ark-of-the-covenantIn 2 Chronicles 5 we see that Solomon has completed the Temple of the Lord – overlaying it with gold and the finest jewels – as well as completing the construction of the instruments and furniture which would be used in the daily worship services for the nation of Israel. After assembling the people together – King Solomon reminds them that God had promised his father, David, that his son (Solomon) would be the one to build this temple. That work is now completed.

The Temple had two rooms – an outer room (called the “Holy Place”) and an inner sanctuary (called the “Holy of Holies” or “Holiest Place”). It was in this inner sanctuary that Solomon had the Ark of the Covenant placed between the gold angels on the far wall. The construction of this is detailed in Exodus 26 and Lev 24 – and at that time the Ark contained the following items: The Tablets which Moses wrote the 10 Commandments on while on Mt. Sinai; the pot of manna that was preserved during their time of wandering in the desert; as well as the staff of Aaron which budded flowers. Unfortunately – at this time (2 Chron. 5) we are told that the only item remaining in the Ark is the 10 Commandments. It is unknown where the other 2 items went – but speculation that they were removed during the time the Ark was held by the Philistines is widespread among scholars.

It is also interesting to note how the placing of the Ark was done. The Ark was representative of the very Presence of God… symbolizing (by the tablets of stone) the Covenant Promises God had made with the Israelites. Great detail was given to how this “box” was to be transported… only by the Levitical priests and only with long poles. No man was to ever touch the Ark (a lesson poor Uzzah learned the hard way in 2 Samuel 6). In 2 Chron 5 it is clearly said that the Levites were the ones who moved the Ark into it’s place in the Holy of Holies. After setting it into place – it’s poles were placed along side of it as a symbol that the Ark had found it’s permanent resting place within the Temple (no longer moving around in a tent). Since the Ark represents the Presence and Promises of the Lord – then it is also His Presence which now has found a home. With the Ark firmly situated on the table between the golden angels in the Holy of Holies – it would only be seen 1 time a year and only by the High Priest as he entered to offer the sacrifice for the entire nation of Israel and to burn the incense (prayers).

So God’s powerful Presence was, in essence, restricted to access by men. The average Israelite could not even go into the outer chamber (only the Levite priests) – and then only the High Priest could go into the inner chamber (and only once a year).

But Jesus changed all of that!

According to the writer of Hebrews – Jesus offered Himself as the final sacrifice once and for all – opening the way into the Holy of Holies for ALL mankind (Hebrews Chapter 9)! No longer is it just the priests who can enter God’s Presence and no longer is it only once a year. As well, no longer are the Covenant Promises of God reserved for only the Isrealites… but ALL have access to them!

So when you pray… think a moment about what a privileged you are walking in, and as you read through the account in 2 Chronicles, note how restricted it was for the average joe. The Presence of the Almighty was not something to be taken lightly or trifled with… but great sacrifice was needed to stand before God. That has not changed – but the access has been opened to us all by one Great Sacrifice… you and I have Jesus to thank for that!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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