The Ark of the Covenant, is one of the most sacred and terrible objects of God. It is a sacred chest of wood and gold that enclose the 10 tablets of the law. It is said that the ark stopped whole armies, demolished walls and was able to open the waters of the rivers. Currently experts say it is hidden in Jerusalem or secretly guarded in a church in Ethiopia.
The quest for the mythical Ark of the Covenant, one of the most mythical treasures of the Old Testament and built according to the precise instructions of God at the foot of Mount Sinai, has lasted tens of centuries and has fired the imagination of theologians, adventurers And archaeologists.
In the bible
The Bible, in Exodus 25: 10-22, describes it in great detail: it was a kind of acacia wood, covered inside and out with pure gold, measuring 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 cubits long. Width and height (about 1.25 meters long by 0.75 meters wide and 0.75 meters high). A golden cornice or garland surrounded its upper part, and on the outside was fixed four rings of gold on both sides, through which were inserted two long poles, also made of acacia wood covered with gold, to be able to carry it. Its top cap, called «propitiatory», was solid gold and had on top the image of two gold cherubim, one facing the other and with the wings unfolded, that looked towards the center of the box. Between the cherubim and the mercy seat there was an open space-a kind of sacred triangle-which was called the oracle, and was the most sacred part of the Ark. There the LORD made his decrees to Israel. «There,» the Lord had told Moses, «I will meet you from the mercy seat, from the midst of the two cherubim placed on the ark of the Testimony, I will tell you everything that is to be ordered for the Israelites.» (Ex. 25, 22).
Once the Ark was built, the Bible tells us that «Moses gave two tables of testimony, two tables of stone written with the finger of God, on Mount Sinai. And Moses took the testimony and put it into the Ark. «(Book of Exodus). A later legend, told in a letter to the Hebrews, relates that apart from the» testimony «or tables of the law with the 10 commandments, there Also the rod of Aaron that reverdeció and a vessel with the Manna that fell of the sky and fed to the Israeli town in the desert were kept.
The Ark of the Covenant, which represented the covenant between God and the Jewish people, was henceforth transformed into the most sacred object for Israel. It was located in the sancta sanctorum or holiest place of the tabernacle or of the Temple. Its utility was varied, for it was not only destined to contain the sacred elements described above, but also had the reputation of being a weapon capable of protecting the chosen people, being an executor of the punishments of God. The meanings of the Ark thus went beyond the symbolic: to have the Ark was to have God.
His transportation and care was reserved only to the tribe of the Levites. After leaving Egypt and during nomadic life and expeditions in the desert of the Jewish people, the Ark always went before the people because it showed which way to go and where to stop every night. And when it was lifted up, the priests would say, «Arise, O Lord, that your enemies may be scattered, let those who hate you flee before you.» If some enemy tribe attacked, the Israelites took the Ark to the front of the battle and the enemy fled in terror (Nm 10, 34-35). The ark was always covered by a veil of protection, plus a layer of fine leather, and a purple cloth.
The Bible tells us that the Ark of the Covenant had exceptional and incomprehensible powers. He could stop the course of rivers, crush mountains and destroy entire armies. When the people of Israel arrived in the Promised Land and the Jews met the Jordan River, the Ark of the Covenant stopped the waters of the torrent so that the Hebrews could cross it. (Jos 3: 14-17): «And when they that bare the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark touched the shore of the waters … the waters that came down from above stopped and formed a Only block at great distance …).
But perhaps his most impressive feat was the destruction of the walls of Jericho. The Bible recounts that in order to do so, the Israelites wandered around the city for six days with the Ark of the Covenant on their backs. On the seventh day they made seven rounds, they cried out for war, they let their trumpets hear, and the walls fell like castles of cards (Jos 6: 1-20).
When the Israelites came to the Promised Land, the Ark was placed in the city of Gilgal, and a small shrine was built for it. Later she was transferred to Shechem, then to Bethel and finally to Silo, her first long-term residence. There she was taken care of by the family of the priest Elí. Many years later, during a bloody war against the Philistines, the Ark was carried to the Israeli camp in order to raise the morale of the warriors. But after a tragic defeat of the Hebrews, where the two sons of the judge and the Israelite priest Eli also died, the Philistines took it as a valuable trophy, unleashing a real mourning throughout the land of Israel. The Philistines believed that the taking of the Ark meant a victory for their gods over the God of Israel, so they took her to the city of Ashdod and placed it as a war trophy in the temple of their god Dagon. The next morning, however, they found the statue of Dagon lying face down in front of the Ark, so they lifted it and put it back in its place. But the next morning they found Dagon again on the floor, only this time he had no head and no hands.
At the same time a cruel disease (the bubonic plague perhaps) lashed the asdodeos, whereas a terrible invasion of rats afflicted to all the surrounding territory. These punishments were immediately attributed to the presence of the Ark within the walls of the city, so the Philistines moved the Ark to Gath and to Ekron, places where it caused the same lashes. Finally, after seven months of frightful events, at the suggestion of their priests and fortune-tellers, the Philistines decided to give up their dreadful trophy and put it on a chariot pulled by two cows without a driver and sent it through the fields to go where I would like.
The cart, thus, came alone to the Jewish city of Beth Shemesh. There, the Israelites went out to meet him, but recklessly they opened the Ark and looked inside. All fell struck. Amazed, the inhabitants of Bet Shemesh decided to get rid of the Ark, and sent it to the neighboring city of Kiryat Yearim, where it remained forgotten 20 years. King David then remembered her and decided to take her to Zion. He put it in a cart pulled by oxen and organized a procession. But at a certain moment, by a sudden movement of the animals, the cart staggered, and a man named Uzzá, to prevent the Ark from falling to the ground, tried to hold it. And scarcely touched it fell dead.
When the Ark finally arrived in Jerusalem, it was deposited in a little tent, like a sanctuary, built by David. And when years later his son Solomon built the Temple of Jerusalem, it was definitely placed in the most sacred part of it. And it is curiously there, in the most protected and safe place of all that was, where, around the year 900 BC, his track was lost forever. This gave rise to a quest that has inspired believers and fortune hunters for millennia.
An object that sent forth rays of divine light, could stop the course of rivers, crush walls, destroy armies, cause illness or kill by contact had to contain secret powers. Many ventured that the Ark was a condenser, a nuclear weapon or an electrified safe. In 1948 the physicist Maurice Denis-Papin affirmed that the Ark was an electrical capacitor «capable of producing powerful discharges of up to 700 volts». Later Erich von Däniken, in his book «Memories of the Future» (1968), said that this «was a kind of radio transmitter between Yahweh and Moses.» And the famous Spanish writer J.J. Benitez affirmed that it was «a deadly weapon» in the service of the people of God. Current scientists define it as a kind of technological object, since it combined a conductive material such as gold with another insulation such as wood. The gold plates inside and outside, separated by acacia wood, transformed it into something very similar to an electric capacitor, formed by a pair of conductive surfaces separated by a dielectric material.
Where is the Ark?
The search for the Ark, as well as the Holy Grail, has been the object of many people’s desire for centuries. The German historian Otto Rahn, for example, goes no further, as it is told in the famous films of the saga of Indiana Jones, affirms that the Nazis pursued both relics with dedication.
There are many theories to explain the present whereabouts of the Ark. Some hold that the Babylonians, commanded by King Nebuchadnezzar II, after conquering Jerusalem in 586 BC, seized the Ark, destroyed it, and melted its gold. Others argue that during this invasion, it was hidden by temple priests. According to the book of the Maccabees, the prophet Jeremiah took the Ark and hid it in Mount Nebo («The prophet after a revelation sent the tent and the Ark to be carried away, and went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up to And when Jeremiah came in, he found a cave-dwelling, and there he put the tent, the ark, and the altar of incense, and covered the entrance: some of his companions returned to mark the way, but they could not find him.
As soon as Jeremiah knew this, he rebuked them by saying, «This place will remain unknown until God reunites his people and is propitious to him. The Lord will then show all this; And the glory of the Lord and the cloud shall appear, as it was in the time of Moses «).
The British newspaper The Telegraph, in a report on the Ark, endorsed this theory by interviewing Rabbi Chaim Richman, who claimed that the holy relic was located one kilometer from the current Temple of Jerusalem, «hidden in underground chambers, dug in the days Of Solomon. » Richman added that «Jews have an unbroken chain of information recorded and transmitted from generation to generation, indicating their exact position. We know where the Ark has been for thousands of years. We could dig to get it out, but this area is controlled by the Muslims. »
However, other historians and scholars are inclined to believe that the Ark would be in Ethiopia, jealously guarded in the cathedral of Tsion Maryam, in Axum, where it would have been guarded for centuries by Orthodox monks of the city. The Ark would have been taken from Jerusalem by King Solomon’s son Emperor Menelik I, who took her first to the island of Elefantina near the Nile River and then to a kind of tabernacle on the island of Tana Cherkos (Tana Kirkos), located on Lake Tana, where it remained for 800 years. Later, Ezana king of Ethiopia decided to transfer the Ark of the Alliance to Axum, considered like the Jerusalem of Ethiopia. There is a variety of archaeological evidence to support this theory, such as the existence of relics belonging to the Jewish people of the time of the Ark, who belonged to the temple of Jerusalem. In addition, strangely the Ark is the focal point of worship and Christian worship in Ethiopia: each of the 20,000 temples in Ethiopia contains a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
In 1989 British journalist Graham Hancock endorsed this theory by claiming that the legendary relic was not lost but safe in an Ethiopian church, where it had been secretly moved over a thousand years ago (circa 1650 BC). The Orthodox patriarch of Ethiopia, Abuna Paulos, in fact, confessed a few years ago that he had «seen» the Ark of the Covenant and that its state of conservation was «good.»
For the time being, the most orthodox affirm that the whereabouts of this mythical and fabulous sacred chest, a visible sign of the presence and protection of God, as the prophet Jeremiah said, will remain «unknown until God reunites his people And be propitious »
It seems to be that the Ark is in Ethiopia and that humanity is about to attend his Revelation: The Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Ethiopia, Abuna Paulos, has just pronounced about the relic and has assured in a press conference, At the Hotel Aldrovandi in Rome, who «has seen» the Ark of the Covenant and its state of conservation is «good». Paulos believes that the moment of truth has come, he affirms that he can not say where the Ark is, but rather ensure that he has seen it and that it is as described in the Bible.
According to the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is guarded in the cathedral of Tsion Maryam in the kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia after it was stolen from Jerusalem by the son of King Solomon-the Emperor Menelik I-, and taken to Axum, considered as the Jerusalem of Ethiopia. In Axum has been guarded for centuries and until today, by Orthodox monks of the city …
Paulos stressed that he has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Ethiopia and the holy city of Axum where an important museum will be built, although it remains to be decided whether it will be the place to keep the true Ark of the Covenant.
Will the Pope be the next to see the Ark, before the world attends his revelation?
And one last question; If indeed the relic has been all this time in Ethiopia,
How the world has not noticed before? The answer will have to be found once more in the legend.
How the Ark comes from Israel to Ethiopia
3000 years ago the Ark was brought to Jerusalem and worshiped as the most sacred of sacred objects, for the people of that time, the Ark meant the personification of the presence of God on Earth. However, at some point in that remote past, the Ark disappeared, this gave rise to a quest that has inspired believers and fortune hunters for millennia.
The Bible tells us that in the time of Solomon and Saba, Menelik I was born, his offspring son and first king of Ethiopia.
Years later Menelik was sent to his father’s house in Jerusalem to receive education, despite Solomon’s efforts to stay, Menelik returned to Ethiopia with the first son of the high priest. Tradition says that they took the Ark with them and placed it in a temple on Elephantine Island near the Nile River, where it remained for 800 years.
But what happened after those 800 years? Ethiopia was converted to Christianity and the Christian king arrived with his armies, took the Ark to Axum and placed it in the Church of Santa Maria de Sion where it has been since.
Curiously, the Ark is the focal point of worship and Christian worship in Ethiopia, each of the 20,000 churches in Ethiopia contains a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
The mystery will be revealed
The countdown has begun, so that the mystery of the sacred Ark of the Covenant may finally be revealed. In more than 200 references the Old Testament describes in detail the amazing legendary powers of the Ark, capable, among others, of releasing bursts of divine light and whose rays can incinerate anyone.
According to Jewish tradition, there are tables of the Law, ie the Ten Commandments and among its materials we can find acacia wood. Built by Moses, it is decorated with gold on the outside and was in the possession of the Jewish people long ago: it accompanied them in their vicissitudes, in their battles and their struggles against the Philistines and remained in various places until King David thought to place it in The fortress in Jerusalem.
But it was Solomon, David’s son and successor, who finally set the Ark in the Temple of Jerusalem, which he himself had built. This history intertwines with other historical and religious events. In fact, the Ark disappeared in 586 BC, with the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
During the reign of Solomon, Jerusalem became the center of political and religious life in the holy land. In the heart of Jerusalem was erected the temple built by Solomon to cover the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark remained in the temple until something after 900 BC. When, mysteriously, it disappeared.
Since then no great mention of it was made in the Bible. Inexplicably, the Ark disappeared and during more than 2000 years of search and exploration tens of legends and theories have been woven around the Lost Ark.
The search for the Ark by the Templars
Almost 1000 years ago, the Christian crusades regained control of Jerusalem from the hands of the Muslims who had ruled the city since the seventh century. In 1119 AD, a group of nine French nobles, calling themselves the poor knights of Christ and the temple of Solomon, arrived in Jerusalem. They settled on the top of the hill, where once stood the temple of Solomon.
The knights maintained that their mission on holy ground was to keep the road to Jerusalem free from bandits.
However, they never left the temple mountain and, instead, began to dig. Working from outside the mosque they began to dig the natural cave that lay beneath the sacred stone. The cave, according to Islamic tradition, was known as the «well of souls», a passage that led to the bowels of the earth and led to a treasure guarded by demons;
In fact, what the knights sought was the Ark of the Covenant. But they never found her.
In more recent times, Israeli archaeologists discovered the tunnel exit that the mountain-temple knights dug. The tunnel extends below the mountain, but due to restrictions imposed by the Muslim government, has never been explored.
In 1989 a British journalist made a statement that shook the world. The legendary Lost Ark was not actually lost but safe, hidden in a church in Ethiopia where it had been secretly moved over 1000 years ago.
Now we have news of the existence of the Ark in Ethiopia.
If the authenticity of the relic is confirmed, we can expect any kind of response from the different religious communities that have had a relationship with the sacred Ark in the past. Perhaps the pros and cons of telling the truth should be valued, it may be preferable that the mystery remain around the Ark of the Covenant and its enigmas remain unveiled.