Ark of the covenant

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A modern replica of the ark of the covenant

The most sacred religious symbol of the Israelites, the chest constructed at God’s behest to shelter the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the covenant between God and Israel given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was kept heavily veiled in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle (the portable sanctuary of the Israelites, also called “the tent of the congregation”) and only the high priest could look upon its uncovered surface. Above the ark, which was constructed of acacia wood overlaid with gold, was a “mercy seat” covered by the outstretched wings of two golden cherubim.

God told Moses: “There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims.... I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.”[1] It is recorded that “as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.”[2]

The children of Israel carried the ark wherever they went in their journeys through the wilderness and at times into battle. It was cherished as the active presence of Yahweh with his people.

The flame of the ark of the covenant burns at the high altar at the Inner Retreat. The altars of Church Universal and Triumphant that Keepers of the Flame tend daily around the world are tied to that flame and receive its emanations.

Sources

Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 25, no. 29.

  1. Exod. 25:22; Lev. 16:2.
  2. Exod. 33:9.