“For there was a tabernacle made… wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Heb. 9:4)
Three items were placed in the ark in the most holy place. Each with a distinctive meaning and a spiritual significance.
The tablets of the covenant was the commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai and placed within the ark. The law was given to the children of Israel as a standard and for the purpose of exposing their sin nature. It did not have the power to transform them. Thus Paul calls it the “ministry of death” (2 Cor. 3:7). This was an outward law which imposed requirements based on external observances of dos and don’ts.
But Paul tells us that the law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14). “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). Despite this “the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Rom. 7:10). For that which was spiritual and holy (the nature of God) could not be kept by carnal and unspiritual men instead causing death in them.
Thus the Lord brought forth the new covenant to His people saying: “I will make a new covenant… I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:31, 33). The placing of the tablets of the covenant in the ark within the most holy place indicates this new covenant the Lord had ordained.
The terms covenant and testament are interchangeably used and means ‘a contract or arrangement’. This new arrangement is the law of God inscribed in the minds and hearts of a people so that they themselves become the covenant of God. The law inscribed is not the letter of the law but the very nature of God; the inherent qualities of mind and character. It refers to that which constitutes one’s life. Jesus declared: “this is my blood of the new testament” (Mat. 26:28). His blood was not merely a legal transaction; it was an impartation of His life.
For having being reconciled by His death, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:10). Saved by His life, the same life by which we are sanctified and are made overcomers. Because of His perfect life signified by His blood, we read that Christ came by a greater and more perfect tabernacle. This is the same disposition the Lord is establishing in His people. His life, His nature, and His character formed in the inward parts of our hearts and minds. This is the incorruptible law of His life, a righteous law which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
But this new disposition will not come in the hearts of His people until the first order is done away with. The Holy Spirit indicates “that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing” (Heb. 9:8). The Pharisees are example to us. They refused to receive the One who came superimposing the new standard of His life over the old order.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Having fulfilled the law, usurped it having come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle – His life. Thus adultery was no longer a physical act it was an act in the mind. It was no longer the standard to ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy’, His life caused men to love their enemies, bless those who curse them, do good to those who hate them, and pray for those who spitefully use them and persecute them. This is the new and greater disposition that God is establishing in His sons – the new covenant, the tablets within the ark.
But many today, while they claim to be a new testament people, abide under the law of sin and death. Every Sunday a list of ‘to dos’ are relayed from the pulpit: do not touch, do not taste, do not handle which are according to the commandments and doctrines of men. A burden is placed on the people to produce what they do not possess. They fear that without such commands to keep people in check, the people would backslide and fall into sin. But Paul tells us that “these things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:23). Just as the outward observances of the law could not make the high priest that did the service perfect (Heb. 9:9), neither will this ministry.
Notice two faculties relayed to us in Jeremiah 31; the mind and the heart. “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33). The tablets of the covenant which was placed within the ark and on which were written the law of God signify divine wisdom and understanding of God placed in the mind and His nature written in the heart of men. For this commandment only works to produce divine life from the inside out. As outward observances it is merely the letter of the word which is lifeless and powerless. First, God brings forth repentance, a change of mind as He reveals the living word of God, the logs within our mind.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5) is the Spirit’s council just as Lord had declared: “I will put My law in their minds” (Jer. 31:33). John tells us of those who have His name written on their forehead. The section reads that “His name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev. 22:4). To have His name in the forehead is to possess the mind of Christ. The Greek word for ‘in’ is ‘epi’ which mean to superimpose: to set over or above something else. As He quickens His word of Spirit and life within our mind, He is placing His name – superimposing His mind over our Adamic mind and progressively establishing the mind of Christ in us.
Only once the law of His life is placed within our mind will the Lord write it on our hearts. The law to be written on our hearts is for that living Word to become our very nature, our very being. For it is possible for what is placed in the mind not to be nature in us. Revelation and possession are different dimension of life. The culmination of the work of repentance (change or replacement of mind) brings forth a new nature, the nature of Christ.
Notice, it was God Himself who made the inscriptions on the tablets of stone atop Mount Sinai. The tablets on which were written the commandments demonstrate His nature, His word, His truth made flesh having been engraved on the tablets of our hearts, written not with ink but by the Spirit of God (2 Cor. 3:3). This life is not lived by outward conformity but from inward nature. Only when the life of God is established in our mind and written in our heart will we begin to live in the newness of spirit.
Indeed the Kingdom of God is within and those pressing into will be the fulfillment of the new covenant: the living Word manifest in a holy people. In this life of the kingdom, no one will teach his fellow man saying “know the Lord or walk in this way” for they shall all know Him and they shall all walk in Him.
What greater message, what greater revelation, what greater ministry is there than a transformed life in the image and likeness of Christ manifested on the earth. Then will the books be opened for the epistles of Christ to be known and read by all men, the boundless ministry of manifest sonship.
Glory be to God who is daily quickening this glorious life in our minds and hearts!