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"Rock around the Ark"
To this point, David has worked diligently to unite all twelve tribes of Israel. After being anointed king over them all, he had successfully led them in battle against their arch-enemies, the Philistines. Now, in peace time, a thought occurs to King David.
2 Samuel 6:1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
To get the full story, we need to interweave 2 Samuel with 1 Chronicles. There we find some additional information concerning what happened when David called a congress of the 30,000 leaders of Israel. David could have simply declared his intent to bring back the ark and then proceeded to go ahead with the project. But instead, it says:
1 Chronicles 13:1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.
Each of those 30,000 chosen men are in fact captains over thousands and over hundreds. It is a representative form of government to some degree. Just as we have some 500+ senators and House members in Washington, D.C., who theoretically represent all of the people back in their districts and states.
1 Chronicles 13:2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt [a canal or river on the eastern border of Egypt, a tributary of the Nile River] even unto the entering of Hemath, [in the far north, above Phoenicia, almost to the Euphrates River] to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim.
Please note that the reason David gave that they should bring the ark up to Jerusalem was because “we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.” In other words, the nation’s leaders had not been seeking God’s guidance. Do we pray for our leaders, that they would humble themselves and seek His guidance? When David said “we” there, it refers to the nation as a whole as represented by the High Priest.
Why is that? Well, those readers who have been on our tape ministry for several years have an advantage over others because they will recall that we did a very detailed study of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. The last six tapes (which are available as Audiocassette Album #108) dealt specifically with the Ark of the Covenant, and so they have had six hours of teaching on the Ark itself. In the story here, David says we need to have the Ark at our capital in Jerusalem because the Ark should be close by where “we” can consult our God. Actually, by God’s command, only the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies for consultation via the Ark.
The text in both 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles now proceeds to tell of how David led a large party of people down to the place where the Ark had been in storage—so to speak—for many years at the house of Abinadab. We recall also from our study of the slaughter of the priests of Nob, how the Tabernacle had been set up there. The fact now becomes evident that the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle at Nob must have been without the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
This would be a clear foreshadowing of the fact that both the second temple and Herod’s temple also had a vacant Holy of Holies. There was no Ark in Herod’s temple. Remember, Herod’s temple is also a type of our mortal, flesh bodies. To review further from our Tabernacle in the Wilderness tape/CD series, we learned that the tabernacle is a type of the human body, and that is why Paul says in his epistle that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We remember, for example, that the boards which comprise the sidewalls of the Holy Place cum Holy-of-Holies-complex equate to the ribs of the human body.
The Holy of Holies, aka the Most Holy Place, actually has three antitypes in our individual bodies. First, it symbolizes the womb, where male and female come together to produce new life. This bespeaks of the spiritual union where Christ arises in our heart. He is the male and our soul is the female. This is true whether we are physically male or female—spiritually speaking, our souls are feminine. Thus, we conceive to the Holy Spirit of Christ. And when the time comes, we will “give birth” spiritually; that is, we will bring forth Christ as fully manifested in each of us. Every activity in our Christian life and walk, from the moment we “get saved” until then, is simply spiritual embryonic activity, spiritual fetal development.
Christian believers are not actually “born again” until Christ in you comes to birth at the resurrection or, for overcomers, at their translation into immortality. So first, we see that the Holy of Holies symbolizes the womb. But as I said, it has a triple symbolism. Given that our souls are feminine. Given that Christ as Spirit impregnates our souls. What then comprises your soul? We covered this in depth in our four-part series The Truth About Hell, Soul and Spirit. [4 tapes, $18 ppd., or 4 CDs, $22 ppd., part of the album, It’s Hell...or Nothing, 10 tapes, $33 ppd or 10 CDs, $43 ppd.] It is our mind, will and emotions which constitute the soul realm.
When we speak of the mind, people usually think of their head, their brain; and when we speak of emotions, we usually point to our hearts. Therefore, the Holy of Holies in our bodies is not only in the womb area, but also in the heart and in the head. Summarizing, where is the Holy of Holies located in our tabernacle-temple bodies? There are three answers. It is not only located both upstairs and downstairs, if you will, but it is also in the mezzanine, in our hearts.
The Ark of the Covenant was the only item, the only piece of furniture in the Most Holy Place. It belongs in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. However, the Ark had been in obscurity for decades, separated from the Tabernacle, resting in the house of Abinadab. We have reviewed the fulfillment of the tabernacle type on the personal, individual level, but remember that there is also the corporate fulfillment of the types. We will make note of that in due time, but keep these types in mind as we analyze the literal story (in this and the next one or two issues of FMS) of the literal Ark being brought to Jerusalem.
1 Chronicles 13:6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God YHWH, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
2 Samuel 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of YHWH of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah [lit., on the hill], accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
1 Chronicles 13:7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
Let’s get the picture here. This was an enormous procession and a huge celebration worshiping Yahweh. We assume that most readers have watched the Tournament of Roses parade on television. It is presented every New Year’s Day just before the Rose Bowl football game. Scores of exquisitely decorated floats, dozens of marching bands and thousands of people participate in the parade, not to mention the tens of thousands of spectators along the parade route. I believe this parade and procession of bringing the Ark to Jerusalem was a comparable event.
So, in your mind’s eye, picture all the marching bands, picture all the thousands walking or marching in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, but remove all the floats except one. This one is a simple cart—a new cart—and it is drawn by a pair of cows. Parenthetically, I am sure they had the marching band from my alma mater, the Ahio State University, as part of the procession, because Ahio was one of the two brothers driving the cart [chuckle, chuckle]. Indeed, this was a magnificent event. And just as the Rose Parade does, it drew participants from every corner of the nation.
So this was quite a spectacle going on here. Music and singing and dancing! Verse 8 says that David and all Israel played “with all their might”— exuberance to the superlative degree.
2 Samuel 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel played before YHWH on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
This procession was not merely a celebration though, it was a worship service…with all kinds of musical instruments. Did you know that there are certain church denominations that believe that it is improper to have any musical instruments in the church services? Human voices only, a cappella. No instrumental accompaniment. Then, there are other denominations that will allow pianos or organs, but nothing beyond that. Somewhere in the 1970s some churches were established which tried to cater to the young people, some of them targeting the so-called flower children, the hippies and so forth, and so they used guitars in praise and worship.
This rubbed a lot of traditional Christians the wrong way. But several decades have passed and while some still have a problem with guitars in the worship service, many have accepted it. Here in verse 5 it shows that the Israelites worshiped Yahweh on all kinds of instruments, including what the KJV says were “harps, psalteries, timbrels, cornets and cymbals.” Cymbals were then and still are a percussion instrument. The cornets have evolved to our modern trumpets—and so one can include all the brass section there, from French horns to the tuba. But do you know what the timbrels were?
Thirty some years ago, when I played guitar in a rock band, we used several of these timbrels. In the late 1960s the timbrel was made popular by a song performed by the group known as the Byrds. The song was called Mr. Tambourine Man. Yes, I now know— honestly didn’t know at the time I played the song— that it was a song about drug use. But does that make tambourines an evil instrument? Of course not. I have a Bible encyclopedia written in the 1800s. It has a picture of a timbrel. It looks almost exactly like the ones we used in our band. By the way, I am still associated with a Rock band. I am in a band of believers whose leader is the Rock Himself, Jesus Christ.
The psaltery and harp are more difficult to identify with absolute certainty today. One thing that is certain though, is that both were stringed instruments. Various translations and explanations have been put forth for both of them including big harps, little harps—harps very similar to the ones we have today; or they are said to have been lyres or lutes or even viols as in violins, and since the meaning of the Hebrew word for psaltery is “skin-bag,” some postulate that the psaltery was the original bagpipes!
But what is even more interesting is that the Hebrew word for harp is kinnoor and it comes from a root which means “to twang.” The Greek version of the OT gives the word kithara for kinnoor. What modern stringed instrument sounds like kithara? Yes, in fact, Webster’s 1828 dictionary traces the derivation of that word “guitar” back through the French and Latin to the Greek word kithara, which we just saw was the equivalent of the Hebrew kinnoor. Therefore, what the KJV translates as the harp was probably the ancient forerunner of the modern guitar.
I don’t have a problem with the guitar or any musical instrument used in worship of the Father. After all, it’s not the instrument that is bad or good; it is the music performed on the instrument which is either pleasing or displeasing to our Father. And as for styles of music, it might surprise many to learn the following. Back at the time of the Reformers, church music had been exclusively Gregorian chant (in Latin) for centuries. The Reformers, however, began using the Psalms and other Scriptures as lyrics and putting them to melody—with harmony—in the vernacular (native languages of the people). As a young Roman Catholic lad, I was raised with a heavy dose of Gregorian chant. It is melody only, no harmony, and still in Latin. Well, such radical changes in “church music” upset many people. And thus it has been in the centuries since. When many of what are now called “the old gospel hymns” were first being introduced in the late 1700s and early 1800s, again a similar outcry arose among the “traditionalists” of that era. They fairly well consigned the “modernists” to hell for daring to write worship music not using Scripture verbatim.
Does this mean we condone any and all types of music in worship service? Of course not! But we must recognize that what one person may deem appropriate praise and worship of the Creator, another may find highly offensive. And since there is no central high human authority to decide for all Christians what is appropriate, it becomes a matter for each local body of believers to decide among themselves, hopefully by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not by the musical cultural prejudices of the members.
In any event, the Ark was accompanied in procession up to Jerusalem with exuberant singing and the music of guitars, tambourines, horns, etc. Less than a century later the Ark was moved again into a more permanent home in the Holy of Holies of what is called “Solomon’s Temple.” There it remained until approximately four centuries later when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. Before they could grab it, though, Jeremiah the prophet took the Ark and placed it in a safe location. Speculation has abounded ever since about where it might be. A recent article by Kathy Hollowell, Ph.D., J.D., is worth excerpting in this regard.
“A second more popular version suggests the Ark is still located in a vault somewhere in the miles of tunnels carved beneath the city of Jerusalem. It is believed the location of the Ark will be revealed when the time is right for the Jewish Temple to be built for the third time. One famous adherent to this theory is Dr. Vendyl Jones. He is a modern-day explorer and teacher and the true inspiration for the Indiana Jones series. Startling the world, he announced last week on Israel National Radio that he actually knows the location of the Ark.
He says according to ancient documents the Ark is hidden in a secret passage that runs 18 miles south of the Temple Mount into the Judean Desert. Before dismissing his claim as a lark, it is worth noting that Jones published a book in 1959 predicting the precise outbreak of the Six Day War. He calculated the war in 1967 by analyzing the sequence of events in the First Temple period and transposing them on the Third Temple period. The First Temple period began with its original construction in the days of King Solomon. The Third Temple period began according to Jones with the Jews founding an independent state in the land of Israel in 1948.
Now Jones is convinced that with the help of ancient documents found in Qumran, he has pinpointed the location of the Ark. And armed with the blessing of religious leaders, Jones hopes to reveal the location of the Ark by Aug. 14, which marks the Fast of Tisha B’Av. This holy day commemorates repeated tragedy in Jewish history including the destruction of both the First and the Second Holy Temples. Jones’ plan is simple. It is to drill a borehole into the chamber containing the Ark, drop a pin-camera in and reveal the historic treasure to a watching world.
If Jones is right, many predict this event will turn the world upside down. Jones says this will bring an end to the government’s plan to uproot Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria. It also will bring the very idea of any Palestinian state to a screeching halt. In fact, Jones predicts quite the opposite will occur. With the discovery of the Ark, the Jewish people will have the greatest motivation of all time to return to Israel from around the world and rebuild the Temple to house this holy treasure. Of course, whether Jones actually uncovers the Ark is not the sole issue. Equally compelling is proving once more through science that the Bible is more than just a collection of parables. Are you ready for this?”
The real issue, however, is not whether we are ready for the literal Ark to be found in Jerusalem or any place else. Such a discovery will indeed be a great event, and fraught with potentially earth-shaking and violent geo-political implications, as Dr. Hollowell has noted. The more vital question is whether we are ready for Jesus, the true Ark, to arise in our hearts and transform our mortal bodies into glorified temples fit for eternal service to El Elyon, the Most High God. Are you ready for that?