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Have they ever found the Ark of the Covenant?

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asked Dec 2, 2015 in History by JLettermanMB (43,520 points)
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Yes, there was movie about it, featuring the real-life experiences of one Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr.


Sorry, couldn't resist. :)


No, not officially. Inofficially however, several arks have been found.



Biblical/Tanakh Reports


The ark as a symbol of God's presence among his people, was kept in the Solomonic temple in Jerusalem for several hundreds of years. The only post-Solomonic historical reference to it is at 2 Chronicles 35:3 where King Josiah, in 642 B.C.E. -- nearly 900 years after it was made -- commanded that it be returned to the temple. How it had come to be removed in the first place is not stated.


However, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. (40 years after the above mentioning) there is no mention of the Ark being taken to Babylon. The Ark is not enumerated among the temple articles carried off. Likewise, there is no mention of its being returned and placed in Zerubbabel’s rebuilt temple; neither was a replacement made for it. When and under what circumstances the Ark disappeared is unknown. It simply vanished within those 40 years  -- 642 to 607.


Deuterocanonical Books


2 Maccabees -- a book claiming to be from the same time period, but not considered biblical canon -- mentions that the prophet Jeremiah carried the ark away "to the mountain from the top of which Moses saw God's promised land" and hid it there in a cave.


It is believed that this mountain is Mount Nebo in Jordan.




According to most Muslim scholars, the Ark has basis in Islam and has religious significance. There are various mentionings in it in connection to Moses and Aaron, as well as various prophecies. 


Its significance and symbolism varies among the various Muslim sects, but a Shia sect believes that it will be found near the end of time at the Sea of Galilee.


Knight Templar


There are dozens of reports of the Ark having been found by various knights and having been carried to various locations: alternately places in Ireland, France, Rome, the UK and even the US. 




Various Christian sects and groups as well as Muslim ones claim to either own or have owned or have seen the ark in more recent times (read, in the last few hundred years). It should also be noted that in both religious groups there have also been replicas and copies made over the years.


An Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Axum claims to have it and keep it under constant guard in The Chapel Of The Tablet, not allowing anyone to see it. Many believe this one to be a replica.


The Chapel Of The Tablet in Axum, Ethiopia


In the Museum of Human Science in Harare there is another replica, dating to about 1350s. The Lemba people of South Africa have a tradition that they had the original, but it self-destructed. Priests rebuilt it, using the remaining core. It is this copy that is in the museum now.


In 1922 upon the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun the Anubis Shrine was discovered, with some suggesting it may have been the ark, although most scholars strongly disagree. This one is currently in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.


So, Where Is It?

To conclude, the original ark was never found. It's whereabouts are unknown, but there have been and are several copies and replicas, some that are venerated as the real deal.


It is interesting to note however, that the prophet Jeremiah foretold a time when the ark of the covenant would be no more, but that it would not be missed. —Jer 3:16, 17.

answered Dec 3, 2015 by AlecCorday (5,810 points)
edited Dec 3, 2015 by AlecCorday

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