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In Search of the Ark of the Covenant
|by Anonymousfor JoshuaMessiah|
The Ark of the Covenant with Gold Vessel of Manna and Aaron’s Blossoming Staff
As a child I went to see the Movie of Indiana Jones, the Raiders of the Lost Ark. At the climactic ending the reverent Indi closes his eyes and instructs his girlfriend to do the same, while the unhidden presence of God in the Ark kills the irreverent and greedy Nazis. Through a trail of mysterious archeological clues it was Indiana Jones who discovered the ark in the first place. Could such a legendary trail exist? And if so, by such means is humanity to follow the footsteps of our Creator?
In the Hebrew Bible, Numbers 10:33 states that the Ark was made that the Divine Presence would seek out a resting place for the Hebrews. This manifestation of God’s visible presence, called the Shekinah, appeared as a white cloud at day and a fire at night (Exodus 40:34-39). When this cloud was present the Hebrews would remain in their desert camp, when the cloud lifted they could move toward the Land of Promise. All places on the land where the Ark came to rest became holy (2 Chronicles 8:11b).
When the Cloud appeared they would make camp
The Ark of the Covenant was one of the means God offered his direct presence and power to early Israel (Exodus 25: 10-22; Psalm 78:61, 132:6-8). He commanded Moses to make the Ark out of the hardwood of a flowering tree, the acacia. The Ark was made by the priestly craftsman named Bezalel. The box would be roughly 4 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet high and covered with gold (Exodus 37). The lid was to have a ‘Mercy Seat’ representing the throne of God (1 Samuel 4:4; Isaiah 37:16) with two Cherubim angels on either side. Four golden rings were to be fastened to the four corners where two acacia poles also covered in gold would be used to carry the Ark. To be placed in the Ark was a jar of the manna from the desert, which nourished the Israelites in their need (Exodus 16); the staff of Aaron, which miraculously budded fresh leaves (Numbers 17); and the Ten Commandments, which were the stones carved by God Himself as the Sacred Seal of His Covenant with the tribe of Israel confirming its name as the Ark of the Covenant. The Tent of the Meeting (between God and Moses, Joshua and/or the High Priests) concealed the Ark from common view. Covering the Ark from the elements in transport was a curtain used in the Tent of the Meeting made of badgers’ skins and a blue veil (Numbers 4:5,20).
Moses and his people traveled through the desert with the Ark of the Covenant, which they placed in a sacred tent or tabernacle at the resting points of their journey. A cloud would cover this tent when God was present there and Moses was given sacred messages as the Divine Presence spoke to him from above the Mercy Seat (Exodus 25:22), also called the Place of Expiation where the blood of animals was sprinkled once a year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:14-15). Strict purity rites and offerings were associated with the priests who entered the Presence of the Ark. To defile these rites in the Presence of God meant certain death. The Hebrew Bible writes of a sacred chant Moses sang as the Ark was transported and given a resting place:
And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said: 'Rise up, O LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.'
And when it rested, he said: 'Return, O LORD, unto the ten thousands of the families of Israel.'
- Numbers 10: 35-36
The Ark guided the Israelites to their Promise Land across the Jordan, where it assisted them in battle. They carried it around Jericho seven times before its walls and city fell (Joshua 6). The Ark was then ministered to by the High Priest of Israel in the town of Shiloh for 300 to 400 years (1 Samuel 1:3).
The Siege of Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant
During the ministry of the High Priest Eli, in Shiloh, there was a woman, named Hannah, who prayed before the Ark to be delivered of her baroness. Hannah was particularly desperate, since her husband’s second wife would taunt her in her affliction. As Hannah moved her lips in prayer without a sound before the Ark, Eli looked on believing she was drunk. The Hebrew Bible writes:
Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard; therefore, Eli thought she had been drunken.
And Eli said unto her: 'How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.'
And Hannah answered and said: 'No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thy handmaid for a wicked woman: for out of the abundance of my complaint and my vexation have I spoken hitherto.'
Then Eli answered and said: 'Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.'
And she said: 'Let thy servant find favour in thy sight.'
So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad…. And it came to pass, when the time was come about, that Hannah conceived, and bore a son; and she called his name Samuel: 'because I have asked him of the LORD.'
And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband: 'Until the child be weaned, when I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.' - I Samuel 1: 13-18, 20
The story outlines the relationship of understanding, love and divine life that developed in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. Then Hannah sang a new song before the Ark of the Covenant:
And Hannah prayed, and said: my heart exulteth in the LORD, my horn is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in Thy salvation.
There is none holy as the LORD, for there is none beside Thee; neither is there any rock like our God. Multiply not exceeding proud talk; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry have ceased; while the barren hath borne seven, she that had many children hath languished.
The LORD killeth, and maketh alive;
He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich; He bringeth low, He also lifteth up.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, He lifteth up the needy from the dung-hill, to make them sit with princes, and inherit the throne of glory; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and He hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the feet of His holy ones, but the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness; for not by strength shall man prevail. They that strive with the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them will He thunder in heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed. - I Samuel 2: 1-10
Hannah’s song is an example of how the Shekinah or Divine Presence nourished the individual’s identity who come to belong to the community and world sprouting into fullness around Her (the Shekinah is often referred to as the Divine Feminine in Jewish tradition). In the tradition of the priests before the Ark, Hannah made for her son Samuel a linen ephod to worship before the Lord. And the Lord called Samuel before the Ark to be a prophet.
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli…. and the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was laid down to sleep in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel;
And he said: 'Here am I.' And he ran unto Eli, and said: 'Here am I; for thou didst call me.'
And he said: 'I called not; lie down again.'
And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again Samuel.
And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said: 'Here am I; for thou didst call me.'
And he answered: 'I called not, my son; lie down again.'
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time.
And he arose and went to Eli, and said: 'Here am I; for thou didst call me.'
And Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel: 'Go, lie down; and it shall be, if thou be called, that thou shalt say: Speak, LORD; for Thy servant heareth.'
So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times: 'Samuel, Samuel.'
Then Samuel said: 'Speak; for Thy servant heareth.'
And the LORD said to Samuel: 'Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.’…
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh; for the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. - I Samuel 3: 1-11, 19-21
The Lord calls Eli before the Ark
The Ark of the Covenant produced a covenantal vow between Hannah and the Shekinah presented by the offering of her own son, Samuel, to stand and minister forever before the Ark. A parallel is the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. The Shekinah inspired Her children to turn over themselves and all they possess wholeheartedly. This giving away, like the planting of a seed, enables the Creator to continue to produce an eternal inheritance upon the earth. Not all people knew and practiced the value of this relationship before the Ark.
Eli’s sons were unkind to visitors of the Ark in Shiloh, so the Lord allowed Israel to be defeated in battle and the Ark to be taken to the land of the Philistines (1 Samuel 4-6). The Philistines kept the Ark for 7 months. During this time Philistines who irreverently looked into the Ark fell dead, their statue of the god, Dagon, fell and crumbled before the Ark and their rulers and people suffered from a plague of boils and rats. They made a guilt offering of 5 golden tumorous boils and 5 golden rats, placed the Ark on a cart and sent it back to Israel. The cart returned to the land of Joshua the Beth Shemite during the wheat harvest. There was a large stone, so the Hebrews immediately made a sacrifice with the cart as firewood and the cows as a burnt offering (1 Samuel 6:13-14), but a similar plague broke out among the Hebrews. So the Ark was transported closer to Jerusalem to Kiriath-jearim in the house of Abinadab (later in Baale, Judah) inside the hill for the next 70 years (I Samuel 7:1-2). King David inquired about the Ark in the house of Abinadab as the Hebrew Bible states:
When the Hebrews finally defeated the Philistines under King David, before the Ark David exulted the Lord:
And David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him, from Baale-judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whereupon is called the Name, even the name of the LORD of hosts that sitteth upon the cherubim.
And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD with all manner of instruments made of cypress-wood, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with sistra, and with cymbals.
And when they came to the threshing-floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had broken forth upon Uzzah; and that place was called Perez-uzzah, unto this day.
And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said: 'How shall the ark of the LORD come unto me?' So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and all his house.
And it was told king David, saying: 'The LORD hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God.'
And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with joy.
And it was so, that when they that bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn.
And it was so, as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before the LORD. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to every one a cake of bread, and a cake made in a pan, and a sweet cake. So all the people departed every one to his house.
Then David returned to bless his household.
And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said: 'How did the king of Israel get him honour to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!'
And David said unto Michal: 'Before the LORD, who chose me above thy father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the LORD, over Israel, before the LORD will I make merry. And I will be yet more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight; and with the handmaids whom thou hast spoken of, with them will I get me honour.'
And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. - 2 Samuel 6: 1-23
King David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant
It was apparent to King David that any infringement to the sacred protocol applied to the Ark of the Shekinah would result in certain death. God could be misjudged in these cases where life is taken away at what may seem unequalled missteps and faults of those in relationship with their Creator. From the Creator’s perspective, eternity is the backdrop of judging creation, not the brief lifespan the Creator bestows. Consider the testimony of Uzzah beyond his lifetime. He only had to slip and touch the Ark to become a witness to the end of the earth. The site of his death became known as Perez-Uzzah, the Reckoning of Uzzah. The term was written on the wall as Mene mene tekel perez (you have been measured, you have been found lacking, there will be a reckoning) to the Babylonian ruler and became a world renowned warning, ‘The Writing is on the Wall’. We were all created by the Shekinah who is the Divine Life Giver, there is a mystery to solve regarding the fact that we are all to die and experience that taking away of that life once freely given. The Creator owes us nothing, even now that we exist. Therefore, the Creator can take away what was once given. It was an act of graciousness that we were even able to exist. Yet, the mystery blossoms like the rod of Aaron from this Ark.
Hannah and David experience this mystery in similar fashion. Both individuals are misunderstood by those around them and even treated harshly. Hannah is thought to be a drunk by the High Priest.
Eli might have been thinking, “Surely she will die today before the Ark. Perhaps her barrenness is a sign of her sin.” The Hannah was also mistreated by her husband’s other wife with, “I have children and you don’t, therefore will have a greater relationship with our husband forever.”
Yet, the Shekinah cut through these false judgments of reality. Hannah herself was given the courage to defend herself with, “I’m not a drunk – I’m praying in desperation for an inheritance of children.” Eli changed his heart and his mind. Hannah gave birth to the next High Priest. A scoffer was humbled. A handmaid was raised up. A child was born. The Shekinah broke through the soil, the mire and the manure with a seed of devotion before the Ark of the Covenant.
David is thought to be a scandal dancing naked before the Ark. Michal, daughter of Saul, might have thought, “Now I will get even, produce Perez-reckoning for my father Saul. The so called King David will become the scorn of all Israel. He is a pervert before my maidens.”
Yet, the Shekinah cut through once again the false judgment of reality. David was given the joy of that original Golden Era of the Divine Presence in the Garden and all Jerusalem was given a share in the Bread of the Presence, the meal of the Ark. Sadly, Michal became barren herself. Yet, she remains a witness like Uzzah to the ends of the earth for all time of the perfect and unselfish understanding of the Shekinah.
The common thread between Hannah and David before the Ark is that we all belong in relationship to the Shekinah. Her beauty of overpowering, Her power is everlasting, and so much as a morsel from Her divine banquet of the harvest from Beth Shemesh before the Ark satisfies the loneliest most barren heart forever. And the Shekinah of the Ark, She calls you by name.
They called the Ark, the Name, or Shem, which is a way of addressing the Lord in Hebrew. Shem, as name, means more than the letters that make up a persons’ identity, but Shem actually means the sum total of the qualities and values that make up that identity. Shem is a word from Exodus 33, where it says, ‘the Lord knew Moses by name’. Here Moses interceded for the nomadic Hebrews who were wearing idolatrous neck ornaments. To call the Ark, Shem or Name is a very historic and intimate title. It is symbolic of God’s covenantal promise of mercy to Moses that Israel would be treated with mercy even after their sin at Horeb with the golden calf. Yet, to remain in relationship with Israel, the Shekinah of the Ark required the purity of Israel to also remain, and therefore, the Ark was also sign or perhaps even a thermometer of Israel’s own redemption and purification. In the Hebrew Bible, the Psalmist chants such praise of the Ark:
Lo, we heard of it as being in Ephrath; we found it in the field of the wood.
Let us go into His dwelling-place; let us worship at His footstool.
Arise, O LORD, unto Thy resting-place; Thou, and the ark of Thy strength.
Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let Thy saints shout for joy.
For Thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of Thine anointed.
- Psalm 132:6-11
David and Hannah were not only judged through the veil of mercy by the Lord on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, they were also understood by the Shekinah to the depth of their hearts. When David danced naked the Shekinah saw that he was clothed in righteousness much like an innocent newborn baby boy. His purity came in the cleansing bath of Her eternal gift of joy. This cleansing water of joy cannot be judged by even the keenest eye, but it is more powerful than the purest spring. This spiritual water of joy cleanses the heart, because She wants an intimate relationship with Her creation.
David’s joy burst forth from the geyser of freedom. He might have thought, “I have not fallen dead, therefore, the Presence of the Lord in the Ark is pleased with me.” It sounds odd, but as spiritual beings it can be the thermometer of our relationship with God, which in light of the eternal plan is exactly the same as saying, “The sun is shining on me today, therefore my Creator is smiling on me.” Uzzah and Michal are seated before the Shekinah of the Ark in heaven for all eternity knowing they affected Her creation for all time. What can be more satisfying than that, and they did not even deserve such a reward. David and Hannah experienced it in both this life and the next, but they too required Her mercy before the all-knowing Judge of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps even more than Uzzah and Micah. The key is that the relationship is defined by the Source of Life and from this foundation all life finds growth, even when it seems impossible like the sprouting of Aaron’s staff. For David, he would have to wait until the next life to move the Ark into his city.
David moved the Ark into the Tent of the Tabernacle on Mt. Moriah (1 Chronicles 15) until Solomon placed it in the Temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5):
And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto its place, into the Sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. - 1 Kings 8:6
Solomon furnishing the Temple with the Ark
The words of the prophet sing, “In everything there is a season.” Eventually, we will find rest in the same resting place as the Ark. All we need is to trust the divine plan before all the influence the world can muster, much like Moses who was able to understand God’s mercy before the Ark. After the example of Moses, King Hezekiah also interceded before the Ark for Israel under the threat in a letter from the Assyrian army:
And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD….
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said: 'O LORD, the God of Israel, that sittest upon the cherubim, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth.
Incline Thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open Thine eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, wherewith he hath sent him to taunt the living God.
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,
and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them.
Now therefore, O LORD our God, save Thou us, I beseech Thee, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only.'
Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: 'Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Whereas thou hast prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard thee.
This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him: The virgin daughter of Zion hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee….
And this shall be the sign unto thee: ye shall eat this year that which groweth of itself, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.
And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of mount Zion they that shall escape; the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this….
For I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake.
- 2 Kings 19: 1, 14-21, 29-31, 34
Hezekiah might have initially naturally been overwhelmed by letter from the warring Assyrian king. But he placed it before the Ark of the Covenant and was washed in the courage of Shem Shekinah. He might have thought, “Here, Creator of all. You can have this letter. It is certainly too much for me, but not too much for you. It appears that the Assyrians want to be forever remembered as an example of the power of their Creator.”
King Josiah was among the last to witness the Ark in the Temple of Solomon. In 586 bce, a generation after Josiah’s death, the Babylonian’s drew Israel into exile (2 Chronicles 35). The King of Israel forgot to place the Babylonian’s war letter before the Ark.
Jeremiah consoled those in exile by speaking of God’s throne and covenant written not merely in the Ark (Jeremiah 3:16-17), but in the New Jerusalem in the hearts of the remnant of Israel (Jeremiah 31, 31-34; Ezekiel 9-11). Those who truly knew the relationship of the Shekinah of the Ark of the Covenant already understood Jeremiah. Remember, the greater purpose of the Ark was to help Israel find a resting place. Once the resting place was identified the Ark could remain hid, but only with the understanding that the resting place is for both Creator and creation to dwell together forever. The deeper heart to heart relationship revealed God’s trust beyond the face to face relationship and so the Ark could be hid for another purpose.
Now, what was hidden from all the world but Israel, is now hidden from all the world including Israel. The mystery the world was given is that there is a God that dwells in Israel. The world is then compelled to ask the question, “Why is Israel so special?”
Based on the response of Michal toward David for dancing naked before the Ark and the harsh treatment toward the barren Hannah, perhaps there is a parallel with the envy toward Israel by other nations due to suspicions regarding the Hebrews’ special relationship with God. Yet, the persecutors of Israel miss the point and are begging to become witnesses to the end of the earth of God’s reckoning power.
This is the point of singling out Israel with the Ark of the Covenant: The Hebrews attempted to maintain a Shekinah based Ark of the Covenant relationship worked out through the finding of a common resting place highlighting the intimacy between Israel and God; after finding the resting place in the Promise Land of Canaan, the Ark was hidden, not just from the world, but from Israel as well. The Shekinah, who sees through even the keenest false judgments, desires to draw all of humanity under the same story of the Ark. The wisdom of it all unites Israel to the rest of humanity in our common divine journey in finding the New Resting Place of the Ark. It is another way of saying that we are all children of Abraham (the First Father of the Covenant), or for certain Adam (the First Father of All).
It is true, Jeremiah down played the significance of the Ark (Jeremiah 3:16). If our covenantal relationship with God is generated by other means, the Ark is not a necessity. But the Creator designed it as an instrument. What tools the Creator stores in his carpenter’s box can be taken out again at the Creator’s necessity. When it comes to the Ark of the Covenant this is exactly what is happening. Even during the return from Babylon, there were Jews on Mount Zion that believed the Ark would one day reappear. Consider the following sacred verse from the Greek speaking Hebrews:
It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain (Mt. Nebo) where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God.
And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance.
Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: "The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy.
And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated.”
- 2 Maccabees 2:4-8
Jeremiah hiding the Ark on Mount Nebo
The Christians believed the Ark to reappear also (Revelation 11:19). There is the Christian belief that the blood of their Messiah at Calvary is the fulfillment of the blood of animals poured on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant at the Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:4). Christians would regard as fulfillment of the Maccabees prophecy above the white cloud on the Mount of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9) where Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus to shine bright as the sun, while Peter, James and John looked on in amazement. The white cloud is transferred from a relationship between the Shekinah of the Ark to a relationship with the Messiah and His Father who speaks from heaven, “This is my own dear son, listen to him.” Mark 9:7. Could Jesus from Galilee be this Messiah? And if the Messiah, would he not identify the location of the Ark?
Israel’s relationship with the Messiah would develop in some fashion similar to Israel’s relationship with the Shekinah of the Ark. Like King David and Samuel’s mother, Hannah, Jesus suffered from the scorn of those around him who were using their political and religious influence to have Jesus killed. To take his disciples upon Mount Herman was an opportunity to find a resting place for God and his people. Walking with his disciples up the Mountain he must have recalled the song of David:
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
'When shall I come and appear before God?'
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say unto me all the day: 'Where is thy God?'
These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, how I passed on with the throng, and led them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why moanest thou within me?
Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him for the salvation of His countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore do I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and the Hermons, from the hill Mizar.
Deep calleth unto deep at the voice of Thy cataracts; all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.
By day the LORD will command His lovingkindness, and in the night His song shall be with me, even a prayer unto the God of my life.
I will say unto God my Rock: 'Why hast Thou forgotten me?
Why go I mourning under the oppression of the enemy?'
As with a crushing in my bones, mine adversaries taunt me; while they say unto me all the day: 'Where is thy God?'
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why moanest thou within me?
Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance, and my God.
- Psalm 42
Just like the Psalm, up Mount Hermon, Jesus and his disciples would have passed many brooks with deer drinking from the cascades that eventually would flow into the Jordan. Messiah or not, Jesus soul was crushed within, since he was wanted in Jerusalem and even in his hometown nearly cast over a cliff. He would tell his disciples, “Foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest.” Luke 9:58. Was this not the purpose of the Ark of the Covenant, to find a place of rest for Israel and their God?
Where was the Ark of the Covenant at the time of Jesus of Nazareth? Perhaps its whereabouts would shed some light on who was this Jesus truly. A historical document called, Jewish Antiquities, by Josephus potentially places the Ark of the Covenant at Mount Gerizim in the region of Samaria.
The Samaritan Prophet of 36 ce:
For a man who made light of mendacity and in all his designs catered to the mob, rallied them, bidding them go in a body with him to Mount Gerizim, which in their belief is the most sacred of mountains. He assured them that on their arrival he would show them the sacred vessels which were buried there, where Moses had deposited them. His hearers, viewing this tale as plausible, appeared in arms. They posted themselves in a certain village named Tirathana, and, as they planned to climb the mountain in a great multitude, they welcomed to their ranks the new arrivals who kept coming. But before they could ascend, Pilate blocked their projected route up the mountain with a detachment of cavalry and heavily armed infantry, who in an encounter with the first comers in the village slew some in a pitched battle and put the others to flight. Many prisoners were taken, of whom Pilate put to death the principal leaders and those who were most influential among the fugitives.
Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.85-87
The Samaritan prophet was convincing enough for many to sacrifice their lives for these sacred vessels of Moses on Mount Gerizim. Being from Moses these vessels may have included the Ark of the Covenant. Were there more sources available to confirm this possibility? It was not until the mid-20th Century that one such source was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. On a Copper Scroll found in a cave behind the ruins of Qumran beside the Dead Sea were written 64 locations of various treasures of gold and silver and what scholars believe might possibly be treasures from the Temple of Jerusalem. One of the locations of temple treasure written near the end of the Copper Scroll reads:
On Mount Garizim, underneath the staircase of the upper
tunnel: a chest and all its contents and sixty talents of silver.
Could this chest be the Ark of the Covenant together with its contents of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the golden urn with manna and Aaron’s staff. These are two confirmed sources of the day telling of temple treasure buried at Gerizim. And there is a third source. This potential Messiah himself was at the base of Mount Gerizim and his extended dialogue with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well is recorded as follows:
Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
He had to pass through Samar'ia. So he came to a city of Samar'ia, called Sy'char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down eside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There came a woman of Samar'ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar'ia?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?"
Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
The woman answered him, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, `I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly."
The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things."
Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."
Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, "What do you wish?" or, "Why are you talking with her?"
So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city, and said to the people,
"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"
They went out of the city and were coming to him.
Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?"
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, `There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
For here the saying holds true, `One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did."
So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."
After the two days he departed to Galilee. - The Gospel of John, Chapter 4
Again, there is a relationship developing here between God (if Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah) and another woman, who would be regarded as an outcast to many in Israel like the barren Hannah. If Jesus is God, he would draw her into relationship even though she was a Samaritan outcast. If Jesus was God he would also know that the Ark of the Covenant was there above Jacob’s well buried under the steps of the Samaritan Temple on Mount Gerizim. If he was the Messiah, would Jesus not give a sign to the reader of his knowledge of the presence of the Ark? Notice when Jesus speaks of his food ‘to do the will of him who sent me’, and says:
Do you not say, `There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. - Mark 4:35
Jesus command to his disciples to lift up their eyes to perceive the white of the harvest that their may be a reaping and rejoicing, is the exact event that took place when the Ark returned from Philistine to the fields of Beth Shemesh:
And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone... - 1 Samuel 6:13-14
They lifted up their eyes and saw the Ark…
The woman at the well and Jesus were debating this very event. Jesus convinced her that salvation was from the Hebrews who believed the Temple was meant to be in Jerusalem. Yet, he admitted that even those in Jerusalem would descend their mountain together with those at Mount Gerizim to worship together in spirit and in truth. The Temple of Mount Gerizim actually contained a hiding place of the Ark. Why? Perhaps it was smuggled there by Samaritans to solidify their attempts at authenticating the Temple at Gerizim. Perhaps there is another cause. How many times have we attempted to explain the location of the Ark of the Covenant as if it were something that humanity had control over? Israel and Philistia had to learn this the hard way, that we do not find the Ark, the Ark finds us. If Jesus is the Messiah, he is relating to the Samaritan woman that the original Mountain of Salvation is Zion, therefore, the Ark at Mt. Gerizim is intended to sanctify the humanities attempt at making a holy mountain. The Messiah meeting the woman at the base of this mountain is a confirmation of this work of God to bring the salvation of Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The cloud appears at Mount Gerizim in Jesus’ description of the ripe white harvest of wheat gathering as the Samaritans believe in the Messiah. Just as the cloud atop Mount Hermon where Jesus is transfigured. In Jesus day Mount Hermon was understood as the Mountain of Pan (meaning ‘all’ in Greek), deity of the earth and the harvest. Yet in the Transfiguration these Christian text does not name the Mountain. The Transfiguration, like Mount Gerizim, represents ‘all’ (pan) the mountains of the earth where God of heaven speaks, ‘This is my own dear son, listen to him.’ Just below it was Peter, Jesus’ disciple who testified that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus calls Peter by a new name, Rock, where a new Temple will be built. It is much like at Beth Shemesh, where the great rock was itself used as a resting place for the Ark.
And what was the New Ark of the Covenant, in the Human Vessel called Messiah by name, what was this New Ark doing hidden in the white cloud of the Transfiguration on Mount Pan. Pan was the deity who played the pipes out of the seven reeds of the beautiful goddess. Jesus compared his generation to children in the marketplace. The children played the pipe with no one to dance and they sang sad songs with no one to weep. That is why Jesus brought his disciples up to Mount Pan and transfigured, that all the world would know at the Pipes of Pan the Messiah danced and in the sight of Jerusalem he weep.
Yet, when we raise our eyes above the white field of wheat being harvested by those who believe in the Messiah; when we raise our eyes and see the Ark of the New Covenant raised up on the blossoming tree of the Cross; when we raise our eyes and see the Messiah sitting on the great stone rolled away at Calvary and there he is playing the pipes; would we refuse to dance?
The woman of Samaria at the base of Mount Gerizim did not refuse:
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did."
She obeyed the command of the Messiah who danced to the pipes of Pan to the tune of the story of humanity known across the entire world. She obeyed the voice from heaven, ‘This is my own dear son, listen to him.’
What are we, the children in the world marketplace, left with? Can we search the world over and find the lost Ark of the Covenant? We can search, but that would mean refusing to hear the testimony of the Philistines, whose many dead before the Ark minister to us that there is no need to search for God’s resting place. Rather, look up, the Ark is rising over the white harvest of wheat of humanity. We cannot find the Ark, but the Ark has found us!
If Jesus is the Messiah, we have been truly found. And the Ark was identified by this Messiah at his first coming as a human being. This Messianic-human died and rose from the dead, he ascended into the clouds and would return on the clouds. As a sign of the time of His return, the Ark of the Covenant will suddenly appear through the fog and find us.
This Ark ‘appeared’ to Moses and Aaron who were in covenant – that is God and Israel were together seeking a ‘resting place’. The resting place was eventually ‘found’ in the Temple of Solomon. The Ark was moved around to several hiding places after humanity breached this covenant. It’s last known hiding place was under the Temple of Gerizim. From the above quote we learned that those who tried to uncover it were killed and scattered by Pilot. Was there anyone else who may have attempted to retrieve the Ark?
Interestingly, about a thousand years after this supposed Messiah went into the clouds, the crusaders took the Holy Land in 1099 ce precipitating the Templars to establish a settlement at Nablus at the base of Mount Gerizim. They were first called the Poor Fellow-soldier of Jesus Christ and founded with the help of the Cistercian, Bernard of Clairvaux, in order to protect the pilgrims of the Holy Land. An amazing twist of fate was granted the Order when in 1118 ce King Baldwin II of Jerusalem gave them a headquarters on the ruins of the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moria, Jerusalem. The name of the Poor Fellows soon became the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, the Templars for short. Having posts at both Solomon’s Temple and Mount Gerizim is why it gets so interesting. Since the Copper Scroll identifies treasures, which it claims were also written on a text hidden near Mount Gerizim. Did the Templar’s find this second Treasure Scroll and any of its treasure?
The Templars escorting pilgrims to Jerusalem
The answer is very likely, since after only 10 years on the Temple Mount, the headquarters of the Templars was moved to France by the head Templar or Master of the Temple, Hugh de Payens. Suddenly a flood of wealth covered the Templars as their land, buildings, recruits and benefactors increased their influence over all of Europe and even in the Vatican, where their Order was given official approval in 1128 ce. Were the Templars like a blossom of Aaron’s rod, fashioned in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in order to protect and defend it? If so, the sudden rise of the wealth and prestige of the Templars is understandable, given the amount of hidden silver and gold recorded on the Copper Scroll. The Templar numbers, their naval fleet, castles, churches and benefactors had grown enough that the Temple treasure could have been safely hidden in many places across Europe, such as this Cathar Castle located in Southern France.
Yet, the Templar’s freedom and prestige in Europe was not to last. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philippe IV of France, after persuading Pope Clement V, ordered the disbanding of the Templars. On March 18, 1314 ce, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Templars, was burned at the stake. Jacques requested his stake be turned so his eyes would face Notre Dame and he predicted the death of his accusers within one year. Pope Clement died suddenly a month later and King Philippe died after seven months. What about the Templar’s treasure?
On October 12th, 1307, 18 Templar ships were recorded leaving the La Rochelle harbor in France with a load of their treasures. The surviving Templars allegedly fled to Scotland and changed their name to the Knights of Christ. They found refuge with the Sinclair family, some of whom were Templar’s themselves at the capture of Jerusalem. What about the Ark? Was it kept at the Sinclair’s Rosslyn Chapel?
Henry Sinclair, born 1345, grew in wealth as a merchant with a fleet of 13 ships by 1390. In 1398 he was reported to leave Scotland with 12 ships and a crew of 200-300 Knights of Christ and other farming monks. One theory is that he travelled to Nova Scotia and buried the Ark and Temple Treasures at Oak Island.
The bent in modern research would argue that Columbus discovered America. They call any claims of New World discovery prior to Columbus pseudo-research. A polite way of saying, true or not, we don’t have to believe you. But the earliest maps of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, speak of a truth that was intended to be hidden even just a little beyond common belief.
Ramusio Geovanni’s map of 1565 calls the bay of Oak Island, Port of Refuge, seen below.
Ramusio Geovanni’s map of 1565
Nova Scotia is called the Land of Nurumbega (New City). The early explorers would speak of their visit to this City, where gold and furs were traded. Other locations marked near Port of Refuge include, Flora, Le’ paradis, Port Real and Isola della rena. Supporters of the Ark of the Covenant theory of Oak Island align these place names to read: the Flower of Paradise is a True Refuge for the Queen (rena). The Queen being Zion’s Daughter and/or the Shekinah Divine Presence associated with the Ark. In fact, Isola della rena is translated, Sandy (Sable) Island.
Another Map of from 1556-1560 depicts the same lines from the ‘square island’ seen below:
Pseudo-Agnese map of 1556-1560
On this map, the ‘square’ Sable Island is named Y(sole)
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