The Ark and the Bible
2 Samuel 6:17
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the middle of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it…

The ark of the covenant has been taken as representative of religion, of Christ, of the Church, or of the sacraments and means of grace. It may also be compared with the Bible (or Scriptures of the old and new covenants), which is of even greater value to us than the ark was to Israel. The resemblance appears in their:

1. Supernatural origin. The ark was made according to the pattern shown (in vision) by God to Moses in the mount (Exodus 25:9), by Bezaleel, who was "filled with the Spirit of God" (Exodus 31:3), and other wise-hearted men; and the tables of stone which, it contained were "written with the finger of God" (Exodus 34:1). The Bible is the product of Divine inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16), though, like the ark, in connection with the (literary) skill of man. "It is a Divine-human book."

2. External characteristics, such as choice and precious materials (acacia wood and pure gold), durability, painstaking workmanship ("beaten work"), simplicity, compactness, beauty ("a crown of gold round about"), practical utility (rings and staves), which are all apparent in the Scriptures.

3. Spiritual significance - the presence of God, the Law (as a testimony against sin and a rule of life), atoning mercy, Divine fellowship and favour. "In the words of God we have the heart of God." The ark was a sign of these sublime realities, "not the very things themselves." With the Bible, wherein they are so much more clearly and fully set forth, it is the same.

4. Wondrous achievements; not, indeed, by their inherent virtue, but by the Divine might of which they were appointed instruments; in blessing or bane according to the diverse moral relationships of men. By the ark the Israelites were led through the wilderness, their enemies scattered, the waves of the Jordan arrested, the walls of Jericho demolished, the land subdued, Dagon destroyed, the rebellious punished, the irreverent smitten, the obedient blessed. Who shall describe the achievements of the Word of God? What enemies it has overcome! what reformations effected! what blessings conferred!

5. Varied fortunes: after long wanderings finding rest; misunderstood and superstitiously perverted, lost for a season to its appointed guardians, persistently striven against, treated with irreverent curiosity, buried in obscurity and neglect, eagerly sought after and found, cherished in private dwellings, exalted to the highest honour.

6. Transcendent claims on human regard - attention, reverence, faith, love, and obedience.

7. Preparatory purpose and temporary duration. At the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians the ark perished or was lost beyond recovery; in the new dispensation there is no place for it (Jeremiah 3:16); but the mercy and judgment which it symbolized cannot fail (Revelation 11:19). The Bible is necessary only in a state where" we see by means of a mirror obscurely" (1 Corinthians 13:12, 13), not where we see "face to face." But, though in its outward form it vanish away, yet in the spiritual realities of which it testifies, the efforts which it produces, the fulfilment of its promises and threatenings, "the Word of the Lord endureth forever." - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

WEB: They brought in the ark of Yahweh, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh.

The Believer and the Scoffer Contrasted
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