Why is the Ark of the Covenant in Revelation 11:19?


#1

Here is the citation with the preceding text:

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. There were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever.” 16 The twenty-four elders who sat on their thrones before God prostrated themselves and worshiped God 17 and said:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty,
who are and who were.
For you have assumed your great power
and have established your reign.
18The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and to recompense your servants, the prophets,
and the holy ones and those who fear your name,
the small and the great alike,
and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

19Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.

Basic question: why is the ark in heaven in Revelation? Actually, why is there a temple in heaven? I know Revelation is generally figurative/typological, but isn't being in heaven kinda the big deal unto itself (short of new heaven and new earth)?

One idea I have is that God's covenant with Israel has endured (in the Church, the New Israel). In the OT, the ark was the place where God was present on earth through (shekhinah). I think I've heard it said that the earthly temple was supposed to be a mirror of the heavenly temple. If so, that this verse might be implying that God has been faithful to his covenant, and as Christ often said, much of Israel was not. Revelation 19 could just be saying that God's commitment has never wavered (despite the destruction of Solomon's temple, the loss of the earthly ark, i.e., Jeremiah 3:16-18, and the sayings the post-exile period that the sacrifices in the second temple have been rejected by God -- e.g., Malachi 1:10).


#2

The Ark of the Covenant is the Blessed Mother. Immediately following his invocation of the Ark, he describes a Woman clothed in the sun, giving birth to a child who would be king. The dragon (Satan) tries to destroy him, and is aided by an ally with ten heads and seven horns (The Julio-Claudian dynasty [10 Ceasars] and the Herod dynasty [7 Herods]).

The Blessed Mother is the new Ark. She bore the new Covenant in her own womb, just as the Ark of the Old Covenant bore the tablets of the Ten Commandments and the Glory of God. If you read the Gospel of John, you will find all sorts of references to the old Ark. For instance, when the Blessed Mother visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth jumped in joy in the same way that King David did when he brought the Ark into Jerusalem.

Revelation continues this theme and reveals the Blessed Mother as the new Ark / new Eve.


#3

The Ark of the Covenant mentioned is the woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appears in the next verses.


#4

I favor Scott Hahn’s interpretation.
An excerpt from Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God; Lesson Three:
The Ark of the New Covenant www.salvationhistory.com/

What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?
The Ark of the Covenant was the sign of God’s real presence among His people. In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, God was really present among his people in an even more direct way.

The Ark held the Word of God written in stone. Mary bore the Word of God in flesh

The Ark held the bread from heaven, a foreshadowing of the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Mary bore the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ (see John 6:48-50).

The Ark contained the rod of Aaron, symbol of his priesthood. Mary bore Jesus Christ, our High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1).

If the Ark of the Covenant was holy, then by the same standards Mary is even holier. As Mother of God, she is the Ark of the New Covenant, bearing Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, and our great High Priest. That is not a re-interpretation of the Gospel: it is a truth made clear by the New Testament writers themselves.

Rete & TRH1292 :thumbsup:


#5

Some see the ark of the covenant mentioned in Revelation 11:19 as a reference not to the ark of the Old Covenant made of virgin wood and covered inside and out with purest gold and meant to carry the stone tablets inscribed with God’s words, the Ten Commandments, but a reference to the Virgin Mary, the ark of the New Covenant, a virgin, immaculately conceived, and meant to carry and bear the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. This interpretation makes more sense if you disregard the relatively modern chapter and verse divisions and read Revelation 12:1 and following verses along with Revelation 11:19:

19 Then God’s temple in heaven opened and in the temple could be seen the ark of the covenant. There were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. 1 A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 Because she was with child, she wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. … 5 She gave birth to a son—a boy destined to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and to his throne.


#6

[quote="Hieronymi, post:4, topic:344321"]
I favor Scott Hahn’s interpretation.
An excerpt from Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God; Lesson Three:
The Ark of the New Covenant www.salvationhistory.com/

What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?
The Ark of the Covenant was the sign of God’s real presence among His people. In Jesus Christ, born of Mary, God was really present among his people in an even more direct way.

The Ark held the Word of God written in stone. Mary bore the Word of God in flesh

The Ark held the bread from heaven, a foreshadowing of the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Mary bore the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ (see John 6:48-50).

The Ark contained the rod of Aaron, symbol of his priesthood. Mary bore Jesus Christ, our High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1).

If the Ark of the Covenant was holy, then by the same standards Mary is even holier. As Mother of God, she is the Ark of the New Covenant, bearing Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, and our great High Priest. That is not a re-interpretation of the Gospel: it is a truth made clear by the New Testament writers themselves.

Rete & TRH1292 :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Other typological references to Mary as the Ark:

When Elizabeth greets Mary with "How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me", it echoes David saying "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 2 Sam 6:9

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months. Similarly, the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. 2 Sam 6:11

Also, just a side note, Scripture was not originally sorted into chapters and verses the way it is now, so although it may seem like the author has changed thought from chapter 11 to 12, he is actually just continuing his description of the ark (Mary) in heaven.


#7

Not only is Mary the Ark, which is in Revelations 11:19, but she is also the Woman, from Revelation 12:1, the Woman is described as a Queen, Mary is also the Queen Mother


#8

[quote="fnr, post:1, topic:344321"]
Here is the citation with the preceding text:

Basic question: why is the ark in heaven in Revelation? Actually, why is there a temple in heaven? I know Revelation is generally figurative/typological, but isn't being in heaven kinda the big deal unto itself (short of new heaven and new earth)?

One idea I have is that God's covenant with Israel has endured (in the Church, the New Israel). In the OT, the ark was the place where God was present on earth through (shekhinah). I think I've heard it said that the earthly temple was supposed to be a mirror of the heavenly temple. If so, that this verse might be implying that God has been faithful to his covenant, and as Christ often said, much of Israel was not. Revelation 19 could just be saying that God's commitment has never wavered (despite the destruction of Solomon's temple, the loss of the earthly ark, i.e., Jeremiah 3:16-18, and the sayings the post-exile period that the sacrifices in the second temple have been rejected by God -- e.g., Malachi 1:10).

[/quote]

Other posters have noted that one way to interpret this is as a symbolic reference to the Virgin Mother. I certainly think that interpretation has its merits, but I think there's better support for a slight variation of that: I think it refers to the ark of the old covenant in order to set up a comparison between that and the Blessed Mother who it speaks of in the next few sentences. But I agree with the others that it is not saying the Old Ark is literally sitting in heaven; it's just being used as imagery to make a point about Mary. (Remember that there were no chapter divisions in the original text. Chapters were added in the middle ages. So St. John really wrote about the ark and then immediately followed it up by talking about Mary. That suggests to me that he was trying to compare the two.)


#9

It appears as though everybody read the same Scott Hahn book. :p


#10

Jeremiah buried the Ark to protect it from desecration from the impending Babylonian destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. He didn't retrieve it immediately because he stayed in Judah among the "bad figs" (who weren't the promised remnant of restoration), and then was dragged off to Egypt, where he died or perhaps was killed by his countrymen. Then no one ever knew where the Ark was, until John the Revelator saw it. I've been doing deep study of Jeremiah to write a paper about him and the book of Jeremiah.

Note well Jeremiah's promise of the New Covenant (Jer 31), where God will write his law on our hearts and institute a direct, personal communion type of relationship. Ezekiel (another prophet of the Exile) promised an exchange of stony hearts for fleshy, natural hearts. The law being written on our hearts means tablets of stone are no longer required.

Which is good. Jeremiah gave the exiles words of hope, as they figured out how to repent and lead a life as the People of God without the crutches they relied on before--Temple, Jerusalem, a walled city, Ark, tablets of stone, priestly ministry, dynasty of kings.

There were six centuries of silence about the New Covenant after Jeremiah promised it--not just embracing the old covenant, but a renewal with a new covenant--until Jesus spoke those words at the Last Supper, which we repeat at every Mass.

The Ark held the bread of the face; Jesus is the icon of the invisible God. The Ark held the tablets of stone with the decalogue given on the holy mountain; Jesus gave a fulfilled and completed law on the Sermon on the Mount. The Ark contained the budding staff of Aaron as a sign of his true priesthood; Jesus is the one high priest and victim, eternally offering himself before the Father. Mary is the Ark that contained Jesus the bread, the lawgiver, the priest and victim, as the infinite and unapproachable God made himself finite, vulnerable, and small, and came to us as a baby, so we would love him with the tenderness of a mother. :thumbsup:


#11

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