Ark of the Covenant

The significance of the ark as a type of divine protection becomes apparent at three distinct periods of Hebrew history. First, Noah and his family are saved from the flood in an ark of gopher-wood; second, Moses is hidden from Pharaoh for three months in an ark made of bulrushes; and third, the Israelites are guided through the wilderness of sin by the ark of the covenant.

It must be remembered that prior to their emancipation from Egyptian bondage, the children of Israel had lived for four centuries in the land of Goshen. It is probable that they there learned and adopted many of the pagan customs which prevailed so generally in Egypt. After crossing the Red sea, instead of attempting to elevate these recently emancipated slaves to a plane of spiritual worship at a single bound, Moses was wise enough to begin at the kindergarten of religious instruction. Through divine inspiration it was made apparent to him that the thought of the people could best be developed by gradual stages of mental discipline. In this respect Moses did what all wise and successful teachers of children have always done, he led human thought along the line of least resistance, from the known to the unknown, from symbol to idea.

In the thirty-first chapter of Exodus it is related that the Lord filled "Bezaleel the son of Uri" with wisdom and understanding "in all manner of workmanship," in order that he might make the ark and the tabernacle according to the pattern revealed to Moses on the mount. The ark was remarkably similar in appearance to the sacred shrines used on Egyptian festal occasions. Thus the children of Israel were only ready to elevate their thought one degree at a time in the scale of spiritual ascension.

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Eleventh-hour Men
February 20, 1915

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