was likewise of the purest gold.
The ark was an item that pointed Israel to her Messiah.
** The ark was made out of both wood and gold. So, in a sense, was the Messiah made out of both wood and gold. Wood is made from the dust of the earth. So was the Messiah. He was human. Gold is a symbol of Deity. So was the Messiah. He is Deity incarnate.
** The ark held the Law of God inside. The Ten Commandments were inside the ark. So too, inside the Messiah, was the Law of God. He never broke a single command His entire life.
** The ark held Aaron’s dead staff which came back to life. So was the Messiah. He was dead and came back to life.
** The ark held a pot of manna – the bread used to sustain Israel. So was the Messiah. He literally fed thousands (Matthew 14) and also spiritually is called the Bread of Life. (John 6). Our spirit feeds off of Him daily.
** The ark had a place for mercy – the Mercy Seat. Sacrificial animal blood was sprinkled on this seat annually and when done properly, Israel received forgiveness from her sins. So too with the Messiah. His blood (much better) is the place where we receive mercy and forgiveness for our sins. The substitute has paid the penalty. We are forgiven. Hallelujah.