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Shemot/Exodus 25:17 And you shall make a covering of pure gold
Unlike the ark in most synagogues, which are more like cupboards, with doors or curtains that open at the front, the Aron Kodesh - whose plans for construction are described in the previous verses - was like a box with a lid on top.Rashi makes precisely that comment: "a lid; a covering over the Aron, for it was open at the top, and he would lay the lid on it like a board." The word used for 'cover' is derived from the root verb , which in its Qal stem means simply "to cover, to overlay". In other stems, the verb is used to mean "to cover over sin, to forgive or pardon, to expiate or make atonements, to purify" and leads to Yom HaKippurim, the Day of Atonements.
Whereas the Ark itself was made of wood and then overlaid, inside and out, with gold, the lid was to be made of pure gold with the figures of the k'ruvim, also of pure gold, mounted on each end. This would have had a significant weight, so that the word , which is translated as an adjective meaning 'heavy' and a noun 'glory', can be used as a word-play to describe the Ark: it was both heavy and glorious. Its glory was tangible because of its weight.
The purpose of the lid was to cover and seal in the tablets of testimony, Aharon's staff and the jar of manna. Both copies of the contract to be kept together, as well as the two visible signs of G-d's faithfulness so that every generation would know that G-d has proved Himself faithful to the covenant, in spite of the people's equivocation. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, "'For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' says Adonai: 'I will put My Torah within them and write it on their hearts'" (Jeremiah 31:32(33), CJB). He was looking to the day when the Torah would be within our hearts rather than on the tablets of stone and "you people are G-d's temple and G-d's Spirit lives in you" (1 Corinthians 3:16, CJB). We have "put our trust in the Messiah and were sealed by Him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh" (Ephesians 1:13, CJB).
Yeshua Himself is now our covering, our atonement. His blood cleanses and purifies us from our sins as we trust in Him. His glory, His heaviness, lies over us like a covering so that when people look at us they see Him. And we too, like the Ark, are open at the top, open to G-d, but covered by Yeshua our Great High Priest; and inside us is found G-d's word and promise and the signs of His faithfulness to us: His provision and His authority. His glory rests upon us.
Further Study: Vayikra 17:11; Hebrews 4:14-16
Application: Do you know the weight of G-d's glory resting upon you in Messiah Yeshua? His promises and His power are available for all those who trust in Him, so that He may cover them with His glory.
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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