A Coffin for The Law
God had barely given “the Law” to Moses when He ordered that “the Law” be put in a coffin. That’s right — a coffin. The reason for this is that the Mosaic covenant clearly stipulated:
“Now therefore, IF YE WILL OBEY MY VOICE INDEED, and keep My covenant, THEN ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine” (Ex. 19:5).
Israel, of course, did not obey God’s voice, but broke “the Law” before Moses even got down from Sinai with the 10 Commandments. It was because of man’s inherent failure to righteous living according to “the Law” that God, in grace, commanded: “And they shall make an ark…” (Ex. 25:10). This word “ark” is rendered “coffin” in the last verse of Genesis and that is its simple meaning.
But why did God order a coffin as the very first article of furniture for the tabernacle?
The answers: To put “the Law” into it... because no man could be saved by his performance under “the Law.” God would now extend mercy and grace in place of “the Law.”
“And thou shalt put into the COFFIN the testimony [the Law] which I shall give thee… and thou shalt put the MERCY SEAT above upon the coffin…” (verses 16, 21).
If God had not put the covenant of “the Law” in a coffin and met His people from above the “mercy seat” on top of “the ark of the covenant” none of them could ever be saved. You see, annually the High Priest entered the “Holiest of All” in the tabernacle, and ‘sprinkled the innocent blood of sacrificed animal’ on the “mercy seat” The sprinkling of blood from the dipped finger tip of the High Priest covered the sins of the Nation of Israel. This then is a type of Jesus as our one High Priest who was sacrifice Himself at the Cross for our sins by shedding His innocent blood for us to clear our debt once and for all. The Bible is clear that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” of sins. (Hebrews 9:22).
“For we have not an high priest [Jesus] which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but [He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
This Old Testament typology (study of ‘types’) has a lesson for us today, for if God dealt with us according to our works none of us would ever be saved, but “Christ died for our sins,” meeting the just demands of the Law for us, so that we might be saved by His grace through faith in His redemptive work of the Cross where He was;
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [the written law] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and [He] took it [the Law] out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:14)
Our Lord, in death, “took it [the Law] out of the way, nailing it to His cross” Thus Paul wrote Rom. 7:6 explaining:
“But now we are DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, that being DEAD wherein we were held; THAT WE SHOULD SERVE IN NEWNESS OF SPIRIT, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Now believers in Christ are freely saved “by grace… through faith… not of works” but “unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10). It is clear then that we are not saved by our performance of good works, but rather good works are the fruit of our new life in Christ. Therefore, the New life of “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is the root of good works and our good works are the fruit of His life working within us.
Sadly, most of man’s religion is falsely built upon the need to keep the Law, but to the contrary, our Apostle, Paul wrote.’
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are NOT under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14 (KJV)