When we speak about the word of God today, we think of the Bible, but the Bible has three distinct classes of inspiration in it. The highest of these three is the direct 'Testimony' of God'. In only two places in scripture do such elevated words exist. One is the 'Ten Commandments' which God wrote on stone tablets before Moses on the mountain of Sinai. The other was the 'Gospel' revealed by Jesus.
That God's personal testimony was greater than anything else in scripture became evident when Moses was forbidden by God to put the Bible into the Ark of the Covenant -- only the Ten Commandments.
Made of acacia wood, the Ark was the holy chest that Moses placed in a chamber called the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the tent which was called the 'Tabernacle of the Testimony' (because it housed the two stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written).
The Ark itself was believed to be like a throne that God personally sat upon. The tent, used for worship during the journey across the desert from Egypt to the 'Promised Land', was the precursor of the Hebrew temple.
The Ark of the Covenant was made only to house God's direct Testimony. The fact that the rest of scripture (not even the Torah) could be placed in the Ark vividly contrasts the two different natures of what we call 'the word of God'. There is inspired word where God moves men to speak in His name, and then there is direct dialogue from heaven where God speaks to us Himself in person.
The inspired portion of the Bible is called the 'Law and the Prophets'. This is the portion of scripture that could not go into the Ark.
By commanding this separation, God made clear the difference between His own Testimony and the writings of the Law. He did this in preparation for the Testimony of Jesus Christ -- the unfinished Testimony of God that would come down from heaven to complete the Ten Commandments.
God wanted the world to know how much more sacred were the words of His Son than any of the other scriptural writings that had ever existed. The Ark of the Covenant, then, defined the covenant.
And in that definition, it made the Ten Commandments greater than anything else that surrounded it in the Hebrew religion. So when Moses commanded the Israelites to "hold fast to God's covenant", he was ordering them to obey the ten sacred articles of God housed in the Ark.
The New Testament confirms the close relationship between the Ten Commandments and the Gospel of Jesus. The Book of Hebrews says that the 'Good News' (the Gospel) was first preached during the time of Moses at Sinai. (Heb.4:6).
This revelation unites the Ten Commandments of Sinai with the commandments of Christ. In both cases it was God in person who issued the directives.
Because the Israelites had diluted the Testimony of God with so many of their own rules (the traditions of the elders) God commanded a new covenant -- one founded only on the Testimony of Christ.
It was not 'religion' that God wanted the people to have, but salvation. So in the place of the guardian's reflected light, God sent His own. In that new covenant, all the shepherds and all their laws were replaced by one true Shepherd and one true Law. (Ez.34:10-16). This exchange of covenants was one of the major issues preached by Jeremiah in his writings. (Jer.31:31-34).
1. The Compromise at Sinai
2. The Ark Disappears
3. 'The Clock of God', Chapter 6, 'The Scattering'
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