Sunday, August 19, 2007


Where is the lost Ark of the Covenant?

Since the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” interest has been revived in determining the exact location of the Ark.
Most scholars agree the Ark was never placed in the Second Temple (the Temple of Zerubabel and Herod). It disappeared from the Biblical story during the First Temple period and cannot be clearly traced afterward.
So where is the Ark? Did God allow it to be destroyed? There is no scriptural indication of the Ark being destroyed. However, there is reference to the Ark being forgotten. Jer. 3:16 says,
"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"(KJV).
This revelation was given to Jeremiah while the Ark was still in the Temple. In Jeremiah's time, the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem took place as he had foretold. So Jeremiah knew well before they came to Jerusalem, but he, like others, were trapped inside the city walls. No one could take anything in or out of the city. But we know the Babylonians did not take the Ark with them. If the Ark had been in the Temple, they would have known where it was. Did they go and look for it before they burned the Temple? One could argue that God did not allow them to enter the Holy of Holies but let the Ark destroy itself in the fire. But none has ever seen a speck of gold from the Ark which should have survived the fire. The Tablets of stone would also have survived, but could not be found either. So this is the mystery of the disappearance of the Ark. Finding the Ark has become an obsession with some people, particularly the Orthodox Jews of Israel who want to rebuild the Temple.

One of the most prominent theories today suggests the Ark is within a church in Axum, Ethiopia. While there are different theories of how and when it got there, the Ark was supposedly spirited out of the Jerusalem Temple by godly priests. Their motive was protecting it from the apostasy of Jewish leaders. (See the article by ABR Board member Milton Fisher in the Summer 1995 issue of Bible and Spade.)
Another theory suggests the Ark, along with other temple treasures, is hidden in a cave somewhere near the Dead Sea. While the Apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees seems to place this cave on the Jordan River's east bank (Biblical Mt. Nebo), many today think the Ark is presently hidden in a cave on the Jordan's West Bank. In recent decades, numerous caves in this region have been excavated, including some which contained the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. While many interesting artifacts were recovered, no evidence of the Ark has surfaced.
Probably the most popular theory of the Lost Ark's present location is a secret chamber carved deep within the rock mountain under Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The rock (es-Sakhra) beneath the Dome of the Rock is virtually the only section of the limestone mountain which can be presently observed on the surface of the Temple Mount compound.
Another view suggests the Ark is located beneath Jerusalem, in a stone-carved tunnel. Some say it is beneath the suggested site of the Crucifixion, Gordon's Calvary. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem's Old City, an Ultra-Orthodox organization dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple, says the Ark is under the temple mount and will be revealed at the proper time—when the temple is rebuilt.
The alleged secret chamber is generally attributed to either King Solomon, who built the First Temple, or King Josiah, one of the final kings of Judah. Purported to be carved out of bedrock and reached by a carved tunnel, it is not to be confused with the cave beneath es-Sakhra inside the Dome of the Rock, which can be entered today. The Ark's presence in this secret hiding place is widely believed by most of the Orthodox Jewish groups actively involved today in preparations for rebuilding the Third Jewish Temple.
In fact, a secret excavation by some of Israel's leading rabbis in 1981, supposedly cleared some rock-carved tunnels and chambers beneath the Temple Mount. Working in secret for some 18 months, they were convinced another 18 months would take them to the chamber with the Ark. However, when their efforts became known, the Israeli government discontinued their activities due to religious and political pressure from the Moslem/Arab world.

While we may not know where it is today, we have a pretty good idea where it was: In the March/April 1992 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ritmeyer presented evidence demonstrating three stages in the development of the ancient Jewish Temple Mount. He reconstructed the original Temple Mount of Solomon and the Second Temple Mount's Hasmonean addition and Herodian expansion. Although the Temple Mount came under Israeli control in 1967, Israeli government officials returned authority to the Wakf, the Supreme Moslem Council. The Wakf, while constantly making renovations on the Mount, has been unwilling to allow any archaeological excavations. This is at least partially due to their desire to keep any evidence of an ancient Jewish Temple from being found on their holy site.
Now, after clarifying the historical Temple Mount, Ritmeyer turned his efforts to determining the exact location of the First and Second Temple structures on the Mount. His research confirmed the traditional view that the ancient Jewish Temple once sat directly above the famous Rock (es-Sakhra; Arabic for "rock") beneath the Moslem shrine, the Dome of the Rock.
In addition to reconstructing the precise wall line of the Temple's Holy of Holies, Ritmeyer also believes he has identified the exact location where the Ark once sat inside the Holy of Holies, on es-Sakhra. While no one is allowed to do any direct examinations of the Rock, or even take measurements, historical data from those who have in the past, supplemented by modern photographs, provided Ritmeyer all the evidence he needed.
Precisely in the center of the Holy of Holies as laid out by Ritmeyer, is a rectangular cutout in the bedrock measuring 4 ft 4 in x 2 ft 7 in. Based on his measurement of the Biblical "cubit," Ritmeyer suggests the Ark was exactly this size. Thus, according to Ritmeyer, the Ark once sat at the exact center of the Holy of Holies—in this very indentation on es-Sakhra beneath the Dome of the Rock!
While scholars and archaeologists are slow to agree that Ritmeyer is correct, all acknowledge he made an innovative and plausible proposal. Unfortunately, only the opportunity to excavate and do precise measurements will provide absolute confirmation of his research. Sadly, such excavations are very doubtful in the foreseeable future.

What Is So Important About The Ark Of The Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant is the goal and purpose of all the Tabernacle system. There is no point to any of the other places or parts without this Holy Ark. Even the Holy of Holies itself assisted only as the place for the Ark. This most holy piece of the sacred furniture was an oblong chest 2" cubits in length and 1" cubits in both width and height. It was constructed out of the same Acacia wood as many of the other pieces and parts of the Tabernacle but unlike any of them it was both overlaid and inlaid with Gold.

(a) The Ark of the Covenant was the first thing described by God to Moses. EXODUS 25:10. It was the first piece of furniture made, EXODUS 37:1 and it was the first article placed in the Tabernacle after it was erected. EXODUS 40:2,3; 7,21
(b) The Ark was constructed out of Acacia wood which speaks of the true humanity of Christ,
(c) The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold both inside and out-side.
(d) the ark of the Covenant was the only thing that was taken from the Tabernacle, to be placed into Solomon’s Temple. Only the tablets of the Covenant, the ten commandments, came with it.

What was in the Ark?
(a) The Tables of the Law. DEUTERONOMY 31:26. Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
Moses was commanded to put the two tables of stone on which the Law was engraved by God into the Ark even before they were given to Him. The original tablets were broken by Moses as a sign of Israel's breaking of their covenant with God. The new covenant of Law which Moses received was placed in the Ark whole. EXODUS 34:4. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
This is a sign that only our Lord Jesus Christ could keep the whole law of God
(b) The Golden Pot of Manna.
(i) The Manna which Israel had eaten was collected in a golden pot and placed before the Tables of Stone inside the Ark of the Covenant. Jesus claimed to be a direct fulfillment of this manna. JOHN 6:31-35. Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
He is the food of the child of God. Only "in" Him is there the Bread of Life to sustain and develop us.
(c) Aaron's Rod - NUMBERS 17. This tremendous type of resurrection was kept in the Ark. It prophesied the triumph of Jesus over death. It also speaks of His priesthood that abides forever. Hebrews 7: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
What Was Important About The Ark Of The Covenant?
(a) It Portrayed Christ’s Humanity And Divinity
Phil 2: 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(b) It Speaks Of Christ as our Propitiation
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

The Mercy Seat
Beaten out of 1 piece of gold with cherubim and mercy seat and crown.
Exodus 25:22 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.
A. The only seat in the Tabernacle
Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

B. A Throne of grace, not judgement.
The Law was hidden beneath the sprinkled blood.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

c. Christ is our propitiation Rom 3: 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

D. There were 2 cherubim
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Points out the hopelessness of man by self effort trying to regain paradise.
No Sword now, but outspread wings inviting.

Free from the Law oh happy condition,
Jesus hath died and there is remission
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall
Christ hath redeemed us once and for all!

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