Nine Men And Three Arks

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ArkThe Bible and Royal Arch Masonry tell us that there were nine men associated with three arks.

The men were: Shem, Ham, Japeth; Moses, Aholiab, Bezaleel; Joshua, Zerubbabel and Haggai. The arks were: Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, and a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and all the creatures thereon. At first He was pleased with his handiwork, but the time came when man was disobedient and thought he didn’t need God. Then God spoke to Noah. He told him to build an Ark and take into it is wife, his three sons and their wives and two of every animal.

His son’s names were Shem, Ham and Japeth. The Bible tells us that God desired to make a new start on earth with Noah and his three sons, who had not volunteered for such a mission.

After the waters of the flood subsided, and the ark came to rest on dry ground, Noah and this three sons descended, built an altar and offered a sacrifice to God. Thus was a new start made between God and those he had selected.

Moses, Aholiab and Bezaleel

At a later time, God selected another man. This time, He selected Moses. Moses - One of the great men of all times and all people; a man who spent the first two-thirds of his life being prepared for the last third of his life. ‘

Acting under God’s direction, he took a race of slaves and made them a free people. As a free people, they were to have a tabernacle, and the Ark of the Covenant. Three men, Moses, Aholiab and Bezaleel were given the task of building the tabernacle, the ark and their furnishings. The tabernacle was to be an abode for the ark, and the ark was where God would dwell so he could be near his people. Over a period of time, three things were put in the Ark. An omer of manna, Aaron’s rod and the book of the law.

The Ark was deposited in Solomon’s Temple. But because a king and his people did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, the Temple and the Ark were destroyed. The king and his people were killed or taken as slaves away from their home and into a foreign land.

Joshua, Zerubbabel and Haggai

Royal Arch tradition tells us that there was a duplicate or copy of the Ark of the Covenant. This duplicate was found in the ruins of Solomon’s Temple when it was being rebuilt.

The three leaders of the volunteers were: Joshua (High Priest), Zerubbabel (Governor) and Haggai (Prophet). Darius, King of Persia, gave permission to the Israelite to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. The journey to Jerusalem was a rough and rugged road. The building of the second temple was slow and difficult. The debris of the first temple had to be cleared, and it was in the debris that the duplicate of the Ark of the Covenant was found. The enthusiasm of some of the volunteers turned to lethargy and outright opposition was received from those who had not made the difficult passage from Persia to Jerusalem.

The rebuilding of the temple has a parallel to our spiritual lives. Symbolic Masonry teaches us that we should be Temples as Solomon’s Temple was. Solomon had an easy task. David prepared the way. There was no discord among the workers, and it didn’t even rain on them. Royal Arch Masonry realizes that difficulties can arise. We lose our enthusiasm, become lethargic, pick up bad habits, hear and follow bad advice and become reluctant to clear away the debris and start all over.

The discovered ark had three items in it: 1) an omer of manna to remind us that God fed his people in the wilderness; 2) Aaron’s rod to remind us to keep our temple clean; 3) The book of the law to remind us that God’s laws are as fixed and sure as any physical law.

From these nine men and three arks, I would like to make these observations without expecting every one to agree with me. Six of these nine men did not volunteer. In fact, Moses in effect said, “Get some one else.” But realizing what was expected, they followed through. It is possible to start over again. Cleaning out debris and building on the ruins may not be desirable or easy but it is possible.