The Search For The Ark of the Covenant

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Where is it now?

Some have claimed to have possession or discovered the Ark.

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 scepticism 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. [3]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 Temple Mount in Jerusalem once stood. Ron Wyatt claimed he felt it unwise to fully excavate the Ark for a variety of reasons, including bloody ownership disputes and divine inspiration.

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.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Axum, Ethiopia claims to still possess the Ark of the Covenant. Local tradition maintains that it was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I following a visit to his father King Solomon. Although it was once paraded before the town once each year, it 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.

Dr Bernard Leeman, in his 2005 book 'Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship' (Queensland Academic Press) accepts the Ethiopian traditions. He argues that the Ge'ez narrative of the Sheba-Menelik Cycle of the Kebra Nagast supports the case that ancient Judah was in west Arabia not Palestine and that Menelik's escape with the Ark follows landmarks and place names in Asir,Yemen, and Eritrea. Secondly Leeman draws attention to the Ark culture of Arabia (detailed in Munro-Hay and Grierson's works), the 'Hebrewisms' in the Ancient West Arabian language, the word for Ark in Ge'ez (which is taken from pre-Babylonian captivity Hebrew), inscriptions in Sabaean near Mekele that speak of Hebrew resident there ca. 800 BCE ruled by three queens of Sheba, and the continued presence in the region of a Hebraic remnant group, the Ibro (or Yibir) of northern Somalia.

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 Tutankhamen (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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_of_the_Covenant

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