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The Ark of the Covenant

     
 

What was the Ark of the Covenant?
And where is it now?

The Ark of the Covenant was a chest in which the Jews kept their most holy objects. The chest was kept in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Soloman in Jerusalem.

The name says exactly what it was: an ark is simply a box (Noah's ark was actually a floating cuboid box rather than a ship as is often assumed. Although the word is not extensively used in modern English, farmers still refer to Pig boxes as arks). The Covenant was the supposed covenant made between God and his chosen people the Jews.

The Ark of the Covenant is mentioned several times, and described in some detail in the Old Testament.

It is not known what happened to the Ark of the Covenant after Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans in AD 70. According to depictions on Trajan's Column in Rome, Jewish treasure like the Menorah (the large Jewish seven branched golden candlestick) were carted back to Rome, but the fate of the Ark of the Covenant is something of a mystery.

One hypothesis is that it was quietly shipped off the Ethiopia before the Romans arrived. There are Ethiopian Christians who claim to still have it. Another hypothesis is that it was buried under the Temple, later to be dicovered by the Knights Templars whose headquarters the Temple became.

Another theory is that it was indeed part of the Roman booty, and when Rome was in turn sacked by Christian [sic] barbarians, it was taken back to one of the Visigothic regional capitals - perhaps Carcassonne or Rhedae - modern day Rennes-le-Château. Or perhaps like the Holy Grail to Montsegur, an idea that would inspire the Nazi historian Otto Rahn and later the makers of the film The Raiders of Lost Ark.

Either way, it seems that Middle Eastern nomadic peoples had a long lasting tradition of keeping their special possessions in boxes like the Ark of the Covenant. The tradition survived into modern times.

If you want to learn more about these questions from experts like Henry Lincoln, on location in the Languedoc, you might be interested in Templar Quest Tours.

 

 
 
 

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