The Ark Of The Covenant

The Ark Of The Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew: אָרוֹן הַבְּרִית‬, Modern Arōn Ha'brēt,Tiberian ʾĀrôn Habbərîṯ), also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in the Book of Exodus as containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. According to various texts within the Hebrew Bible, it also contained Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. Hebrews 9:4 describes: "The Ark of the Covenant [was] covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant."

The Making Of The Ark Of The Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangular box made of wood (probably Acacia arabia), measuring about four and a half feet long, two and a half feet wide, and two and a half feet tall. All surfaces, interior and exterior, were plated with gold. A gold crown or molding wrapped around the structure. Gold rings were attached to each corner, to be used in conjunction with carrying poles. A gold lid sat on top of the Ark. On top of the lid rested opposing gold cherubims, with their wings stretching out towards each other. The Ark measured 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high (111 x 67 x 67 cm; 44 x 26 x 26 in.). It was built of acacia wood and was overlaid inside and out with gold, with an artistic border. Its cover, made of solid gold, featured two golden cherubs, one at each end. They faced each other with their faces toward the cover and their wings extending upward, overshadowing the cover. The Ark had four rings of cast gold above its feet. Acacia-wood poles overlaid with gold were put through the rings and were used for carrying the Ark.—Exodus 25:10-21; 37:6-9. The biblical account relates that, approximately one year after the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, the Ark was created according to the pattern given to Moses by God when the Israelites were encamped at the foot of biblical Mount Sinai. Thereafter, the gold-plated acacia chest was carried by its staves while en route by the Levites approximately 2,000 cubits (approximately 800 meters or 2,600 feet) in advance of the people when on the march or before the Israelite army, the host of fighting men. When carried, the Ark was always hidden under a large veil made of skins and blue cloth, always carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the priests and the Levites who carried it. God was said to have spoken with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover. When at rest the tabernacle was set up and the holy Ark was placed under the veil of the covering, the staves of it crossing the middle side bars to hold it up off the ground. Original Location

The Ark was initially kept in the Most Holy compartment of the tabernacle, a transportable tent of worship that was made at the same time as the Ark. The Most Holy was screened off from the view of the priests and the people. (Exodus 40:3, 21) Only the high priest could enter this compartment, one day each year on Atonement Day, and see the Ark. (Leviticus 16:2; Hebrews 9:7) Later, the Ark was moved to the Most Holy in Solomon’s temple.—1 Kings 6:14, 19. Purpose

The Ark was an archive for sacred items that would remind the Israelites of the covenant, or agreement, that God had made with them at Mount Sinai. It also played a key role in the Atonement Day ceremony.—Leviticus 16:3, 13-17. Contents

The stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments were the first items placed in the Ark. (Exodus 40:20) A golden jar of manna and “Aaron’s rod that budded” were later added. (Hebrews 9:4; Exodus 16:33, 34; Numbers 17:10) Evidently, the jar and rod were removed at some point, because they were not in the Ark when it was moved into the temple.—1 Kings 8:9. Transport.

The Ark was to be carried by the Levites on their shoulders by means of the acacia-wood poles. (Numbers 7:9;1 Chronicles 15:15) The poles remained attached to the Ark at all times, so the Levites never had to touch the Ark. (Exodus 25:12-16) “The screening curtain” that separated the Holy and the Most Holy was used to cover the Ark while it was being carried.—Numbers 4:5, 6. * Symbolism

The Ark was associated with God’s presence. For example, the cloud that appeared over the Ark in the Most Holy and at Israelite encampments was a sign of Jehovah’s presence and blessing. (Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 10:33-36) Also, the Bible says that Jehovah “[sat] enthroned above the cherubs,” referring to the two cherubs on the Ark’s cover. (1 Samuel 4:4; Psalm 80:1) Thus, these cherubs were “the representation of the chariot” of Jehovah. (1 Chronicles 28:18) Because of what the Ark symbolized, King David could write that Jehovah was “dwelling in Zion” after the Ark was moved there.—Psalm 9:11. Known Documented History 1513 B.C.E - Made by Bezalel and his assistants using materials contributed by the Israelites.—Exodus 25:1, 2; 37:1. 1512 B.C.E - Inaugurated by Moses along with the tabernacle and priesthood.—Exodus 40:1-3, 9, 20, 21. 1512—After 1070 B.C.E - Moved to various locations.—Joshua 18:1; Judges 20:26, 27; 1 Samuel 1:24; 3:3; 6:11-14; 7:1, 2. After 1070 B.C.E - Brought to Jerusalem by King David.—2 Samuel 6:12. 1026 B.C.E - Moved into Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.—1 Kings 8:1, 6. 853 BCE - Shishak, the first Egyptian Pharaoh mentioned in the Bible captured and pillaged Jerusalem, and may have moved it. to Aksum, Ethiopia, where it was guarded by a monk in a church 642 B.C.E - Purported to have been returned to the temple by King Josiah.—2 Chronicles 35:3. * Before 607 B.C.E - Apparently removed from the temple. It is not mentioned in the inventories of articles taken to Babylon when the temple was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. or of those articles later returned to Jerusalem.—2 Kings 25:13-17; Ezra 1:7-11. 597 -605 B.C.E - King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon beseiged and captured Jerusalem and raided the temple. Less than ten years after that, he returned, took what was left in the temple, and then burnt it and the city to the ground. 63 B.C.E - Declared to be missing by Roman General Pompey when he conquered Jerusalem and inspected the Most Holy of the temple.

So What Happened To The Ark?

Was The Ark Of The Covenant taken by Nebuchadnezzar? Was it destroyed with the city? Or was it removed and hidden safely away, by Pharaoh Shishak of Egypt long before when he raided the temple during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam? In Heaven In Revelation 11:19 mentions the ark as being in heaven: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.” This verse has led some to speculate that the ark was taken up to heaven to be preserved there. But the ark that John sees in his vision of heaven is probably not the same ark that Moses constructed. Returned to Mount SInai In the non-canonical book of 2 Maccabees reports that just prior to the Babylonian invasion, Jeremiah, “following a divine revelation, ordered that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him and...he went off to the mountain which Moses climbed to see God's inheritance [i.e., Mt. Nebo; cf. Deuteronomy 34:1]. When Jeremiah arrived there, he found a room in a cave in which he put the tent, the ark, and the altar of incense; then he blocked up the entrance” (2:4-5).

The Power Of The Ark The ark originally provided safety to the Israelites in their journey to the Promised Land. The power of the ark was manifested several times and enemies were scattered. When priests carrying the ark stepped into the River Jordan, the water stopped flowing and all the Israelites were able to cross. At the battle of Jericho the ark was carried by a procession around the walls of the city for seven days, after which the walls came down and the Israelites won the battle. After losing a series of battles with the Philistines, the Israelites brought the ark to a battle site, hoping for inspiration and wanting to strike fear into the Philistines. However, the Philistines won the battle and secured possession of the ark. The Philistines viewed their capture of the ark as a victory over the Israelites and their God. The ark was treated as a trophy, but several disasters fell upon the Philistines, including the rapid spread of a plague and an invasion of mice wherever the ark was placed. The Philistines eventually built a cart on which they placed the ark and representations of their afflictions; they yoked two cows to the cart and set it forth. The cart made its way to the territory of Israel, where the ark came into the possession of the Bethsames. A large number of Bethsames fell dead when they failed to show respect for the ark. Fearful of the ark's power, The Bethsames offered it to the inhabitants of nearby Cariathiarum, who took it in their possession with proper sacraments. Later, when David (d. 962 B.C.E.) became king of Israel and established Jerusalem as the holy center of the nation, the ark was to be moved there. Along the way, however, a cart carrying the ark was jostled and the ark began sliding off. Forgetting about the ark's strange powers, a man who reached out to secure it was struck dead. The ark was then housed at a nearby site outside the city, where it was the object of veneration for several months before the journey to Jerusalem was completed. The ark was taken once from Jerusalem to inspire David's army in its battle against the forces of Absalom. The Bethsames offered it to the inhabitants of nearby Cariathiarum, who took it in their possession with proper sacraments. Later, when David (d. 962 B.C.E.) became king of Israel and established Jerusalem as the holy centre of the nation, the ark was to be moved there. Along the way, however, a cart carrying the ark was jostled and the ark began sliding off. Forgetting about the ark's strange powers, a man who reached out to secure it was struck dead. The ark was then housed at a nearby site outside the city, where it was the object of veneration for several months before the journey to Jerusalem was completed. The ark was taken once from Jerusalem to inspire David's army in its battle against the forces of Absalom. Ark of the Covenant: Lost Technology? The Ark of the Covenant is, perhaps, the most famous lost artifact of all time. According to biblical accounts, it contained the Ten Commandments and was used by Moses to communicate directly with God. Its ultimate fate remains an enduring mystery to this day. However, not everyone is convinced that the Ark was a mystical object. They believe that the Ark can be explained by science, specifically electrical engineering. Do their claims hold any merit? According to the Book of Exodus, Moses built the Ark of the Covenant based on instructions he received from God while atop Mount Sinai. The Israelites proceeded to carry it for the next forty years while they wandered through the desert. While at rest, they stored it inside a portable, sacred temple-like structure known as the Tabernacle. The Ark performed many strange, mystical feats. To mention just a few:

  • It killed those who touched it: “And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” II Samuel 6: 6-7

  • It was unapproachable while in the Tabernacle: “And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” – Exodus 40:35

  • It was used to communicate with God: “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” – Exodus 25:22

Nikola Tesla’s Speculations For centuries, the Ark was viewed as a mystical object from God, beyond the knowledge of man. However, that changed on September 9, 1915, when the famous scientist Nikola Tesla published an article entitled The Wonder World to be Created by Electricity. In it, he made the following astounding claim: Moses was undoubtedly a practical and skillful electrician far in advance of his time. The Bible describes precisely and minutely arrangements constituting a machine in which electricity was generated by friction of air against silk curtains and stored in a box constructed like a condenser. It is very plausible to assume that the sons of Aaron were killed by a high tension discharge… The term condenser is an older word for what we now know as a capacitor, or an electrical machine capable of storing energy. Tesla thought that the Ark generated static electricity by causing air to rub against curtains. This created static electricity which was then stored inside the Ark, turning the box into a giant Leyden Jar. Theories Of It's Whereabouts Today Theories concerning the whereabouts of the lost ark include Rabbis Shlomo Goren and Yehuda Getz’s claim that it is hidden beneath the temple mount, having been buried there before Nebuchadnezzar could steal it away. Unfortunately, the temple mount is now home to the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic holy site, and the local Muslim community refuses to allow it to be excavated. So we cannot know if Rabbis Goren and Getz are correct. Explorer Vendyl Jones, among others, believes that an artifact found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the enigmatic “Copper Scroll” of Qumran Cave 3, is actually a treasure map of sorts detailing the location of a number of precious treasures taken from the temple before the Babylonians arrived, among them the lost Ark of the Covenant. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, as no one has yet been able to locate all of the necessary geographical landmarks listed on the scroll. Interestingly, some scholars speculate that the Copper Scroll may actually be the record referred to in 2 Maccabees 2:1 and 4, which describes Jeremiah hiding the ark. While this is an interesting speculation, it remains unsubstantiated. Other stories have the ark being transported during a Hebrew migration to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) that preceded the Babylonian Captivity. There, according to that version, the ark remained on an island in Lake Tana. With the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world by 300 C.E., Abyssinia was largely Christian. Later, during the sixteenth century, fierce battles were waged by invading Muslim armies on the Christian empire of Abyssinia, causing much destruction, including the razing of monasteries on the island Tana Kirkos, where the ark was believed to have been kept. A cathedral was built after the Muslim armies retreated, and there, according to this legend, the ark remains safe. Graham Hancock, published a book in 1992 entitled The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, in which he argued that the ark had been stowed away in Saint Mary of Zion's Church in Aksum, an ancient city of Ethiopia. Explorer Robert Cornuke of the B.A.S.E. Institute, also believes the Ark may now reside in Aksum. However, no one has yet found it there. Similarly, archaeologist Michael Sanders believes the ark is hidden away in an ancient Egyptian temple in the Israeli village of Djaharya, but he has yet to actually find it there.

Other theories is that it is hidden under the Hill of Tara in Ireland; Baltic Sea island of Bornholm; in the Nazi underground bases Antartica' or under the Sphinx in Giza. In December 2001, Rev. John McLuckie found a wooden tablet representing the Ark of the Covenant in a cupboard in St. John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, Scotland. Rev. McLuckie, who had lived in Ethiopia, recognised the artifact as sacred to Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians, and arranged to have the tablet returned in a special ceremony in 2002.

Michael J Robey

Psychic Medium | Psychic Investigator

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