The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 12 of 144
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Fundamentals of Dispensational Truth.
#58.  The Tabernacle.
The ark and the mercy seat (Exod. 25: 10-22).
pp. 17 - 25
The first item of the tabernacle that is specified is the ark. This is severally called:--
"The ark of the testimony" (Exod. 25: 16);
"The ark of the covenant" (Numb. 10: 33);
"The ark of the Lord" (Josh. 3: 13);
"The ark of God" (I Sam. 3: 3);
"The ark of the Lord God" (I Kings 2: 26);
"The ark of Thy strength" (II Chron. 6: 41);
"The holy ark" (II Chron. 35: 3).
These seven titles are doubtless distributed throughout the Scriptures with that
discrimination which we always find whenever we subject the Word to a careful
examination. For example, the title "The ark of the testimony" is reserved for the period
covered by Moses and Joshua, whereas the title "The ark of the covenant" extends from
Moses' tabernacle to Solomon's temple, from wilderness to kingdom. We must leave the
tabulation of these titles, with the added one "The ark of the God of Israel" (I Sam. 6: 3)
and others, to those who may be able to spare the hours that verification and accuracy
The ark and its contents.
The ark was an oblong wooden chest 2-1/2 cubits long, 1-1/2 cubits wide, and
1-1/2 cubits high, covered within and without with gold, and having upon it round about
a crown of gold. For the purpose of transport four rings of gold were fixed to the four
corners, and two staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold were placed in the rings, and
left there in constant readiness for the removal of the ark. The shittim wood of which the
ark was made is most probably that of the acacia tree. It is mentioned, together with the
cedar, the myrtle and the oil tree, fir tree, pine, and box, in Isa. 41: 19, and appears to be
one of seven trees that indicate blessing:--
"The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box
together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary' (Isa. 60: 13).
Jerome says that the wood of the shittim tree affords long planks smooth and free from
knots, and that it does not grow in cultivated places, or in any other place of the Roman
Empire, except in the desert of Arabia. It is intensely interesting to note that the LXX
renders the word shittim wood xulon asepton = "incorruptible wood". The woodwork of
the tabernacle was covered; it was designed for constructional purposes, and not for
beauty, and the humbler office was fulfilled throughout by the shittim or acacia tree.
Where every detail is so specifically shown, and where the typical character of every item