Enduring Mysteries

Keepers of the Lost Ark

Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

There have been many claims by many people that have said that they have found the Ark. Others simply believe stories that they have heard of where the Ark may be. Some believe that the Ark still lies within the Temple of Jerusalem, where it was first placed. Although the First Temple of Solomon no longer stands, King Solomon reported that there had been tunnels dug under the temple and the Ark had been placed on a plateau which would lower the Ark into the tunnels should the structure of the Temple itself ever be compromised. It’s thought that when Nebuchadnezzar did overtake the temple in 586 BC, that the Levite priests followed the Ark into the tunnels and took it away. It is also thought that Nebuchadnezzar never found the Ark. Today, digging has been done under the temple and tunnels do exist down there. However, there are many rules to digging under the temple and even if the Ark is under there, it’s doubtful that it will ever be found. Other theories suggest that the original Ark of the Covenant is in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The Ark is kept in the Church of the Tablet, which is a treasury near the Church of our Lady Mary of Zion. The church sometimes still uses the object thought to be the Ark in some of their ceremonial rituals. The Kebra Nagast is regarded as the most important Ethiopian document and this document tells the story of when Menelik I carried the Ark into Ethiopia. However, it’s thought that this was only added to the document after the 13th century and is criticized by some as simply being a misunderstanding between the Ethiopian translations of their Portuguese allies. If this is to be true, it’s a great exploitation of these misunderstandings that the Ethiopian church has used and this is why this theory is sometimes so heavily criticized. The people of Zimbabwe also have claims that they hold the Ark of the Covenant. The Lemba people are thought to have Jewish ancestry and it is these ancestors that carried the Ark into the caves of the Dumghe Mountains, which is thought to be their most spiritual place.

Tudor Parfitt, a professor, researched these claims and placed them into a documentary. He did say that he had seen the object and that it was treated just as the Ark would be in that it was regarded as the voice of their god, could not at any time touch the ground, was covered, and was to be carried on poles by their priests. While he does go into great detail in his documentary about the appearance of the object, he makes no mention of its valuable contents, which leaves it susceptible to heavy criticism. Other places in the Middle East also lay claim to the Ark. One such claim states that it is either buried in Mt. Nebo or lies somewhere in the area around it, near Jordan’s east bank. It’s thought that Ark was placed here by Jeremiah after he was instructed to do so. There’s also said to be an altar of incense here and a tent, which were also ordered to be placed with the Ark. The book the Second Maccabees tells this story but some criticize it as it is a second-hand account.


In the story, Jeremiah completely covered the entrance to the cave, and so neither the cave nor its contents have ever been found.


Kemo D. 7

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