The Way It Happened

Revelation 11:19, What Happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

//In the sixth century B.C., the Babylonian empire, under King Nebuchadnezzar, sacked and plundered Jerusalem, destroying the Temple. Inside the Temple was Israel’s most holy relic: The Ark of the Covenant. But what happened to the Ark is unknown, and has been debated for centuries. If the Babylonians took it, they did so secretly, because the detailed lists they prepared of other vessels taken from the Temple contain no mention of the Ark. Some have wondered if it wasn’t burned down inside the Temple, purposefully melted to collect its gold.

Other scenarios have been proposed. According to some sources, King Josiah of the Jews learned of the coming invasion by the Babylonians and hid the Ark. One midrashic source (Maimonides, Laws of the Temple, 4:1). claims that Solomon predicted the destruction of the Temple and prepared a cave near the Dead Sea, in which King Josiah eventually hid the Ark. Another (Yoma 53b) says he dug a hole under a storehouse on the Temple Mount and buried it there. If that’s where it went, then Archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer claims to have found the most plausible spot for its burial. In the precise center of the location where his research places the Holy of Holies within the Temple is a section of bedrock cut out in the dimensions that may match those of the Ark as described in Exodus.

It’s also possible the lost Ark isn’t lost at all. The church of St. Mary of Zion, in Ethiopia, claims to have the ark in their possession. It’s carefully guarded by a monk known as the “Keeper of the Ark.” It’s location, however, is unverifiable, since only this one monk is allowed in its presence.

Today’s verse provides yet another possibility. Apparently, the ark’s location was a hot topic even 2,000 years ago. According to Revelation 11:19, all you ark hunters can give up the search. It’s already up in heaven.

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