Ark of the Covenant
      Throughout history people have had a fascination with finding the ark of the covenant. Even Hollywood with its adventure packed blockbuster "Raiders of the Lost Ark" captivated the attention of audiences everywhere. It was an exhilarating experience to be taken on a journey with Indiana Jones on his quest for the sacred relic. But unlike the movie, where the Ark was uncovered, in real life its resting place still remains a mystery.
      Some believe the ark is hidden somewhere beneath the Temple Mount, in one of the rock carved tunnels that lay underneath. While others believe it was taken out of Israel and carried off to Ethiopia.
      Although there are many theories behind where the ark of the covenant currently resides, one thing is certain, archaeology has already proven its existence.
      In Jerusalem, the golden roof on the Muslim shrine of the "Dome of the Rock" towers over the site where the Jewish temple once stood.  Its foundation is a massive rock on which archaeologists have laid out all the rooms of the old Jewish temple including the Holy of Holies.
      The Holy of Holies is the room where the ark of the covenant was kept.  To this very day a rectangular depression, the same size as the ark of the covenant, can be seen marking where it once stood in the Jewish Temple. The depression measures 4'-4" x 2'-7" (2 ½ cubits x 1 ½ cubits), the exact dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant as recorded in "Exodus 25:10". And it is located right smack dab in the middle of the Holy of Holies.
Ark of the Covenant location
      According to Hebrews 9:4, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments were housed in the ark along with a golden pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded.
      The most holy place where the ark, was kept was sealed from view by a veil that only the high priest could enter. Once a year he would go behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice on the mercy seat of the ark to atone for the sins of the people.  The mercy seat was located between the two Cherubim and was where the Lord of hosts dwelt. (1 Samuel 4:4)
       When Jesus was crucified, the veil the separated the Holy of Holies was torn in two signifying that all people can now come freely into God’s presence. No longer is there a need to make an offering for sin, for Jesus our great high priest offered his body as the perfect sacrifice for sins, once for all.
      As Hebrews 9:3-15 states: "and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
       Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins until the time of reformation......
       But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
       Hebrews 10:18-22 says: 'Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
       Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.'
Shall the Ark ever be found?
       "Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days," says the LORD, "that they will say no more, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.
      "At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.” Jeremiah 3:16-17 (NKJV):
Where is the Ark?
      Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.  Revelation 11:19 (NKJV)
The Hand of God tears the Veil to Shreds
      And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
       So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"      Matthew 27:50-54 (NKJV)  
Curtain of the Temple Torn
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
Where the Ark Was
Ark Of the Covenant Location
Ark Of the Covenant Location
Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 1996 Issue
Pg.46-55 "The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple."  
The Stones Cry Out, Author: Randall Price ISBN#1-56507-640-0
Pg.211-219 "Has archaeology found the place of the ark?"
Artwork: Partial reproduction of 'The Israelites Crossing the Jordan' Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld Illustrated in “Bible in Bildern” Circa 1851-1860.
Artwork: Illustration of the top view looking down from the Dome of the Rock. Original Illustration was modified to show the location of the impression where the ark of the covenant rested. Original illustration taken from Scribner’s Monthly - Volume 11, December 1875 Article: “The site of Solomon’s Temple Discovered” pg.265, Author: Scribner and Company, Publisher: Francis Hart and Company.
Artwork: partial reproduction of 'The Curtain of the Temple Torn'  Artist: Henry Felix Emmanual Philippoteaux - Circa 1840-1880.
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Archaeology and the Old Testament