What is the Ark of the Covenant?
According to scripture, the Ark of the Covenant is an ornate chest - made from acacia wood and covered in gold, with a lid cover, that housed the two tables of the Law given to Moses by God at Mount Sinai.
The Ark of the Covenant is also known as the Ark of the Testimony and it was carried by the Levites (priestly functionaries) during the Hebrews sojourn in the wilderness. It was an awesome reminder of God’s presence with them and only those who were ordained for the purpose (Levites) were able to touch it and live.
The Ark rested in the Holy of Holies inside the Tabernacle of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem and was only seen by the High Priest of the Israelites on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained "the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant."
The Ark was the holiest place in the ancient Temple and the focal point of prayer. The Day of Atonement was the one day per year that a man, the High Priest, was allowed to stand before the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place, where he would sprinkle the blood on the Ark and eventually on the other furnishings as a symbol of the repentance of the people for the sins of the previous year.