And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was called the ark of the Testimony. It was the embodiment of the presence of God among His people. The phrase “the testimony of God” was in reference to the Ark of the Testimony. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the tabernacle, in the most holy place and only the high priest could go there once every year. It represented God’s testimony to His people, His covenant. The covenant was an agreement that God had with His people, the Israelites. No one but the high priest could touch the Ark; to do so would even result in death (2 Samuel 6:1-7). God was showing through this shadow the meaning of His consecration, His setting apart of something that carried His presence. It was an object separated from common, ordinary use, to be used by Him. Wherever the people of Israel went with the Ark, the presence and the power of God went with them. There was the manifestation of the presence and power of God, of His favour and His grace. It was the testimony that God dwelt among the people. The Ark had no voice of its own to speak. It carried the presence of God and that was what spoke – the manifestation of the presence of God revealed in the experience of the people. All the people had to do was to accept that they were God’s chosen ones, separated for His plan, and God accomplished the rest for them.
The Ark of the Covenant was simply a shadow, pointing to something greater: it was God demonstrating who we would be in Christ. We don’t have something external to us as the testimony of the presence of God. There is no outward thing for us to look at, unlike the Israelites who had the ark. The Ark of the Covenant was a shadow pointing to something greater. God has placed His presence in us. We don’t have to look left or right to know if God is with us. We just have to look inside of us because through the Holy Spirit He has given us the guarantee that His presence goes not just ahead of us, but it is in us, it overshadows us, it covers us and it speaks louder than any word we could ever utter. Jesus didn’t have to announce Himself when He began his earthly ministry. At His baptism, it is recorded that the voice of God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17, Luke 3:22). The Father announced who Jesus was. Jesus lived under the old covenant. This event was equally pointing to a time when God would establish a new covenant. It was pointing to us, to God endorsing us, speaking louder and testifying of His presence in us who are His representation on earth.
Since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has no ark of His testimony to dwell with us. We are in a new covenant with better promises from Him. We represent His presence on earth. By our filiation, we have received the Spirit of sonship that cries inside of us, “Abba Father” (Galatians 4:6). He has adopted us, making us to be sons in His Son. This is the highest blessing we have received and this is enough to speak of the presence of God in us. You may have confessed the Lordship of Jesus and received His life, yet fail to understand how much of a son you are or how much you have been included in Him. God’s original plan was to include us in His Son. He wants to announce our sonship openly. We have been baptized together with Christ in His death (Romans 6:3-5). In this baptism, there is no more any separation or space existing between Christ and us. These are all strong witnesses that we have of the presence of God in us and they supersede the Ark of the Testimony. The Spirit of God testifies in us that we are the sons of God. He cries out “Abba Father” in us, to say we are accepted in the Beloved. It is more than any outward expression of the presence of God. It speaks of God making His abode in us (1 Cor. 6:19). We have become God’s mercy seat and through us, God makes His appeal to the world, “Be ye reconciled; acknowledge your reconciliation”. God’s appeal to the world is by His testimony in us, by the manifestation of what is happening in us. We may be aware of what is in us, but what others will see is the tangible reflection of God’s presence in us. You are God’s temple. He goes with you everywhere.