Search For The Ark Of The Covenant

Essay, Research Paper When asked about the Ark of the Covenant, the average person usually responds with something along the lines of Harrison Ford starring in the first of the Indiana Jones trilogy. However, The Ark of the Covenant has significant ties to both ancient Christianity and Judaism. These two religions both have foundations in the Old Testament of The Bible, and their followers are often referred to as “People of the Book” (Robinson).

Essay, Research Paper

When asked about the Ark of the Covenant, the average person usually responds with something along the lines of Harrison Ford starring in the first of the Indiana Jones trilogy. However, The Ark of the Covenant has significant ties to both ancient Christianity and Judaism. These two religions both have foundations in the Old Testament of The Bible, and their followers are often referred to as “People of the Book” (Robinson). There is some discrepancy as to what the Ark truly is. Exodus 25 in The Bible describes it as “a chest of acacia wood — two and a half cubits wide, and a cubit and a half high.” It goes on to say the Ark is overlaid in gold with gold rings and gold poles through the rings, in order to carry the Ark, and golden cherubim on either side of the chest. Inside the chest is to lie “the Testimony.” However, as cited by McKinley in “The New York Times,” some Ethiopian Christians believe the Ark is actually the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, and the chest described by Moses in Exodus 25 is “the chair of the ark.” These discrepancies as well as many others are what complicates the search for the lost ark as well as adds doubt to claims that it has been rediscovered.

The Ark of the Covenant is said to have been held by the Levites during the time of the Hebrews’ wanderings through the wilderness, and carried into battle several times by the Israelites (Britannica). The New Standard Encyclopedia states that it was once captured by the Philistines from the Israelites in the course of battle, but was returned shortly after. The last documented existence of the Ark was its placement into the inner chamber of the Temple of Solomon after being taken to Jerusalem by King David, and now it is believed by many to have been lost and yet to be found (Britannica). However, according to McKinley, a group of Ethiopian Catholics located in Ksum, Ethiopia believe they have found what they call the Ark of the Covenant. This, McKinley writes, is actually the slab on which the Ten Commandments is inscribed. What The Bible describes as the Ark the Ethiopians call “the chair of the ark,” which they say they do not have possession of. If what the religious officials in Ksum say is true, than the true Ark of the Covenant as mentioned in the Old Testament is still lost (Funk & Wagnall’s). These monks are not the only people to claim to know the location of the Ark of the Covenant, however. Many archaeologists claim to know where the Ark may be buried, these locations including Northern Rockscarp, Southern Wall and Temple Mount (Ritmeyer). For the Jews and Christians alike who still believe the Ark is unfound, this is a topic of much significance.

Why is the Ark of the Covenant so important to people across the world? The Ark is a vital part of the Jewish religion because it symbolizes their freedom from oppression and is a reminder of the covenant God made with Moses on Mount Sinai. This covenant and the Ten Commandments helped the Jews establish their promised land (“Religion”). It is also the chest that stored many extremely important Jewish and Christian relics, such as the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s Rod, and a pot of manna (Funk & Wagnall’s). According to “The New York Times,” it is so important to the previously mentioned Ethiopian monks, that no one is allowed to look at the Ark because they believe they will fall sick and die (McKinley). It is for all these reasons that the search for the Ark of the Covenant has been so publicized and such a priority to major members of both religions.

All religions have certain artifacts that are especially important to them, and in the case of the Ark, the artifact has been lost for many years. A unique characteristic of the Ark of the Covenant is the fact that it is shared by two religions, Judaism and Christianity (New Standard Encyclopedia). Many imposter Arks have been fabricated, mostly due to the publicity received by various archaeologists and anthropologists, and even by the Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The Ark of the Covenant remains one of the mysteries of ancient civilization and ancient religious practices.

Cited Works

“Ark of the Covenant.” Brittanica.com. n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/6/0,5716,9576,00.html#Index Entry.

“Ark of the Covenant.” Funk & Wagnall’s.com. n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www.fwkc.com/encyclopedia/low/articles/a/a002000954f.html.

“Ark of the Covenant.” New Standard Encyclopedia. 1982 ed.

McKinley Jr., James. “What Ethiopians Believe Is the Ark of the Covenant Rests in Aksum.” New York Times. 27 January, 1998, national ed.: 1.

“Religion.” n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www..com/TermPapers/Miscellaneous/religion.shtml.

Ritmeyer, Dr. Leen. “The Temple and the Ark of the Covenant.” 17 February 1998: n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://ds.dial.pipex.com/ritmeyer/temple.ark.html.

Robinson, B.A. “The Jewish Foundation of Christianity.” 12 Sept. 2000: n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 Feb. 2001. Available WWW: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jf.htm.

Bibliography

Cited Works

“Ark of the Covenant.” Brittanica.com. n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/6/0,5716,9576,00.html#Index Entry.

“Ark of the Covenant.” Funk & Wagnall’s.com. n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www.fwkc.com/encyclopedia/low/articles/a/a002000954f.html.

“Ark of the Covenant.” New Standard Encyclopedia. 1982 ed.

McKinley Jr., James. “What Ethiopians Believe Is the Ark of the Covenant Rests in Aksum.” New York Times. 27 January, 1998, national ed.: 1.

“Religion.” n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://www..com/TermPapers/Miscellaneous/religion.shtml.

Ritmeyer, Dr. Leen. “The Temple and the Ark of the Covenant.” 17 February 1998: n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 February 2001. Available WWW: http://ds.dial.pipex.com/ritmeyer/temple.ark.html.

Robinson, B.A. “The Jewish Foundation of Christianity.” 12 Sept. 2000: n. pag. On-line. Internet. 6 Feb. 2001. Available WWW: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jf.htm.