What happened to the Ark of The Covenant?

How long did the Ark stay in the temple ?

Jerusalem hasn’t been a free city under God’s rule since the Ark was removed from the temple and Babylon took it over. But where was it taken?
The Bible gives us several clues as to how long it still remained there.

It was after Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem the Ark was moved from the city of David to the temple. It was during the Biblical feast of Sukkot, and it was a huge event. During the temple dedication and after the Ark had been brought to the most holy chamber in the temple, Gods presence in the form of the Shekinah came to the temple to dwell over the cherubim of the Ark. (2Ch 5:10- 14; Isa_37:16 )
It was a sign that God would be the country’s leader and supreme king. But both Judah and Israel where about to get both good and bad kings and the influence of the bad kings would prove a catastrophic for the nation. When Solomon failed God and allowed the worship of other gods the result was that the kingdom was divided in two after his death. Judah continued to be guardians of the temple in Jerusalem. First under Solomon’s son Rehoboam who didn’t follow God’s lead either. He ruled for 17 years. After him followed his son Abia for 3 years, his son Asa for 41 years and then his son Jehoshaphat for 25 years. Jehoshaphat did try and follow the lead of the true King of Jerusalem, the Lord. And by following His lead means to respect and honor His law. Those kings who did not follow God’s law were considered bad kings and those who did, God co-operated with and blessed the country. Jehoshaphat’s son Joram reigned for 8 years but didn’t follow God’s lead. His son Ahaziah rein for only a year and then Ahaziah’s mother pagan worshiper Athaliah took over the rule for 6 years hoping to break the Dravidian line of Kings. But she should have paid more attention to the temple. For the high priest had hidden away one of Ahaziah’s sons called Jehoash in the temple when she had gone on a killing spree and when he was only 7 he was made the king and she was killed. Jehoash ruled for 40 years and as long as he had good advisers he did after God’s will. He even restored the temple that by now had been neglected. However in the end he had bad advisers and went astray. His son Amaziah also followed God’s lead to begin with but made some bad choices in time. After him, his son Uzziah also called Azariah ruled for a whole 52 years! Most of his life he did that was good and fought many of God’s battles and brought respect back to God’s rule. However he got a little full of himself in the end and went into the temple to burn incense there. This was according to the law, only permitted by the priests. God did punish his actions immediately and he received leprosy while he was standing there in the temple (2.King.26:16-25) It’s at the end of his rule the prophet Isaiah is called to preach. After Uzziah, his son Jotham ruled for 16 years. He did that was good but his son Ahaz who ruled for the same amount of years after him, lead the country astray again. Ahaz sought help from the king of Assyria to fight off the king of Syria. Instead of seeking God’s help and trusting God he turned to the pagan rulers. It had great consequences for it had it’s price. Ahaz gave away gold and silver from the Lord’s house and gave to the Assyrian king. He robbed God. When he went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria he saw a grand alter there and when he came home he made a copy of the altar and replaced it with the altar in front of the temple. He also for the sake of the Assyrian king removed the Sabbath-entrance and the kings outer entrance from the Lord’s house. (2.King.16) He had removed some of the sabbath sacredness from the temple to satisfy a pagan king. But Ahaz son Hezekiah was determined to seek only God’s lead. That didn’t make the Assyrians happy. Hezekiah ruled for 29 years. He had more reason to fear then any of the kings before him because Israel, the northern kingdom, had been destroyed and the people taken captive. The northern kingdom was no more. More so the Assyrians had conquered several Judean cities. (1.King.18:13) Now they came up against Jerusalem and surrounded the city. The leader of the army mocks both Judah’s king, the inhabitants and God Himself. He claimed that no other nations god could save them from his hands then why would the God of Jerusalem be able to save them? Had he not conquer northern Israel and several Judean cities? And other cities with other gods? His mocking brought great distress to King Hezekiah but he knew where to go. It says: “Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.” (Isaiah.37:14-20)

Hezekiah goes to the temple and it says “spread it before the LORD”. This means that they considered the Lord’s presence to still be in the temple at that time. Remember that God’s presence only arrived in the temple when the Ark was placed there. Hezekiah acknowledges that the Lord still dwells over the cherubim like He did under Solomon’s time: “ O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims”. It’s, therefore, reasonable to assume that the Ark was still there during king Hisikiahs reign. The tradition of the leader to bow before the throne of God to seek God’s lead was custom all the way since the time of Moses and Joshua. “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.” (Jos.7:6)
God delivers Jerusalem and angels slays the army camping around Jerusalem. Isaiah prophecies of the future of every nation attacking God now and in the future. Hezekiah himself got very ill but after pleading with God he was cured and his life was prolonged for another 15 years. Hezekiah was very happy and when some men came from Babylon to visit he showed them all his treasures and the wealth of the city. This wasn’t the best idea and Hezekiah are told by a prophet that Babylon would one day take Jerusalem.
Perhaps Jerusalem could have been saved if the kings after Hezekiah had learned from him. But they didn’t. Hezekiah’s son Manasseh was the worst king of them all. And he had a long time to take Judah into a wrong direction. He reigned for a full 55 years. It seems, as we see the Ark of the Covenant is there during Hezekiah’s reign, that it was taken away during Manasseh’s reign. Either Manasseh had it taken away or the priests did it. Manasseh converted the temple into a pagan temple. He had completely rejected God’s lead and law and replaced the worship. Manasseh had only been twelve when he had been made a king and probably had some really bad advisers. “For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols… …Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.” (2.King.21 chapter)
God said because of what Manasseh did, and because the people followed him, he will deliver Jerusalem and the people into the hands of their enemies.
It’s clear here that God is referring to the temple the Ark stood in. It says Manasseh consulted spirits and used enchantments. And that he placed a “grove” in the temple where God was to dwell. Now a ‘grove’ was a tree that represented the goddess Asherah. It was decorated with gold and silver and had a ‘serpent’ going around the pole of the tree.
We know the Ark is at one point of Manasseh’s reign just removed. God had been completely rejected. Unbelievable enough, when Manasseh was taken captive at the end of his reign and was imprisoned, he turned to God. But the damage he had done to the land was permanent. His son Amon, named after an Egyptian deity, reign only for 2 years but followed his father and was wicked. But someone had come through to Manasseh’s grandson and Amon’s son Josiah. He became king when he was only 8 years old and reigned for 31 years. When he had reigned for 8 years he turned to God and decided to follow him. And in his twelfth year of reign he “began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.” (2.Ch.34:3-4) He continued in several cities in the land. It can only be imagined the trouble he must have faced making these decisions. Idols where considered valuable and they had been worshiping idols for over 60 years. It was now a tradition and to the generation growing up, all they knew. The battle was a hard one but Josiah knew they had to do it. But his actions also inspired many. In the 13th year of his reign, people started asking about the Ark of the Covenant. They were worried because it was not in the temple anymore. Didn’t they need it there in order to be blessed? Jeremiah was a prophet in those days and they were given a message: “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” He continues: “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?” (Jer.3:1 & 3-4) He also said: “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. ..Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer.3:8 & 12-15) God hadn’t given up Judah but the Ark itself would do them no good unless they actually followed God’s lead. The Ark was just a symbol of kingship and stone with his law inscribed, but it was their hearts that needed to be altered and made a dwelling place for God and His law. He follows with these words: “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.” (Jer.3,16)

God wants to take their focus from the physical law and to the law inwards. The reform continues in the land. In the eighteen year of his reign, he decided to restore God’s temple. During the restoration the high priest, Hilkiah find the book of the law in the house of the Lord. (2.King.22:8) In it was the very words Moses wrote down about God’s laws and Israel’s future if they turned to idol worship and abandoned his law. The book was brought to the king. “And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” (2.King.22:11) Josiah was devastated seeing how so many of these words had been fulfilled in Israel that was now destroyed, but also how they themselves too had done the same sins and now perhaps would suffer the same fate. He cried and were upset over the sins of Jerusalem. He needs to know their fate: “Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” (2.King.22:13) Josiah receives a message from God saying because of his humble and tender heart, and because he has sought God’s counsel, that God would not destroy Jerusalem during his reign. (2.King.22:18-20)
Josiah is prepared to do anything to turn Jerusalem’s faith. He continues to cleanse the land of idol worship. In the same year, he re-instates Gods times and prepares the land to keep the feast of Passover. Apparently, the king has known the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant and where it had been hidden during Manasseh’s reign. He now orders it placed back into the restored temple: “And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel” (2.Ch.35:3) As we see here the Ark that many had discussed and talked of according to Jeremiah, was now back in the temple. Perhaps the Ark had been hidden in wait for the curse to hit the land, but now a new probation time had been given through Jerusalem by Josiah’s faithfulness. They could again sacrifice to the Lord.
The Ark had first been placed in the temple during the feast of Sukkot by King Solomon. This time it was placed in the temple during Passover. Both are the Lord’s ordained times.

The sad future of Jerusalem seems to be impossible to undo as Josiah’s sons who reigned after him did not continue in their father’s footsteps. Three of Josiah’s sons were to reign. Josiah had made a terrible decision to mingle in a battle between Egypt and Babylon. Josiah’s had decided to help Babylon fight Egypt not consider the very act would strengthen Babylon that God had already told Hezekiah would one day capture Jerusalem and it’s treasures. (2.Ch.35:20-24) Josiah was shot during the war and died and left the kingdom to soon to his immature sons. The prophet Jeremiah cried for Josiah and many were devastated to lose him.

The first son to rule after Josiah was Jehoarch who only reigned for 3 months before the king of Egypt came and made his brother Jehoiakim king instead. Egypt now demanded heavy taxes from Jerusalem. He reigned for 11 years and didn’t follow God’s lead and continued the wrong path. The first group of captives is taken to Babylon during his first years as king. The people that were first taken to Babylon was the king’s seed, the princes, the skillful and wise. The scientists and those who were well favored. With this Babylon robbed Jerusalem of anyone that could make Jerusalem great and progress. Among the captives was the prophet Daniel and his three friends. They decide to remain faithful to God even when they arrive in Babylon. God’s attempt to get through to the king continues. Jeremiah and Baruch write him messages of warning from God but Jehoiakim just throws the message in the fire. After taxing to Babylon for nearly three years Jehoiakim decided to rebel. After Jehoiakim, his son Jehoiachin takes over but only rules for 3 months before Babylon re-conquers the city and takes both him, his mother, servants and princes and officers to Babylon as prisoners. Babylon also robs the temple for its treasures. Along with the king’s house, the second group of captives is the mighty men of Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and smiths. During this raid, the prophet Ezekiel is taken and brought to Babylon. Now robbed of its riches and of their craftsmen Jerusalem was a poor city with poor people with little talent and skills. The King of Babylon let Josiah’s third son, Zedekiah, take over as king of Jerusalem. Jerusalem still has the prophet Jeremiah in their midst who keeps trying to talk reason to Zedekiah.
If Zedekiah rebels against Babylon’s king he will not spare the city. He also let him know that God will not save the city from his hands. But Zedekiah gets advice from the priests that remain in the city and they speak against Jeremiah. They even try to silence him, mock him and imprison him. They claimed boldly that God is still with them because they still have the law. This indicates strongly that the Ark is still standing there, or they would not have been so confident.
Jeremiah even at one time are placed right in front of the temple to bear a message: “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: ..And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you» (Jer 26:2 &4)

Meanwhile, Ezekiel, who is now in Babylon, is called to be a prophet. He is taken to Jerusalem in a vision where he gets to see how the priests have just continued their idol worship. He is told “He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary?” (Ezek.8:6)
God here explains that the time is over, he will now leave the sanctuary because of their great sins.
They have turned their backs to His throne and the law inside it to worship the sun in the east. “And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” (Ezek.8:16) Just like the Ark was removed when Manasseh decided to place idols in God’s place, so this group has decided to turn their back towards God’s reign to worship the gods of Babylon.
The result, God explains, is that he will leave His sanctuary. The scene when he leaves is then described. When The Ark of the Covenant was placed into the temple the Shekinah, God’s presence, came over to dwell over the cherubim of the Ark and the house was filled with smoke. (See.2.Ch.13-14) When God leaves we again see the temple filled with smoke. “And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house.” (Ezek.9:3) Here we are probably directed to the cherubim of the Ark of The Covenant where God had dwelled in the temple. And so this is very much a confirmation the Ark was still in the temple at this time. There are explained of several cherubim in the same chapter as God has his own cherubim on his heavenly throne. He never sat on the Ark itself but dwelled over it. When it says he leaves the “cherub, whereupon he was” it cannot refer to the cherub on his heavenly throne as they are described to be with him at all times during the vision. He doesn’t leave his place over them. But he leaves the temple and the cherubim there. We are then told that the Lord on his heavenly throne move from the temple to the mount of olives before He leaves. God then leaves the city and takes away His protection and the city’s is an easy prey for its enemies.

This means the Ark was probably there until Jerusalem was under siege. Jerusalem was besieged in the 10th day in the 10th month. The moment Jerusalem was under siege to be destroyed God had to remove Himself and His throne or His throne would be under siege too. The difference between this siege and the previous was that this time Jerusalem was permanently under Babylonian control. It’s therefore reasonable to assume perhaps the ark was hidden the first day of the siege, on the tenth day of the tenth month. Because before that day the priests seemed confident that the city would not be captured. They had Jeremiah imprisoned. And so as soon as the siege took place they knew the Ark was at risk. Would they wait a few weeks to see if the Babylonian army was serious? Or would they hide it straight away? The reason I’m asking is that as we will soon see, the Ark will be claimed re-discovered in our own day on the same day Jerusalem was under siege. The tenth day of the tenth month.

If they didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation before the city was in fact under siege then the places to hide the Ark would be very limited. And even if the Ark was hidden before the siege, it would have drawn a lot of attention if the Ark was moved in plain sight. The vision given Ezekiel of the time God leaves the Most holy place in the temple is about five years before the city is destroyed. But Ezekiel was taken in vision and could have described a future event. The art of prophecy is foretelling an event not describing it as it happens.

We know the Ark was never mentioned again in any of the old testament books. It’s not written where it was taken or when or by who.

When God left the cherubim over the Ark and the temple a “few years before” the temple destruction, He had said He would come back and renew His law in the hearts of His people. You see they had at that time rejected His law in order to follow pagan festivals, gods, and way of worship. And they mixed the temple of God with idols invented by humans. In addition, these people claimed to represent God as well as their pagan gods at the same time. They hadn’t cared for the weak among them, or the fatherless or the widows. And God also especially rebuked them for rejecting His Sabbath. He promised if they just kept His Sabbath He would bless them and make them prosper. He also said that Jerusalem would not be destroyed if they respected this commandment:
“And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.” (Jer.17:24-25)
He said «And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.», but they rejected His offer, and His sign, and so He allowed Jerusalem to be conquered by the very power who’s laws and religion they followed. (Esek.20:20) God had promised if they kept the Sabbath, they would keep their rule over their own kingdom. But they rejected God, and from this time on the corrupted religious ‘beasts’ started to rule over and subdue God’s people. Rejecting God’s sign of authority placed them under the authority of the ‘beasts’. This continued all the way to the Roman empire where God’s people were scattered around the world. Papal Rome took over the religious influence and tried to force it’s corrupted pagan-Christian religion onto God’s people.

 

Writing on the whereabouts
of the Ark

The only writings on the whereabouts of the Ark happened long after it disappeared and after Judah’s captivity in Babylon. And so the writing is either based on a legend or fiction. Since none of the prophets at the time of the Ark’s disappearance say where it is, it was probably meant to be a secret or only a handful of men knew and they didn’t tell. Neither Daniel, Jeremiah or Ezekiel said anything. However right after the temple and city was destroyed Jeremiah overlooking the city said: “The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.” (Lam.2:7) “the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.” (Lam.4:1) But although temple and alter is destroyed he says something else about His throne: “Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it. Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.” (Lam.5:18-19)

Mount Nebo.
The second book of the Maccabees is a book that focuses on the Jewish revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes. Orthodox and Catholics have this books as part of their bibles, while most Protestants and Jews reject the doctrines in the book to be inspired. It is claimed to have been written by a greek jew around 100 BC. And so several hundred years after the ark’s disappearance. The most likely is that the writing on the Ark’s destiny in this book is tied to a ‘saying’ among the jews. Chapter 2 in the book says: “The records show that it was the prophet Jeremiah who … prompted by a divine message … gave orders that the Tent of Meeting and the ark should go with him. Then he went away to the mountain from the top of which Moses saw God’s promised land. When he reached the mountain, Jeremiah found a cave-dwelling; he carried the tent, the ark, and the incense-altar into it, then blocked up the entrance. Some of his companions came to mark out the way but were unable to find it. When Jeremiah learned of this he reprimanded them. “The place shall remain unknown”, he said, “until God finally gathers his people together and shows mercy to them. The Lord will bring these things to light again, and the glory of the Lord will appear with the cloud, as it was seen both in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the shrine might be worthily consecrated.” Many explorers have looked for the Ark on mount Nebo without success.
Some think perhaps instead of saying “to the mountain from the top of which Moses saw God’s promised land.” it was meant to read the mountain Moses saw when He viewed the promised land. As many knows, Jerusalem can be seen from Mount Nebo.
There are a few problems with this quote. Firstly that it’s not built on any written tradition. The other is Ezekiel’s vision that we just mentioned. It took place only five years prior to Jerusalems destruction. Jeremiah tried to leave Jerusalem but was held captive until the city was destroyed. Jeremiah didn’t have the opportunity to take the Ark to Nebo during this time and it would have been impossible during the siege. Also, it’s worth noting that although Jeremiah was a Levite the other Levites didn’t give him any high position. They regarded themselves protector of the law and the Ark and dismissed, ridiculed and punished Jeremiah often. They most certainly didn’t except him as a true messenger from the Lord and so they would be unlikely to give Jeremiah a task to carry the ark out of the city. That he would have had the opportunity to just take the ark with him without being seen or noticed are highly unlikely as others were guarding it. (Jer.37: 11-13) And so if Jeremiah didn’t do it the story already has flaws as it’s naming the wrong person. But of course, anything is possible.

The Apocalypse of Baruch
This book has a different version of the events, and it was written even later than the other. Baruch was Jeremiahs’ friend but this book is recognized as a pseudepigrapha which means that the claimed author is not the true author. It’s thought to have been written as late as the first or second century after the fall of Jerusalem. This specific book has only been found among the Syriac manuscripts. Again, because it’s not written around the time the Ark disappeared or after sources from that time, it’s at best a myth or legend about what happened. But myth’s and legends do sometimes have elements of truth in them. And so it’s interesting in that sense. This writing can be compared to the Maccabean book in the sense that both say Jeremiah was there when the Ark was hidden and that both say the Ark will re-surface in the future. In the book of Baruch, it says it will be hidden there until God would bring it forth again in the end times.

“And it came to pass on the morrow that, lo! the army of the Chaldees surrounded the city, and at the time of the evening, I, Baruch, left the people, and I went forth and stood by the oak. And I was grieving over Zion, and lamenting over the captivity which had come upon the people. And lo! suddenly a strong spirit raised me, and bore me aloft over the wall of Jerusalem. And I beheld, and lo! four angels standing at the four corners of the city, each of them holding a torch of fire in his hands. And another angel began to descend from heaven. and said unto them: ‘Hold your lamps, and do not light them till I tell you. For I am first sent to speak a word to the earth, and to place in it what the Lord the Most High has commanded me. And I saw him descend into the Holy of Holies, and take from there the veil, and holy ark, and the mercy-seat, and the two tables, and the holy raiment of the priests, and the altar of incense, and the forty-eight precious stones, wherewith the priest was adorned and all the holy vessels of the tabernacle. And he spoke to the earth with a loud voice:
‘Earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the mighty God, And receive what I commit to you, And guard them until the last times, So that, when you are ordered, you may restore them, So that strangers may not get possession of them. For the time comes when Jerusalem also will be delivered for a time, Until it is said, that it is again restored for ever.’ And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up.» (2.Baruch:6, 1-10, The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch)

It’s interesting how it’s also mentioned that not only the Ark was hidden but also the altar of incense. The Bible actually say things that were taken from God’s house to Babylon, but among all the items listed, it’s not just the Ark of the Covenant that is missing. The other items built by the foot of Mount Sinai are also apparently lost. The altar of incense, the table of shewbread and the seven-branched candle-stick that stood in the holy place in the temple. None of these are mentioned taken, or given away or misplaced. It’s just not mentioned in the same way the destiny of the Ark isn’t mentioned.

To ethiopia
A writing even younger then Apocalypse of Baruch is the Kebra Nagast. It was written in Coptic. Its title in English is ‘The glory of the Kings’. It was written very late, in the 14th century. Many believe it was written even as late as the 16th century. Nevertheless, it’s not claimed to have been written before. The account tells that Solomon had a sexual encounter with the queen of Sheba and that it resulted in a son. It’s strange considering the Bible never says there was a sexual contact between them, and she visited him at a time Israel was united and grand. She had heard rumors of Solomons wisdom and it says she was given gifts and returned home. This account, however, claims Solomon tricked the queen to sleep with him and that the son, Menelik I, later visited his father seeking his blessing. The account also says that Solomon tries to convince his son to be king after him. Menelik gets ready to leave and Solomon sends him a company of the firstborn sons of the elders in Israel. Upset about leaving Jerusalem they then smuggle the Ark from the Temple. When Solomon notices the Ark is missing he tried to follow his son. The Ark is claimed to have mysterious powers and supernaturally fly the company towards Sheba. It’s then said that he engaged in wars and brought the ark with him and that because he had the ark he won all his battles. Solomon is said to have started idol worship because the Ark was lost.

The major problem with the Kebra Nagast is not just that it was written late without any historical documents to support it, but that it conflicts with the Biblical story. The oldest manuscript containing information about Solomon and the Ark is the Biblical account. And the Bible clearly tells that the Ark of the Covenant was still in Israel’s possession long after this account claims it was taken to Ethiopia. Furthermore, the thought that just having the Ark will give victory in battle is unbiblical. The Ark didn’t have super-powers, it was just a golden throne. The thought that God left Israel before they had even engaged in idol worship is also unbiblical. God clearly stated that He is the God of Israel and that they are His people. For Him to remove His dwelling place among them would mean He rejected Sion. However, God says: “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psa.132:13)
Basically, for anyone who knows Bible history well, this story of Kebra Negast not only challenges the stories in the Bible but reduces God’s greatness and contradicts His words.
It’s impossible to believe both accounts and being left with a choice I would have to choose the Bible.
Also because it’s dated to the 14th century it’s highly unlikely to be anything but religious-fiction written to strengthen the agenda.

“One author indicated that the religious epic story was conflated in the fourteenth century by six Tigrayan scribes. Other sources put it as a work of the fourteenth century Nebura’ed Yeshaq of Aksum. Recent historians to consider the evidence place it as late as the end of the sixteenth century when Muslim incursions and contacts with the wider Christian world made the Ethiopian Church concerned to assert its character and assert Jewish traditions.” Kebra_Nagast/wiki

Other claims:
There are other stories about the Ark being in the Vatican cellar, or that The Knights Templer excavated at the temple mount, found it and moved it. Islamic sources claim the Ark was hidden close by Tiberius (North in Israel), or Antioch (Now south-east Turkey) or Mecca to protect it against the Roman army. However, the Ark had long been hidden before the Roman era and these records are also very young when compared to the time the Ark was actually hidden.

 

Seventh-Day Adventist prophet:
The Seventh-day Adventist prophet Ellen White claimed the Ark had been hidden in a cave right before Jerusalems destruction. “Among the righteous still in Jerusalem, to whom had been made plain the divine purpose, were some who determined to place beyond the reach of ruthless hands the sacred ark containing the tables of stone on which had been traced the precepts of the Decalogue. This they did. With mourning and sadness, they secreted the ark in a cave, where it was to be hidden from the people of Israel and Judah because of their sins and was to be no more restored to them. That sacred ark is yet hidden. It has never been disturbed since it was secreted.” (Prophets and Kings, p.453) She lived a long time after the Ark was hidden but claimed to have visions of God who knew of course of its destiny. Like the book of Maccabees and Baruch, she too states that the Ark will be found in the end times and that the tables of stone containing the ten commandments will be shown to the world. “And He [Christ] gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communicating with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written by the finger of God.” Nothing written on those tables could be blotted out. The
precious record of the law was placed in the ark of the testament
and is still there, safely hidden from the human family. But in God’s
appointed time He will bring forth these tables of stone to be a
testimony to all the world against the disregard of His commandments and against the idolatrous worship of a counterfeit Sabbath
(Manuscript 122, 1901). (1. SDA Bible commentary, p.1109 or page 91 on online PDF)

 

Muslim oral traditions:
A Muslim ark hunter says: “As stated in the Qur’an, the Ark of the Covenant is “a sign” for the faithful (Surah, 2:248 Yusuf Ali), for which reason believers have looked for it down the years. The fact that it has remained lost despite all this detailed research may be an indication that it will be found in our own time when a great many portents regarding the end times have been fulfilled. (Almighty Allah knows best.)” (Harun Yahya.com)
He claims the Ark will be found by the Islamic end-time prophet “The Mahdi”. The Mahdi is thought to be the forerunner to Jesus’ second coming which Muslims do believe in. However there is no reference to the Mahdi in the Koran, it mostly comes from the hadiths. It is understood that the Mahdi as a great end-time persona will battle the antichrist himself, but there are different traditions and understandings between Muslims of Mahdi’s mission. Already many have claimed to be the Madhi.
“The Hz. Mehdi will remove the Ark of the Covenant from Lake Tiberias. (Iqd al-Durar fi Akbar al-Imam al-Muntadhar, by Shaikh Jamaluddin Yusuf al-Damishqi, p. 51-a) The reason he will be known as the Mahdi is that he will show the way to a hidden thing. He will bring the Ark to light from a place called Antioch. (Suyuti, al-Hawi li’l Fatawa, II, 82)
“The place described as “near Lake Tiberias” in the hadiths is regarded as a figure of speech by Islamic scholars. Tiberias is near to Sham, and Sham, in accounts of the end times in the hadiths, means somewhere far-distant, far from Mecca and Medina. This figure of speech applies to Tiberias. Indeed, some commentators and researchers have taken this to indicate that the Ark may be in Jerusalem, Mecca, Tiberias, Antioch, or even in Istanbul.” (Harun Yahya – where is the ark of)

It’s clear that there seem to be a lot of guesswork tied to its whereabouts, and although some claim they are visions from God, they can’t all be right unless they are talking about different copies of the Ark. Also, it’s worth noting that people are copy-cats. That means that there might be replicas of the Ark ‘out there’. And so any ark discovery must fit the measures and description of the Bible (something the Ethiopian doesn’t as it’s too small), and it must have tables of stone in them written by the finger of God which would make it extraordinary. What expert can tell us if something is the real ark or not if they were not there when it was built? They can date evidence but even dating isn’t proof that the Ark found is the original. And so unless God allows some evidence to be found with the Ark indicating it is the real Ark, it would be hard for any expert to say for sure.

2 Comments

  1. Brother Bob

    Is it possible that Ron Wyatt’s discovery of the Ark of the Covenant was the public revealing prophesied? His discovery although kept secret by the authorities has been made public and is easily accessible to anyone wanting to learn about it’s whereabouts. I suggest this because “today is the Day of salvation” and the discovery is even NOW being used to save souls. It also proclaims the greatness of our God Who has left “proof” that Yahshua shed His blood to atone for our sins.

    Maybe there will be a future supernatural revelation of the Ark. But it seems to me that the revelation of its location and AND that it is directly underneath Calvary where the blood flowed is out there for all to see and know! The discovery fills my heart with greater rejoicing and greater love for our God once I learned where the Ark is located. It’s true location speaks to the beauty of our God Who does all things wonderfully. I pray that our LORD will make it’s true location made known clearly to all the world…..soon.

    Thanks for the historical article my sister and for giving pause concerning the apocryphal accounts. God’s throne never left Mt. Zion/Moriah!

    • Dear Bob,
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I hope many will read your comment and consider the truth in what you are saying.
      Praise to God!

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