Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prophets David and Solomon and the Ark of the Covenant prefiguring the Theotokos

The Theotokos and Christ enthroned, surrounded by Prophets David and Solomon (http://www.icon.lt/ic0008.html)
   
The following are excerpts from the Old Testament (specifically dealing with Prophets David and Solomon and the Ark of the Covenant) interspersed with hymns or quotes from the Saints that illuminate the great foreshadowing in the Old Testament of not only the Theotokos in general, but even details of her life and her Dormition.

  
"He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals...David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets."
2 Samuel 6:2-5, 14-15 

"Let us dance in spirit with David; to-day the Ark of God [the Theotokos] is at rest."
-St. John of Damascus, Second Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos (http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-dormition-of-theotokos-by-st-john-of_14.html)
  
   The Prophet David playing instruments and dancing before the Ark of the Covenant (http://vatopaidi.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/cebfceb9cebacebfceb3ceadcebdceb5ceb9ceb1-cf84cebfcf85-cebbceb1cebfcf8dcf84cebfcf85.jpg)
  
"When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God."
2 Samuel 6:6-7

"Just punishment intervened to cut off the sacrilegious hands of the presumptuous [Jewish priest who tried to overturn the bier of the Theotokos], for God guarded with the glory of the godhead the reverence due to the living Ark, in which the Word had become flesh."
-St. John of Damascus, Canon for the Dormition of the Theotokos, Ode 3 (http://anastasis.org.uk/15aug.htm)
  
The Theotokos greeting St. Elizabeth (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)
  
"David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?"
2 Samuel 6:9

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
Luke 1:41-43

"The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household."
2 Samuel 6:11

"And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home."
Luke 1:56

  
"Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the LORD's covenant from Zion, the City of David. All the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month. When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, and they brought up the ark of the LORD and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted. The priests then brought the ark of the LORD's covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt. When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever."
1 Kings 8:1-13

"When the Ark of God [the Theotokos], departing from Mount Sion for the heavenly country, was borne on the shoulders of the Apostles, it was placed on the way in the tomb. First it was taken through the city, as a bride dazzling with spiritual radiance, and then carried to the sacred place of Gethsemane, angels overshadowing it with their wings, going before, accompanying, and following it, together with the whole assembly of the Church. King Solomon compelled all the elders of Israel in Sion to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, that is Sion, to rest in the temple of the Lord, which he had built, and the priests took the ark and the tabernacle of the testimony, and the priests and levites raised it. And the king and all the people sacrificed numberless oxen and sheep before the ark. And the priests carried in the ark of the testimony of God into its place, into the Holy of Holies, beneath the wings of the cherubim. So is it now with the dwelling-place of the true ark, no longer of the testimony, but the very substance of God the Word. The new Solomon, the Prince of peace, the Creator of all things in the heavens and on the earth, assembled together to-day the supporters of the new covenant, that is the Apostles, with all the people of the saints in Jerusalem, brought in her soul through angels to the true Holy of Holies, under the wings of the four living creatures, and set her on His throne within the Veil, where Christ Himself had preceded her. Her body the while is borne by the Apostles' hands, the King of Kings covering her with the splendour of His invisible Godhead, the whole assembly of the saints preceding her, with sacred song and sacrifice of praise until through the tomb it was placed in the delights of Eden, the heavenly tabernacles."
Excerpts from St. John of Damascus' Second Sermon on the Dormition of he Theotokos
  
Prophet Solomon and the Priests before the Ark (http://www.byzantineiconography.gr/en/gallery/st_nektarios.asp)
  
The people of Israel with the Ark of the Covenant passing through the Jordan - from the Phiale of the Monastery of Zoothochou Pigi, Dunlap, CA (http://analogion.gr/logos/monasteries/20-im-zwodoxou-phghs)
   
The Theotokos and Christ surrounded by the Prophets and Saints (http://www.cirota.ru/forum/view.php?subj=85988)
   
Most-Holy Theotokos save us!

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