The Big Question 98: Where is the Ark of the Covenant?
Apr 29, 2022 1525
Where is the Ark of the Covenant?
The only thing most people know about the Ark of the Covenant is whatever they saw in Stephen Spielberg’s 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this action-adventure film, Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones, in a race against the German Nazis to find the long-lost ark of the covenant.
That’s about all that some people know about the Ark of the Covenant, and it’s wrong. It never happened.
The Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred objects of the ancient Israelites. It was a wooden chest covered with gold, and with a solid gold lid. It had been built by Moses by God’s command, and it held within it the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a pot of manna.
God would speak to the people of Israel from between the two angels, and in the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was responsible for acts of great power.
The last time the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned in the Bible was during the reign of King Josiah of Judah, when it was in Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Forty years later, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. That was in 587 BC, and it was the last time that the Ark of the Covenant appears in history.
So, what happened to the ark? Did Nebuchadnezzar capture it and destroy it? Did the Jews manage to hide it away before the horror that engulfed the temple?
Perhaps the non-Biblical book of 2 Maccabees gives us the best clue. It tells us there that just before the Babylonian invasion, the prophet Jeremiah took the ark and hid it in a sealed cave on Mount Nebo.
But there are other theories, including that it was hidden somewhere under the Temple Mount. Another view is that one of the Dead Sea Scrolls is basically a treasure map showing the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Some believe that it is somewhere in Ethiopia, Egypt, or Israel.
Even the Irish claim the Ark of the Covenant as theirs! They argue that the Ark of the Covenant is buried under the Hill of Tara in Ireland, and that it is the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
In the end, no-one except God knows what happened to the Ark. And you know what? I don’t think it’s all that important, because the Bible tells us that the Old Testament temple and everything in it, were all just simply shadows that pointed forward to the glorious reality of the Christ and the salvation that he would reveal to the world.
Even if the Ark of the Covenant still exists somewhere, there’s no magical power to it anymore. It’s lost its importance. What’s important is Jesus and what he did on the Cross.