The first topic I’d like to discuss is the meaning behind the Ark of the Covenant. I’ve spent a fair amount of time studying how the Church views the Ark and thus I expect this will be a rather lengthy series of posts.
Few emblems in salvation history evoke the level of mystique borne by the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is the “Holy Grail” of the Old Testament in a manner of speaking. While the Ark contained great power and served as the throne of God on earth in its day, it, as many of the other ancient emblems prior to the incarnation, served a typological role referencing its antitype further into the future. The Ark is most frequently related by the Church to the most holy Theotokos and ever virgin Mary, who is sometimes called the Ark of the New Covenant. It is this typological relationship that the present series explores.
It is clear from a review of the Scriptures, patristic literature, so-called apocryphal accounts, hymnology, festal celebrations, iconography, and other forms of tradition, that the Church’s expression of this typal relationship develops over the centuries. This series examines, as chronologically as possible, evidence from the life of the Church demonstrating the ways in which this typology is expressed, discussed, and understood and how the expression of the typology develops as the Church deepens its understanding.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how the Ark was viewed in Old Testament terms.