Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Lost Ark of the Covenant

( Ethiopian church leader says Friday, June 26, marks the right time to unveil the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, which he says has been hidden in his church for centuries.

Abuna Pauolos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was in Rome this week to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. While there, he told reporters that the time had come to reveal before the world the Holy Ark. He said that the holy container has been in the custody of his church for hundreds of years...

How did the Ark get there?

Read on...

Here, according to Ethiopians, a great dynasty was born. And, as all great dynasties should, this one begins with a love story. As they tell it, the Queen of Sheba left Ethiopia only once, to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem. Solomon, despite being married, became smitten with the beautiful Queen. She reciprocated his desire and upon her return to Axum she gave birth to his son, Menelik.

Menelik I took the throne when his mother died, roughly a thousand years B.C.E., and began a line of Solomonic rulers that endured with only a brief interruption until Emperor Haile Selassie, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was deposed 31 years ago.

Menelik I is also, according to the Ethiopian Orthodox church, responsible for that country's possessing the greatest relic of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It seems that the king went to visit his father, and somehow brought back the original Ark of the Covenant, previously kept in the great Temple in Jerusalem.

The Ark is believed to hold the original tablets containing the Ten Commandments that God handed to Moses on Mount Sinai, and it is now said to be kept in Axum's Church of St. Mary of Zion. Only one elderly monk guards this treasure, which no one else may see. More here

the Jewish Virtual Library states:
The Ark remained in the Temple until its destruction at the hand of the Babylonian empire, led by Nebuchadnezzar. What happened to it afterward is unknown, and has been debated and pondered for centuries. It is unlikely that the Babylonians took it, as they did the other vessels of the Temple, because the detailed lists of what they took make no mention of the Ark. According to some sources, Josiah, one of the final kings to reign in the First Temple period, learned of the impending invasion of the Babylonians and hid the Ark. Where he hid it is also questionable – according to one midrash, he dug a hole under the wood storehouse on the Temple Mount and buried it there (Yoma 53b). Another account says that Solomon foresaw the eventual destruction of the Temple, and set aside a cave near the Dead Sea, in which Josiah eventually hid the Ark (Maimonides, Laws of the Temple, 4:1).

One of the most fascinating possibilities is advanced by Ethiopian Christians who claim that they have the Ark today. In Axum, Ethiopia, it is widely believed that the Ark is currently being held in the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, guarded by a monk known as the "Keeper of the Ark," who claims to have it in his possesion. According to the Axum Christian community, they acquired the Ark during the reign of Solomon, when his son Menelik, whose mother was the Queen of Sheba, stole the Ark after a visit to Jerusalem. While in the not-so-distant past the "Ark" has been brought out for Christian holidays, its keeper has not done so for several years due to the tumultuous political situation in the country. The claim has thus been impossible to verify, for no one but the monk is allowed into the tent.......

(until now)

Also See: The Temple Institute which says: While some claim to have evidence that the ark is in Ethiopia, and of course, moviegoers were treated to a fanciful version of the story in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," in reality, the expression "lost" ark is not an accurate description from the Jewish people's point of view - because we have always known exactly where it is. So the Ark is "Hidden," and hidden quite well, but it is not lost.

Tradition records that even as King Solomon built the First Temple, he already knew, through Divine inspiration, that eventually it would be destroyed. Thus Solomon, the wisest of all men, oversaw the construction of a vast system of labyrinths, mazes, chambers and corridors underneath the Temple Mount complex. He commanded that a special place be built in the bowels of the earth, where the sacred vessels of the Temple could be hidden in case of approaching danger. Midrashic tradition teaches that King Josiah of Israel, who lived about forty years before the destruction of the First Temple, commanded the Levites to hide the Ark, together with the original menorah and several other items*, in this secret hiding place which Solomon had prepared.

This location is recorded in our sources, and today, there are those who know exactly where this chamber is. And we know that the ark is still there, undisturbed, and waiting for the day when it will be revealed.