The Scriptures speak of two arks, and though separated by many centuries they basically performed the same function. An ark is basically a chest in which objects (particularly of value) are placed for safe-keeping; a place of refuge or shelter. Thus, Noah’s Ark was a box used by God to safe-guard His precious living creation from the destruction caused by the flood. He used the ark to transport Noah, his family and the animals from the wickedness of the old world to a cleansed and changed reality.
As part of the Tabernacle system introduced through Moses, an ark was crafted and became part of the focus within the Holy of Holies, but more importantly, the focus of the Mosaic religious system. The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat were actually two separate articles, very closely related, therefore often referred to as one. The Ark was also named “the Ark of the Covenant, “the Ark of the Testimony”, and “the Holy Ark.” It was a chest made of acacia wood and covered inside and out with pure gold. The Ark itself was approximately 46 inches long, 27 inches wide and 27 inches high (Exodus 25:10-11). As an ark, what did it safe-guard, and what was its transportation mission? By placing two long poles through the four golden rings connected to the outside of the Ark, the Israelites were able to transport the Ark with them as they traveled through the wilderness for 40 years as God shepherded them from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. It contained three different articles which can be considered as shadows of Jesus: the Tablets of the Law, a pot of manna, and Aaron’s Staff.