The holy Ark of the Covenant. An enigma? A myth? A legend of a priceless underground treasure? Let's find out!
When people think about Mount Zion in Jerusalem, they don't normally connect it to the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The truth is that the Ark was situated there with King David (in what was later known as the "new" City of David) for over 40 years! The disappearance of the legendary Ark over 2700 years ago is an enigma that has given rise to much speculation by biblical archaeologists and explorers. There are many contradictory theories as to what really happened to this sacred artifact, and where it might be today. As such, I wrote a book (“The ARK Report”) based on 25 years of research on the Jewish perspective, where I quote primary sources from the Bible and the Talmud, with Midrashic and Haggadic references throughout. What I found is something quite compelling.
I found that the Ark was not “lost” as many assume. In fact, it has been situated in the same place for all this time. Reminiscent of that great Disney movie with Nicholas Cage, National Treasure, this particular priceless Jewish artifact is about 4 stories (15m) underneath the present-day surface of the Temple Mount, in fact, to the southwest of the Dome of the Rock (as per my theory). Any biblical archaeologist worth his/her salt will tell you that there are over 45 known tunnels underneath the Temple Mount, with several entrances that may lead to this subterranean area. But before we go there, perhaps a brief history on the subject is in order first?
The fact is, approximately 35 years before the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC, King Josiah ordered that the Ark be brought into a special (what I call) “off-site” chamber that King Solomon had built as part of the original plan for the Temple, as found in a special Temple scroll that was given to him by his father King David, and the prophets Samuel and Nathan (II Chronicles 35:3).
After happening upon an ancient Torah scroll of his ancestors, the righteous King Josiah foresaw that the Temple would be destroyed, and ordered the Ark’s placement into this secret chamber well before Jerusalem was even being threatened. Nobody knew that the Holy of Holies would then be empty, except for the King himself, the High Priest at that time, and some other priests that helped place it into the chamber below. It’s interesting to note that while hidden in this place, the Ark unfortunately wasn’t able to help the Jews win the war that eventually destroyed Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar many years later. I mean, let’s face it, the Ark of God had (and still has) a reputation as an indestructible war machine, having proven itself downing the great walls of Jericho, splitting the mighty Jordan River (or at least it was “mighty” back then), inflicting stomach diseases and plagues on the Philistines, etc.
The Rambam (Maimonides) quotes the Talmud in a number of places that state that the Ark was buried “in its place” and for “generations after generations,” and “to this very day” (I Kings 8:8) in the warren of tunnels beneath the Temple Mount. In fact, according to my theory, directly beneath the Holy of Holies. According to my findings, the site of the Temple was not where the Dome of the Rock currently stands today, but further to the southwest, i.e., closer to the Western Wall, as indicated previously above.
Now, about those subterranean tunnel entrances. Even if one would theoretically obtain all the permits from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Jordanian WAQF, as well as the halachic permission from the Chief Rabbis of our day, it is simply too dangerous from a spiritual, as well as physical perspective to enter into these tunnels (which I delineate in my book). Further, the Ark seems to have this profound ability to sense who is around it, and if they have permission (as it were) to be there. And if not, the consequences have been proven to be lethal! Why take the risk? After all, even Moses wouldn’t enter the Tabernacle (that he himself built) to speak with God without permission.
One thing’s for-sure though: No matter who is eventually chosen to go in after it (the High Priest perhaps, or Elijah the Prophet?), we are the closest ever at this moment, to knowing the Ark’s true location. Just as it sat in a provincial tent for the King to pray (approximately located where King David's Tomb is today on Mount Zion), so it will draw all people, Jew and Gentile alike to the Divine Presence. As we get closer and closer each day, the deep connection between God and Israel also gets closer and closer, bringing the whole world to its fruition.
And that is no enigma...
Brought by Harry H Moskoff