Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments as well as other sacred Israelite objects. According to the Biblical account, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses' prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). God communicated with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Ex. 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses, and a later one made by Bezalel (Hertz 1936)

The Biblical account relates that during the trip of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests ~2,000 cubits (Numbers 35:5; Joshua 4:5) in advance of the people and their army or host (Num. 4:5-6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). When the Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, the river was separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15-16; 4:7-18). The Ark was born in a seven day procession around the wall of Jericho by three priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns, the city taken with a shout (Josh. 6:4-20). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in tachash skins (the identity of this animal is uncertain), and a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.

Terminology

The Hebrew word aron is used in the Bible to designate any type of ark, chest or coffer, for any purpose (Genesis 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). The Ark of the Covenant is distinguished from all others by such titles as "Ark of God" (1 Samuel 3:3), "Ark of the Covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Hebrews 9:4), "Ark of the Testimony" (Ex. 25:22).

The Ark is referred to by several names in the Bible, among them the Ark of the Testimony, the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the Earth, the Holy Ark and the Ark of thy God's strength

Description

The Bible describes the Ark as made of acacia or shittah-tree wood. It was a cubit and a half broad and high, and two and a half cubits long (about 130 cm x 78 cm x 78 cm or 4.29 x 2.57 x 2.57 feet, for Egyptian royal cubit was most likely used). The Ark was covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid, the mercy seat (Hebrew: כפורת, Kaporet), was surrounded with a rim of gold.

On each of the two sides were two gold rings, wherein were placed two wooden poles (with a decorative sheathing of gold), to allow the Ark to be carried (Num. 7:9; 10:21; 4:5,19, 20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the Ark, at the two extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward one another (Leviticus 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over the top of the Ark formed the throne of God, while the Ark itself was his footstool (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The Ark was placed in the "Holy of Holies," so that one end of the carrying poles touched the veil separating the two compartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8).

Contents

According to the Bible, the two tablets of stone constituting the "testimony" or evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deuteronomy 31:26) (i.e. The Ten Commandments) were kept within the Ark itself. A golden jar containing some of the manna from the Israelites' trek in the wilderness, and the rod of Aaron that budded, were added to the contents of the Ark (Ex. 16:32-34; Heb. 9:4), but apparently were later removed at some point prior to the building of Solomon's temple, as the Tanakh states in I Kings 8:9 that there "was nothing in the Ark save the two tables of stone." While Heb. 9:4 states these items were placed "inside" the Ark, Ex. 16:33-34 and Num. 17:10 use the expression "before" the Ark; some see a contradiction here, as the correct meaning of these phrases is open to interpretation. A Rabbinic tradition states that Moses also put the broken fragments of the first tablets of the Law into the Ark (Hertz 1936).

Sanctity and consecration

Even Aaron, brother of Moses and the High Priest, was forbidden to enter the place of the Ark, except once per year on a designated day, when he was to perform certain ceremonies there (Lev. 16). Moses was directed to consecrate the Ark, when completed, with the oil of holy ointment (Ex. 30:23-26); he was also directed to have the Ark made by Bezalel, son of Uri of the tribe of Judah, and by Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan (Ex. 31:2-7). These instructions Moses carried out, calling upon every "wisehearted" one among the people to assist in the work (Ex. 35:10-12). Bezaleel the artist made the Ark (Ex. 37:1); and Moses approved the work, put the testimony in the Ark, and installed it.

According to the Haggadah written in the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods (circa 200-500 AD), after installment in the second Temple, the Ark and the operation of the Temple was supervised by the angel Metatron. There are numerous possible etymologies for the name Metatron, one being from two Greek words μετὰ θρóνος after and throne. There are no references to Metatron in the Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament), the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) or any Islamic source.

In Deut. 10:1-5, a different account of the making of the Ark is given. Moses is made to say that he constructed the Ark before going upon Mount Sinai to receive the second set of tablets. The charge of carrying the Ark and the rest of the holy implements was given to the family of Kohath (of the tribe of Levi). They, though, were not to touch any of the holy things that were still uncovered by Aaron (Num. 4:2-15).

Other references to the Ark in Scripture

The Ark of the Covenant is mentioned in both the Bible and the Qur'an.

In the Bible

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The Ark carried into the Temple


The only mention of the Ark in the books of the prophets is the reference to it by Jeremiah, who, speaking in the days of Josiah (Jer. 3:16), prophesies a future time when the Ark will no longer be used. In the Psalms, the Ark is twice referred to. In Ps. 78:61 its capture by the Philistines is spoken of, and the Ark is called "the strength and glory of God"; and in Ps. 132:8, it is spoken of as "You and the ark of Your strength." The Ark is also mentioned in several passages in Exodus and 1 Samuel, including Exodus 25:10-22 and 1 Samuel 4:3-22 and 5:7-8.

The Ark is mentioned in one passage in the deuterocanonical 2 Maccabees 2:4-10, which contains a reference to a document saying that the prophet Jeremiah, "being warned of God," took the Ark, and the tabernacle, and the altar of incense, and buried them in a cave on Mount Nebo (Deut. 34:1), informing those of his followers who wished to find the place that it should remain unknown "until the time that God should gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy." Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained "the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant." Finally, in the Book of Revelation the Ark is described as being in the 'temple' of God in heaven (Rev. 11:19). The Ark is last seen in God's 'temple' just before a woman gives birth to the man child (Rev. 12:1-2), both stalked by a dragon and his angels cast to earth (Rev. 12:3-17).

In the Qur'an

There is a brief mention of the Ark of the Covenant in Islamic literature. This mention is in the middle of the narrative of the choice of Saul to be king. The Qur'an states:
And (further) their Prophet said to them: "A Sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the Covenant, with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord, and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, carried by angels. In this is a Symbol for you if ye indeed have faith."


Various historical Islamic scholars have stated that the Ark may have held a chrysolite or ruby figure, with the head and tail of a she-cat and with two wings. Al-Tha'alibi, in "Qisas al-Anbiya" (The Stories of the Prophets), give an earlier and later history of the Ark.

According to most Muslim scholars, the Ark of the Covenant has a religious basis in Islam, and Islam gives it special significance. Muslims believe that it will be found by Mahdi near the end of times in the city of Antakya. These Islamic scholars believe inside there will be relics left by the people of Moses and the people of Aaron. There might be the sceptres of Moses, Aaron's rod, Plates of the Torah, and Aaron's turban.

History

Mobile vanguard

In the march from Sinai, and at the crossing of the Jordan river, the Ark preceded the people, and was the signal for their advance (Num. 10:33; Josh. 3:3, 6). The Ark of the Covenant burned the thorns and other obstructions in the wilderness roads. According to tradition, sparks from between the two cherubim killed serpents and scorpions. (I and II Chronicles)[1] During the crossing of the Jordan, the river grew dry as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched its waters; and remained so until the priests -- with the Ark -- left the river, after the people had passed over (Josh. 3:15-17; 4:10, 11, 18). As memorials, twelve stones were taken from the Jordan at the place where the priests had stood (Josh. 4:1-9).

The Ark was carried into battle, such as in the Midian war (Num. 31). In the capture of Jericho the Ark was carried round the city once a day for six days, preceded by the armed men and seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns (Josh. 6:4-15). On the seventh day the seven priests sounding the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Ark compassed the city seven times and with a great shout, Jericho's wall fell down flat and the people took the city (Josh. 6:16-20). After the defeat at Ai, Joshua lamented before the Ark (Josh. 7:6-9). When Joshua read the Law to the people between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, they stood on each side of the Ark. The Ark was again set up by Joshua at Shiloh; but when the Israelites fought against Benjamin at Gibeah, they had the Ark with them, and consulted it after their defeat.

Captured by the Philistines

The Ark is next spoken of as being in the tabernacle at Shiloh during Samuel's apprenticeship (1 Sam. 3:3). After the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, the Ark remained in the tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, then was removed to Shiloh until the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jeremiah 7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle, so as to secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews; and it was taken by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8) because of the events said to have transpired. After their first defeat at Eben-ezer, the Israelites had the Ark brought from Shiloh, and welcomed its coming with great rejoicing.

In the second battle, the Israelites were again defeated, and the Philistines captured the Ark (1 Sam. 4:3-5, 10, 11). The news of its capture was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger "with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head." The old priest, Eli, fell dead when he heard it; and his daughter-in-law, bearing a son at the time the news of the capture of the Ark was received, named him Ichabod—explained as "Where is glory?" in reference to the loss of the Ark (1 Sam. 4:12-22).

The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, and at each place misfortune resulted to them (1 Sam. 5:1-6). At Ashdod it was placed in the temple of Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it; and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with boils; a plague of mice was sent over the land (1 Sam. 6:5). The affliction of boils was also visited upon the people of Gath and of Ekron, whither the Ark was successively removed (1 Sam. 5:8-12).

After the Ark had been among them seven months, the Philistines, on the advice of their diviners, returned it to the Israelites, accompanying its return with an offering consisting of golden images of the boils and mice wherewith they had been afflicted. The Ark was set in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and the Beth-shemites offered sacrifices and burnt offerings (1 Sam. 6:1-15). Out of curiosity the men of Beth-shemesh gazed at the Ark; and as a punishment, seventy of them (fifty thousand seventy in some ms.) were smitten by the Lord (1 Sam. 6:19). The Bethshemites sent to Kirjath-jearim, or Baal-Judah, to have the Ark removed (1 Sam. 6:21); and it was taken to the house of Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified to keep it. Kirjath-jearim was the abode of the Ark for twenty years. Under Saul, the Ark was with the army before he first met the Philistines, but the king was too impatient to consult it before engaging in battle. In 1 Chronicles 13:3 it is stated that the people were not accustomed to consult the Ark in the days of Saul.

In the days of King David

At the very beginning of his reign, David removed the Ark from Kirjath-jearim amid great rejoicing. On the way to Zion, Uzzah, one of the drivers of the cart whereon the Ark was carried, put out his hand to steady the Ark, and was smitten by the Lord for touching it. David, in fear, carried the Ark aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, instead of carrying it on to Zion, and here it stayed three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11; 1 Chron. 13:1-13).

On hearing that the Lord had blessed Obed-edom because of the presence of the Ark in his house, David had the Ark brought to Zion by the Levites, while he himself, "girded with a linen ephod," "danced before the Lord with all his might" — a performance that caused him to be despised and scornfully rebuked by Saul's daughter Michal (2 Sam. 6:12-16, 20-22; 1 Chron. 15). This unjustified derision on her part resulted in the permanent loss of her fertility. In Zion, David put the Ark in the tabernacle he had prepared for it, offered sacrifices, distributed food, and blessed the people and his own household (2 Sam. 6:17-20; 1 Chron. 16:1-3; 2 Chron. 1:4).

Levites were appointed to minister before the Ark (1 Chron. 16:4). David's plan of building a temple for the Ark was stopped at the advice of God (2 Sam. 7:1-17; 1 Chron. 17:1-15; 28:2, 3). The Ark was with the army during the siege of Rabbah (2 Sam. 11:11); and when David fled from Jerusalem at the time of Absalom's conspiracy, the Ark was carried along with him until he ordered Zadok the priest to return it to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:24-29).

In Solomon's temple

When Abiathar was dismissed from the priesthood by Solomon for having taken part in Adonijah's conspiracy against David, his life was spared because he had formerly borne the Ark (1 Kings 2:26). It was afterwards placed by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings 8:6-9). Solomon worshiped before the Ark after his dream in which the Lord promised him wisdom (1 Kings 3:15). In Solomon's Temple, a Holy of Holies was prepared to receive the Ark (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark -- containing nothing but the two Mosaic tables of stone -- was placed therein. When the priests emerged from the holy place after placing the Ark there, the Temple was filled with a cloud, "for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord" (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron. 5:13, 14).

When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, he caused her to dwell in a house outside Zion, as Zion was consecrated because of its containing the Ark (2 Chron. 8:11). King Josiah had the Ark put into the Temple (2 Chron. 35:3), whence it appears to have again been removed by one of his successors.

The Babylonians and afterwards

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Believed to be the place where the Ark of the Covenant sat before King Solomon's Temple was destroyed. A dome was later built by the Arabs who now refer to it as the Dome of Spirits.


When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and plundered the temple, the Ark entered the domain of legend. Many historians suppose that the ark was probably taken away by Nebuchadnezzar and destroyed. The absence of the ark from the Second Temple was acknowledged. The Ark is finally re-established to the Temple in vision: "Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the Ark of his Covenant" (Rev. 11:19 NIV).

Fate of the Ark

In contrast to the view of many historians (who suppose that the Ark was taken away and destroyed), variant traditions about the ultimate fate of the Ark include the intentional concealing of the Ark under the Temple Mount; the removal of the Ark from Jerusalem in advance of the Babylonians (this variant usually ends up with the Ark in Ethiopia); the removal of the Ark by the Ethiopian prince Menelik I (purported son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba); removal by Jewish priests during the reign of Manasseh of Judah, possibly taken to the Jewish Temple at Elephantine in Egypt; the miraculous removal of the Ark by divine intervention (Cf. 2 Chronicles); and even the destruction of the original ornate Ark under King Josiah's reforms (when it may have been seen as violating the commandment against graven images) and replacement with a simple wooden box, easily lost when the Temple fell.

Concealment

Some believe that the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle of the Lord was hidden. This is referenced by five separate sources (except from the previous mentioned in 2 Maccabees):
  1. the Mishnayot of Rabbi Hertz
  2. the Marble Tablets of Beirut
  3. the Copper Scroll (though the Ark is not mentioned by name)
  4. the ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue sacred texts
  5. the deutero-canonical Book of 2 Esdras reports that the Prophet Jeremiah concealed the Ark on Mt. Nebo

Mishnayot

The Mishnayot introduction included ancient records that Rabbi Hertz called the "Mishnayot". Hertz used the term "Mishnayot", since the text of the Mishnayot is missing from the Mishnah (Mishna), which is the first section of the Talmud, a collection of ancient Rabbinic writings including also the Gemara, "the summary", and containing the Jewish religious law.[2]

The "missing" Mishnaic text in the Mishnayot is called the Massakhet Keilim, written in twelve chapters. Each chapter of the Mishnayot describes vessels which were hidden under the direction of Jeremiah the Prophet by five holy men (Shimor HaLevi, Chizkiah, Tzidkiyahu, Haggai the Prophet and Zechariah the Prophet), seven years prior to the destruction of Solomon's First Temple, because the dangers of Babylonian conquest were imminent. The Mishnayot describing this hiding was then written in Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.

The first chapter of the Mishnayot describes the vessels that were hidden - including the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle of the Lord, i.e. the Mishkan, the Tablets of Moses, the altar (with cherubim) for the daily and seasonal sacrifices (the ushebtis), the Menorah (candelabra), the Qalal (copper urn) containing the Ashes of the Red Heifer (ashes from a red cow sacrificed under Moses, necessary for ritual purification of the priests), and numerous vessels of the Kohanim (priests).

The second chapter of the Mishnayot states that a list of these treasures was inscribed upon a copper tablet. This is the Copper Scroll found at Qumran.

Marble tablets of Beirut

In 1952 two large marble tablets were found in the basement of a museum in Beirut, stating they were the words of Shimor HaLevi, the servant of HaShem, and the writing on the tablets is the entire missing text of "Massakhet Keilim" (Mishnayot) including reference to the Copper Scroll.

Copper scroll

The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered in 1947, and the famed Copper Scroll - made of 99% copper and 1% tin - was found at Qumran in 1952. The Copper Scroll is an inventory - written in Hebrew - of treasures, thought by some to be from Solomon's First Temple, hidden before the destruction of that temple by the Babylonians and treasures which have not been seen since.

The Copper Scroll states that a silver [or alabaster?] chest, the vestments of the Cohen Gadol (Hebrew High Priest), gold and silver in great quantities, the Tabernacle of the Lord (perhaps the Mishkan) and many treasures were hidden in a desolate valley - under a hill - on its east side, forty stones deep. The Mishkan was a "portable" Temple for the Ark of the Covenant. The writings in the Copper Scroll were confirmed 40 years later in the 1990s through an ancient text found in the introduction to Emeq HaMelekh ("Valley of the King(s)") -- a book published in 1648 in Amsterdam, Holland, by Rabbi Naftali Hertz Ben Ya’acov Elchanon (Rabbi Hertz).

Ben Ezra synagogue texts

Work in the 1990s showed that in 1896, almost one hundred years previous, Solomon Schechter at Cambridge University in England had acquired 100,000 pages of ancient Hebrew texts from the Genizah (repository for aged sacred Jewish texts) of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt. A copy of the "Tosefta" (supplement to the Mishnah) was found in these texts, included among the text on Keilim (vessels). This "Tosefta" is the same text as cited by Rabbi Hertz as his source for the Mishnayot.

Rumoured present locations

Some have claimed to have discovered or have possession of the Ark.

Africa

Some sources suggest that during the reign of King Manasseh (2 Chron 33) the Ark was smuggled from the temple by way of the Well of Souls and taken to Egypt, eventually ending up in Ethiopia. There are some carvings on the Cathedral of Chartres that may refer to this. Another theory was dramatized by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman and Lawrence Kasdan in their story and screenplay for the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie theorized that the ark was taken when Pharaoh Sheshonk (biblical Shishak) warred with the Israelites and took the ark to the Egyptian City of Tanis.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church

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The Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion allegedly houses the original Ark of the Covenant.


The Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Axum, Ethiopia is the only one in the world which still claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant. According to the Kebra Nagast, after Menelik I had come to Jerusalem to visit his father, King Solomon, his father had given him a copy of the Ark, and had commanded the first-born sons of the elders of his kingdom to travel back to Ethiopia to settle there. However, these Israelites did not want to live away from the presence of the Ark, so they switched the copy with the original and smuggled the Ark out of the country; Menelik only learned that the original was with his group during the journey home. Solomon lost not only the Ark to his son by the Queen of Sheba but the divine favor that went with it.[3]

Although it was once paraded before the town once each year, the object is now kept under constant guard in a "treasury" near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, and only the head priest of the church is allowed to view it. Most Western historians are skeptical of this claim.

Valley of Kings

Andis Kaulins claims that the hiding place of the ark, said specifically by ancient sources (such as the Mishnayot), to be
"a desolate valley under a hill - on its east side, forty stones deep".
Today, it is believed by some that this refers to the Tomb of Tutankhamun (east side of the Valley of Kings, ca. forty stones deep). Some believe that what was found there are the described treasures, including the Mishkan and the Ark of the Covenant.[4]

Middle East

In 1989, the late Ron Wyatt claimed to have broken into a chamber while digging underground beneath Mount Moriah, also known as The Temple Mount. He claimed to have seen the ark and taken photographs. All photos came out blurry (leading to skepticism of the claim). According to Wyatt the excavations were closed off (because of private property concerns) and, to the extent of knowledge, no one has seen the ark since. Ron Wyatt was widely seen in the Biblical archaeology community as an attention seeker, often announcing he had found Biblically important objects with little or no hard evidence to back up his claims.

Vendyl Jones claimed to have found the entrance to the chamber in the cave of the Column - Qumran. Here, he stated, is where the Ark was hidden prior to the destruction of the First Temple. Arutz Sheva quoted Jones stating he would reveal the ark on Tisha B'Av (August 14, 2005), the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.[5] However, this did not occur. On Jones' website he states that he was misquoted and actually said it would be appropriate if he discovered the ark on Tisha B'Av. Jones is waiting for funding to explore the cave.

Modern excavations near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have found tunnels, but digging beneath the Temple Mount is somewhat restricted. One of the most important Islamic shrines, the Dome of the Rock, sits in the location where the First Temple of Solomon once stood. Archeologist Michael Rood states that King Solomon married into the Egyptian Royal Family so as to gain the Egyptians' famed knowledge of sand hydraulic technology. King Solomon reportedly, when building the temple, put the Ark of the Covenant on a platform which could be lowered down into a tunnel system if the Temple were ever overrun. in 586 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar's troops destroyed the temple and carried off the temple treasures but did not find the Ark of the Covenant which had been lowered into the cave system below and secreted away by Levite priests.

England

In 2003, historical author Graham Phillips traced the route of the Ark through research using Biblical texts as being taken to Mount Sinai in the Valley of Edom by the Maccabees, along with other religious teasures. It remained here until the 1180's, when Ralph de Sudeley, the leader of the Templars who apparently found the Maccabean treasure at Jebel al-Madhbah, returned home to his estate at Herdewyke in the county of Warwickshire in central England, taking the treasure with him[6].

Ireland

During the turn of the 20th century the Hill of Tara was excavated by British Israelites who thought that the Irish were part of the Lost Tribes of Israel and the hill somehow contained the Ark of the Covenant. Tara and the Ark of the Covenant: A Search for the Ark of the Covenant by British Israelites on the Hill of Tara, 1899-1902, by Mairead Carew (2004). This book describes the story of the British-Israelite excavations on Tara and places them in their archaeological, historical, cultural and political context.

Mary as Ark of the New Covenant

In Catholic and Orthodox theology, the Ark of the Covenant is seen as the Old Covenant type or foreshadowing of the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New Covenant. Pope Pius XII explained the connection in his apostolic constitution "Munificentissimus Deus":

"Just as the New Covenant surpasses the Old, so the new Ark of the Covenant (Our Lady) is superior to the old. The old Ark contained the word of God inscribed on stone tablets, but the new Ark contained the Incarnate Word of God. The old Ark held the Law that could not justify, but the new Ark held Jesus Christ Who Himself is the eternal New Covenant with God; He Who justifies and saves."

There are several direct parallels between between the Old Testament accounts of the Ark and the account of Mary in the Gospel of Luke:
  • The words of Ex. 40:34-38, referring to the cloud of the Lord's presence "covering" the tent of the Ark are echoed in Gabriel's words to Mary in Luke 1:35: "...the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow."
  • David greets the Ark in fearful awe with the words "How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?" (2 Sam.6:9); Elizabeth greets Mary with the words, "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
  • In 2 Samuel 6:10-12 the ark is sent to the hill country of Judea and stays at the household of Obededom for three months; similary, Mary journeys to Elizabeth's house and stays there three months.
  • Just as David danced in the presence of the Ark (2 Sam. 6:14), the babe in Elizabeth's womb (John the Baptist) dances in the presence of God's Shekhinah in Mary's womb (Luke 1:41).
Additionally, in Revelation, St. John, immediately after seeing the Ark in heaven, sees the woman "clothed with the sun" who bears the Child who will rule the world (Revelation 11:19-12:5).

This teaching is found in the writings of the Fathers of the Church. A sermon attributed to St. Athanasius addresses the Blessed Virgin thus: "O Ark of the new covenant, clad on all sides with purity in place of gold; the one in whom is found the golden vase with its true manna, that is the flesh in which lies the God-head." St. Gregory Thaumaturgus wrote: "Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, ‘Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary.’ For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary" (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary). http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510fea5.asp

In the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the titles by which Mary is addressed is "Ark of the Covenant".

Media references

Television and film

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Indiana and Sallah lift up the Ark of the Covenant
  • The Ark of the Covenant was the focus of the 1981 adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The plot suggests that Adolf Hitler, deeply interested in supernatural power and the occult, wants to acquire the Ark in order to rule the world. The Ark's location in the movie is Tanis, Egypt. Intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones opposes the Nazis and succeeds in keeping it from them. The Ark is shown to be extremely powerful and dangerous to those who do not understand it. It is last seen being boxed up and stored in a vast U.S. government warehouse, presumably never to be seen again. The crate in which the Ark is placed at the end of the movie has the serial number 9906753. A very similar serial number (9906573) also appears on a mysterious crate in the first official Teaser poster to the fourth Indiana Jones film, leading to fan speculation that the Ark will be showcased once again. In the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a picture of the Ark is shown on the wall of a tomb from the First Crusade.
  • The Ark is "seen again" (after the events of Raiders) in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. It is in the giant warehouse where Wayne Szalinski's (Rick Moranis) shrink ray is held. It is seen in its crate when he finds his shrink ray.
  • In the TNT movie a young man named Flynn Carsen becomes the new Librarian and discovers that many treasures including the Ark are hidden in a secret chamber miles below the surface of the earth.
  • A first season episode of the television series uses the Ark as a plot device. In "The Royal Couple of Thieves", Xena recruits the King Of Thieves to assist her in stealing the Ark from a profiteering warlord. Xena returns it to its rightful people.

Games

  • In the video game Tomb Raider series, Lara Croft discovers the Ark in an unseen adventure.
  • In the video game Bloodrayne, it is inside a wooden crate inside a Nazi stronghold.
  • In the computer game Medieval 2, the Ark is an 'ancillary' that can be acquired by completing a Crusade mission requested by the Pope.
  • In the computer game Evil Genius, the Ark is a piece of loot that can be stolen in an optional mission, though it cannot be used or opened.
  • In the computer game Spider-Man, in the 'What If?' mode, the Ark is in one of the warehouse crates.
  • In the computer game (renamed Secrets of the Ark in North America) the Ark is featured prominently.
  • The time-travel card game Chrononauts includes a card called "Lost Ark of the Covenant" which players can symbolically acquire from the year 587 BC.
  • In the computer game Riddle Of The Sphinx the Ark is in the sphinx in a hidden chamber the player is trying to get to. When opened, the credits roll.
  • In the Halo series, "The Ark" is a weapon control station being sought out by the alien races that make up "The Covenant" in their efforts of cleansing the universe of impure life. Thus the Ark of the Covenant is a play on words in the series.

See also

1050s BC

Arcanum

Mystery: Ancient astronaut theory, Baghdad Battery

Ethiopia: Axum, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Hebrews: Most Holy Place, Solomon's Temple, Sanctuary, Shittah-tree, Cherub, History of ancient Israel and Judah, Tabernacle, Jewish symbolism, Book of Judges, Books of Chronicles, Exodus, Idolatry.

Middle Eastern: Arab, Ashdod, Israel, Philistines

"Manna": Nehushtan, Shittah-tree, Ley line

Rastafari movement

People: Joshua, Samuel, Solomon, Menelik I, Theodulf

Other: Science and the Bible, Acacia, Foucault's Pendulum (book), Rennes-le-Château, Lost History, Mikoshi

Cinema: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Further reading

  • Carew, Mairead, Tara and the Ark of the Covenant: A Search for the Ark of the Covenant by British Israelites on the Hill of Tara, 1899-1902]. Royal Irish Academy, 2003. ISBN 0954385527
  • Fisher, Milton C., The Ark of the Covenant: Alive and Well in Ethiopia?. Bible and Spade 8/3, pp. 65-72, 1995.
  • Grierson, Roderick & Munro-Hay, Stuart, The Ark of the Covenant. Orion Books Ltd, 2000. ISBN 0-7538-1010-7
  • Hancock, Graham, The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Touchstone Books, 1993. ISBN 0-671-86541-2
  • Hertz, J.H., The Pentateuch and Haftoras. Deuteronomy. Oxford University Press, 1936.
  • Leeman, Bernard, Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship. Queensland Academic Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9758022-0-8
  • Ritmeyer, L., The Ark of the Covenant: Where it Stood in Solomon's Temple. Biblical Archaeology Review 22/1: 46-55, 70-73, 1996.

References

1. ^ "Ark of the Covenant". Jewish Encyclopedia.
2. ^ Mock, Robert, "The Hiding of the Ark".
3. ^ See Hancock, excerpt
4. ^ Kaulins, Andis, "Mishnayot".
5. ^ Robins, Gerard, "Vendyl Jones and the Ark of the Covenant". [Original: Jewish Herald Voice Newspaper, Houston, TX. May 2000.] (mirror site).
6. ^ Phillips, Graham (April 2005). The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant: The Discovery of the Treasure of Solomon. Bear & Company. ISBN 1591430399. 

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Writing system: Alefbet Ivri abjad 
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cherub (Heb. כרוב, pl. כרובים kruvim, lat. cherub[us], pl cherubi[m]) is a supernatural entity mentioned several times in the Torah, and in the Book of Revelation (a New Testament
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Heavenly host refers in the Bible to an 'army' ( Luk.2:13 ; Rev.19:19 ) of good angels in Heaven.

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River Jordan (Hebrew: נהר הירדן, nehar hayarden,
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Jericho
أريحا יְרִיחו?

Near central Jericho

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Tachash is an animal referred to in the Bible, the skin of which was used in the in the Tabernacle as the outer covering of the tent of the Tanancle and to wrap sacred objects used within the Tabernacle for transport.
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The Epistle to the Hebrews (abbr. Heb for citations) is one of the books in the New Testament. Though traditionally credited to the Apostle Paul, the letter is anonymous.
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Acacia
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About 1,300; see List of Acacia species

Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus in 1773.
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Shittah-tree[1] is Hebrew for acacia. Acacia albida, Acacia tortilis and Acacia iraqensis can be found growing wild in the Sinai desert and the Jordan valley.
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