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Where Is The Ark Of The Covenant In The Bible

The Ark In Islamic Sources

Is There A Scientific Case For The Ark Of The Covenant? | Timeline

Chapter 2 of the Quran , is believed to refer to the Ark:

And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, a sign of his kingship is that the chest will come to you in which is assurance from your Lord and a remnant of what the family of Moses and the family of Aaron had left, carried by the angels. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.”

The Arabic word sakÄ«na is related to the post-Biblical Hebrew shekhinah, meaning “dwelling or presence of God”.

The Islamic scholar Al Baidawi mentioned that the sakina could be Tawrat, the Books of Moses. According to Al-Jalalan, the relics in the Ark were the fragments of the two tablets, rods, robes, shoes, mitre of Moses and the vase of manna.Al-Tha’alibi, in Qisas Al-Anbiya , has given an earlier and later history of the Ark.

According to Uri Rubin, the Ark of the Covenant has a religious basis in Islam, which gives it special significance.

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What Happened To The Ark Of The Covenant

There have been many theories about the Ark of the Covenant but according to experts they are only speculation. To this day there has been no sightings, nor has there been any discovery.

The Jews believe that the Ark was hidden on Mt. Nebo east of the Jordan. The Apocrypha gives a reason for this, stating that Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on Mt. Nebo before the Babylonians came and conquered Jerusalem. It also says that the location of the Ark of the Covenant would not be revealed until Gods determined time .

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In The Days Of King David

In the biblical narrative, at the beginning of his reign over the United Monarchy, King David removed the Ark from Kirjath-jearim amid great rejoicing. On the way to Zion, Uzzah, one of the drivers of the cart that carried the Ark, put out his hand to steady the Ark, and was struck dead by God for touching it. The place was subsequently named “Perez-Uzzah“, literally “Outburst Against Uzzah”, as a result. David, in fear, carried the Ark aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, instead of carrying it on to Zion, and it stayed there for three months.

On hearing that God had blessed Obed-edom because of the presence of the Ark in his house, David had the Ark brought to Zion by the Levites, while he himself, “girded with a linen ephod … danced before the Lord with all his might” and in the sight of all the public gathered in Jerusalem, a performance which caused him to be scornfully rebuked by his first wife, Saul’s daughter Michal. In Zion, David put the Ark in the tent he had prepared for it, offered sacrifices, distributed food, and blessed the people and his own household. David used the tent as a personal place of prayer.

David gave his son Solomon the plans for building the Temple. He designated the weight of the gold and silver to be used in building and furnishing the inner sanctuary. According to the historian Flavius Josephus, 300 talents of gold were dedicated by David for Solomon’s use in the inner sanctuary.

Capture By The Philistines

The Ark of The Covenant &  Freemasonry

According to the biblical narrative, a few years later the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark out onto the battlefield to assist them against the Philistines, having recently been defeated at the battle of Eben-Ezer. They were again heavily defeated, with the loss of 30,000 men. The Ark was captured by the Philistines and Hophni and Phinehas were killed. The news of its capture was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger “with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head”. The old priest, Eli, fell dead when he heard it and his daughter-in-law, bearing a son at the time the news of the Ark’s capture was received, named him Ichabodâexplained as “The glory has departed Israel” in reference to the loss of the Ark. Ichabod’s mother died at his birth.

The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, and at each place misfortune befell them. At Ashdod it was placed in the temple of Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with tumors a plague of rodents was sent over the land. This may have been the bubonic plague. The affliction of tumours was also visited upon the people of Gath and of Ekron, whither the Ark was successively removed.

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Solomon’s Temple & Babylonian Invasion

David arose as a king over the other tribes in what became known as the united monarchy. He conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital. David had plans to build a permanent house for God and ordered the Ark to be brought to the city. When the cart teetered along the way, one of the drivers reached up to stop its falling and was struck dead. David then had the Ark carried into the city by the Levites. David was not able to build the temple because he was a sinner, but his son Solomon accomplished this feat. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the very center of Solomon’s Temple, in the “holy of holies”. Only the high priest could enter the “holy of holies” on Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur became an annual ritual, the Day of Atonement . The high priest sacrificed two goats who symbolically carried the sins of the people. One was sent to the wilderness and the other sacrificed on the altar. The blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.

After the death of Solomon, 1 Kings 14:25 recounts the story of Pharaoh Shishak of Egypt who conquered the region and sacked Jerusalem. Shishak has been identified as Shoshenq I of the 22nd Dynasty of Egypt : “Shishak took away treasures of the Temple of Yahweh and the king’s house, as well as shields of gold which Solomon had made.” Scholars debate if the spoils included the Ark.

Mount Nebo remains a popular place for illegal excavations, although the government of Jordan attempts to monitor these activities.

Why Did God House Himself In The Ark

The Ark was housed in the tabernacle where Israelites brought offerings to God. Before God gave instructions to build the tabernacle, he told Moses Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them . Part of the sanctuary included the Ark of the Covenant which had an atonement cover. Two angels sat on top of the chests cover, with a Mercy Seat in between them. The Lord said he would come to the Mercy Seat to give the Israelites the commandments.

God came to the Ark when priests were present. They carried the sacred object with poles. Because of his holy nature, the priests would die if they touched the place God resides. explains The reason for this is because God’s glory and presence cannot be touched by man. Our sinful natures cause us to keel over if we come into the presence of the Lord, without the Holy Spirit residing within us. As mentioned above, because these traditions took place in the Old Testament before the birth and death of Jesus, the Israelites did not have direct access to the Holy Spirit.

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Who Stole The Ark

The Philistines captured Gods Ark after the battle of Shiloh, where the sons of the High Priest Eli – Hophni and Phinehas – were killed. It did not stay in any one place for very long, as disaster seemed to strike the Philistines whenever they moved what they believed to be a war prize. From hemorrhoids, to mice, no matter where the Philistines moved the Ark, trouble followed. It culminated in them putting the Ark in their pagan temple, and the statue of their false god Dagon was found prostrate before the Ark twice – the second time, broken. 1 Samuel 5:4 says, …and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. The Philistines only kept it seven months according to 1 Samuel 6:1, because of all the troubles that befell the cities that held the Lords ark.

The Babylonian Conquest And Aftermath

What’s Actually In The Ark Of The Covenant?

In 587 BC, the Babyloniansdestroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple. There is no record of what became of the Ark in the Books of Kings and Chronicles. An ancient Greek version of the biblical third Book of Ezra, 1 Esdras, suggests that Babylonians took away the vessels of the ark of God, but does not mention taking away the Ark:

And they took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, with the vessels of the ark of God, and the king’s treasures, and carried them away into Babylon

In Rabbinic literature, the final disposition of the Ark is disputed. Some rabbis hold that it must have been carried off to Babylon, while others hold that it must have been hidden lest it be carried off into Babylon and never brought back. A late 2nd-century rabbinic work known as the Tosefta states the opinions of these rabbis that Josiah, the king of Judah, stored away the Ark, along with the jar of manna, and a jar containing the holy anointing oil, the rod of Aaron which budded and a chest given to Israel by the Philistines. This was said to have been done in order to prevent their being carried off into Babylon as had already happened to the other vessels. Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Shimon, in the same rabbinic work, state that the Ark was, in fact, taken into Babylon. Rabbi Yehudah, dissenting, says that the Ark was stored away in its own place, meaning somewhere on the Temple Mount.

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What Was The Ark Made Of

There are two biblical stories describing the construction of the ark. The first, and most famous version, is found in the Book of Exodus and describes how a large amount of gold was used to build the Ark. The second version, found in the Book of Deuteronomy, briefly describes the construction of an Ark made just of wood.

Understanding the stories surrounding the Ark is challenging because of the different accounts. Some scholars believe that multiple arks may have been constructed and used at the same time or at different times.

The story of the construction of the ark told in the Book of Exodus describes in great detail how God ordered Moses to tell the Israelites to build an ark out of wood and gold, with God supposedly giving very precise instructions.

“Have them make an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.” Exodus 25:10-11.

Poles made of acacia wood and gold were used to carry the ark and two cherubim were to be sculpted out of gold and placed on the lid of the ark. “The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover.” Exodus 25:20. Tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments were placed inside the ark.

What Was The Meaning Of The Ark

Before Jesus died on the cross, the Holy Spirit didnt come into the hearts of believers. Today Christians are continuously in the presence of God and can call on him anytime. The Israelites didnt have that luxury. The Ark of the Covenant represented Gods presence. There are several examples of this in Scripture.

In Joshua 3, the Israelites needed to cross the Jordan River to get to the Promised Land. Orders were given to follow the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant. In verse 5, the Bible says Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. The next day, the Lord proclaims Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses . The priests brought the Ark into the river and the waters were stopped to allow the Israelites to cross. After everyone made it to the other side, the chest was removed and the waters again filled the river. The Ark, representing Gods presence, allowed the people to safely cross the Jordan.

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Bible References To The Ark Of The Covenant

Exodus 25:10-22 the Ark is mentioned more than 40 other times in Scripture, in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Psalms, and Revelation.

Also Known As:

Ark of God, Ark of God’s Strength, Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, Ark of the Testimony.


The Ark of the Covenant was connected with several Old Testament miracles.

What Was The Significance Of The Ark Of The Covenant


When the word ark is mentioned in correlation to the Bible, many picture Noahs ark, the gigantic boat housing two of every animal before the big flood. The picture of the Ark of the Covenant can be less common in Christian culture. What was this ark and what was its significance? Lets see what the Bible has to say about this important artifact in history.

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The Ark Of The Covenant In The Bible

In Exodus 25:10, Moses receives the command to build an ark of acacia wood. Within this ark were to be placed the tables of the law which God was about to give to Moses. Upon the top of the ark, probably not as a lid but above the lid, was a golden plate upon which two cherubim, with raised wings and facing each other, covered the ark. From the place between the two cherubim, God promises to speak to Moses, as often as He shall give him commands in reference to the Israelites.

The ark was designed to be a symbol of the presence of God in the midst of His people is the common teaching of the Old Testament. This place on the lid was also referred to as the Mercy Seat. Once a year a priest would enter the holy tent and sprinkle blood from a sacrificed animal to atone for the sins of Israel. This old covenant on the Day of Atonement is no longer needed as Jesus Christ became a new covenant in which His sacrifice on the cross was a complete atonement for sins.

According to the statements in the Priestly Code, the ark of the covenant was a chest made out of acacia wood, 2 1/2 cubits long, 1 1/2 cubits wide and 1 1/2 high. It was covered with gold within and without and was ornamented with a molding of gold running all around it. At its four feet, rings were added, through which the gold-covered carrying-staves were put.

How Do You Carry The Ark Of The Covenant

Jewish and Christian holy scriptures dictate that the Ark of the Covenant can be carried only by Levites, who constituted the ancient Jewish priestly class. They must carry the Ark by using two wooden poles inserted through rings on its sides, as touching the Ark itself will result in death at the hands of God.

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The Ark In The Wilderness

The ‘tent of meeting’ served as a portable shrine during the years in the wilderness. Inside the tent, at the center, was the Ark of the Covenant, and then zones of sacredness priests, men, women in relation to sacred space. Only Moses and Aaron were permitted to enter the presence of the Ark. The first duty upon setting up a new camp was to erect the shrine, and it was the last thing taken down when they moved on. Those carrying the equipment were placed in the center of the migrations for protection as they moved. The Ark was always carried by the tribe of Levities, the descendants of Moses and Aaron.

Numbers 9:15 described the tabernacle of the Ark being covered in a cloud by day and fire at night, demonstrating Gods presence among them.

Whenever they set out, Moses would say: “Rise up, Lord! May your enemies be scattered may your foes flee before you.” Whenever it came to rest, he said, “Return, Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel.”

Thus, the ancient tradition that the Ark held power to defeat Israels enemies. This was the premise in the blockbuster movie, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark.


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