The Ark of the Covenant also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed.
According to some traditional interpretations of the Book of Exodus, Book of Numbers, and the Letter to the Hebrews the Ark also contained Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna and the first Torah scroll as written by Moses; however, the first of the Books of Kings says that at the time of king Solomon, the Ark contained only the two Tablets of the Law. According to the Book of Exodus, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accordance with the instructions given to Moses on Mount Sinai. God was said to have communicated with Moses “from between the two cherubim” on the Ark’s cover.
The biblical account relates that during the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, the Ark was carried by the priests some 2,000 cubits in advance of the people and their army, or host. When the Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, water in the river separated, opening a pathway for the entire host to pass through (Josh. 3:15-16; 4:7-18). The city of Jericho was taken with no more than a shout after the Ark of the Covenant was paraded for seven days around its wall by seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams’ horns (Josh. 6:4-20). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in skins and a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the priests who carried it. There are no contemporary extra-biblical references to the Ark.
The Book of Exodus gives detailed instructions on how the Ark is to be constructed. It is to be 2½ cubits in length, 1½ in breadth, and 1½ in height (as 2.5×1.5×1.5 royal cubits or 1.31×0.79×0.79 m).
Then it is to be plated entirely with gold, and a crown or molding of gold is to be put around it. Four rings of gold are to be attached—two on each side—and through these rings staves of shittim-wood overlaid with gold for carrying the Ark are to be inserted; and these are not to be removed. A golden cover, adorned with golden cherubim, is to be placed above the Ark. The Ark is finally to be placed behind a veil (Parochet), a full description of which is also given.
After its creation by Moses, the Ark was carried by the Israelites during their 40-years of wandering in the desert. Whenever the Israelites camped, the Ark was placed in a special and sacred tent, called the Tabernacle.
According to the Christian New Testament Book of Revelation, the Ark is in the Temple of God in Heaven, “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the Ark of his Covenant” (Rev. 11:19 NIV).
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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