I fear the class left with some uncertainty about Mary being the Ark of the New Covenant when she was carrying Jesus in her womb. So I decided to give you more scriptures to read that help explain the concept.
First, those who have not had The Great Adventure Bible Study need to know that in the Old Testament, God gently and graciously taught His Chosen People about Himself gradually building up from basic concepts to readiness for accepting the Messiah. They lived in a world where every other tribe worshipped idols and maintained religious practices that degraded the participants and led to constant turmoil.
So He began at the kindergarten level by revealing Himself in small ways to Adam, Noah, and Abraham. Then each new interaction with a member of his family revealed a little more about God and Truth. Generations later, the newly freed slaves who crossed the Red Sea on foot, who built the tabernacle and who received the Ten Commandments were still in the early primary grades of His School.
They were told to build The Ark of the Covenant for the Holy of Holies section of the tabernacle with three items kept inside: a golden jar of manna that miraculously stayed fresh, Aaron’s rod that budded (to reveal who was the real High Priest), and the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them. This let them know that the ark, its contents, and the Mercy Seat over it were supremely holy and revealed God in a special way.
Hebrews 9:4 sums it up in the New Testament: In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
These items taught them about God’s nature. We usually refer to such Old Testament revelations as types. The manna provided miraculous food for the wanderers for forty years that kept them healthy as they participated in “God’s Fitness Camp.” This type taught them that they could depend of God for practical necessities of life.
Aaron’s rod showed them in an undeniable, physical way exactly whom God had appointed to lead them spiritually as they journeyed to the Promised Land. So they could quit lobbying for leadership roles and instead look for, appreciate, and obey the person that God chose for them. And the stone tablets, which the Jews often call the Ten Words, showed them how to live in a happy, satisfying, and productive way here on earth.
During the rest of the Old Testament: the period of the Judges, the Kingdom period, and the diaspora, they learned more and more. They even began to look for a Messiah and His kingdom.
With our 20-20 hindsight, we can see that as Mary carried Jesus before birth, she also carried: the Bread of Life, the Great High Priest, and the Word of God. The Messiah embodied or fulfilled those types from the first Ark in Himself. And He offers to freely share their godly graces with those who ask and believe.
Bread of Life:
- Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat. John 6:31
- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:3
Aaron’s Rod that Budded or Spiritual Authority: Hebrews 4:14-16
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Ten Commandments or The Ten Words: John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.