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(End of the American Dream)—When the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant is publicly announced, it will be hailed as the greatest archaeological bombshell in the history of the world, and it will also be extremely significant spiritually. But getting it out of the chamber where it is hidden will not be easy. There are at least 45 major tunnels directly underneath the Temple Mount, and many of them are very unstable. Any efforts to do any sort of major digging could cause one or more of those tunnels to collapse.
In addition, securing approval from all of the necessary authorities to take anything out from under the Temple Mount would be exceedingly complicated. And once the Ark is revealed to the world, that will likely spark massive riots throughout the Islamic world. So at this moment, there is a lot standing in the way of the Ark seeing the light of day.
According to Jewish oral tradition, the Ark was moved to a special underground chamber directly under Solomon’s Temple during the days of King Josiah…
The Book of Chronicles indicates that 22 years prior to the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, King Josiah had the ark moved out of the Holy of Holies and transferred to the “House that Solomon the son of David, the king of Israel, built” (2 Chronicles 35:3). This is perplexing because the house built by Solomon is typically associated with the Temple that was already where the Ark was being housed.
According to a Jewish Oral Tradition, the Ark was in fact moved to an underground chamber that could only be accessed through a complex system of hidden tunnels beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This underground chamber would have been built by King Solomon who foresaw the future destruction of the Temple centuries earlier and prepared for the survival of the Ark in the architectural plans of the building itself. When the time arose and danger became more apparent, the Ark was relocated to its designated hiding place where it remains until today.
I do believe that Solomon constructed a special underground chamber directly under the Temple where the Ark would go in the event that there was a war or some other major emergency.
But I am personally convinced that during the Babylonian siege the Ark was taken by Jeremiah from that underground chamber to another underground chamber where it currently rests.
Today, most serious scholars that have carefully examined the evidence agree that it is down there somewhere.
In 1981, Rabbi Yehuda Getz went down into the tunnels underneath the Temple Mount in order to look for the Ark…
In 1981, just one month after the Indiana Jones film was released, Rabbi Yehuda Getz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, was called to descend into the tunnels while they were still being excavated in search of the lost Ark. While most of the tunnels follow parallel to the Western Wall, there is one point in which the wall opens up into a gigantic passageway. This magnificent corridor popularly known as Warren’s Gate is about 18 feet wide and 36 feet high. Its association with the name Warren is because it was originally discovered by a British archaeologist called Charles Warren back in 1867.
While the large gate was sealed centuries earlier by Saladin after his conquest of Jerusalem, it would have theoretically operated as a passageway through the Western Wall underneath the Temple Mount in earlier centuries. In the times of the Second Temple, this was used as one of the gate entrances to Temple Mount, and not just any gate, but the gate in closest proximity to the Holy of Holies where the Ark would have been stored.
Getz was able to bypass the gate through a very small opening that was about two feet wide, and he felt like he was very close to the location of the Ark.
But then Muslim worshippers above ground became aware of what was going on, and there was a huge confrontation.
The opening that Getz went through was sealed up, and the passageway that Getz found “remains unexplored”…
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Although the gate was blocked when Rabbi Getz approached the area, a small 2-foot-wide opening was uncovered by the excavation team. After saying a short prayer, the rabbi descended into the passageway that had been abandoned for hundreds of years. The area was filled up with water and sewage so in order to properly excavate the site, it would have to be cleared out. Rabbi Getz called an engineering crew to enter the passageway, but the loud noises attracted attention from the Muslim worshippers above who dashed into the tunnel through manholes.
Carrying tools to seal up the hole, confrontations broke out between the Muslim worshippers and yeshiva students who came to support the rabbi. According to the Israeli Status Quo law, access to the Temple Mount is supposed to be for Muslim worshippers only with permitted visits by non-Muslim tourists at certain designated times. Nevertheless, Rabbi Getz claimed that the law was inapplicable to areas beneath the surface of the Temple Mount and that excavations should be permitted there. Due to the sensitive nature of the holy site, the opening was sealed up by Israeli authorities and the passageway remains unexplored.
On January 6th, 1982 Ron Wyatt says that he actually found the Ark of the Covenant…
“Once we found that place, I knew that, well basically, that I needed to get inside that escarpment, because there were several indications that it was just a system of tunnels and chambers, and that I needed to, basically, just go chamber by chamber, tunnel by tunnel, and whatever, systematically go through there, until I found the Ark of the Covenant, or until I didn’t find it. And so, anyway, we found it on January 6th, 1982 at approximately 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And so, when I found it, it was in a situation that I had not anticipated or expected, that was that it was in a chamber that was totally filled with what appeared to be debris. And what turned out to be a bunch of materials of furnishings of the first temple, covered first by animal skins, then that covered by boards, and then these covered by stone, just whatever they could get their hands on, looked like. It looked like it had been done in a hurry, looked like they just grabbed everything, whatever they could get to fill the place, and I was still a little fuzzy on why that would be done, but I don’t see that I need to know everything. When God does something I just know it’s done perfectly, so.” (Wyatt Interview, 1999).
Wyatt informed the Jewish authorities of what he had discovered, but we don’t know if they ever followed up on it.
But what we do know is that Jewish leaders do claim to know where the Ark is located today.
As I have discussed previously, The Temple Institute publicly admits on their official website that they know precisely where the Ark is…
The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most fascinating of all Temple-related subjects. There are many theories about what happened to the Ark of the Covenant, and speculation abounds as to its actual location. Some people think it was taken to the Vatican, together with other Temple vessels, such as those depicted on the Roman monument, the Arch of Titus. There are many authentic, ancient historical chronicles, and even more popular legends, that attest to many sacred vessels having been taken away to Rome. However, this does not apply to the most holy feature of the First Temple, the Ark.
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 for 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. An attempt was made some few years ago to excavate towards the direction of this chamber. This resulted in widespread Moslem unrest and rioting. They stand a great deal to lose if the Ark is revealed – for it will prove to the whole world that there really was a Holy Temple, and thus, that the Jews really do have a claim to the Temple Mount. (The official position of the Islamic Wakf, the body that governs over the Temple Mount, is that there never was a Holy Temple, and that the Jews have no rights whatsoever to the place).
But knowing where the Ark is and getting it out are two entirely different matters.
So when will the Ark finally be seen by the whole world?
Interestingly, an ancient Jewish text entitled “Treatise of the Vessels” actually states that the Ark will not be revealed “until the day of the coming of the Messiah”…
One text called the “Treatise of the Vessels” says that the ark “shall not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David….”
When I first learned about that ancient passage I thought that it was extremely fascinating.
Of course I believe that the Bible has something very specific to say about this matter as well.
As I discuss in my new book, a corrected translation of the original Hebrew of the first clause of Daniel 9:27 should read something like this…
“The Covenant will be confirmed (or strengthened) with many for one week”.
The Ark of the Covenant has always been the physical representation of God’s covenant with His people.
The Ark has not been seen publicly for more than 2,600 years, and so if it makes a reappearance in our day that would definitely “confirm” the reality of that covenant.
So let us keep a close eye on any news regarding the Ark of the Covenant in the days ahead.
Because once the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant is revealed, everything will change.
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