The Ark of the Covenant

20 Dec
Ark of the Covenant

from Google Images

Where is the Ark of the Covenant?[1] Will it ever be found? Does it even exist at all? According to the Biblical record, it is never mentioned after Nebuchadnezzar had both Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed in the sixth century BC. What happened to it after this is disputed in extra-biblical literature. Some rabbis claim it was carried off to Babylon, while others claim it was hidden by Jeremiah in a cave on Mt. Nebo[2] located in modern Jordan (2Maccabees 2:4-7), where Moses stood to look at the Promised Land before he died (Deuteronomy 34:1-5). Still others claim it was hidden somewhere on the Temple mount, itself. More modern claims that the Ark had been found have been mentioned, but for various (convenient) reasons, nothing has ever been produced in the form of objective evidence that the Ark still exists.

The Jerusalem Temple Institute has created a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, but a thousand ‘replicas’ would be of no use for a rebuilt Temple at Jerusalem, because without the original Ark of the Covenant the Jews have no reason to believe that their Temple (if it would ever be rebuilt) could ever be a Temple sanctified by the Presence of God, because the Ark represented God’s Presence within the Tabernacle / Temple! The Temple Institute, however, has made the claim that the location of the original Ark had always been known to the Jews, and information to that effect had been handed down to each generation for “thousands of years,” but its location is presently controlled by Moslems.[3]

The problem with this information is that, if its location had been always known by Jews, why wasn’t the Ark of the Covenant used in the 2nd Temple? The location of the Temple wasn’t controlled by Moslems over two thousand years ago, when that Temple was reconstructed by Zerubbabel. Nor was it used when Herod the Great rebuilt Zerubbabel’s Temple. Certainly, if the location of the Ark was known by Herod, he would have demanded that it be placed in the Holy of Holies for his Temple. Yet, Josephus claimed the Holy of Holies was completely empty:

The inmost part of the temple was twenty feet in each direction and was separated from the outer part by a veil, and in it there was nothing at all. (Josephus: Wars of the Jews; book 5, chapter 5, paragraph 5 [219] )

The fact is that the scriptures, themselves, tell us what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. Notice what Jeremiah tells us:

“It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.  (Jeremiah 3:16 NASB)

Jeremiah was prophesying of the Messianic Kingdom (Jeremiah 3:17-18), but, however we may interpret that, notice that verse-16 declares the Ark wouldn’t come to mind nor would anyone remember it. Why wouldn’t it come to mind or why wouldn’t anyone remember it? Would the Lord miraculously keep Jews from thinking of the Ark? No, of course not! It wouldn’t come to mind in a covenantal manner. The scriptures often speak of God remembering his Covenant with the Jews (e.g. Luke 1:72). It wasn’t that God had forgotten he made a covenant with Abraham, Moses or David. Rather, this verse in Luke claims the Lord was about to fulfill the Messianic promise he made with his people.

In the context of Jeremiah 3:16, what was in the Ark of the Covenant? According to Exodus 16:33-34 (see footnote #1) the Ten Commandments were within the Ark. In other words, since Israel broke the Covenant the Lord made with them, and since the Lord during the days of Jeremiah, the prophet, promised a new covenant, wherein he would remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34), the Ten Commandments (the Old Covenant) were destroyed with the Ark. Notice what Jeremiah says above “… nor will it be made again!” If the Ark won’t be made again, it must have been destroyed by the Babylonians for its precious metal. Therefore, since the scriptures tell us that the Ark of the Covenant was destroyed and won’t be made again, no matter what anyone does in Jerusalem, the Lord has not commanded it, nor will he accept it as holy and dedicated to him. He destroyed forever the Ark of the Covenant with the first Temple at the hands of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 3:16), and he destroyed the Second Temple, which he commanded to be rebuilt at the hand of Zerubbabel, in 70 AD through the Roman armies. Thus, ending the Old Covenant and establishing the New.


[1] The Ark of the Covenant contained the tables of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1Kings 8:9; 2Chronicles 5:10), while the golden pot containing a sample of manna and Aaron’s rod were set before the Ark (Exodus 16:33-34; Numbers 17:10). A contradiction appears to occur in Hebrews 9:4, but there Paul uses two Greek words (G1722; G3729), which the translators use for wherein or in which, giving the idea that all three items were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant. This contradiction vanishes, however, when one realizes G1722 is usually translated among, while G3729 is translated into which. Therefore, the text can be translated “among which” were the three items mentioned above.

[2] Besides Mt. Nebo, the Temple Mount and Babylon, claims have been made that it is in Ethiopia, Southern Africa, various countries in Europe, and in Egypt. The point is, if it exists at all, no one really knows its location.

[3] See article by Jake Wallis Simons in the Telegraph, September 12, 2013.

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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology


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