Back one page.

Ark of the Covenant    By: Chester Cross PM Whitney 229 New Burlington IN

KING SOLOMONíS TEMPLE

To house the Ark of the Covenant

    What was the ark? It measured 45 x 27 x27 and was made of acacia wood and covered with gold inside and outside with two gold rings at each end in which to insert staves or rods made of acacia wood and covered with gold. These were used to carry the ark. The ark also had a mercy seat on top of it covered with pure gold and measured 45 x 27. Two cherubim were to be at each end of the mercy seat. Cherubim are heavenly creatures which are described in the Bible as having four faces, four wings and feet like a calfís foot. Their faces were of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. The cherubim at the two ends of the mercy seat were to be made of beaten gold. They were to stretch forth their wings over the mercy seat. Godís assurance to Moses was, "and there I will meet with thee and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat." A tabernacle was built in which to house the ark.

    Contents of the ark were the two tables of stone on which were written the ten commandments. It also contained an omer full of MANNA. Manna was the food provided by God for Moses and his followers as they wandered in the wilderness. It first came in the form of a dew and when it dried, it left a flake-like thing that had the taste of wafers made with honey. It also contained Aaronís rod.

    As most of us know, there were 12 tribes in Israel. Some of them became jealous as to whether Aaron was the only one who could serve as High Priest. A rod was taken from each tribe with the name of their fatherís house written on it. Aaronís name was placed upon the house of LEVI, and God ordered them to be placed in the tabernacle. God said, "...that manís rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom..." Aaronís rod blossomed, and from that time on all the High Priests came from the house of LEVI. God commanded very firmly that no one was to look upon the ark but the High Priest.

The ark was then placed in the tabernacle and covered in blue; and each time it was moved, it was the duty of the men from the house of Levi to dismantle it and erect it again. And move they did. The Bible says they wandered in the wilderness for a generation. Moses was not allowed to lead the people into Canaan (the promise land) because he had disobeyed God by bringing water from a rock when they came to the Jordan River. Joshua, who was the leader, now spoke to the Priests telling them to take up the ark and pass it before the people. After they were to carry it to the brink of the water and when the feet of the Priests carrying the ark reached the water, the water dried up and they were allowed to walk into the land of Canaan.

    It was some 300 years after the Israelites reached Canaan before it had a permanent home. Some of the ways the ark was used before it reached King Solomonís Temple were the conquering of Jericho. Instructions from God as to how they were to take the city featured the ark of the covenant, the priests, and the ramís horns. Seven priests with ramís horns were to precede the ark of the covenant, and the men of war following. They were to march around the city once each day for six days. During each of the six marches, there was to be vocal silence. On the seventh day, they were to encompass the city seven times, and when the people heard a "long blast with the ramís horn, ...all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat...!" With six hundred thousand fighting men in the column, there must have been a solid line of people around the wall!

    The ark was taken into many other battles, in a battle with the Philistines, Israel lost 4,000 men and the ark, but the ark brought so much misery that they returned it in a few months. The ark was kept in many places, at one time the men of Bethshemesh had looked upon the ark and God smote down 50,000 three score and 10.

    Israel had been ruled by judges until about 1020 BC., when Saul became the first king after Saul"s death, David became King. It was under Davidís rule that all the tribes of Israel were united, and their territories became greatly extended. At this time they were probably the most powerful nation in the world.

    David did not think it was right that the ark should be housed in a tent. He asked God for permission to build a temple in which to house the ark but was refused. God assured David that his son, Solomon, would build a temple. Before Davidís death, he left instructions on how to and where to build the Temple. Solomon became King in 961 BC. The temple was completed in 952 BC. The temple was a most magnificent structure, and it was unique among the greatest buildings of all time. King Solomon assembled all the elders, all the heads of the tribes, and the priests, and the Levites brought the ark from the city of David to be dedicated in a lavish ceremony with the sacrifice of untold number of sheep and oxen.

    All that was in the ark when it was placed in the temple were the two tablets of stone. There is no Biblical record of anything being taken from the ark. It is assumed that either the Bethshemehiter or the Philistines removed them.

    After Solomonís death, Israel slowly became less of a powerful nation. The temple fell into serious disrepair. An attempt was made to repair the temple in 624 BC. There is no mention of the ark. In 586 BC, all the vessels of the temple were removed to Babylon (the world power at this time) although in a list of the things taken there is no mention of the ark. After all things of value were removed, they burned the house of God (Temple) and completely destroyed Jerusalem. In 444 BC, the king of Persia, who was the world power at this time, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the second temple. No mention is made of the ark. This temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It was destroyed on the same date 484 years after the Babylonians had destroyed the first temple in 586 BC.

Where is the Ark?

    Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Underneath the Temple of the Mount.

Jewish rabbis claim to have seen the ark by using mirrors in a cave system. These rabbis are well respected but offer no proof of the ark's existence. The reason the ark has not been removed is because there is no temple in which to put it. This is one of the main reasons there is growing support to build a third temple.

    Ron Wyatt, Under the Site of the Crucifixion.

Many people are skeptical of Wyatt's claim, because he also claimed to have discovered Noah's ark, pieces of chariots that were used in crossing the Red Sea when God was leading Israel away from Egypt.

    Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant.

Hancock's theory seems to come from a legend that is recorded in the Kebra Nagast, an ancient literary work. According to this legend, Queen Sheba of Ethiopia visited Solomon in Jerusalem and together they had a son, Menelik. Sheba and Menelik returned to Ethiopia for about 20 years, and then Menelik went back to Jerusalem to meet his father. Despite the fact that Solomon wanted to make Menelik king, he became homesick and wished to return to Ethiopia. Solomon asked his councilors to send their first-born sons with Menelik, but the son of the high priest did not want to leave the ark and his position as future high priest. So King Solomon had a replica of the ark made for him to take on his journey. Without the king's knowledge, they were switched, and the real ark was taken to Ethiopia where it has been stored for thousands of years. Hancock met the high priest in Ethiopia. The guardian, however, is the only person allowed to see the ark.

    It appears that anyone who looks for the ark will eventually claim to have found it but will not be able to prove it. You will not find any best-selling books about anyone digging in caves for many years finding nothing. That type of book would never sell.

Conclusion

Although we are never told when He took His ark from the temple, we do know it had been gone for a very long time when Jesus, the Messiah, began His earthly ministry. On two occasions, Jesus cleansed the temple, "And said unto them, it is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Matthew 21:13). The ark of the covenant is not mentioned in scripture after the great Passover feast of King Josiah, who said on that occasion, after the temple had been repaired, "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 Jehovah your God, and His people Israel" (II Chronicles 35:3), except for a brief mention of it in Hebrews 9:4. During Josiah's reign, Jeremiah declared, "And it shall come to pass,...in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more. The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more" (3:16), but he is speaking of the final national restoration and blessing (Romans 11:26). Where is it? The Apostle John, in one of his Patmos visions, caught a glimpse of the ark. "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of the testament / covenant..." (Revelation 11:19). There is no reason to believe it is not still there.

Top of page

© 2000 Whitney 229. All Rights Reserved