We find the answer to your good question in Hebrews 9:2-5, “For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was THE GOLDEN POT THAT HAD MANNA, and AARON’S ROD THAT BUDDED, and the TABLES OF THE COVENANT; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”

The Lord had specifically told the Israelites to put these articles into the Ark of the Covenant. Let’s read Exodus 25:10-16, “And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into the ark THE TESTIMONY which I shall give thee.”

In this portion, the Lord gives instructions to His people to make an ark. He gives exact instructions including the size of the ark, what it was to be made of, how it was to be carried, and what was to be placed inside. The “testimony” is the witness of God’s righteousness given to the people in the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments.

Speaking of the manna the Lord had provided for the children of Israel while they wandered in the wilderness, we read in Exodus 16:32-34, “And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and PUT AN OMER FULL OF MANNA THEREIN, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations. As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.” The Lord instructs His people to put an omer (about 9 ½ cups) of manna into the “the Testimony.” Many times, the Ark of the Covenant is called the Testimony, or the ark of the testimony, as we read in Exodus 25:16, “And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.”

In Numbers 16-17, we have the fascinating account of the Israelites protesting against Moses and Aaron. In chapter 17, the Lord tells His people to gather 12 rods (one from each of the 12 tribes). He has them place the rods in the tabernacle, telling them that the rod that budded would show the Lord’s choice among His people. It was Aaron’s rod that budded and we read in verse 10, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring AARON’S ROD again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.” I encourage you to read this portion for yourself.

The Lord commanded that these three items were to be put into the Ark of the Covenant. In 1 Kings 8, Solomon, after building the temple, has the furniture from the tabernacle moved into the temple. 1 Kings 8:9 says, “THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE ARK SAVE THE TWO TABLES OF STONE, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.” Some have drawn attention to this portion, claiming that the scriptures contradicted themselves. To claim a flaw in the Word of God because of this is so childish. The possible reasons why we find only the two tables of stone in the ark are many.

*Hebrews 9:2-5 speak of the Ark while it was in the Tabernacle. 1 Kings 8:9 speaks of the Ark in the temple.

*The pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were placed “before the testimony”. Some conclude this means they were placed beside the Ark instead of inside of it.

*At one time, the Ark had been stolen by the Philistines. It is quite possible they removed the manna and Aaron’s rod.

There is no discrepancy or contradiction in the Word of God. Only our inability to understand causes us to think otherwise. (264.8)