The Ark-Almonds

What do almonds have to do with the Ark of the Covenant Law? There are two connections, Aaron’s staff, and the Menorah or the Golden Lamp.

Numbers 17 tells the tale of God having had enough of the grumbling against Aaron and Moses (vs. 5). Aaron’s staff had leaves, flowers, and fruit of the almond tree on it. This was the sign that God had chosen him to be the leader. The staff was to be put back into the Ark as a sign for Israel.

Numbers 11 to 16 are part of the ten test times that Israel tested God. The story of the manna and the quail, the spies returning and complaining about the land. (I think the people planned to take everyone back to Egypt and conquer the nation. They were not going back as slaves.) The two that directly affect the staff are Miriam and Aaron (Chapter 12) complaining about Moses, and Korah (a close relative of Moses) the Kohath, and Dathan and Abiram (Reubenites or the firstborn) trying to take control of the camp (Chapter 16). By this time, the people had been trained as an army.

Exodus 25 gives the instructions for the making of the Tent of Meeting and the furniture associated with it; Exodus 37 gives the same information, but it seems to be the confirmation that it was done. Details of the Menorah are here. There is much symbolism associated with the branches, bumps, flowers, and lights of this lamp. The simplest truth about the lamp and its artwork is that it is an almond tree. The lamp was to light the area in front of it.

The almond tree is one of the first to bloom in the spring and is used to symbolize someone who is watching over things. The Menorah is a “watcher” that lights the way for those coming to it, or for those who need to see.

Jeremiah 1:11 and 12 is a play on words when Jeremiah sees an almond branch and the Lord says He is “watching over” His words and Jeremiah.

Ecclesiastes 12:5 also has an almond tree that is showing the start of the year and includes a grasshopper dying that represents the end of the growing cycle or season.

Genesis 28:19 has Jacob running from Esau and resting at Luz (Almond Tree) for the night. Because of the dream of the ladder to Heaven, he asks God to watch over him on this journey and take care of him. He then renames the place Bethel or House of God.

Jacob also uses branches of the almond tree in his ritual in Genesis 30:37 of putting peeled limbs into the water. The poplar and plane tree were abundant and very leafy, so the symbolism is possibly more important than the wood. I had read once that experiments had been carried out on this combination of things and nothing was noticed that would account for Jacob’s results.

The only time that the almond nut (not the tree) is the center of attention is in Genesis 43:11 when Jacob sends almonds to the man in Egypt (Joseph).

The Ark-The Poles

As a type and shadow, the poles of the Ark represent the Holy Spirit. I will narrow the area of that broad statement to the movement of the Trinity among men. The Spirit does many other things that may not come across with the model I will set up.

The Poles

Exodus 25:13 is the description of the poles that were meant for the Ark. They were to be acacia wood and covered with gold. That is it, no length, no amount of gold, nothing super-secret or fancy. The websites below offer some ideas and good guesses and literal interpretations of some numbers we have been given. There is sound reasoning for some guesses, but they are still good guesses. For me, that just shows that there is much about the Trinity we don’t know and I am secure in them not telling everything. Exodus 25:10-15 is an important section for this study.

Why acacia wood? Those types of trees grow in the area. (If you do a search, use acacia trees in Saudi Arabia or Jordan, they also grow in Africa.)

There were other poles that had to be made for the altar, table, menorah, etc. The instructions and descriptions were basically the same, but these poles were not to stay in the other Tabernacle articles. They were to be removed during times of use.

The poles of the Ark were not to be separated from the Ark once they were inserted into the four rings that were attached to the feet of “the box”. What a beautiful representation of the Trinity. Three separate pieces makeup one item and yet they maintain a personal identity and function.

I will offer this from the information and explanations from these two sites. I believe the Ark’s poles may have been up to fifteen feet in length. That would have them “filling” the space of the Holy of Holies but not sticking outside of the tent.

Who Carried the Ark

Numbers 4 is an important chapter that is worth the time to go read so you get the “big picture”. The Kohathites (Moses and Aaron were Kohathites) had the privilege and responsibilities for everything that was used in the acts of worship inside the Tabernacle. They had to carry everything on their shoulders. The Gershonites and Merarites got carts, not the Kohathites.

How Many

One piece of information that is not supplied is how many men carried each item, another mystery. Depending on where the rings were attached to the feet on the Ark, those poles could have allowed 4, 8, 12, or 16 men to carry the Ark. How? A THEORY.  15 feet times 12 inches = 180 inches. 2 ½ cubits equals 45 inches, the long side. 1 ½ cubit equals 27 inches, the short side. You do the math. There was enough space on the short side for four men on each of the 4 parts of the poles sticking away from the Ark. Those numbers (4, 8, 12, and16) are all mentioned in the Bible, sixteen is used the least, but has some important events associated with it.

The bearers holding the poles would have to be the same height (equal) or the Ark would have been uneven. The Mercy Seat (the Father) was solid, pure gold. It sat in a “crown” or trim that went around the “box”, but it may have been top heavy. So, the carrying poles needed to be even.

Questions, Types and Shadows

  • Why two poles? It could have been carried with just one pole. It would have hung from one pole, so the pole would have been over the Mercy Seat. The two poles made it necessary for four groups to carry the Ark. Types here could show priests, prophets, royal line, and people; apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastoring-teachers (that is another study, but the Greek may allow or say the “first four” who teach).
  • Why did rings for the poles have to be on the feet? That would require the Ark to be picked up. It has to be on the shoulders. This placement would have raised it high in the air, over the heads of the bearers. “He was high and lifted up and His train filled the Temple.” (Isaiah 6:1) If you saw the Ark being moved, you have raised your head up to see it clearly.
  • Would the direction (long side vs. the short side) the Ark is carried make a difference? Carrying it from the short side would be more like a throne or chair being moved.
  • Could a priest carry the Ark? I would say no. The Sons of Aaron were Kohathites, but not all Kohathites were Sons of Aaron. The fall of Jerusalem and Jeremiah is the only question mark time I have and they say nothing about moving the Ark.
  • In our Old Testament, the Spirit “rested” on men, just as the Poles rested on men’s shoulders. In the New Testament, things changed. Two Poles, two covenants.
  • The Poles were visible to the people and had to be touched in order to move the Presence of God here on earth. Think about that for a while. Several layers of material covered the Mercy Seat and the Ark during moving, this was to protect the Kohathites.
  • Those who bear the Ark had to be equal, or the Presence of God might fall over or be hard to move. You may hold people in honor, but all are equal who move the Presence on the earth today. 
  • A priest died when David imitated the Philistines and put the Ark on a cart. Move with God His way, and not like how the Philistines thought they should move God.

Thought Questions

  1. David loved God, but how do you know he did not read the Torah as he was supposed to?
  2. What qualities of acacia wood made it suitable for the “box” and poles?
  3. How do those qualities reflect Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
  4. Was Josiah right in 2 Chronicles 35:3?

The Ark

Israel made the Ark of God after the Children reached Mt. Sinai. It took until the end of that year to finish it and the rest of the Tabernacle. Moses received the plans while being in God’s presence. He viewed the real things that were in heaven. It was the center of the camp of Israel for forty years. They housed the Ark in a special tent that held other sacred objects for the worship and honoring of God. A wall of “curtains” that also housed an altar for burnt sacrifices and offerings surrounded this tent. The tents of Aaron and the other Levite families, which were protected by the Tribes of Israel, circled all of this. The layout of the camp and the order they followed the Ark when the pillar of fire moved seemed to be arranged by birth order (who the mother was) and the size of the tribe.

The Ark is three distinct things that are known as the Ark. The three components are the Mercy Seat or the Atonement Cover, the Ark or box, and the Poles. I have no problem with the symbolism of this representing the Trinity-the Cover is the Father, the Box is Jesus, and the Poles are the Holy Spirit. The three parts are distinct in their functions but equal to the Ark of God, which represents God’s presence here on earth.

Because this holy object went missing at the time of Jeremiah and the fall of Jerusalem, myth and legend have become associated with it. They have made many documentaries about it that explore where it could be. There is a genuine artifact that is housed and guarded in Ethiopia. There are researchers who claim they saw it under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Others have assigned the Ark of God as being a receiver for cosmic messages or made fictional movies about the fantastic powers it could unleash. Rant-If it is a receiver, the message will be “go read my Book and believe in My Son”. If you want power; accept Jesus as Lord and be baptized with the Holy Spirit, then walk in His way!

This study started during Easter because of the tomb and the two angels sitting on the slab where Jesus was laid before He rose from the dead. That symbolized the Mercy Seat and the blood offering that was put on it during the Feast of Atonement. This makes you wonder if the real tomb faced east? Other questions that you will not find answers to (this list is not complete).

  • Was the Ark always covered when they moved it?
  • Did Samuel, as a boy, sleep near the Ark?
  • Why were they always taking it into battle?
  • How long were the poles?
  • The actual weight of the gold that was in and on the Ark.
  • How thick were the boards of the side of the Ark?
  • Where and when did Aaron’s rod and the manna get removed from the Ark?
  • Which direction did they carry the from-long sides or short sides?
  • How many men carried the Ark-4, 8, or 12?

This site supplies some good possible answers.

A reason we are not shown everything. Because God is a mystery.

A work assignment-compare and contrast Noah’s ark and Moses’ basket with the Ark of the Covenant.