Everyone knows what happened to the ark of the covenant, right? An archaeologist from the Midwest named Dr. “Indiana” Jones rediscovered the ark and saved it from the Nazis. Now, it’s hidden in a top-secret government warehouse–from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Well, that’s probably not what really happened. The truth is, no one knows what state the ark is in for certain. Here are 10 things we do know…
The Ark of the Covenant: 10 Clues & Theories
1. A Touchy Subject?
The glory of the Lord left the temple before the Babylonians sacked the structure (Ezekiel 8:6-10:18). This could mean that from this point forward people could touch the ark without being killed.
2. Taken to Egypt?
Shishonq I of Egypt could have taken the ark of the covenant to his capital city of Tanis (I Kings 14:25-26).
3. Was the ark destroyed?
It is possible that, when King Manasseh placed idols in the temple of God, faithful priests removed the ark of the covenant from the temple (2 Kings 21:4-7; 2 Chronicles 33:7-9).
4. The Babylonians could have taken the ark
It’s possible that the Babylonians took the ark of the covenant. This is what many Jews seem to have assumed in the centuries between the Old and New Testaments (see the non-biblical text 4 Ezra 10:19-22). According to Chronicles, “all the articles of the house of God” were “brought to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 36:18). It may be that these items included the ark. Yet, when King Cyrus returned these articles, the ark is not listed (Ezra 1:7-11). If the Babylonians did take the ark, it must have been lost or destroyed before the time of Cyrus.
5. Stored away on Mount Nebo
According to one Jewish tradition, the prophet Jeremiah hid the ark in a cave on Mount Nebo (mentioned in the non-biblical text 2 Maccabees 2:4-10).
6. Hidden by the Dead Sea?
According to two other Jewish traditions, King Josiah hid the ark. A medieval rabbi naed Moishe Maimonides claimed that Josiah placed the ark in a cave near the Dead Sea (Laws of the Temple, 4:1).
Another tradition claims that Josiah buried the ark in a wooden storehouse under the Temple Mount (Yoma 35b). An architect named Leen Ritmeyer discovered a cut-out section of bedrock, about the size of the ark, directly beneath where the ark would have been placed in the temple. Ritmeyer suggests that the ark is hidden there.
7. Below the Holy of Holies?
Many Orthodox Jews believe that the ark is located in a cave beneath the ancient site of the Holy of Holies. In 1981, Rabbi Yehuda Getz claimed that his excavation reached a point only forty feet from the ark. When Arabs protested these excavations, Getz stopped digging, and the entrance to the tunnel was sealed.
8. Did the Queen of Sheba have it?
The Christians of Axum, Ethiopia, claim that a son of the Queen of Sheba acquired the ark after the queen visited King Solomon (see 1 Kings 10:1-13). Now, they say, they keep the ark hidden in the Church of St. Mary of Zion.
9. Escaped the Romans
When the Romans entered the temple in AD 70, there seems to have been no ark of the covenant in the temple.
10. Taken up to the heavens
John saw an ark of the covenant in his vision (Revelation 11:19). This may have been a figurative description of God’s glorious presence, part of an ideal heavenly temple of God, or the actual ancient ark of the covenant taken up into the heavens.
These 10 clues and theories are taken from Rose Publishing’s bestselling Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy. Snag it for JUST $19.99! Makes an incredible gift for your favorite Bible student or end-times enthusiast. Get it for the holidays!
Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy is an explanation of end-times prophecy and the Book of Revelation from several Christian viewpoints. Bible prophecy says that Jesus will come again, and Christians have wondered for centuries when and how that would take place.
Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy includes all of the basic end-time prophecy charts Christians need to navigate the Book of Revelation, the Book of Daniel, and other prophetic Bible passages:
- Book of Revelation Charts
- 4 Views of the End Times Comparison Chart
- Comparison Charts and Eschatology Charts of
- Dispensational Premillennialism
- Historical Premillennialism
- Bible Dispensational Chart and Dispensationalism Time Line
- Overview of all of the key Bible Prophecy passages
- Definitions and explanations of all key words and concepts, such as end times, rapture, dispensations, book of Revelation, apocalypse, and more.
This book is packed full of full-color Bible prophecy charts and eschatology charts and is fully reproducible. Just photocopy these Revelation charts for your Bible study, adult Sunday school class, or use as small group curriculum. This book explains each view of the end times, so that you know what you believe and why.
Sign up for Rose Publishing’s email list to download this eChart now!
This “Sacrifices in the Tabernacle” eChart explains each of the Old Testament sacrifices listed in Leviticus 1-2. It shows the purpose of each kind of offering and how it points to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Understand the connection between the Old Testament sacrifices and priests’ duties and Jesus’ service as the perfect sacrifice and perfect high priest. Compares each offering (Fellowship Offering, Sin Offering, Guilt Offering, Burnt Offering, Grain Offering, and Meal Offering) and shows how these biblical sacrifices have their fulfillment in New Testament teachings. Download this eChart now and print it out for your friends.
Get this and 8 other eCharts free just by signing up for the Rose Publishing email list.