The Ark Of The Covenant Essay, Research Paper
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT
BY B.J. SCHULTZ
The Ark of the Covenant is presently one of the most sought-after objects in the
world. It is probably the most powerful, influential, and mysterious objects in the
history of the world. There are hundreds of theories as to the whereabouts of the ark,
everything from the Temple Mount to aliens, Elvis, and Roswell New Mexico. But
where is it today? Has it already been discovered, or will it remain a mystery,
shrouded in conspiracy?
The Ark of the Covenant was constructed with acacia wood and 24 karat pure
gold. The ‘mercy seat’ was made completely of pure gold only, and the two cherubim
were made of the same peice of gold as the mercy seat. All the wood was overlayed
with gold. The cherubim’s wings were outstreched over the mercy seat to cover it.
The posts to carry it were made of acacia wood also and overlayed with gold. The ark
had rings on each corner which were separately cast and attached. It was two and a
half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide and one and a half cubits high. This is
about three feet nine inches long, two feet three inches wide, and two feet and three
The Ark of the Covenant was built at Mount Sinai by Bezalel ben Uri, which
means, “In the shadow of God, the son of my light”. He built the ark to the exact
specifications of God. The ark contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments,
a golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s staff, which had budded. It was used to carry
these objects and God himself said it was his dwelling place. The ark was also a
symbol of God’s power to the Israelites and a physical representation of His presence
and dwelling place. The Israelites carried the ark with them everywhere and to every
battleground because they knew God lived among them and would protect them. It
was also a symbol of his promise that they were his chosen people.
The ark played a significant role while the Israelites were wandering in the
desert. They built a tabernacle as God instructed them, and placed the Ark of the
Covenant in a separate room called the Holy of Holies. No one could enter the Holy
of Holies unless God called them to do so. After the ark was set there the glory of
God filled the tabernacle in the form of a cloud. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites
would travel, but if it didn’t lift they had to stay put until it did. At night the cloud was
filled with fire to guide them. God’s ark led them through the desert during Exodus.
After the exile the ark was taken with them to the promised land. All this time the
Levites were the only group of people who could move the tabernacle and the ark and
protect them. From then on the ark stayed with the Israelites.
In all, the ark travelled from Mount Sinai to Gilgal to Shiloh and to Jerusalem
where King Solomon began constructing a temple for it. It took him seven years to
finish it. The resting place of the ark, the Holy of Holies, was twenty cubits long, high
and wide, andf overlayed completely with pure gold. Solomon had also had two
cherubim carved, each ten cubits tall with five cubit long outstreched wings, made of
olive wood and overlayed with gold. These cherubim seem to match the description
of the cherubim on top of the mercy seat. They were placed in the Holy of Holies.
When the preists put the ark in the new temple, under the cherubim, the cloud of the
glory of the Lord filled the entire temple so the preists couldn’t even perform their
responsibilities. After Solomon’s death there were many evil kings, and during the
reign of these kings it is assumed that the preists hid the ark in a safe place. In 2
Chronicles 35:3 Josiah tells the Levite preists to put the ark back into the temple
Solomon built. That is also the last time the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned in the
Scriptures. Was it placed back in the temple? Who knows?
God had very specific instructions on how the ark was to be transported. Only
the Levite preists could carry it, and it was supposed to be carried by the posts only.
In one situation, the ark was being transported during the reign of David on a cart
pulled by oxen. When it starts to fall off a man walking beside the cart reaches out to
steady it and the fire of God consumes him when he touches it. I think God did this
because his ark and dwelling place was not being treated as he had instructed. He said
the ark could only be carried by the Levites and only by the poles. These poles could
never be removed from the rings they were originally placed in, which were on the
sides of the ark. Anyway, I think this man was struck down as a warning to obey
THEORY #1: AXUM, ETHIOPIA
This is one of the more popular theories out there. Graham Hancock, who
wrote “The Sign and the Seal”, believes that the ark is currently in a small church in
Axum, Ethiopia called The Church of Mary Zion. He tells us that the ark was simply
transported to the church in Ethiopia while Solomon was still king. It went from
Jerusalem to Elephantine Island in Egypt, to Lake Tama, to Axum where it has been
The reason the Ark of the Covenant left Solomons’ temple was Solomon and
Sheba’s son, Menelik. He stayed with Sheba in Ethiopia for about twenty years and
then went to Jerusalem to visit Solomon. He soon became homesick and wanted to
return to Ethiopia, but he didn’t want to leave the ark behind, so Solomon secretly had
a replica constructed which was switched with the original and taken to Ethiopia. The
real ark supposedly followed five hundred years later.
There seems to be some, if limited reason to support this theory, the first being
that every church in the country has a replica of the ark and it seems to be the focal
point of their religion. Also, The Church of Mary Zion where it is said to be is heavily
guarded by armed soldiers around the clock. There is a preist who guards the ark itself
and can never leave the church grounds. When he is dying he chooses another to g
guard it. This is the way they’ve been doing things for thousands of years. The
Ethiopian people worship the Ark of the Covenant exactly as it was originally
worshipped in Israel.
In conclusion, Graham Hancocks’ theory seems possible, but unfortunately there
isn’t very much physical evidence to support or confirm it.
THEORY #2: THE CRUCIFIXION SITE
In 1982 Ron Wyatt claims to have found the Ark of the Covenant under th
crucifixion site of Christ. In 1978 Wyatt and sons were at the Red Sea on an
archeological visit. Wyatt decided to take a break and see the sights of Jerusalem due
to a sunburn , and while visiting with the locals he suddenly exclaimed, “That’s
Jeremiah’s Grotto and the Ark of the Covenant is in there”, and pointed to his left. Ron
Wyatt strongly believes that God had put those words in his mouth, as he had not
intended to say them. He and his sons immediately began to excavate the site, which
was being used as a dump next to a large boulder. They found a crack where Wyatt
believes the cross was pounded into the ground and three grooves in the cliff face
where signs were supposedly placed above the cross. Later, during the winter, his sons
had to return to the US due to illness.
On January 6, 1982, Wyatt and a local boy who had helped dig through the
winter, found a crack which looked like it led to a cave. The boy went inside but soon
came out saying, “What is in there? I’m not going back in there!” When Wyatt himself
entered the cave he looked up to see what he thought to be the same crack as where the
cross met the ground. Inside the cave there were piles of old animal skins covering
what he presumed to be the alter of the First Temple. All over the crack overhead and
down the sides of the cave was a dark dried liquid which he thought could be Christ’s
blood. He also deducted that the ark must be under the alter. After he took all that in
he passed out for three quarters of an hour.
Wyatt later returned to the cave with equipment to drill through the debris and
caught a glimpse of the ark underneath. Ron Wyatt’s theory has no archeological
evidenceat all though, and this is why a lot of people are critical towards him. His
theory could be believable if some physical evidence were presented, but
unfortunately, there is none.
THEORY #3: THE TEMPLE MOUNT
This theory suggests that the Ark of the Covenant never actually left the Temple
Mount, the reason being that there was never another temple to store it in. Several
rabbis claim to have seen the ark in a cave under the Temple Mount by looking around
a corner with a mirror. Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who is a subscriber to this theory, tells
us that the Ark of the Covenant never left the temple simply because there was no
other temple to put it in, and the rabbis’ plans to build a third temple are coming into
play. Once again there is some logic involved here but no concrete evidence at all to
support this theory.
The Ark of the Covenant is still a mystery that may remain unsolved for the rest
of history. Will we ever find it? Where has it been for thousands of years? There are
endless theories and ideas that question even the limits of reason. And the largest
question of all: If we did discover the lost ark, what would the consequences be? The
answers we may never know. Maybe the location of the ark would be best left as it is
today — unsolved.