Have you ever seen the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Harrison Ford plays a character named “Indiana Jones.” He sets out to find the lost “Ark of the Covenant.” This Ark is refereed to in the Old Testament of the Bible. God told Mosses to build an Ark (Ex 25:10), which was a box made and covered with gold. This box was to hold three things: the written word of God on the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments; the budded rod of Aaron, signifying his role as high priest; and a pot of manna, the mysterious “bread from heaven” which God gave to the Jews in the wilderness.
Now, why is it that Mary is given the title “Ark of the Covenant?” Does it have something to do with the Old Testament Ark that Indiana Jones was searching for? Well, Mary is considered a symbol of the Ark because she, like the Ark, bore within her the Word of God: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (Jn 1:14),” the true Bread from Heaven: “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst’ (Jn 6:33-35)”, and the High Priest of the New Testament “Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:17).”
In the gospel of Luke, we see that after Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived our Lord, she made haste to visit her relative Elisabeth. And when Mary walks into the house of Elisabeth, nothing happens until Mary greets her, “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy’ (Luke 1:41-44).” Elisabeth experienced the magnificent power and presence of God when Mary says hello to her!
Elizabeth’s quote in verse 43 is almost a word for word quote from the book of 2 Samuel in the Old Testament: “And David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me (2 Sm 6:9)?” This is when King David experiences a powerful presence of God through the Ark of the Covenant. We see here the relationship between the Old Ark which carried the Lord that David encountered and the New Ark of Mary which carried the Lord that Elisabeth encountered.
If we then look at what David said 2 verses later 2 Samuel 6:11, he sends the Ark to the house of O’bed-e’dom the Grittite for three months. So too, Mary stays with Elisabeth for three months, “And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home (Luke 1:56).” It is these and other parallels from the Old and New Testaments that make it quite obvious that the Holy Spirit is showing Mary to be the Ark of the New Covenant.
Because of this, Mary is considered to be holy, just as the Old Testament Ark was holy. The Old Testament Ark was so holy that people would die just for touching it: “And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God (2 Sam 6:6-7).” We also see in the book of 1 Samuel that 70 pagans were killed for simply looking at the Ark; “And he slew some of the men of Beth-she′mesh, because they looked into the ark of the Lord; he slew seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had made a great slaughter among the people (1 Sam 6:19).”
Until next time, God bless.