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