Numbers 10:33 says, “So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for the three days journey to search out a resting place for them.” Hebrews tells us the ark of covenant was to teach us about Christ. Also in Hebrews 6 it tells us that God created the covenant so that we would have strong consolation and lay hold of the promises. Consolation means a strong encouragement. God created a covenant and He swore in an oath so that you and I will have a strong encouragement to lay hold of the promises of God. He cut the covenant, so that you and I can know that God Almighty swore and took an oath to bless us, to prosper us, to heal us, and to deliver us. He cut the covenant, He set it up.
He gave Israel the ark of covenant. It was made of wood and wood in the Bible is symbolic of humanity. It was overlaid in gold inside and out, gold is symbolic of Deity. The box (ark of covenant) is a symbol and type of the covenant which is also the Lord Jesus Christ, He was all humanity and He was all Deity. He was the covenant. The covenant was cut, it was sworn in blood. So God created this box to teach Israel about what was coming.
Exodus 25:21-22 it says, “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” The word seat means a covering or a lid. It was called a mercy lid and this lid was to sit on top of this covenant.
This thing was known as the ark of the testimony or the ark of the covenant, because the Testimony was inside of the ark. The testimony, testifies to the nature of the covenant. So He put the Testimony inside of the ark and then He put the mercy lid on top of it. Then He said, I will meet with you and speak with you there above the mercy seat. The only place that you can meet God is on the mercy seat. That’s where God dwelt was the mercy seat. You might say well that was the Old Testament, but the Old Testament was to teach us about Christ and bring us to the new. God gave them this for a reason.
In Hebrews 9:4 he tells us what the testimony was inside the ark. There were 3 things He told Moses to put inside there (1) 10 Commandments (2) Aaron’s rod (3) manna. Aaron’s rod was a branch off an almond tree, there was a fight going on about who was going to get to be priest. God told them whoever’s branch starts to produce will be the priest and Aaron’s rod began to sprout and it was not connected to a tree. That was a type of the resurrection. It was dead and it came to life. He’s showing them at this time Aaron was going to be a representative of that priesthood and also that somewhere in time there is coming another priest and He’s going to be a priest because of the resurrection from the dead. So now we have a box that represents the covenant that God is going to make, you have the testimony inside of the ark and you have a lid on it called a mercy seat and there is where God is and nowhere else.