Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #7

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

About 500 years after Moses, the Jerusalem Temple replaced the Tabernacle. Second Chronicles chapter 5: “[6] Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude. [7] And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims: [8] For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. [9] And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day. [10] There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

What happened to the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded? Scripture is silent. Regardless, by Solomon’s time, only the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments remained. When the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple 380 years later, the Ark of the Covenant was not among the treasures pillaged. It disappeared, but that does not matter. God Himself will institute a new covenant, replacing that old religious system, erasing Israel’s sins through Calvary, and dwelling with them forever in the Person of Jesus Christ (Millennial Kingdom onward).

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (Jeremiah 3:16). Israel has finally learned the lessons from the Ark of the Covenant! (Have we?)

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #6

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

The LORD God had Israel save (in chronological order): the golden pot of manna, the stone tables or tablets of the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. By having them stored in the Ark of the Covenant for safekeeping, JEHOVAH God used them as teaching aids: despite Israel’s sin and rebellion, He would be faithful in keeping His promises to them!

Firstly, her people questioned whether God had their best interests in mind, so He rained down manna from Heaven. A sample of that bread was to be kept in a container. Secondly, Moses had not yet descended the mount with the Ten Commandments when the Jews fashioned a golden-calf idol to worship! Moses broke the stone tablets, but God had him hew out two new ones and God re-wrote those tables. Lastly, the nation defied Moses and Aaron, doubting they were God’s chosen leaders. Hence, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign the priesthood belonged to the tribe of Levi—particularly Aaron and his sons.

On top of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s “Shekinah” glory abode. Literally, the only thing that was between God’s presence and these objects/souvenirs of rebellion was the animals blood applied once a year! Hebrews 9:7,11,12,14 reveals the type/antitype: “[7] But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:… [11] 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; [12] 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. [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #5

Monday, May 24, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

Manna was God’s bread for Israel to eat. An “omer”—roughly half-gallon (2 liters)—of manna was stored in a jar. Exodus 16:36, “Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.” Likewise, although God would consume Israel, scattering her idolatrous people worldwide, He would reserve one-tenth to Himself and bring it back into the Promised Land: “But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isaiah 6:13).

The stone tablets of the Ten Commandments represented God’s covenant with Israel made at Mount Sinai. Under penalty of curses, they were required to obey Him. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s presence was: “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22). Israel’s high priest annually applied animal blood on the Mercy Seat to cover the nation’s sins (Leviticus chapter 16).

Aaron’s rod that budded, a dead stick severed from a tree, miraculously blossomed and bore fruit. Likewise, God will resurrect lifeless Israel: “…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #4

Sunday, May 23, 2021

“…[T]he ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;” (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

In Numbers chapter 16, Korah incited a revolt against Moses and Aaron, challenging them as the LORD’S leaders for Israel. God settles the argument in chapter 17: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod. [3] And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. [4] And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you. [5] And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

“[6] And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. [7] And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness. [8] And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. [9] And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. [10] And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.”

Aaron’s rod that budded was a reminder of Israel’s rebellion….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Who were the ‘Libertines?’” and “What does ‘suborned’ mean in Acts 6:11?

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #6

Thursday, May 28, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

If we have some good news, it is only natural to want to tell others about it. (Of course, similarly, it is human nature to want to share bad news—gossip—too!) In the form of sound Bible doctrine, the Word of God rightly divided, we have a message worth proclaiming to the world. It is a Gospel that will span the endless eons of eternity future: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4).

We turn now the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As Jehoshaphat’s Bible teachers listened to the LORD through Moses, and then communicated that sound Bible doctrine with others in the Kingdom of Judah, so we hearken to the LORD through Paul, and then spread that message of God’s grace to Jew and Gentile alike.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Being mindful of sound Bible doctrine will prevent us from going the way of ancient Israel, drifting further and further from the one true God and becoming increasingly misled! 🙂

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #5

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

We cannot love the Lord and not value His Word. Anyone who truly loves Jesus Christ will do whatever he or she can to teach that Word to others. The two greatest responses we can have toward the Scriptures is to first believe them and then share them.

Jehoshaphat believed the Holy Bible and then he ordered teachers to educate his people and remind them of their God’s Word to them and His will for them. Decades earlier, before he assumed the throne of his forefather David, Judah had forgotten the LORD and His Word to them. They were too preoccupied with pagan idols to concentrate on the one true God! Consequently, King Solomon’s heathenism engendered God’s wrath and split Israel and Judah, resulting in the divided kingdom now present during Jehoshaphat’s day.

Read of Ezra the Priest-Prophet-Scribe who lived a few centuries after Jehoshaphat. Ezra chapter 7: “[6] This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him…. [10] For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments…. [Artaxerxes King of Persia said] [25] And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.”

Whereas Jehoshaphat lived before, Ezra conducted his ministry in Judah after the Babylonian Captivity. Now, God has already sent Judah out in exile because of idolatrous kings living subsequently to Jehoshaphat. We fight apostasy and heresy with sound Bible teaching….

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #4

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

In the Law of Moses—Deuteronomy chapter 17—we read the following Divine ordinance concerning Israel’s king: “[18] And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [19] And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: [20] That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”

The LORD through Moses advised Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 8: “[10] When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. [11] Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: [12] Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;….”

It would be quite easy for the Jews, during the time of their prosperity during Jehoshaphat’s reign, to forget the LORD. Consequently, the King sent out Bible teachers to remind his people in the Kingdom of Judah of their obligation to keep the Mosaic Law, God’s covenant with them. Jehoshaphat knew and loved the LORD and His Word, and wanted his nation to do so as well. He understood the only way to fight Bible ignorance is with Bible teaching….

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #3

Sunday, May 24, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

Over 500 years prior to Jehoshaphat, Leviticus chapter 10 reports: “[8] And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, [9] Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: [10] And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; [11] And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.”

Jehoshaphat knew what the LORD God had instructed Aaron and his sons (the Jewish priests) to do. Accordingly, the King behaved as he did in the context of today’s Scripture: “[7] Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. [8] And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. [9] And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. [10] And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.”

They were not merely preaching “oral tradition.” Nay, rather, they had a “book,” “the book of the law of the LORD with them.” They carried a Bible, especially the writings of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). Jehoshaphat wanted his people to be mindful of God’s covenant with them, and their obligation to observe it….

*In order to provide a special study tomorrow, we temporarily break away from this devotionals arc.

The Ark of the Covenant

Monday, October 15, 2018

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

Why did the Ark of the Covenant (box, casket) contain these items?

  1. Golden pot of manna — Israel, just out of Egyptian bondage, complains that they have nothing to eat in the wilderness. Whining that the LORD God has delivered them just to starve them to death, they desire to return to Egypt! In His providence, God rains down bread from Heaven. He commands that a sample of this manna be stored in the Ark as a memorial (Exodus 16:1-36, particularly verses 32-34).
  2. Aaron’s rod that budded — A certain segment of Jews rebel against Moses and Aaron, God’s leaders of Israel (Numbers 16:1-50). So as to prove Aaron is His high priest, God assigns an almond rod to each tribe. Levi’s rod bearing Aaron’s name (Aaron is of the tribe of Levi) blossoms and bears almonds, signifying that Aaron is the genuine priest (Numbers 17:1-13, especially verses 10-11).
  3. Two tables of stone — These are God’s codified 10 Commandments, the result of Israel wanting works-religion, a performance-based acceptance system, instead of remaining with grace (God’s gifts to them simply offered out of His benevolence). Such cold, dead, rocky slates are the heart of the Old Covenant, whose demanding laws expose Israel’s sin problem (Deuteronomy 10:1-5, particularly verse 5).

Friend, did you notice the recurring idea? Are all mementos of specific times in Israel’s history when she rebelled (sinned) against JEHOVAH God. They were kept in the Ark, whose lid was the Mercy Seat. Above it was the Shekinah glory, God’s presence, between the cherubim (Exodus 25:10-22). On the Mercy Seat—on the annual Day of Atonement—Israel’s high priest sprinkled the bullock’s blood (Leviticus 16:2,14).

What was literally between God’s presence and Israel’s sin (the broken commandments, her never-ending rebellion) was shed blood. They could not see it, but, looking back, we can. Shed blood—namely, Christ’s (future) finished crosswork on Calvary—was keeping a holy, offended God from consuming sinful Israel all those 1,500 years (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:14,15)!!

Outnumbered?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents:… (Exodus 7:10-12a KJV).

What will happen next?!

Never forget, dear friends, that Satan is the master counterfeiter. Whatever God does, Satan endeavors to copy it as closely as possible. After all, Lucifer’s original goal was to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). In Satan’s policy and plan of evil, he has a wide variety of tools—false brethren, false apostles, false bibles, false prophets, false teaching, false churches, and so on. Overall, Satan seeks worship that God alone deserves (cf. Matthew 4:8-10).

In today’s Scripture, Satan empowered Pharaoh’s magicians to mimic God’s miracle. Moses and Aaron had one rod that turned into one snake. According to 2 Timothy 3:8, there were two magicians—their two rods transformed into two snakes. The LORD God’s snake was outnumbered two to one: Pharaoh thought his gods were superior to Israel’s God. Today’s Scripture continues, but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” Praise God! 🙂

Going back to 2 Timothy chapter 3: “[8] Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. [9] But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Paul reaches back into Israel’s history to remind us that false teachers will not continue forever. Today, they still oppose the truth in that they still imitate it, but their foolishness will be exposed one day. Just as Jannes and Jambres were revealed to be no match for the one true God, the false teachers who counterfeit the truth today will be manifested as failures too.

In Christian life and ministry, it seems like we are outnumbered. Less individuals are on our side, but so what! We are on God’s side—with Him, we actually have the majority and (as Moses and Aaron know) we already have the victory!

NOTE: Happy 38th spiritual birthday to my parents, who trusted Jesus Christ alone all those years ago!

Bible Q&A #455: “Was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah inhospitality?