Shortly after the death of Ron Wyatt a few friends and I entered into a study in regard to the Ark of the Covenant. This study was initiated in response to the criticism that Ron’s finding of the blood of Jesus Christ on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant was not Biblical. I believe that the Lord shared with us some things that clearly answer that objection.
In the book of 1 Timothy 2:5,6 we read the following:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
It is important to notice the tense of the words of verse 6, “to be testified in due time”. This indicates that there was a “testimony” about something relating to Christ’s sacrifice that had not taken place at the time this was written. Historically we know that the first letter to Timothy was written many years after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the Greek word that is translated “due time” in this verse means literally, “at the appropriate occasion”. This means that there was something about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for sinful man (the ransom) that at a later, more appropriate time, was going to be used as a testimony to the world. I believe that this testimony is the revealing of one of the many biblical archaeology discoveries of Ron Wyatt; specifically the Ark of the Covenant.
The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has been found on the Mercy Seat (the solid gold lid) of the Ark of the Covenant that once sat in the Most Holy Place of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That Ark still contained the tables of stone on which God Himself inscribed the ten commandments (1 Kings 8:9). It was hidden in a cave chamber underneath the Calvary escarpment on or about 586 BC, just prior to the destruction of the old city of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonian army. That chamber was located directly under the spot where, approximately 615 years later, Jesus was crucified.
We read that when Jesus died at Calvary there was a great earthquake, that the “rocks were rent” (Matthew 27:50,51). The rending of that rock created a fissure that communicated between the top of the cross hole that held the cross of Jesus and the top of the cave chamber where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden. Shortly after His death (and the rending of the rock) a soldier stuck a spear into Jesus’ side to determine whether He was dead. When that happened the apostle John records that blood and water flowed from His side.
“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” John 19:34,35
John was specifically impressed to “record” this event and to draw attention to it, to declare that it was true…………… that it really happened just as he wrote it. Moreover, it was recorded to assist our belief, ie. faith.
We now know that the blood and water traveled down through the crack in the rock and was deposited on the top of the Ark, onto the Mercy Seat.
Later in his first epistle, John recalls this incident with the water and the blood and talks of its significance to the believer.
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:6-11
Notice that John tells us that the witness (record) of the water and the blood are God’s “witness” of His Son to men ………. that this “witness” is greater than the “witness of men”. The witness of the blood and the water, through the Holy Spirit, testifies “that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
The Apostle Peter in Acts 2:16-19, while giving his sermon during the Pentecost, referred to a prophecy found in Joel 2.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; BLOOD, and fire, and vapour of smoke:” Acts 2:16-19 [emphasis not in original]
Notice that Peter tells us that at the end of time God will show signs in the earth and that one of those signs would be blood. While we cannot definitively relate this reference to Christ’s blood on the Ark, it is an interesting coincidence given the findings “beneath” the crucifixion site.
The key to understanding the purpose and significance of this Divine object lesson, that God set up over 2600 years ago, is found in understanding what the Ark of the Covenant is and how God has used it in the past.
According to Exodus 25, the Ark of the Covenant was manufactured by workmen commissioned by Moses, according to a vision that he was shown on one of his visits with God on Mt. Sinai. In this vision he was shown a “pattern” which he was to use to design all of the furnishings for the wilderness tabernacle (Exodus 25:9,10 ; Hebrews 8:5).
The Ark of the Covenant was specifically made to house the tables of testimony, ie. the tables of stone on which God with His own finger wrote the ten commandments. It was also used to house the “law of Moses”, which was placed in the “side of the Ark” (Deuteronomy 31:26). The Shekinah glory, ie. the Presence of God, also rested on the Mercy Seat of the Ark between the cherubim after it was installed in the wilderness sanctuary.
The Ark was dedicated for use in the wilderness tabernacle as were the rest of the furnishings. Then it became a part of the sanctuary service that God gave to Israel. However, its only function in that service was on one day of the year, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), when the high priest of Israel sprinkled the blood of a bull and a goat on the Mercy Seat in order to make final atonement for the high priest and for Israel; to cleanse the sanctuary of the accumulated sins of the nation over that past year (Leviticus 16). In doing this the high priest was bringing “before the Lord” the evidence that an atoning sacrifice had been made………… that the price for sin (“the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23) had been paid. On the strength of the acceptance of this sacrifice, Israel and the sanctuary were cleansed of sin.
Because the Ark was fabricated at the same time as the other furnishings of the tabernacle and because it was a part of the sanctuary service of the Levitical priesthood, many have assumed that it lost its significance at the same time that the Levitical priesthood passed away in favor of the priesthood of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:11,12). However this is not the case. The proof of this is seen in the very nature of the object that the Ark was made to preserve; the eternal, immutable Law of God.
The only other use that we see God making of the Ark is demonstrated in two separate incidents. In the wilderness, shortly after their deliverance from Egypt, God told Moses to place a pot of manna in the Ark to be “kept for your generations”. It was placed there to be preserved for a later time when it would be used as a testimony of how God provided for them in the wilderness (Exodus 16:32-34).
The other occasion was when there was a dispute in Israel as to who was to be designated to take care of the sanctuary and its service. God caused a rod from a prince of each of the other eleven tribes to be placed before the Lord along with Aaron’s rod. The next day Aaron’s rod was found to have budded, blossomed and bore almonds. This was God’s sign to Israel that the tribe of Levi was to be the keeper of the sanctuary. God then instructed Moses to place Aaron’s rod in the Ark to be preserved as evidence “against the rebels” ie. as a “token” or sign that illustrated who it was that were priests in Israel (Numbers 17:1-11).
The pattern that emerges from God’s use of the Ark in these two instances, along with the stated purpose for which it was originally made, illustrates that the Ark was a place for the safekeeping of evidence, ie. a testimony or witness to be used by God at a later time. In fact the original name given to the Ark of the Covenant, the “Ark of the Testimony”, means in the literal Hebrew, “the gathering place of evidence”.
This being the case, it was most appropriate that God would place the Ark underneath the crucifixion site and cause Christ’s blood to be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat. In doing so God was “recording” the only physical evidence that exists today that His Son gave His life; that He paid the price for sin.
Christ’s blood was not sprinkled on the Mercy Seat as a specific fulfillment of the anti-typical Day of Atonement. That “type” was to be fulfilled at a different place and time (Daniel 8:13,14). However, in its role as a “recorder” of evidence, it was perfectly appropriate for the blood of the final atonement sacrifice to be placed on the Mercy Seat of the Ark. When Christ as our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11) began to plead his blood before the Father in the Heavenly temple (Hebrews 8:1,2; 9:11), He would point to Calvary where the evidence of His sacrifice still remained. Eighteen hundred and thirteen years later, when Christ’s ministry shifted to the Most Holy Place, he would do the same.
For those that have not thought it through, it may be assumed that on the anti-typical Day of Atonement Christ entered into the Most Holy Place in the Heavenly Sanctuary with a bowl of His own blood to sprinkle on the Heavenly Mercy Seat. However, this is not the case. I can find nowhere in the words of inspiration where Christ is portrayed as literally sprinkling His own physical blood in Heaven. Inspiration indicates that His work in the sanctuary is done by virtue of the blood that He shed at Calvary in 31 AD ………. that He “pleads His blood” before the Lord.
One thing that stands out clearly in the typical Jewish service of blood sacrifice is that the sacrifice was of no value unless the blood was brought before the Lord in some manner. It was sprinkled and/or applied to various pieces of the sanctuary furniture depending on the specific requirements of the ceremony being performed. However, it was always displayed in some manner “before the Lord” as evidence that a sacrifice had been made. Therefore when Christ pleads His blood on our behalf, He does so by pointing to the places where the evidence of His sacrifice is still displayed ……….. His hands, His feet, His side and the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant located at Calvary.
This brings us to the subject of the bringing out of the Ark of the Covenant so that it can be displayed to the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the Ark will be revealed to the world, yet I am confident that it will not be removed from its current location. I also know that the tables of stone will be brought out of the cave chamber and displayed to the world. However, the Ark will not be moved.
The reason for this is found in the very manner that God has used it at Calvary. The Ark of the Covenant has “recorded” on it the physical evidence that God will use to witness to the world that His Son died to give us eternal life (1 John 5:6-11). To move the Ark from its present location would invalidate the testimony of that evidence.
It is much like what we know of modern crime scene techniques. When an event takes place that the authorities want to document, the first thing they do is rope off the area, restricting access to it. No one is allowed to move or disturb the evidence because to do so would contaminate it. The same is true with the evidence on the Ark. Christ’s blood on the Ark in that location establishes the fact that a sacrifice took place at this location and who it was that was sacrificed. To move the Ark would invalidate that evidence. Therefore while video of the Ark will one day be shown to the world, I don’t believe that the Ark will ever be brought out of that chamber.