Jesus is not Called “The Ark of the Lord” but there are so many allusions from it to the Christ it’s unmistakable. It is called by various names: The Ark of God, the Ark of the Testimony, The Ark of the Covenant, The Ark of the Lord, and even the Ark of your might (See Psalm 132:8). But we mostly know it as the “Ark of the Covenant.” It was the actual presence of God with his people. Even Indiana Jones knows that God dwells in the Ark of the Covenant. The cloud and the fire that led Israel from Egypt settled on the Ark and represented the presence of God who had promised to be “with” his people. It’s the place where God promised to meet with His people in Exodus 25:21-22. It says, “And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”

There are some things about the Ark of the Covenant that set the stage for the presence of God with mankind in the person of Jesus. Numbers 10:33 speaks of God “going ahead” of them to lead the way to the place of rest, “And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.” In Matthew 11:28, Jesus calls people to himself to find true “rest for their souls.” He is the resting place. Also, when Jesus talked about himself being the “good shepherd” he said in John 10:4, “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” In the same way as the went “before” the people, Jesus goes “before” those who believe in him. When the Temple was built the Ark of the Covenant was put in the Holiest of all places. Only the High Priests could come into that place where God had promised to be “with them.” There was a huge curtain, veil, the kept regular people from having access to the presence of God. But Jesus took care of that barrier on the cross. Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,  by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…”

The Israelites were directed to gather a quart of the manna that they had eaten during their wilderness wanderings and place it in the Ark of the Covenant. God wanted them to remember how God fed them throughout their wanderings every day. But Jesus made it clear to the people and to us that the “real” manna isn’t the stuff they ate in the Wilderness. In john 6:31-35 we read what Jesus said to the Israelites, “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’  Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” Also notice that the “Rod of Aaron” that budded was really a shepherd’s staff. Jesus is the good shepherd who leads his people beside the still waters in green pastures where they find nourishment and rest. Jesus is the “bread of life” from which one is nourished with that which will lead to eternal life through simple faith in the good Shepherd.