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Contents of the Ark of the Covenant

QUESTION: What are the contents of the Ark of the Covenant?


What are the contents of the Ark of the Covenant? We don't know. It's been missing for nearly three thousand years. All we know about the Ark and its contents is what the Bible says about it and the last book of the Bible was written nearly two thousand years ago. For all we know the Ark is empty today.

So what were the contents of the Ark of the Covenant according to the Bible? In Hebrews 9:1-5 we read, "Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now."

The writer of Hebrews couldn't discuss the details because by the time the book of Hebrews was written the Ark had already been missing for six centuries. The writer does however mention what the Ark's contents were at one time and he seems to be making reference to certain passages of the Old Testament. In Exodus 16:33-34, 25:10-16 and Numbers 17:10 God tells Moses to put the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant into the Ark. However in 1 Kings 8:9, when Solomon brought the Ark into the Temple which he had built, it only contained the stone tablets. The other contents, the rod and the jar of manna, must have been removed at some point before the Ark was brought into the temple. And that is all the Bible says about the contents of the Ark of the Covenant.

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