Joseph Prince - The Ark Of The Covenant And Its Real Significance
Excerpt from "He Goes Ahead Of You"
Do you remember the ark of the covenant of the Lord? Just to refresh your memory, real fast. Let me show you the ark of the covenant. The top part is made of solid gold. The entire piece is made of solid gold, okay? And the bottom part is made of acacia wood, which is a wood that is incorruptible. Wood is always a picture of humanity and it's a picture of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And then it's overlaid with gold. You can't see the wood now because it's overlaid with gold. So Jesus is 100 percent human and is 100 percent God. A lot of errors about the person of Jesus is either we see Him just as man or just as God. No, He is 100 percent human, 100 percent man, and 100 percent God. Amen. So the mercy seat is the solid slab of gold on top of it.
What is it covering? That's the mercy seat and that's where the high priest of Israel goes in once a year with the blood of animals to sprinkle on the mercy seat. Where he is standing, in front of the mercy seat, he sprinkles seven times. But on the mercy seat, he sprinkles once with the blood. What does that tell us? Seven times in front is our position before God. Seven is the number of perfection. We have perfect standing through the blood of Jesus Christ before the Father today. We can come boldly to the throne of grace. The throne of judgment has become the throne of grace because of the blood of Jesus sprinkled on the mercy seat. Hallelujah. And God is there, with all His power and glory. to come and work on our behalf. Amen. To bring breakthroughs. Amen. Deliverance in our lives, to fight for us. Amen. To be a Father over us, to care for us. Hallelujah. To bring His power to bear upon our situation. We can come boldly to obtain grace. Amen. You can come boldly! Amen. And not be afraid. Amen.
So what does it cover? What does the mercy seat cover? What's inside this box, this ark of the covenant? We see these three items. And all these three items represent man's rebellion against God. They were given on the occasions of man's rebellion. Of course, we know that man complained and murmured against the provisions of God, which is the manna. Every day, God provided manna for them. And they rebelled by murmuring against the manna. And do you know what God said to Moses? "Takes some manna and put it under the mercy seat". Now we're opening up for you to see what's inside. And then they also murmured during the wilderness experience, against Aaron's leadership. And what did God say? "All the 12 leaders of the 12 tribes, bring your rod". And God laid them overnight at the tabernacle and the next day, guess what? Aaron's rod budded and brought forth leaves. Amen. And blossoms and fruit. Though it was cut off from the roots. Showing what? Resurrection life, a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Aaron. Amen. Our High Priest.
And then the 10 Commandments is given to show God's holy standards. Amen. God's requirements of man that man cannot keep. So all these three tokens, God says: "Put it inside the ark of the covenant. I don't want to look at them". Amen. God says: "Cover them with the mercy seat". Amen. Notice they are all covered. Okay? Now, it’s all inside. Guess what? Grace or mercy seat is higher than the law. Can you see that? Mercy is higher than the law. Okay? So that's why the Bible says in Galatians chapter five: "Whosoever of you are justified by the law, you try to keep the law, you are fallen from grace". And this was the sin of the people at Beth Shemesh. They looked inside and you know what happened when you look inside the ark? You die. Alright?
We saw that in Indiana Jones, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, didn't we? You cannot look into the ark. But what is the actual thing about looking into the ark? You actually looking at the law, you're trying to bring back, bring out the law and there are people doing this today. One time, God spoke to me and God said that: "My people are still committing the sins of Beth Shemesh". And I didn't fully comprehend that until I studied this. And it's actually bringing the law out into the open again, teaching the law, magnifying the law, instead of Jesus and His finished work. So notice Paul says: "Whoever of you are justified by the law, you are fallen from grace". Fallen from means: Grace is a higher position. Grace is a higher ground. Amen. It is above the law and you fall from grace when? When you sin? No. When you are trying to be justified by the law.
So friend, that is a picture of the ark of the covenant. Hallelujah. It is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. His humanity and His deity, as well as His finished work accomplished and shown on the mercy seat. So it's a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. That's why it's called the ark of the testimony or the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And we see in the crossing of the Jordan River, there is the ark, the priest carried the ark. Whereas in the Red Sea crossing, there is no ark. So you cannot say the Red Sea is where both happened: dead to sin and dead to the law because the law was not yet given. But over here in the crossing of the Jordan River, they carried the ark of the covenant. And notice they carried on their shoulders. The priest carried on their shoulders. God told Joshua to command them to carry on their shoulders. Alright? And go into the River Jordan.
So it's a picture of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to exalt Him. The traveling dress, so to speak, of the ark of the covenant is actually overlaid with three curtains. The first curtain is actually the curtain I talked about just now. I alluded to it when I talked about how when Jesus died, the curtain that separates the holy place and the holy of holies was torn. Well, that's the curtain they use from the holy of holies to cover the ark when they travel. That’s the first covering. The second covering they put over the ark is the badger skins covering. The badger skin shows the roughness and immunity. Amen. Christ’s immunity to sin. Hallelujah. And then the third curtain that covered the badger skin is the curtain of blue, which symbolizes heaven. When you look up, notice that God covers the entire sky with blue. Why? Because the ark of the covenant, when it travels on the shoulders of the high priest in the wilderness journey, and also around the walls of Jericho.
We see pictures showing them. We see the ark. I think that is to portray how the ark looks like. But actually in traveling dress, you don't see the ark. All you see is the blue. The outermost curtain, the blue. What is God showing us? God is telling us: "Do you want to see the ark? The true ark today? Look beyond the blue". Amen. And that's where the real you is because you are in Christ risen. Look beyond the blue! Jesus is there. Your righteousness is there. Hallelujah. Your holiness is there, your wisdom is there, your health and your healing is there. As He is, so are we in this world. So look beyond the blue. Praise God. And all the people saw, even the people of Jericho. When they saw, seven days they were going around the walls of Jericho, all they saw was the blue. And the priest carrying the ark and that’s a picture of you and I. Our priestly ministry is to lift up Jesus. Amen! That's the priestly ministry! To lift Jesus up, not to lift any names up. Amen. Praise the Lord.
You know, sometimes you read the testimony and all that, you hear people saying: "I heard your sermon and this happened and all that". But notice right at the end, they know Who to give praise to. They know that I'm just a servant of the Lord. Amen. And I'm the delivery boy. Amen. I bring the bread, but they know Who made the bread. Amen. They know Who sent me. Praise the Lord. So they give the glory to Jesus. Every one of them that I read, you will find that they are grateful to the Lord Jesus. Yes, they appreciate me for being faithful. Okay? For preaching the Word, but they know Who to give the glory to. Amen. It is to the One and only. Praise the Lord. He did everything for us. Hallelujah. To Him be all the praise, glory and honor. Amen.
So Joshua told the people, the priests. Alright? "Carry the ark on your shoulders. And the moment you step into the River Jordan, the river will open up". But notice it is an act of faith. They must step into the river. They must step into the river. So what was the picture of the ark there? Amen. What was inside the ark? We know the 10 Commandments is there. It's a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ bringing us to the place. Jordan means "Yarden" in Hebrew. It means going down into judgment. "Den" means judgment. "Yarden" means going, descending into judgment.
So the Jordan River starts off in the foothills of the Mount Hermon. In fact, it is 3 streams coming together. The first one is the Dan stream. Then you have the Banias stream. And then the Hazbani stream. It is like the triune God, the Trinity coming together, right? The three streams coming together, making one river, one Jordan River, all the way down 130 miles, right through the Sea of Galilee and all the way, it ends in the Dead Sea, 130 miles below sea level. And during that time of Joshua's crossing and the people of Israel, the Jordan River was much larger than it is today because there were many villages down through the years that siphoned water off from the River Jordan. So it's not like what it was before. Okay?
But during the time of Joshua and the people's crossing, it was actually overflowing during spring time. And the crossing happened during spring time, during the time of the Passover. Okay? And when they crossed over, the Bible says: "The banks was overflowing because there's a time of harvest, which is spring time. So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priest bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest". So it's dangerous to cross, right? At a time when it's really dangerous to cross, God says: "Go ahead".
But notice the feet of the priests must step in first. That is faith. Amen. Faith takes God at His Word! And the moment they step into that overflowing flood of the River Jordan, see what happened? "That the waters which came down from upstream stood still and rose in a heap very far away. at Adam, the city that is besides there at Zaretan".
Now notice the moment the priests stepped into it, it's a picture of Jesus' death at the cross. Dead to the law, us being dead to the law, the ark of the covenant, the priests went in, which means they were carrying the ark of the covenant. When they stepped into the River Jordan, it split and the stream flowing down, alright, was pushed back about 30 miles, all the way to the city of Adam! Today there's this location, there's a place called Adam Bridge, which is where the city of Adam used to be. But notice the name: "Adam". It's like the judgment of the cross pushed back all the judgment. Amen. All the way from the time of Adam, where it all started. Amen. Judgment started when Adam sinned and Jesus’ death on the cross pushed back all the judgment, all the way to the time of Adam! Praise the name of Jesus! And notice there was another city nearby called: "Zaretan".
Friend, when you read the Bible, there are no insignificant details. "Zaretan" literally means in Hebrew: "their distress". "Their distress". So not only was judgment pushed back all the way right to Adam. In other words, we are no more suffering the judgment that came from Adam's time. And ladies, that includes the pain during childbirth. Notice that childbirth is not a judgment from God. God says in the beginning, before man's sin: "Be fruitful and multiply". But later on, when man sinned, God said: "In pain, in sorrow, you shall bring forth children". And you know what? All these judgment, these distresses, all the things that came in. Sickness and disease, and poverty and depression and addiction and bondage all came in because of Adam's sin.
So you know what? Jesus’ death did not just push back all the judgment that came on all of us because of Adam but also all the distresses. Hallelujah. All your distresses pushed back. All the way! And whatever came in because of Adam's sin, we know a lot came in. A lot of destruction came in. A lot of sickness, and even death came in. Jesus pushed it all the way back. Amen. Through His death at Calvary. Hallelujah! Hi, I hope you were blessed and encouraged by this video. If you were impacted by this message, let us know by liking it and leaving a comment below. Lastly, feel free to subscribe to get more inspirational content every week. See you again real soon. God bless you!