I have a hard time writing about this section. I don’t know why. It is such a rich section of the scripture with beauty, majesty, & strength. I look at this section of scripture and it seems like time is slowing down and almost coming to a standstill. Like if you could be there, you could almost see every drop of blood and hear the cry of every vulture. It’s almost like every bit and piece of reality is slowed down and magnified. Like all of life and time itself has been preparing for this moment and is now holding its breath in anxious anticipation of this, the very moment that it exists for. Distantly, in the background, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” ringing through all of reality. The flutter of the wings of a bird; the racing heartbeat of a little boy; the sound of the laughter of the roman soldiers slowing down as a moment is extended into five. It is almost deep and primal, and then… it is done!
Jesus, the Christ, has died! The heaven’s mourn. The Father / YHWH tears His veil, as the priest had torn his robes only hours before. The very earth and rocks cry out. They expel the very bodies of the dead righteous, just as the blood of righteous Able called out to YHWH from the ground that had swallowed him up from the hands of Cain.
Nothing else matters in all of history and time, as what happens in that very moment when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.“
… except maybe what happens on the third day
Well, the tabernacle proper and the alter have been built. Now it is time for the very core of the tabernacle; the furnishings. We have the table, the lampstand, the alter of incense, and most importantly, the ark of the covenant. When i was a kid i always thought that the ark of the covenant would be BIG. It would be taller than me and so big i wouldn’t be able to touch from end to end. Almost like it would be the length of a big dining room table, but it’s actually very small. If a cubit is the distance from the average person’s elbow to the tip of their middle finger, and the ark of the covenant is 2 1/2 cubits long, it’s really not very big. Add to that the height and width each being 1 1/2 cubits, it’s something i could easily jump over from a standing position (not running)… not that i would. I’m just saying that it would have been feasible if i had wanted to and God hadn’t struck me dead for even thinking it.
It’s even more interesting when you consider that the ark of the covenant sat on the floor / ground and not on a table. So chances are that the ark of the covenant didn’t even come up to most people’s waists. It was the throne of YHWH, yet while standing up you looked DOWN on it!?! I guess it’s surprising to me because i would think that the throne of the God of the universe and everything would be a wee bit bigger than… well, than that. But it’s His ark. I’ll let Him make it as big or small as He wants it to be.
The other interesting thing i wanted to note is how you hold it. I grew up watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. My dad really liked that movie. So i know what the Ark of the Covenant looked like. It was covered in pure gold, it had the two cherubim on top and the rings for the carrying poles about 3/4 of the way up. But wait! According to the text, the rings for the carrying poles were at the feet of the ark?… It was the same way with the table. The rings for the carrying poles were on the feet. It’s almost like YHWH wanted everyone to be able to see it when they travel. Almost as though it wasn’t just meant to be hidden away in some tent 24/7/365. Hmm, what an interesting concept! You mean God isn’t just some hidden away god that we aren’t allowed to see or interact with?