Material Used
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 25. In our study of the tabernacle, we have had the pattern as it was given to Moses, and then the construction of the tabernacle as the pattern was followed by Bezaleel. So we have two descriptions of the tabernacle. There are details in each that supplement the other, and the only way we can have a full study is to notice the two accounts when there is a need. There may not always be a need, but when there is we will notice two sections of Scripture. The first is chapter 25-31 of the book of Exodus, and the other is chapter 31 through the end of the book. Let us notice chapter 25, reading from verse 1:

Exodus 25

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
5And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

This paragraph describes for us the stockpile of material out of which the tabernacle and its furnishings were to be made. We are interested in two kinds of materials which were taken from this stockpile to build the piece of furniture which we will be considering. We are interested in the gold of verse 3 and the shittim wood of verse 5, because these are the two materials out of which the Ark of the Covenant was made. The Ark of the Covenant was the piece of furniture found in the Most Holy Place. It was a chest-like object with four rings, one at each corner, staves through the rings for the purpose of carrying, and two cherubim on top looking down on the Mercy Seat, which actually was the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, but was also another piece of furniture. We have found that the purpose of the Ark was the sustenance of life; we found that by noticing how the Ark is used in the Word of God: Noah's ark, the ark of Moses, in which he was placed when his mother was saving his life from Pharaoh, and the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant followed the example of the other two in the sustenance of life.

We found that especially true when we noticed the contents of the Ark. There were the two tables of stone which had inscribed upon them the Ten Commandments, which disobedience to would have resulted in death if they had not been covered by the Mercy Seat. There was the golden pot of manna which spoke of the bread by which men were able to live when they did not live by bread alone. There was Aaron's rod that budded, which spoke of the intercessory work of the Savior.

Symbolism of Acacia Wood

Now we want to look at the Ark itself, remembering that the Ark symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ. As we look at the Ark itself, I trust that we will be able to see that more definitely. We have looked at the stockpile of material in the first nine verses of chapter 25, and are especially interested in the gold of verse 3 and the shittim wood of verse 5. If you will look at the paragraph which begins with verse 10 you will see how Bezaleel, the architect of the tabernacle, took these two materials, shittim wood and gold, and constructed from them the Ark of the Covenant:

Exodus 25

10And they shall make an ark of shittim 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.
11And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
12And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
13And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
14And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

These verses describe the manner in which Bezaleel made the Ark of the Covenant from the materials in the stockpile. Glance with me at verse 10 to refresh our minds that the Ark was made of shittim wood as well as were the staves by which the Ark was carried. This is indicated in verse 13, where we read, “Thou shalt make staves of shittim wood.” The word “shittim” is not a translation; it is a transliteration–a Hebrew word spelled with English letter equivalents. Actually this is the Hebrew word “shittah”. Men were nonplused for a long time to know what shittim wood was. Then they began to examine the vegetation of the Bible, which is a very interesting study, and they discovered that what we call “shittim” actually was the wood of the acacia tree. The acacia grew in many places in the area where the children of Israel were, and gave name to places where the trees grew.

Location of the Acacia Trees

I would like for you to see that for a purpose which we will get to, so please turn to the book of Numbers, chapter 33, which describes the wanderings, the journeyings, the meanderings of the children of Israel. Look at verse 47:

Numbers 33

47And they [the children of Israel] removed from Almondiblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
49And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.

Notice the name “Abel-shittim”. This was the name of a place; when people began to search to find out exactly what shittim wood was, they noticed this word transliterated. When they located these places geographically they were able to arrive at the meaning of the word; for the word “Abel-shittim”, which is a definite location on the map, means “the shadow of the shittim tree” or “the meadow of the acacia tree”. When they found this place, they found acacia trees completely surrounding it. So they realized that the acacia tree was the shittim tree of the Bible.

Acacia trees are growing in the same location in the holy land today. They are very similar to a mesquite tree in their shape, in their leaves, and in their thorns.

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Judges, chapter 7, and notice verse 22. This chapter is dealing with the fall of Jericho:

Judges 7

22And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.

Notice in that verse the name “Beth-shittah”. This was the name of a town. The word “beth” means “home”, so it was the house of Shittah, or the house of the acacia tree. When this village was located, sure enough the most prominent tree in the village was the acacia tree.

Now will you turn, please, to the prophecy of Joel, and notice chapter 3, verse 18:

Joel 3

18And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

The valley of Shittim is an actual location. This prophecy of Joel refers to the day when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth and the desert will blossom as the rose. The valley of Shittim was a very dry area, and shittim trees, or acacia trees, grew in abundance there because they were especially adapted to dry soil. They were especially adapted to desert places, and were in abundance in the wilderness of Sinai.

Characteristic of the Environment

The reason we have asked you to turn to these various passages of Scripture to establish the identity of the acacia tree is that you may understand why God chose this particular tree to provide the wood out of which the Ark of the Covenant was made. The first thing we would like to say is that one reason He chose it was that it was characteristic of their environment, and from a purely practical standpoint was an easy wood for them to lay hold of. If we stop our comment there, we will have missed the spiritual significance entirely. We need to remember that one of the reasons God instructed them to use a tree that was characteristic of their environment was that in so doing, they would provide a spiritual lesson for us.

The Word of God can express it better than I, so I would like for you to turn, please, to the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, which is a testimony to this fact. This chapter speaks of the witness that God bore in regard to salvation for the human race. He speaks of man, and then He passes from man to the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will notice the paragraph which begins with verse 6:

Hebrews 2

6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?
7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

We have been reading about what God intended man to be–not what he is–what God intended man to be before the fall. He made him a little lower than the angels; He crowned him with glory and honor. He put all things in subjection under his feet and left nothing that was not put in subjection under him.

An Illustration of Christ's Incarnation

As though the Apostle Paul is anticipating an argument from us, he says, in the middle of verse 8:

Hebrews 2

8…But now we see not yet all things put under him.

When we read those first few verses, we are apt to say, “Now, wait a minute, Paul! We don't see man crowned with glory and honor. We see him crowned with sickness and death. We don't see all things put under him. We see him at the mercy of everything and everyone. Someone has made a mistake. Paul, did you?” Paul answers, “I did not make a mistake. We do not see him that way yet.”

Hebrews 2

9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

You will see in Hebrews, chapter 2, in Paul's discussion of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the reason the acacia tree was chosen by God as characteristic of the environment of which the children of Israel lived. It illustrated the fact that when the Lord Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for the sins of the world, He had to become exactly like the men for whom He died. Had He not done so, His salvation would have not been effective. He did not take upon Him the nature of angels. He took upon Him the nature of man. That is why we are encouraged to pray. It is why we are encouraged to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there. Notice in verse 18:

Hebrews 2

18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted [that is, being tested] , he is able to succour [that is, to come to the aid of] them that are tempted.

My finite mind cannot comprehend this great truth, but the Bible very plainly tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered everything that you have ever suffered. He knows what you are suffering now. Someone may say, “He never broke a leg. How does He know that hurts?” I cannot explain it, but that is what the Bible says. Someone might say, “Well, He was never married. He never lost a wife; He never lost a husband. How does He know about that?” I cannot explain it, but the Bible says that He was tested on all points like as we are. He knows every heartache and every longing that we have.

That should be a great blessing to our hearts. We try to sympathize with one another, but we may as well face the fact that the best we can do is to say, “I am sympathizing.” If we have never gone through that particular trial, we do not know what it is, in spite of what we may say.

The acacia tree, peculiar to the environment in which they lived, illustrates the great truth that the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself, not the nature of the angels, but the fashion of man.

Shade In a Dry Land

I would like for you to notice with me some of the characteristics of this acacia tree, because I believe that they are another reason the Lord chose it as the material for the Ark. Turn, please, to the book of Isaiah, chapter 53. One of the characteristics of the acacia wood, as we suggested when we looked at Joel, chapter 3, verse 18, is that it flourished in dry places. It is peculiar to the desert. It will grow when nothing else will. It is not particularly attractive because of its beauty, but it provides shade in a dry and a thirsty land. Isaiah, chapter 53, presents a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. To my mind, this is one of the most beautiful pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Word of God. It becomes even more effective if you change the plural pronoun to the singular pronoun and let it speak to your own heart:

Isaiah 53

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

He is speaking thus to the Jews. In that time that is yet to come upon the earth which is known as the Tribulation, l44,000 Jews will go throughout the land preaching this very message.

Isaiah 53

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

He describes the Savior in verse 2:

Isaiah 53

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Isaiah was anticipating the reaction of the people who would see the Lord Jesus Christ when He should come to the earth, and he said, concerning Him: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when men see him there is nothing about him that would attract them to him.”

The Finished Work

Then notice verse 3. May I suggest that we change the pronoun to the singular.

Isaiah 53

3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation [that is, who will finish out his day, who will finish his work, who will finish the job He came to do]? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Before we leave that verse, may I say to you that you have the answer to the question, “Who is to finish what He came to do?”. He came to redeem the world, and He paid the price in full, but the world will never be redeemed unless you take up where He left off and tell the story.

Isaiah 53

9And he made his grave with the wicked [a prophecy of the crucifixion between two thieves] , and with the rich in his death [a prophecy of His burial in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathaea] ; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him;…

Get the picture: Jehovah bruised Him even though there was nothing in Him that merited the bruising.

Isaiah 53

10…he hath put him to grief:…

Then Isaiah addresses the Savior and says:

Isaiah 53

10…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:…

Have you ever wondered whether it ever crossed the mind of the Savior, “Was it worth it? Was it worth giving My life? Was it worth all the suffering I endured? Was it worth it?” Well, here is the answer: When he sees those who come into a saving knowledge of Himself, being born again, He will be satisfied.

Isaiah 53

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Let this chapter be a blessing to your own heart again and again. It can be. It won't be if you are filled with your own righteousness. It won't be if you are not conscious of your own unworthiness. But if you are conscious of your own sin and your own unworthiness, this chapter can be a great blessing to you.

Go with me to verse 2, because it is really why we read the chapter:

Isaiah 53

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:…

When Isaiah by the Holy Spirit was prophesying the kind of person the Lord Jesus would be, he said He would be as a root out of the dry ground. If you wanted to illustrate that with wood, would it not be wise to select a wood that had that very characteristic? That is exactly what our God did when He selected the acacia tree or acacia wood for the Ark.

The Incorruptible Word of God

Let us think of a second characteristic of this acacia wood. For all practical purposes it is indestructible. Wood in that area of the world was often destroyed by worms that bored from within and caused the tree to die and the wood to be destroyed, but the acacia tree had the unusual characteristic of being impervious to these worms. In was indestructible and incorruptible. When we think about that, we are reminded of what we read in I Peter, chapter 1, about another characteristic of the Savior. Notice verse 23:

I Peter 1

23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Did you notice the phrase, “the incorruptible word of God”? The incorruptible Word of God is the written Word of God, true, but we must not forget it is the living Word as well. We are reminded that John said in his Gospel:

John 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

When seventy Greek scholars translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, they produced the version of the Bible to which we refer as the Septuagint version. The Greek word which they selected to describe the wood from which the Ark was made is translated “incorruptible” here. Surely we are not too far afield, then, when we suggest that the acacia wood was chosen as the material for the Ark because it indicates the incorruptible Word of God.

Thorns Illustrate Suffering

I told you earlier that if you want a good illustration of the acacia tree, you may look at our mesquite tree. It is shaped somewhat the same, the leaves are somewhat the same, and the characteristic thorns are there. As we teach the symbolism in this portion of the Word, I dare not pass over that lightly. I think there was a reason why God chose a tree that was characterized by thorns. In Exodus, chapter 25, there is mentioned a crown of gold. But that was not the only crown the Savior wore. When you have time, read chapter 19 of the Gospel of John, verses 1-5, and read of another crown He wore, a crown of thorns, plaited from wood very similar to this. So in the acacia tree there is another illustration of our Lord and His coming to earth. The acacia tree speaks not only of indestructibility, but it speaks of the suffering He endured when He wore that crown of thorns.

Pierced for Healing

Right along that line, I would suggest the fourth characteristic of the acacia tree. It had within it a sap which would flow only when the tree was pierced at night. The gum that came forth from the pierced acacia tree was used for medicinal purposes. Here again we have another illustration that we dare not pass over lightly, particularly when we call to mind the portion of chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah which we have just read.

We read the He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. Notice the words “wounded” and “bruised” and “chastisement” and “stripes.” They are all summed up in the word “piercing”. Did you see the result of it? We are healed. Just as the acacia tree was pierced at nightfall, and the sap flowed to provide medicine for the healing of the human body, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was pierced in those dark hours on Calvary; and that piercing resulted in something far more important than physical health. It resulted in spiritual health and eternal life.

Deity Limited By the Flesh

Turn back with me, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 25, verse 10. Immediately after we are told that the Ark was made of shittim wood, we are given the dimensions of the Ark, and we are told that it had to be made exactly according to those dimensions. In our introductory study of the Tabernacle, we found that over and over again it was emphasized that Bezaleel must not deviate even a hair's breadth from the pattern that was given to Moses in the mount. In verse 10, you will notice that the dimensions of the Ark were restricted. They were to be two cubits and a half, a cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half. It was not a matter of making a great big chest. It was not a matter of making one too small. It was a matter of limiting the chest to certain dimensions. This is one of the best illustrations of what the incarnation means. The incarnation means that deity is limited by the flesh.

Will you turn with me, please, to the Gospel of John for a very concrete illustration of how the Lord Jesus Christ limited His deity. This is a thrilling passage of Scripture, and every time I read it, I wish I might have been there in the bushes observing what was going on, because it was a thrilling and exciting thing:

John 18

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
2And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

I hope you will get the feel of this paragraph. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the Garden of Gethsemane from the upper room. He knew what was going to happen. Judas and the men who were with him, carrying lanterns and swords, approached the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus said, “For whom are you looking?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am He.” Did you notice what happened immediately after that? They went backward and fell to the ground. Why do you suppose they did that? If you examine the story carefully, you will see why they did it. The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ was permitted to shine through His humanity. When they stood in the presence of the glory of God, they fell on the ground as though they were dead. Men cannot stand in the presence of the glory of God.

They arose to their feet, and He said, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” He said, “I am He. You don't need these other fellows. Let them go.” Did you notice what the Scripture said? They took Him. Is that a contradiction? Did two different people write the story? Not at all. I believe the Spirit of God recorded this account in John, chapter 18, to remind us that while He was on the earth, the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ was limited by His own will. It did not have to be.

Matthew, in chapter 26, records this same incident and tells how Peter took his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Poor Peter's aim was poor. He did not aim for his ear; he aimed for his head. Did you notice what the Lord Jesus Christ said to him? “Peter, put your sword away. I don't need it. Don't you know that all I would have to do would be to lift one finger toward Heaven and My armies that are waiting in Heaven would come swooping through the sky and these people would be helpless in their presence?” Why did He not do that? He was limited. He limited His deity in relation to His humanity just as this chest was restricted to a certain size. I believe that is the reason for it.

A Partial Picture of Jesus

Turn back with me, please, to Exodus, chapter 25, and notice the size of this chest again and recognize that the figure that is emphasized more than any other is the figure one-half, or the word “half”. The word “half” in Hebrew is elsewhere translated “part”. Why was it that the figure “half” was so emphasized in the dimensions of this chest? I believe that it was meant to tell us a story. Remember what is recorded in the first book of Kings, chapter 10, verses 6 and 7. The queen of Sheba came to see Solomon. Keep in mind that Solomon is an Old Testament type of the Lord Jesus Christ. The queen of Sheba said, “I have heard of you. But the half [this is the same word at which we are looking] has not yet been told me.”

I think the Apostle Paul had this same thing in mind when he said, in I Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 12, “Now we know in part, but then shall we know even as also we are known.” I do believe that this half figure is emphasized in the Ark to remind us that the Ark, a picture of the deity and the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, was but a partial picture of the Son of God.

Remember what John said in his first epistle: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but when we see him, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” We know only in part now.

The study of numerology in the Bible is fascinating; numbers in the Bible are significant. I think you can overdo it, but if you stay within the bounds of Scripture, you will not make mistakes. Notice these numbers in relation to the Ark:

Exodus 25

10And they shall make an ark of shittim 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.

Two and one-half is half of five, is it not? One and one-half is half of three, is it not? Five in the Bible is the number or grace. It is the number that illustrates the tremendous grace of God. When you have time, notice in the New Testament the chapters that are numbered five, and see how many of them deal with man's weakness and God's grace.

The number five is the number of the grace of God, and the Ark is two and one-half cubits long–half of five. Why? We have been pointing it out to you. When we see the Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth, when we read His story of redemption and what He is able to do for men now, we see only half the story of the grace of God. Read chapter 1 of the Ephesian letter and you will realize that you will not read the other half of the story of His grace until we are with Him in glory.

One and one-half is half of three, is it not? Three is the number of manifestation. That is why three is the number of the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are a full manifestation of the Godhead. You do not have a manifestation of the Godhead unless you have all three members of the Trinity. Half of three is one and one-half. Here is the same truth emphasized again. The Lord Jesus Christ as we see Him, His humanity and His deity intertwined and combined, is but half the revelation of God. Someday when we stand in the presence of God and the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God, we will have the full manifestation of God in all His glory.

Gold Pictures Deity

Look again at Exodus, chapter 25, and notice verse 11:

Exodus 25

11And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it,…

Gold is the second material in our stockpile. It overlaid the Ark of the Covenant within and without, and it also overlaid the staves by which the Ark was carried. What is the significance of gold? The way to determine the symbolism of a type in the Bible is to notice the first place in the Bible where it is used, and it will always be used the same way. Gold is first mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 12. It is mentioned there as a thing of great value. The next time we find it mentioned in a symbolic fashion is in chapter 23 of the book of Job, verse 13, and there we find that it is more valuable than anything else on this earth. It is above and beyond any earthly thing. In chapter 20 of the book of Revelation, verse 18, we find the consummation of our journey through the Bible looking at these verses. Gold comes to stand for deity. It comes to stand for the glory of the divine.

As you glance back at verse 11, you will find that the wood of the acacia tree which stood for the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ is overlaid with gold. It is overlaid with deity; it is humanity overlaid with deity. The gold overlaid the wood within and without. That is, it was so intertwined that the gold and the wood almost became one; you could not talk about the one without talking about the other.

Humanity and Deity Intermingled

The Bible does not say this, but I will say it: You do not have to accept it as the Word of God. Josephus, who made a study of the Tabernacle and wrote many things about it from an actual study of the Tabernacle itself, said that the gold overlaying the wood was beaten upon it to such an extent that the grain of the wood showed through the gold. It is possible that that is true. If it is, it is very interesting, I think, because it indicates that the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ often showed through the deity and the deity through the humanity.

One of the best illustrations of that is found in the story of the Lord Jesus Christ on the boat when the storm came up (Mark 4:39). He was asleep in the stern of the ship. The Bible says He was asleep because He was so tired. The storm came up, and the disciples were alarmed, and they awakened Him out of sleep. He went to the edge of the boat and said, “Peace, be still.” “Lie down, dogs,” is the literal meaning of the phrase, just as you would tell a little puppy that was stirring about too much, “Lie down.” That is what the Savior said to the waves, and they lay down. Do you see how closely intermingled were the humanity and the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ? They were almost inseparable.

Crowned With Glory and Honor

Glance again at verse 11 and notice that upon the top of the Ark there was a crown of gold. That is significant, it seems to me, if you keep in mind where the Ark is in the Tabernacle. It is in the Most Holy Place, which is typical of the inner chamber of Heaven. On the Ark that represents the Lord Jesus Christ we see a crown of gold, and we are reminded as we look in the Word of God that the Lord Jesus Christ is to be crowned with glory and honor as no other individual will ever be. Read Hebrews, chapter 2, again. Someone might say, “Wait a minute. Is not our symbolism falling apart here? Is not the Ark in the Holy Place made of acacia wood? Is that not a sign of humanity? Is the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ still represented in Heaven?” It is. You remember what He had in His side? You remember what He had in His hands? The marks of the nails in His hands and feet, and the mark of the spear in His side. He has them today. He has His glorified body, but the marks of His sojourn on earth are still there; they will be there for us to behold throughout all eternity, so the symbolism does not fall apart. It is still accurate, as all the Word of God is. Notice verse 12:

Exodus 25

12And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.

These rings are made not of acacia wood and gold as was the Ark and as were the staves; they were made of pure gold. I wonder what they were. Read Psalm 85, which is a salvation song, and notice in verse 10 how the finished work of the Savior is described:

Psalms 85

10Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, are divine attributes which are made possible wholly by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the rings on the corners of the Ark. Between them was the mercy seat, the place that made possible mercy and truth, righteousness and peace.

An Eternal Memorial

One last thing we have to present to you. That is what is said about the staves in verses 13-15:

Exodus 25

13And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

We know the symbolism: The shittim wood is humanity; the gold is deity. We are reminded that the Lord Jesus Christ as man bore man to God, and the Lord Jesus Christ as God bore God to man. The two are inseparably related. Notice in verse 15:

Exodus 25

15The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.

While the Ark was on the move, all during the wilderness journeys, the staves were never taken out of those rings. During all the wilderness wandering, the Ark was needed by a traveling people. Read chapter 5 of the first book of Kings and you will read of the last journey the Ark made. It never moved again after that. It was put in the Most Holy Place of the temple; and when the people sang the song of praise, they said, “God has entered into His rest.”

Do you know what they did with those staves? They took them out of the rings at the corners of the Ark and put them in the corner. The Ark did not need to be carried any more. Do you know what was left in that Ark? Originally there were Aaron's rod that budded, a golden pot of manna, and the two tables of stone. When the Ark was placed in temple, its final resting place, the only things left in the Ark were the two tables of stone. Aaron's rod that budded was not there any more. The golden pot of manna was not there any more.

I don't think that was an accident. I think it was God watching over this pattern that He gave us of eternal truth, and I think the reason the pot of manna was not there and that Aaron's rod that budded was no longer there was that when we reach home, we no longer need the manna of the wilderness. We no longer need the intercession of Aaron's rod. But throughout all eternity the law of God will be an eternal memorial to the fact that the law was weak through the flesh, but what the law could not do, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, did (Romans 8:3). The law will be an eternal reminder that we who broke it are saved by Him who fulfilled it.


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