283. The Ten Commandments, being the starting-point of the Word and so of the church which was to be established among the Israelite nation, and being in short compass a summary of the whole of religion, making a link between God and man and man and God, were so holy that nothing holier could exist. Their outstanding holiness is evident from the following points.
The Lord Jehovah Himself came down on Mount Sinai in fire and accompanied by angels, and from there proclaimed them out loud, and the mountain was hedged about to prevent anyone approaching and being killed. Neither the priests nor the elders came near, but only Moses. The Commandments were written on two stone tablets by the finger of God. When Moses brought the tablets down the second time, his face shone. The tablets were afterwards laid up in the Ark, and this was at the centre of the Tabernacle. It was surmounted by the mercy-seat, above which were placed cherubim made of gold. This central area of the Tabernacle, where the Ark was, was called the Holy of Holies. Outside the veil, inside which the Ark was, were placed many objects to represent the holy things of heaven and the church; these were a table overlaid with gold on which the bread of the Presence was put, a golden altar on which to put incense, and a golden lamp-stand with seven lamps; also curtains all round made of fine linen, purple and scarlet. The holiness of the whole of this Tabernacle was entirely due to the law contained in the Ark.
 It was on account of the holiness of the Tabernacle as containing the Ark, that the whole people of Israel were commanded to camp around it in the order of their tribes; and that they set out in order after it; and that there was a cloud over it by day and fire by night. It was because of the holiness of the law, and Jehovah's presence in it, that Jehovah spoke with Moses upon the mercy-seat between the cherubim; and that the Ark was called 'Jehovah-is-there'; and that Aaron was not allowed to go inside the veil except with sacrifices and incense, on pain of death. It was because of Jehovah's presence in and around the law, that miracles were done by means of the Ark containing the law. For instance, the waters of Jordan were parted, and the people crossed over on dry land so long as the Ark rested in its midst. Its being carried round the walls of Jericho caused them to fall down. Dagon, the god of the Philistines, first of all fell on his face in the presence of the Ark, and later was found lying with his head cut off together with the palms of his two hands upon the threshold of the shrine. On account of the Ark the men of Bethshemesh were smitten to the number of many thousands. Uzzah was killed by touching the Ark. The Ark was brought into Zion by David with sacrifice and jubilation. Later it was put by Solomon into the Temple at Jerusalem, and he made its inner shrine there. From these and many other details it is plain that the Ten Commandments were the height of holiness for the Israelite church.