The Arks of Covenant!
Isn’t it so interesting that when we talk about "The Ark" in the Bible, we could either be talking about "The Ark of the Covenant," or "Noah’s Ark." Both Arks are connected to the theme of - "a Covenant" with God. There is so much significance that we decided to share it as a teaching! God’s Word is so amazing and like so many important themes in Scripture, the echoes we hear from story to story should alert us to "a deliberate parallel." The theme of SALVATION resonates between the two specifically constructed ark-structures. But there’s so much more as we will discover further together!
Let us first look at the Holy - "Ark of Covenant" and see how this confirms how our Holy Almighty God works with patterns. It is the tell-tale signs of a fascinating hidden pattern. It is a pattern that centres around the most sacred ARON = Tabernacle (in Hebrew "Mishkan") or "dwelling" in Jewish history and Bible – Exodus 25. First, we must look at it - piece by piece …and ponder together on what the pattern might mean? What was the Ark of the Covenant? It was a portable "sanctuary" constructed by Moses as a place of worship for the Israelites during the period of wandering that preceded their arrival in the Promised Land (Numbers 10:33).
Here is the thing that gave a clue of "a pattern"… The Bible describes in; Exodus 25:10-21, 31:1-7, 35:10-12, 37:1-9 ; Deuteronomy10:1 exactly how the Ark was to be built!
When God gave Moses the instructions to make the Ark of Covenant - we see a few things stand out about the description; One thing in particular was that the ARK needed to be made with WOOD. It was then supposed to be overlaid - inside and outside with pure GOLD!
So, does that remind us of anything? You see in the Bible there is another structure that was also supposed to be built the same way …that God commanded it to be built out of WOOD and that other structure is also supposed to have an overlay – inside and outside with some other substance. In all of the Torah (Old Testament) the phrase; “mibayit umichutz” are the words for “inside and outside” and ONLY appears for these two structures! God’s Ark of Covenant and one other mystery structure! Can you guess where? Here is a hint – it is another ARK! Yes, you have it! It is Noah’s ARK!
As we read in Genesis 6 - Noah’s Ark was a massive vessel that contained a collection of animal kinds that Lord God led inside of it. It was massive and took about a century to construct. The earth had become corrupted and violent and so Lord God instructed Noah on how to build the Ark, a vessel whose purpose is NOT to navigate …but stay afloat once the Biblical FLOOD immersed the entire world. In a way one could say that the earth was baptized in water.
Noah’s Ark is a pre-figure of man’s SALVATION. Only those who believed in the Lord God survived. The rest of the people on earth who scorned and scoffed at Noah, ALL perished in the flood. After the flood, Noah thanks God with sacrifices. God smells the sweet savour of smoke and, as a result, confirms “His Covenant” …with Noah and all life. God further places a “rainbow as a SIGN of the Covenant in the clouds!” (Genesis 9:9–17).
Coincidentally enough Noah’s Ark (boat) in Hebrew was a Teivah/ Te-va (Tevah) …and the BOX that housed the Ark of Covenant in Hebrew an Aaron (ARON). The funny thing is that even though we use the same word in English, the words in Hebrew are different. And yet, the description of detailed instructions that God gave Noah about how to build the ark feels decidedly similar to the intricate description that God gave Moses about how to construct the Ark of the Covenant. They are both Arks; (1) God’s Ark and (2) Noah’s Ark. Now that could just be a coincidence BUT there is NO coincidences with God! It does seem that BOTH these structures have something in common - WOOD! At least in their appearances they seem to mirror images of one another? God’s Ark of Covenant was made out of (acacia) WOOD and it was overlaid inside and outside with GOLD. It presented itself as a shiny BOX, glistening with precious material!
Now Noah’s Ark was also made out of (gopher/cedar) WOOD overlaid inside and outside with a different kind of material – PITCH which is the opposite of GOLD. You see gold is bright and shiny and reflects light …while pitch is dark and absorbs light. Gold is smooth and pitch is sticky. Gold is odourless and pitch is pungent, Gold is precious and pitch is almost worthless. Do you also see where we are going? There is a mirror image relationship of both structures but could it just be coincidence as it does seem crazy to think that the Bible intends for us to see these two Arks / structures as related and fundamental in any way, right? Just because we think so does not mean that they are not.
How do we know if the Ark of Covenant (Aron) and Noah’s Ark (Tava) mirror each other in some way? We would have to look at some more connections between these two Arks. Might there just be something else of God’s Ark that reminds us of Noah’s Ark? God told both Noah to cover the Ark (overlay) in Hebrew the word is “vechafarta” (kuf, pey, reish, tav) from inside and outside (Exodus 6:14) with pitch and there is only one other place in the Bible where that word is used and that is in connection with God’s Ark of Covenant (Exodus 37:1-9). Did you know that kuf, pey, reish, tav spell the Hebrew word “kaporet” and is the word the Bible uses for the “solid gold covering” that would be laid on top of the ARON on the Tabernacle to cover it.
What was laid on top? A golden lid, the “kaporet” (translated; “MERCY SEAT” or “cover” which is ornamented with two golden CHERUBIM, placed above the Ark.
Now we have the two WOODEN boxes - “mibayit umichutz” overlays that are the exact opposite of one another – the “vechafarta” and the “kaporet“ the Bible gives shows us that they are opposite and different but exact as the connections seem to ALL be there! If the connections are so real what could possibly explain them more clearly? Remember Noah’s Ark was the first ARK, then followed God’s ARK – “The Ark of Covenant” BUT was there another similarity as we discover further?
Here is the other thing… We already discovered - Noah’s Ark is a “te-va” in Hebrew, BUT the Ark of the Covenant is an “aron” - Ark which means chest. (In Hebrew today an “aron” can also refer to a cupboard – essentially a storage container for a collection of items). The word “te-va” (like Noah’s te-va) is used twice in the Bible: Not only did it refer to the enormous boat made with exact specifications of God …but also to the small cradle, in which a vulnerable but priceless baby was laid, and sent off on the water to an unknown destiny. In that small cradle was MOSES!
The story of Moses starts in Exodus 2:1-10. By the end of Exodus 1, the pharaoh of Egypt (perhaps Ramses II) had decreed that ALL the Hebrew boy babies were to be drowned at birth... Moses Mother a Hebrew from the house of Levi conceived, and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could no longer hide him, she took a “papyrus” basket / cradle for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him.
Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe at the river and saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her handmaid to get it and when she opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him and named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water." Unknown to Pharoah’s daughter - Moses Mother became his nurse!
Moses’ basket is called an "ARK" in Hebrew is a "te-va" and coated with PITCH like Noah’s Ark. Now we also can see the similarities between the ARK of Noah - that carried the remains of humanity that were worth saving …along with the bare essentials to re-establish the animal kingdom …and the "ark" that carried Moses, who was to be a SAVIOUR figure and "a prelude" to the ultimate Messiah. Both Arks floating perilously off into the future. Both were absolutely critical for the future of humanity, and both carried great treasures.
The ways of God are both mysterious and wondrous indeed! When Moses’ mother built a small floating ark out of papyrus reed, placed her baby in it, and sent it floating down the Nile River, it was an act of total surrender and faith that God would somehow ensure everything would turn out all right. Well, God came through in flying colours alright and much more! Think on this! The Egyptian Princess was well aware that this was a Hebrew baby and knew of the decree her father had issued, yet because God had softened her heart, it didn’t matter. Pharoah – the very man who ordered the death of all Hebrew male babies becomes the very person who ends up saving Moses, the one whom God will use to deliver Israel from Egypt. Moses became the saviour of Israel would end up being raised in Pharaoh’s own home in royalty.
As we have discovered that Noah’s Ark (TE-VA), made according to the God’s “specific dimension’s” …and a considerably smaller Ark (TE-VA) carrying Moses was NO less important cargo! And, we have the parallel - PATTERN of God’s “specific dimensions” that made the Ark (ARON) of the Covenant, nestled in the …which also was a focal point of SALVATION. Noah’s Ark (te-va) was “salvation from judgement and death,” Moses’ basket - Ark was the “deliverance from slavery and death,” and the Ark of the Covenant (te-va) …and Tabernacle of meeting was a place where the people could be SAVED from the wages of SIN, and be put right with God through the elaborate Mosaic Covenant. It was a temporary, primary, initial stage of Salvation from sin and judgement with working parts and tangible items that each represented something of God’s grand scheme of Redemption.
From this point on, we encounter a series of miraculous ironies that reflect the amazing genius of how God works. These stories are ALL linked.
God’s detailed instructions recorded there for us in the Bible are written to indicate to us his fore-knowledge and deliberate plan! HOWEVER, each item and detail pointed to the ULTIMATE Saviour, Yeshua (Jesus Christ) who arrived on planet earth, presented in "a manger" – WOODEN Box. Noah’s Ark, Moses’ "Ark", the Ark of the Covenant and the Manger containing the Messiah of the world …were all receptacles containing priceless treasures beyond anything we could conjure up in our wildest dreams. Four treasure chests that have been given to us from God. His precious gifts of Salvation after Salvation, deliberately delivered to us with His great love.
This pattern of God turning things and circumstances intended by the enemy to hurt Israel into blessings can be seen in other incidents as well. We’re told that when Moses was born, depending on the Bible translation, he was described as "a fine child" or "a beautiful child." However, the original Hebrew is TOV and in English it means GOOD! Now if we recall that way back in the Creation Story in Genesis 1 – God continually called His Creation …as being "TOV" or "GOOD." So, in the Scriptures, "Divine acts of God" are labelled as "TOV" and Moses’ birth was one of these God-ordained acts. Christ’s birth was the ultimate TOV – "good" for Salvation of a sinful world.
Let’s remember once more that the word "TE-VA" only appears twice in the whole Bible, once in the story of Noah Genesis 6 and here in Exodus 2. During Noah’s time, entire mankind except Noah and his family was to be destroyed by a worldwide flood of water. However, God used an "Ark" or a "Teva" as an instrument of salvation to save those who trusted him. In Moses’ time, Pharoah ordered that ALL Hebrew male babies were to be killed by drowning them in the Nile River. In Yeshua (Jesus) time Herod ordered that ALL Hebrew male children who were two years old or under be killed (Matthew 2:16-18).
The same Hebrew word TEVA (TEVAH) used to describe both of these arks and how they are both represented as powerful symbols of salvation. So, what about the Ark of Covenant?‘ Surely there must also be a connection to this Ark, the Holiest object on the planet at the time, and Noah’s and Moses’ Ark? Yes! The Hebrew word for ark in the Ark of the Covenant is ARON and this word means "chest" …as in "a treasure chest." And true to its standard dictionary definition, it refers to "a container where something of immense value is stored." This usage is pretty consistent throughout the whole Scripture.
However, there is ONE interesting exception… Did you also know that ARON also means a COFFIN in Hebrew? After Joseph died, his embalmed body was placed in an ARON, and so, this is the only one time in ALL of the Scriptures where ARON is used to mean a "coffin!" Now this really makes us wonder if there is some kind of symbolic spiritual meaning that the Lord is trying to communicate to us here? Remember the Ark of the Covenant was where the original stone tablets – 10 Commandments "written on by the finger of God" were placed.
A Coffin or an Ark? As we read the Bible, we often find cases where events happen that are very similar. When looked at, these events often have deeper more Prophetic meanings placed into the text by GOD to draw our attention to the event. These Prophetic "types and shadows" help us to understand a concept or prepare us for a future End time event that will take place in our near future. One example is when we compare the sacrifice of Isaac with the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus): (1) Both were offered by their Father. (2) Both carried the WOOD for the sacrifice.(3) Both were accompanied to their sacrifice by two men. It is clear by these similarities there is a Prophetic connection between these two events that was provided …so that when the Children of Abraham, the Jewish Nation of Israel, saw the CRUCIFIXION, they would recognize the symbolic connection between the two and understand that the former took place so that we would better understand the latter!
In Genesis 50:25-26, we find another example of one of these Prophetic events taking place just before Joseph’s death. Joseph asks his brothers to promise him that when they leave Egypt, they will bring his bones back to the Promised Land with them; "Then Joseph made Israel’s sons swear an oath saying, "When God takes notice of you, you will bring my bones up from here." So, Joseph died at 110 years old, and they embalmed him and he was placed in a coffin in Egypt."- Genesis 50:25-26
This event is very similar to when Jacob asked Joseph to promise to take his bones back to the land of Israel, which Joseph speaks of in Genesis 50:5-7: "My father made me take an oath saying, ‘Behold, I am about to die. In my tomb which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan - there you must bury me.’ So now, please allow me to go up and bury my father, and then return." Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father just as he made you swear an oath." So, Joseph went up to bury his father. Also, all of Pharaoh’s servants, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt went up with him, While the requests of Jacob and Joseph to be buried in Israel are similar, there is one huge difference between the two. Jacob asks to be taken back and buried immediately while Joseph asks to be taken back when, as the Scripture says in Genesis 50:24:
The reason for Joseph asking to be brought back with Israel’s redemption instead of immediately is profound. To understand the Prophetic significance, let’s look back at a word in Genesis 50:26. The word translated coffin in English is the Hebrew word ARON, which is the exact same word translated as ARK …when referring to the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is also referred to as the Ark of Testimony! Could there be some mysterious connection between these two events because Joseph’s COFFIN and the Ark of the Covenant are both called ARON in Hebrew?
We read in Exodus 13:19 that a king arose who did NOT know Joseph …and this was only one generation after Joseph’s death …and yet when the new king came to power he did not know or remember who Joseph was and what Joseph did …and so, God led Joseph to set an "ARK" before the people of Israel, an "ARK" that would remind them of what God had done in the past and He has promised in their future. When Israel left Egypt, Moses brought that ARON (Coffin) – Ark holding Joseph’s bones with them. This Ark would be the focus of Israel until the Coming of Yeshua, "The Torah Made Flesh" that would be placed in the "Ark" of their hearts by God Himself. This Ark would also be a reminder to ALL of us of our past blessings and our future promises as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. And it is that God elects, divides, and separates his people AWAY from those people and things that are NOT His.
Beginning with Joseph, we now also can see ALL these types, shadows, and fulfilments extending from Noah’s Ark, Moses Ark, to the Ark of the Covenant …and 2,000 years ago to the Manger of our Lord …completing with "the Ark of our hearts." We see the Prophetic reason for Joseph choosing to remain in Egypt until the Redemption of Israel and just as Yeshua (Jesus) remains in the Ark of our hearts …until our full Redemption from this world takes place. It is also vital to remember that because the Torah was placed in the Ark of the Covenant, it didn’t mean Joseph’s Ark was cast aside and left behind. Likewise, because Yeshua is now in the Ark of our hearts, it also doesn’t mean the Torah (Old Testament) has been cast aside either. Paul stated this plainly in Romans 3:31:
A Gentile’s (anyone that is not Jewish) salvation is based ONLY on the Covenants God has made with Israel… We must NEVER, ever, think that the setting apart of Israel from the rest of the world has changed or become obsolete. Any teachings that the Christian Church replaced Israel is just patently unscriptural, whether from an Old or New Testament perspective. The division between Old and New is a false, man-made division anyhow. As gentiles, we may be thinking ‘Where does this leave us?‘ The answer is simple. From God’s spiritual perspective, a gentile believer is "grafted into" the Covenants of Israel by trusting in Yeshua as Lord and Messiah. YHVH God - ONLY entered into Covenants with Israel. Yeshua’s (Jesus’) coming DID NOT end the distinction between Israel and the rest of the world but provided a way for Gentiles "the wild Olive Branches" to be "grafted in" to the "Olive Tree"- Israel (Romans 11:17-18) and the Covenants of God. Nor are we implying that a Jew is "automatically saved" simply by virtue of his or her ethnicity. By God’s reckoning, only those Jews and gentiles who believe and trust Yeshua as Lord and Messiah are saved. Together they form ONE body that Paul refers to as "spiritual Israel" or the "Israel of God."
God’s Word is true! He IS watching to see how the nations are treating His people – Israel. God will have mercy on Israel through Gentile believers acting as mediators towards them! This is one of the most amazing revelations ever given to the Church – an opportunity to do something that carries the highest priority in the heart of God. Yet, sadly, so few have seen the potential and the rewards of serving God in this manner - as agents of mercy to Israel and the Jewish people! Israel was and still is despised today and a despised nation continually turning away from God BUT nothing ever altered the purpose of God for that nation. The despised element is always a noticeable element in the purpose of God. When the Saviour of the world came, He came of that despised nation; like Israel… He Himself was; "despised and rejected by men," And there is that despised element; "…things that are despised God has chosen," 1 Corinthians 1:28. Now, more than at any time is the time to support Israel and the Jewish people - the Lord’s Brethren! We are witnessing the nations and people turning their backs on Israel. Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support especially during these very difficult times. With "lockdown" and difficult "recovery" still lying ahead we ARE reminded that the Wuhan Corona Virus has caused many dire needs and continue to increase here in Israel upon the already most vulnerable! Once again – Thank you!
We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information. With Shalom to you and your family always,
Alf & Julie Saunders
01st June, 2023
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