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of the million, these and other grave matters of thought, started in these voluines, we cannot touch upon now.
We have, as it may be perceived, but just entered upon the course of inquiry proposed to ourselves. We may possibly resume it at some future time.
The Ark of the TESTIMONY, AND ITS APPENDAGES.
By Rev. Enoch Pond, D D., Professor in the Theological Seminary, Bangor, Me.
While the Israelites were encamped before Mount Sinai, Moses was repeatedly summoned into the mount, to hold converse with God, and to receive messages for the people. It was on one of these occasions, that particular directions were given him respecting a place of public worship, called the tabernacle, which was to be erected for the congregation. Not only was a complete pattern of the tabernacle exhibited to Moses, but he was favored with a full description of it, in all its parts, and of the manner in which every part was to be prepared.
In connection with the tabernacle, and as an integral part of its sacred furniture, he received directions, also, respecting what was called the ark of the testimony. Of all the sacred symbols of the Jews, the ark and its accompaniments were held to be the most important, and were regarded with the deepest veneration. As one of the Rabbins justly remarks, they were “the foundation, root, heart, and marrow of the tabernacle and
* The Author was led into the train of thought exhibited in the following Article, from listening to Prof. Bush's Lectures on the Tabernacle, the Ark, the Shekinah, and the Cherubim ; and though he feels constrained to dissent from some of the Professor's conclusions, it gives him pleasure to unite his voice, with that of many others, in bearing testimony to the learning, the ingenuity, the elegance, and general good influence, of those Lectures.
temple, and of all the worship therein performed.” Their place of deposit was in the holy of holies, where they were approached only by the high-priest; and by him only once in a year. Undoubtedly, the ark and its appendages were of high symbolical import-full of glorious spiritual meaning ; and this meaning (if it can be arrived at) will, in all probability, be of deep interest to us, as it was to the church in ancient times.
The material of the ark is called by the sacred writer “shittim wood;" a hard, beautiful, and most imperishable kind of wood. “ Two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.” Supposing the cubit to be a foot and a half, the ark would be three feet nine inches in length, and two feet three inches in breadth and height.
“ And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without, and shalt make upon it a crown, or rim “of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold, and put them in the four corners of the ark; and thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and put them into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony that I shall give thee.” By the testimony, we are to understand the two tables of stone which Moses was about to receive, and on which was inscribed, with God's own finger, the law of the ten commandments. It deserves particular consideration, that the ark was prepared to receive these two tables of stone, and that it contained, originally, nothing else.*
“ And thou shalt make a mercy-seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof." The inercy-seat was the covering of the ark, or lid of the chest. It was of the same dimensions as the top of the chest, and probably was dropped down within the crown or rim of gold above described. It is important to be remembered, that the covering of the ark was called the mercy-seat.
“ And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold in the two ends of the mercy-seat. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat with their wings. And their faces shall look one to another; towards the mercy
Whether it ever contained any thing else is doubtful. See Heb. 9:4.
seat shall their faces be.” Of the cherubim, I shall have occasion to speak more particularly, as I proceed.
“And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” In other words, thou shalt put the two tables of stone in the ark, and then carefully place upon it the covering—the mercy-seat. “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the cherubim, of all things which I shall give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” God here promises to take up his abode upon the mercy-seat, between the cherubim, and there to hold sensible communion with his people, Ex. 25: 10–22.
When the tabernacle had been erected, and the ark prepared and put in its place, all this was remarkably, gloriously fulfilled. The God of Israel manifested himself visibly upon the mercyseat, between the cherubim. He manifested himself in the appearance of a cloud, from which beamed forth a dazzling, brilliant light, called the Shekinah. “A cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” We have repeated references to this glorious manifestation between the cherubiin, in other parts of the Old Testament. Thus Aaron was particularly directed how and when he might enter into the most holy place ; for, says the God of Israel, “ I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy-seat,” Lev. 16: 2. It is in reference to this, that we so frequently hear of the God of Israel as dwelling between the cherubim. Here was the visible manifestation of his presence and glory.
It was here, also, that God communed with his people, and gave audible responses, when consulted by Moses, and afterwards by the priests. Moses had no more occasion, when the tabernacle had been erected, to go into the mount to learn the Divine commands. He received them from off the mercy-seat. Thus it is said of Moses, “When he went into the tabernacle to speak with God, that he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy-seat, that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the cherubim,” Numbers 7: 89. And long after Moses was dead, we find the children of Israel receiving Divine communications in the same way. Thus, when Phinehas, the son of Eleazer the priest, stood before the ark of the covenant, and inquired, in behalf of his people, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? The Lord said, Go up, for tomorrow will I deliver them into thine hand,” Judg. 20 : 28.
The temple of Solomon was built throughout according to the Divine direction; see 1 Chron. 28: 12, 19. Its construction was very similar to that of the tabernacle, only on a much larger scale. When it was finished, the ark of the covenant, with its appendages, which had so long rested in the most holy place of the tabernacle, was with great solemnity removed into the most holy place of the temple. And when it was removed, “the cloud,” we are told, “filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord,” 1 Kings 8: 11. The glorious Shekinah, which before had rested upon the mercy-seat in the tabernacle, now entered the holy of holies in the temple, and took up its dwelling there. And here it remained, through all the succeeiling generations, till Jerusalem was taken, and the temple destroyed, by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
That the Shekinah was the symbol of the Divine presence the presence of the Deity, there can be no question. “ There,” says the God of Israel, “ will I meet thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the cherubim.” Accordingly, the God of Israel is continually represented, in the Old Testament, as dwelling between the cherubim. “Give ear, 0 Shepherd of Israel! Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth,” Ps. 80: 1. “The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubim, let the earth be moved," Ps. 99: 1. “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubim ; thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth,” Is. 37: 16.
No believer of the Old Testament can doubt that the visible glory between the cherubim, was a symbol of the Divine presence ; or, in other words, a manifesiation of God. But it has been made a question among Trinitarians, which of the adorable persons of the Trinity is here more specially exhibited. Is it the first person, or the second ; the Father, or the Son ?
Notwithstanding the highly respectable authorities which may be adduced in support of the sentiment, that the Divine personage here manifested is the Son of God, I feel constrained to reject it, and to adopt the other supposition. My principal reason for so doing is, that by regarding the Shekinah as a representation of Christ, we introduce confusion into the sacred symbols, and make the import of them an absurdity.
It is certain, from various passages in the Bible, that Christ, as Mediator, sustains a priestly office; and that the high priest in Israel was an eminent type of him. This typical relation is very fully exhibited in the Epistle to the Hebrews; see chap. 9. But if the Shekinah was a symbol or type of Christ, and the high priest a type of Christ; the service of the high priest, on the great day of atonement, becomes most singularly absurd. Symbolically, typically, Christ enters into the holy of holies, and makes expiation to himself! He burns the holy incense and presents the blood of atonement before himself! He is himself not only the priest and intercessor, but the very personage to whom the intercession is made!
Nor is this the worst of it. The whole service on the day of atonement was typical of what is now doing in heaven. The holy of holies, in the Jewish tabernacle and temple, was itself a type of the most holy place above, into which the great High Priest of our profession has entered, with the blood of atonement, and with the incense of his intercession. “Christ,” we are told, "is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures (or types) of the true, but into hearen itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” The Divine personage before whom Christ appears in heaven is unquestionably the same that was symbolized by the glorious Shekinah on earth. As the holy of holies on earth was a type of heaven, and the intercession of the high priest before the Shekinah was a type of our Saviour's intercession in heaven; it follows, of necessity, that the Shekinah itself represented the personage before whom our Saviournow intercedes. Hence, if the Shekinab represented Christ, then Christ is himself the heavenly personage before whom his own intercession is made. On this ground, the same absurdity, which was set forth typically in the holy of holies on earth, is literally enacted in the court of heaven. Christ appears in heaven before himself! He is Mediator to himself! He presents the blood of atonement, and offers up his intercession, to his own person !!
Absurdities such as these most certainly are not to be admitted. And I see not how they can be avoided, on the supposition that we make the Shekinah a representation of Christ. I feel constrained, therefore, to reject this interpretation, and to consider the Shekinah as a visible, glorious representation of the