When Moses was leading the children of Israel from Egypt to the promised land, he was commanded to build the ark of the covenant. It not only held the tablets that had the ten commandments but it also represented the presence of God among his people. Even though lots of artifacts from the Bible have already been found, the Ark of the Covenant is still in the wind. There is a lot of speculation on the implications of the ark if it is ever found. So what happens when the Ark of the Covenant is found?
The Ark of the Covenant holds is of great significance to Judaists and Christians and its discovery could help to prove the accuracy of the Bible. This would have a huge impact on other religions. Apart from its obvious religious importance, the Ark of the Covenant also holds substantial significance for archeologists. Suffice it to say its find will illicit a lot of interest from all quarters.
Possible Scenarios If the Ark of The Covenant Was Found Today
Should the Ark of the Covenant be found today, one region that would be profoundly affected is the Middle East. Firstly, if the ark is found out of Israel, transporting it might present a huge logistical challenge. How do you transport it? As we have noted above, the ark can only be transported by Levite priests using wooden poles. It cannot be moved using modern means of transport and it cannot be touched. Those transporting it might make the same mistake David did when he moved it in a wagon. 1st Chronicles 13:9-10 says that Uzzah, one of the men who was helping King David transport the ark was struck dead “because he had put his hand on the ark”.
Secondly, where will the ark be stored? If we were thinking of storing the ark in the days of the temple, this question would not arise. But since the second temple was destroyed, the Israeli nation might have to think of building a third temple. The idea of a third temple has been gaining popularity among orthodox Jews. Since 1987, orthodox Jews, through the Temple Movement have been clamoring for the building of this temple. The views of the Temple Movement are fiercely opposed internationally, especially among Muslims. Even inside Israel and among Jews in the diaspora, the idea of a third temple is not very welcome because most modern Jews are secular.
Should there be an agreement on the construction of a third temple, the volatile situation between Israel and her Arab neighbors is bound to escalate. The only logical place for this third temple would be the Dome of the Rock Shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque located in Jerusalem. The envisaged location of the temple and the status of the city of Jerusalem are sources of grave contentions between Israel and their Muslim Arab neighbors.
For the believer in Jesus Christ, the finding of the ark of the covenant will not change anything. As Hebrews 9:15 says: Christ is the mediator of a new covenant that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
A Brief History of The Ark of The Covenant
The beginning of the story of the Ark of the Covenant is found in Exodus 25. Moses is leading the Israelites to the promised land and he receives an order from God. The Lord orders Moses to ask the people to make offerings that will be used to build a sanctuary and I will dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).
To make the ark, God gives Moses very precise instructions. The instructions cover the materials to be used and the precise measurements. Some of the materials used to make the ark include pure gold and acacia wood. In addition to using very specific material and adhering to the measurements, the completed ark was to hold a gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4).
Apart from the meticulous instructions of its build, there were also specific instructions on how to transport it. For starters, only Levites could carry it around and nobody could touch it as touching it would result in death. The priests would therefore transport the ark by using two wooden poles inserted through rings on its side.
The ark of the covenant was transported as described above during the days when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. When the Israelites eventually reached Canaan, they would sometimes take it to war with them assured that it would guarantee them success. After reaching the promised land, the ark of the covenant was eventually relocated into Solomons’s temple. Babylon conquered the Israelites in 597 and 585 B.C. and since then, nobody knows where the Ark of the Covenant is. So, did the Babylonians destroy it or is it hidden somewhere?
Speculative Possible Locations of the Ark
The Ark of the Covenant has immense religious and archeological significance. For centuries, people have speculated about its possible location. Some of the places mentioned include:
- Ethiopia: The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims to have the ark of the covenant in its church in Aksum.
- Ireland: There are claims that the Ark of the Covenant ended up in Ireland. This is based on a belief that there is a connection between the British Royal Family and the house of King David.
- Israel: There are many theories but the most commonly accepted is that the ark of the covenant was hidden in the passages beneath Solomon’s temple before the temple was destroyed.
The finding of the Ark of the Covenant will be a hugely symbolic moment for the world. It could trigger great archeological excitement and cause political repercussions in an already volatile Middle East. However, one thing is for sure – where the ark of the covenant is, it is very well hidden because no one has been able to find it these many years. Whether or not it will be found in our lifetime, only time will tell.