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The Sacred Ark

Contained within the Ark of the Covenant were the pot of manna, Aaron’s Rod and the Tablets of the Covenant (Heb 9:4). The Ark was made of shittim wood and covered with gold. The gold lid was the kapporet, which English translations tend to render as the ‘Mercy Seat’. The Greek term used to translate kapporet in the Septuagint (LXX) is hilasterion – the same word we find in Chapter 3 of Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation [hilasterion] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness . . . 

(Rom 3:23-25 NKJV)

The Ark, like so many other things in the Tanakh (aka the ‘Old Testament’), is a picture of the Messiah. It is he who is the sacrifice whose bleood was sprinkled on the mercy seat, his cross. The gold covering of the Ark speaks of his immortality and the wood pictures his humanity. Messiah is the d’var elohim – the Word of God – made flesh. The manna was in the Ark because Messiah is the bread from heaven. Aaron’s rod that budded was in the Ark because Messiah is the resurrection and the life. The tablets were in the Ark because Messiah is the Torah incarnate.

The Ark went two thousand cubits ahead of the people across the Jordan (Josh 3:3-4). Messiah preceded his people into the olam haba – the Age to Come – by about two thousand years.

Baruch haShem.

The Breath of Messiah

In John 20:22 the risen Messiah breathed on his disciples saying, Receive the Holy Spirit. Did you ever wonder why he breathed on them?

The answer is to be found in the creation narrative. God made man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being (Gen 2:7).  Man, as you know, was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) but, through the fall, that image has become tarnished by sin.

Jesus replayed the creation with his disciples who had become new creations in him (2 Cor 5:17). They, through the new birth were being [re]conformed to the image of God in Christ (Rom 8:29).

When you and I put our faith in Christ, he breathed his Spirit into us. The penalty for sin was removed and the power of sin in our lives is being overcome by the Spirit. We are being conformed to the image of Christ, a process that will be completed at his return or when we go to glory.

 

Baruch haShem