Does the Ark belong to the Jewish nation?
Study by R.Tourniaire
So many think the Ark of the Covenant belongs to the jewish nation. So this is worth taking a look into. Who is given to have it?
First of all I want to say a little word to both jews and muslims. Jews have not only been mistreated during world war 2 and the great massacre that took place. I’ve had the chance to visit many museums and also look into the history of jews in europe and in arab countries. Israel have also almost been a second home for me. Jews were a prosecuted people before they even had a nation, starting with the slavarery in Egypt along with it’s borther tribes. It’s suffered many attacks also as a nation. Then subdued in turn by many powers. However after the romans destroyed Jerusalem and scattered them again they have suffered great injustice in the countries they ended up in. All during the middle ages and up until the world wars there were suppression, discrimination and hatret towards this people. There might have been some powerful jews that have inspired people to make conspieracy theories, but the majority of the jewish people have suffered greatly for no other reason then hate against them as a people. Same happens today where they are judged more harshly then others who does the same things. With the treatment throuout time it’s clear that few will stand on their side, and their life is valued less in many eyes and so I do support Israel’s right to defend itself and it’s people. A chance they haven’t had for many, many years.
To muslims I want to say, I have had the great plasure of travelling in several muslim countries and have met the most incredible kind, hospiteble and friendly people. I’ve never experianced this kind of hospatillity any where else in the world. Easy to talk to, passionate and greatful. And they have too suffered an underserving bad reputation becouse of some leaders and extremenist decitions and actions. I have great, great respect for honest muslims and their zeal and kindness. Also the rise of the ottoman empire made a safe haven for many of my sabbath keeping bretheren and sisters who was prosecuted by the catholic church. Many christians are unaware of the help these powers were to sabbath keeping christians during their trials. So I have great respect for children of Ishamel and the children of Juda. This specific topic is about finding out what the Bible say and not to engage in politics.
So let’s have a look:
Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, nephew of Ishmael, and was re-named Israel. He had twelve sons by two wifes and two concubines. The first wife was named Leah and the the second, her sister Rachel. Leah had five children (See.Gen.29-30),
1) the first born of Jacob was named Reuben.
2) The second was with Leah and was called Simeon.
3) The third called Levi.
4) And the fourth Juda, who is the forfather of the jews. Jew is deribed from the named Juda.
Rachel envious of her sister made Jacob have children by her maid, and Jacob married her: Bilhah
gave birth to Jacobs fifth son:
6) She then gives birth to the sixth son: Naphtali.
7) Not having more children Leah makes Jacob marry her maid and Jacobs seventh son is named:
8) Then the eight son is named Asher.
9) Jacobs ninth son is by Leah and is called Issachar
10) Again with Leah, Jacob has his tenth son called Zebulun.
11) Then for the first time Rachel gives birth to a son, Joseph and he is Jacobs eleventh son.
12) Lastly Rachel second son Benjamin is born making out the last of what would be the twelve tribes of Israel. (Gen.35:18)
CHILDREN OF THE FREE WOMEN:
Reuben Joseph (Ephraim and Manasse)
When Abrahams wife Sarah didn’t bear him any children she made Abraham go in and conceive a child with her bonds-made. However God refused to let his promise change from Sarah to the handmade, and so even though Sarahs son was Abrahams second son – the promise given was to be fulfilled through him. In Galatians we learn that God’s promises are fulfilled trough the free woman. «For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.» (Gal.4:22-23)
When the two twins Jacob and Esau was born God chose the second son because Esau proved himself unworthy. (Genesis 25:31-34; Heb.12:16)
Back in biblical days the free wife’s had the first rights. First the firstborn of the first wife, and if he died or lost his right, the first born of the second wife was chosen rather the second son of the first wife.
And so the firstborn right fell opon Leahs firstborn son Reuben. But he lost it. “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.» (Gen.49:4)
The next in line would be Joseph, Rachels firstborn. But Josephs son Ephraim along with his brother Manasse were given Josephs part. Ephraim the firstborn right. (Gen.48:17-19)
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)» (1.Chr.5:1-2)
The firstborn of every family was devoted to God. (Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.» (Exodus 13:2) But becouse of the tribe of Levi were faithful when the rest of the tribes worshiped a golden calf by mount Sinai – God took the priesthood from the firstborn to the tribe of Levi. “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine” (Num.3:12)
Now this is seen several times in the Bible. God goes first to the one who has first right and then if that person proves unworthy He chooses the next in line or someone else. Other times He chooses someone specifically because they are “right for the job”.
In the case of Eli the priest He said: “Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.» (1.Sam.2:27-30) He then speak judgment over his line and make the promise of a future true priest: «And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.» (V.35)
God isn’t forced to keep a promise if the one who has given the promise doesn’t honor Him and keep their end of the covenant. Same goes today. A currupt priest is not speaking on God’s behalf and chosen no matter what he does.
Same with the first king of the divided Israel, Jeroboam (Ephrathite), His promise to him was on condition. “Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes… .Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.» (1.King.14: 7 &10. See promise to him 1.King.11:38))
When choosing David Samuel first got to meet with all his bretheren and for the first born God said: “I have refused him” (1.Sam.16:7), and then telling how the borthers arn’t chosen either, showing that God had evaluated them for the task and rejected them. And so the youngest brother was anointed. In this case, becouse of the promise given to the tribe of Juda, God were looking for someone right from this tribe.
TRIBE OF JUDA
It was prophesied on Jacobs death bed that the tribe of Juda were to have kings and that the lawgiver, Shilo would come fromt his tribe. (Gen.49:10)
But they weren’t promised the priesthood. Only that their king line would lead to the promised Messiah who would rule all. After David’s son Solomon failed God didn’t let them rule over the other tribes: “And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee” (1.King.11:31) “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.” (1Kn 11:13) “But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.” (1.Kin.11:35-36)
So Juda were only ruler over all of Israel in David’s and Solomon’s regin (73 years).
The firstborn right firstly belonged to Ruben. But he lost it because he slept with his fathers bondwife.
The next in line is therefore the firstborn of Rachel which was Joseph. The bible says his part was given his two sons. Ephraim was therefore first to have a leading role once they entered Canaan.
The leader God chose to take them into the inherited land, Joshua, was in fact from the tribe of Ephraim and so the Ark was placed in the hills of Ephraim. The levittes were to service it. The leaders usually went before the Ark to wait for answers from the Lord as seen for instance here: “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. ” (Jos.7:6 See also 8:33 )
It was therefore natural that the Ark was placed in the area where the leaders of the people were. In the beginning that was the tribe of the leader, Joshua’s tribe Ephraim.
In the time of the judges we see how the tribe of Ephraim is trying to hold on to their leading role.
Both when Gideon and Jephthah fight Israels enemies the men of Ephraim meet with them upset and angry that they weren’t consoled. Having the Ark and the tradition since entering the land of a leading role they felt they had the right to be consolted on the decisions made. To Gideon: “And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.” (Jud.8:1) And to Jephthah: “And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.” (Judg.12:1. See also how Ephraims men are humiliated in the following verses)
The Ark stood in Shilo (ephraim hill-land) for a long time. We learn from the bible that it had been 480 years since they entered the land and until Solomons 4th year. The Ark was placed in Solomons temple in his 12th year. Before then it was in the city of David for around 50 years. This shows us the Ark had to have been in Shilo for around 350 years. (see diagram). Now it was the leaders of Israel that had the priests bring the Ark to battle whereupon they lost it. (And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. 1.Sam.4:3) The Ark was then taken by the philistines, returned to the closest city by the hand of God and from there to the judean hill top of Kirjathjearim where it resided from the time Samuel was judge and until David came to fethch it to bring it to the city of David. (Jos.18:14)
Now the next in line after Joseph’s son was Leahs second son Simeon, but he had lost the firstborn right early on. “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. ..Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.» (Gen.49:5&7)
The next in line was therefore Benjamin, Rachels second son. And as we see, the first king of Israel is chosen from the tribe of Benjamin. King Saul. “ And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.” (1.Sam.10:21)
King Saul is rejected after a couple of years for disobedience. He also killed God’s priests and the high priest.
The next would be Levi but he had been given the priesthood. And Jacob’s prophesy was still fulfilled and Levittes was priests that was scattered in Israel.
The next king is elected from the next in line, the tribe of Juda. King David. And here we see the prophesy conserning Juda finally starting to unfold. “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.» (Gen.49:8-10) And so it’s through Shiloh the final king the gathering of the people will be and not before.
Remember it had been several hundrets of years since Jacob told Juda would have an important role and so far the visions had seemed to fail. For a long time Ephraim had the leading roles and viewed important among his brother-tribes. And then the first king is selected from the tribe of Benjamin rather Juda. And so it could seem Juda weren’t having its prophesy fulfilled until David stepped on the throne, who’s line would go all the way to the promised Messiah.
Now noticed how in Jacobs prophesy about Juda the coming king and Messiah were called Shiloh.
Now when Joahua placed the tabernacle and Ark in the ephraim hillside they called that city with the same name Shiloh.
So anyway, for years they could say to the tribe of Juda that the prophesy hadn’t come true, but now it had started. When Solomon failed God, God divided the kingdom rather giving it to a new tribe. And so to keep His promise to David and to fufill the prophesy given Jacob, the kingsline from David continued. But the other tribes had another king. The first king in the divided kingdom was again from the tribe of Ephraim however unlike the judean kingsline, the israelitte king’s background varied. There were no righteous kings in the Israeli kingsline and soon God allowed first one portion of Israel and Ephraim to be taken by the enemies and then later the kingdom in Samaria ended.
The judean kings continued, some trying to do Gods will others following other gods and mixing truth and error.
And Yeshua is actually in line from this same judean kingsline. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luk.1:32-33). First when Messiah is king, Juda will have it’s king ruling the other tribes.
So Ephraim got to keep the Ark in Shilo for over 350 years, while the next time the Ark was placed in a temple or sanctuary system was at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Notice carefully that the tribe of Juda got to have the Ark in it’s system there on the mount around the same time as it was in Shilo before the Ark went “missing”. This shows that the tribe of Juda, as the Arks guardians, lost the right to keep it just like the tribe of Ephraim and Shilo. And this is just what God says:
“Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.” (Jer.7:14&15)
Ephraim and Shiloh never got the Ark back.
So Juda would loose the right just like Ephraim did. Since then, the Ark has never been returned into the hands of Juda. Although they had been promised Messiah would come from them, they had not been promised to house the Ark forever. God did say in that way they would be treated like Shilo. And so the Ark is not a Jewish right. The Ark was a privilege too care for that the tribe of Juda lost. It’s not a Jewish property or item, thus the Ark does not belong to a modern Jewish nation. Unless the right is given back to them and it isn’t because the one who received the kingship and priethood is the one that will not fail.
In Shilo the Ark was taken away, but in the case of the mount it stood in Jerusalem, it was the jewish nation that was removed and so this might show the Ark remained. Instead of the Ark being cast out, the people lost the property instead. Jer.7:15 says: “ I will cast you out of my sight”
So who is caretaker of the Ark? The levitte priesthood were given the right to move it and serve by it. According to the book of Hebrews Yeshua is both king and priest. “Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb.5:10) “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.» (Gen.14:18)
The tribe of Juda was forever blessed when it was chosen to bring Messiah to the world, and by Him the eternal kingship will always have come from the tribe of juda. But the jews have rejected their king. But He is still king and Priest. As the chosen king He is rightfully protector of the Ark, He will not die or loose His kingstitle and so He will keep this right forever. It will not be taken from Him to be given someone else.
But Christ, just like Melchisedek who was king and priest, took over the levitte priesthood and is High Priest. About Christ it is written: “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law, what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. …And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.» (Ref: Heb.8:1; 7:11-17)
Christ took over the levitte priesthood in the new covenant system. The priests had failed God and the perfcct priest took their place. Not just their place but the old priestly system was only a shadow or symbol of Christ priesthood: “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things..” (Heb.8:5) And so rightoufully protecter of the Ark, and priest of the Ark, is Yeshua.
In addition the Ark according to the law in it, belongs to the Creator Himself and therefore there were no question as to whom the Ark belonged. But this article is written to show that biblical speaking the tribe of Juda doesn’t have a biblical argument, except through the Messiah, to claim the Ark should be in their care or that the Ark is a property of the Jewish nation.
Thinking the Ark will be placed back into a Jewish temple is therefore a rejection of Christ as king and priest. The Ark will never be placed back into the hands of the Jewish nation unless they except and become followers of Christ kingdom. And even then, not in their hands, but still in the hand of the last judean king, Jesus Christ. So by accepting Christ as king they get to be a part but never in charge.