The lost treasure of The Ark of the Covenant.

THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
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Where is the Ark of the Covenant?



The Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Holy Ark, the Ark of God, and many other terms, is one of the most revered items among historians and treasure hunters. Whatever happened to the Ark is unknown but it goes back to Biblical times and many references are made to it within the Bible. It has been moved around plenty of times and so, where its exact whereabouts are now is unknown but this does not stop people from spending their lives searching after it. Many believe that the Ark was destroyed millions of years ago. So just what is the Ark of the Covenant that holds so many people’s interest and what could be so worthy to make it your life’s mission to find it when it may no longer even exist? Perhaps it’s just the thrill of the chase alone but there’s no doubt that what is inside, should the Ark still be on Earth, is quite valuable indeed. The Ark of the Covenant holds the two tablets on which are written the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, which brought about the first three plagues of Egypt, and manna, which the Israelites ate during their journey through the desert and which has always been seen as a sign of life and nourishment in the Bible.

After God ordered that the Ark be built, it was constructed of acacia wood, which the Egyptians considered to be the Tree of Life. Although Egyptian royal cubits were most likely the measurements that were used in its construction, it’s thought today to be approximately 4.27 feet long, 2.56 feet high, and 2.56 feet in width. It was then covered entirely in gold and the lid, which is also known as the mercy seat, was also finished with a rim of gold. The sides had gold rings, from which two rods of wood could be placed so that the Ark could be carried around comfortably. On the top, at both ends, sits two cherubs, which sit facing each other. They both have their wings stretched out over top and it’s thought that this is to form the Throne of God, so that the Ark lies at his feet. It was originally placed in the Holy of Holies, which was thought to be the Holiest place in all of Jerusalem. This Holy Place was inside the sanctuary of the Tabernacle and the Temple of Jerusalem, and the Ark was placed between the two temples, with its poles brushing the veil that separated the two.

Moses oversaw the construction of the Ark, in which he asked ‘every wisehearted one’ to help. He then oversaw the construction and placed the contents inside. However, even he was not allowed to go near the place of the Ark, except for one day a year, called the Day of Atonement. On this day, he would perform certain ceremonies involving the Ark, including a consecration of the Ark which involved oils and holy ointments.

While the Israelites carried the Ark through the desert, it was carried by priests. When it was carried through the Jordan River, it’s said that the Ark had the power to separate the water so that the Israelites could walk through and the Ark would remain intact. It was also carried around the walls of Jerusalem, as seven rams’ horns were also played. Wherever it was taken and carried, it was always wrapped in the skin of an unknown animal and is covered with a blue cloth so that not even those carrying it can see it. It’s thought that Aaron’s rod and the manna, which was placed inside the Ark in a golden jar, have long since been removed from the Ark.

There have been many claims by many people that have said that they have found the Ark. Others simply believe stories that they have heard of where the Ark may be. Some believe that the Ark still lies within the Temple of Jerusalem, where it was first placed. Although the First Temple of Solomon no longer stands, King Solomon reported that there had been tunnels dug under the temple and the Ark had been placed on a plateau which would lower the Ark into the tunnels should the structure of the Temple itself ever be compromised. It’s thought that when Nebuchadnezzar did overtake the temple in 586 BC, that the Levite priests followed the Ark into the tunnels and took it away. It is also thought that Nebuchadnezzar never found the Ark. Today, digging has been done under the temple and tunnels do exist down there. However, there are many rules to digging under the temple and even if the Ark is under there, it’s doubtful that it will ever be found.

Other theories suggest that the original Ark of the Covenant is in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Ark is kept in the Church of the Tablet, which is a treasury near the Church of our Lady Mary of Zion. The church sometimes still uses the object thought to be the Ark in some of their ceremonial rituals. The Kebra Nagast is regarded as the most important Ethiopian document and this document tells the story of when Menelik I carried the Ark into Ethiopia. However, it’s thought that this was only added to the document after the 13th century and is criticized by some as simply being a misunderstanding between the Ethiopian translations of their Portuguese allies. If this is to be true, it’s a great exploitation of these misunderstandings that the Ethiopian church has used and this is why this theory is sometimes so heavily criticized.

The people of Zimbabwe also have claims that they hold the Ark of the Covenant. The Lemba people are thought to have Jewish ancestry and it is these ancestors that carried the Ark into the caves of the Dumghe Mountains, which is thought to be their most spiritual place. Tudor Parfitt, a professor, researched these claims and placed them into a documentary. He did say that he had seen the object and that it was treated just as the Ark would be in that it was regarded as the voice of their god, could not at any time touch the ground, was covered, and was to be carried on poles by their priests. While he does go into great detail in his documentary about the appearance of the object, he makes no mention of its valuable contents, which leaves it susceptible to heavy criticism.

Other places in the Middle East also lay claim to the Ark. One such claim states that it is either buried in Mt. Nebo or lies somewhere in the area around it, near Jordan’s east bank. It’s thought that Ark was placed here by Jeremiah after he was instructed to do so. There’s also said to be an altar of incense here and a tent, which were also ordered to be placed with the Ark. The book the Second Maccabees tells this story but some criticize it as it is a second-hand account. In the story, Jeremiah completely covered the entrance to the cave, and so neither the cave nor its contents have ever been found.

The infamous Ron Wyatt, who is a self-proclaimed archaeologist with no professional training or scholarly credentials but has claimed to have found many Biblical and ancient sites and ruins, has also claimed to have discovered the original Ark. He claims to have found it while on a dig underneath the Calvary Escarpment, and that he actually saw it and took photographs. He also claimed that he could dig no further due to excavation restrictions that were in place and all the photographs came out very blurry and hard to make out. People have widely discredited this claim due to his lack of any official background in the area and the fact that he has made false claims in the past.

Vendyl Jones, who is a notable archaeologist, claims to have found the Ark in the place where it was hidden by the Levite priests who carried it out of the temple through the temples after Nebuchadnezzar’s attack. Jones says that they carried it to the Cave of the Column, which is located near Qumran. Jones also claims that he has found the entrance to this cave but that he wanted to wait to unveil the discovery until the anniversary of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, which he said would be August 14, 2005. When this did not happen, he claimed that he had been misquoted and that he actually wanted to discover the Ark on this day and is awaiting funding to do so.


The Ark of the Covenant

The lost treasure of The Ark of the Covenant.

 The lost treasure of The Ark of the Covenant.

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