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The Lost Ark
by Wayne Blank
"On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to The Temple of The Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down." (2 Kings 25:8-9) (see Why Babylon?)
But wait, what very important item is not mentioned as destroyed or looted?
"The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at The Temple of The Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls - all that were made of pure gold or silver. The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of The Lord, was more than could be weighed." (2 Kings 25:13-16)
The Lost Ark
The Ten Commandments were written on two tablets of stone. There were actually two sets made (Exodus 34:1) - the first set was smashed by Moses (Exodus 32:19) when he found that Aaron had allowed the Israelites to worship a calf idol while he was away on Mount Sinai with The Lord (Exodus 32:1-35). The second set of tablets was eventually placed in what we have come to know as the Sacred Ark, a wooden chest made specifically to make the housing and moving of them dignified and convenient.
The Ark was made of acacia or shittim wood. It measured about 43 inches (1.1 meters) long, and about 27 inches (0.7 meter) both wide and high. It had 2 gold rings fastened on each side through which poles were inserted to carry it. The poles were to remain in the rings at all times. The lid on the top was called the atonement cover, or "mercy seat." On top of it were two carved cherubim, with their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover (Exodus 25:10-22).
The Bible is strangely silent about the fate of The Ark. Why? Where could it be now?
The last Biblical mention of the Ark is when it was in The Temple in Jerusalem, and therefore many believe that, if it had remained inside The Temple that had been built for it, it must have been either taken out of the city and hidden before the Babylonians burned The Temple, or destroyed or looted along with everything else in The Temple. Are either of these possible?
The Babylonian forces had Jerusalem under total siege for about 18 months (2 Kings 25:1-3) before they actually went in and destroyed everything. During that year and a half, nothing and no one went in, or out, of the city. They had been cut off from the open land for so long that the people were starving (2 Kings 25:3). The likelihood of the Levites having been able to get the Ark outside of the city under those conditions seems very low. If the Ark was in the city at the start of the siege, it was almost certainly there at the end.
Was the Ark then destroyed with everything else? If it was, why would such a vastly valuable item not even be mentioned, when such things as pots, shovels and wick trimmers were all carefully accounted for? Destruction or looting doesn't fit either.
Many are of the belief that the Ark was safely hidden in Jerusalem, probably in one of the numerous hidden tunnels that are known to exist under the Temple Mount itself (but which the Arabs who now occupy the Temple Mount do not allow access to), by a few Levites who finally realized that the Temple really was going to be destroyed. They certainly had lots of time (up to 18 months) to hide it very well. If these few priests were then themselves killed in the siege, or carried off, never to return, as was the case with so many, the knowledge of the location of the Ark would have been lost. That is a very reasonable and logical possibility that fits the known facts very well.
Bible Prophecy speaks plainly that another Temple will exist at some time in the future (e.g. see The Abomination Of Desolation). But, right now, and for the foreseeable future, there is very little political will in Israel to build it. That would change however, literally overnight, if the Ark of The Covenant, containing the actual tablets of stone on which were written The Ten Commandments by God Himself, were to be found. The presence of such a sacred object would absolutely demand the presence of a sacred Temple.
Yet another of the many reasons why The Temple Mount is The Place To Watch.
Fact Finder: What was the Ark covered with?