I recently read an article about the Ark of the Covenant and it was so thought provoking that I felt led to share it with you. What I have to relate is not found recorded in the Bible yet is completely consistent with God’s nature and actions, and is consistent with a historical account found in the extra-Biblical 2 Maccabees that the Ark was sequestered in a cave deep underground, although that is thought to be Mount Nebo in Jordan unless the authors were purposefully changing the location for secrecy.
The article is a testimony from an excavation in the late 1970’s and 1980’s that led to the reported current location of the Ark of the Covenant and what role the Ark played during the death of Jesus.
Seventh Day Adventist and Explorer Ron Wyatt (ronwyatt.com) has a remarkable website. He died a few years ago, but what he records on his website is awesome in its descriptions of his journeys even while it has a paucity of verifiable data. Yet a few of his findings really stand out. The first is his theory that is growing in acceptance that Jebel al Lawz in Saudi Arabia is Mount Sinai of the Bible. The picture of the massive rock on the top that is cleaved from top almost to the bottom tells its own tale if one knows the Scriptures. The second is a remarkable and detailed claim substantiated by numerous witnesses that he found the Ark of the Covenant, although again with almost nothing to show for it but some pictures that are not definitive. But I find that I cannot dismiss his account, as reading it is extremely compelling and what he proposes is completely consistent with God’s thoroughness and detail.
This testimony really blew my mind for it turns the blood of Jesus covering our sins on the mercy seat of the Ark into a real event and not just a figurative one. For me, this is compelling for I have discovered that we box the Bible into literary, figurative and literal truths but I believe that all events in the Bible are multilayered by literary, figurative and literal truths and the more I read and research the more this truth is revealed to me.
This is an extremely brief summery, I urge you to read it and marvel at the implications. Ron stated that he found the Ark in a cave off a series of tunnels inside the Place of the Skull, an outcropping near Jerusalem that remarkably resembles a human skull, in the late 1970’s, and excavated over a 10 year period. You can see a picture here, and incidentally a tomb very close to this has been discovered that fits the Biblical description of the tomb used by Joseph of Aramathea when he buried Jesus.
Ron states that he excavated the site over a period of several years and found a cave deep underground with a warren of tunnels. He lists an extremely detailed list of exactly what he found in the cave, most items being first century temple items including the Ark still encased in a stone box. Ron states he eventually notified The Jewish Temple Authorities of his find and it was decided to leave it and re-seal the tunnel. Ron removed part of a first temple item, a pomegranate shaped vase, to take as proof, leaving part behind to show its provenance. The origin of the vase is currently in dispute but what is known is that Ron Wyatt did work with the Jewish Ministry of Antiquities and is pictured with them holding artifacts.
Ron states that the Mercy Seat of the Ark was positioned under a large geologic crack in the ceiling and the crack had a dark substance that Ron stated later tested in a lab as blood with remarkable characteristics. He traced the crack to an area above the outcropping that had traces of crucifixion materials and depressions.
Ron’s theory is that God uniquely positioned the Ark so the Mercy Seat collected blood spilled from Jesus at His crucifixion and that Jesus was crucified directly above this area. The great earthquake as recorded during this event was the event that opened the crack in the ground, allowing Jesus’ blood to be spilled over the Mercy Seat as the final and perfect sacrifice.
The question is, is this consistent with God’s actions recorded in the Old Testament?
I believe in God’s ability to uniquely choose people to do His will without regard to their education or station in life, in fact, that He often chooses people who could not accomplish tasks outside of His help and guidance to give greater glory to Him. So I cannot discount that a Nurse Anesthetist could develop an interest in the Great Antiquities of the Bible and seek for them. We are seeing this again today in a secular sense with the excavation of Cleopatra’s temple, as the head is a South American lawyer who just had a “hunch”; or the recent finding of an ancient medieval British treasure by a lay person. “Hunches” are not the purview of the rich and learned, and often it is learning that squelches original thinking. So unlike the snobbery in the Archaeology field, it is quite possible for ordinary people to find extraordinary items. Mr Wyatt has been excluded from all mention in the Archaeology realm, including the credit for connecting Jebel al Lawz to Mount Sinai, but the pictures, landscape, geology and known Semitic findings at Jebel al Lawz/ Mount Sinai speaks for itself. But does one lucky visit equal multiple finds as he and his team claim?
Given the dearth of evidence surrounding his extraordinary claim that the Ark resides below the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, and his sealing the tunnel back up again, one has to consider whether this claim is consistent with God’s nature and actions so I asked the question: Would God satisfy the contractual requirement for a perfect human sacrifice to cover the sins of mankind JUST figuratively or BOTH figuratively and literally?
You will have to answer for yourself, but my answer was that both a literal and spiritual event was logical, for three reasons:
First, the Bible is quite clear that God is a God of Law and Order and a perfect Prosecutor and Judge and He doesn’t leave anything to chance. In this most important work, He would ensure that the actions required to fully satisfy the conditions necessary to redeem mankind from the consequence of Original Sin both physically and spiritually.
Second, the practice of typology in the Bible always points to a final event. The entire Jewish sacrificial system was a temporary fix in the Old Covenant system, made permanent with the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. The annual Day of Atonement sacrifice was BOTH a spiritual and physical typology performed by the High Priest to cover all of Israel’s sins for the year. The blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat of the Ark by the High Priest, who was required to perform ritual cleansing prior to entering the Holy of Holys. Might Jesus’ death, the final, perfect and complete propitiation of our sins, also have been the final and complete spiritual AND physical typology, fully satisfying our debt with a physical sprinkling of Jesus’ blood on the Mercy Seat?
It seems reasonable and fitting. The lid of the Ark was known in Hebrew as the kaporet, a word that comes from a root meaning “to atone” and which is related to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. While a more accurate translation of this word into English might be “propitiatory,” the traditional rendering of the name of the Ark’s lid is “the mercy seat.” The Apostle Paul uses the term Propitiation as part of his description of Christ final atoning work on the cross and this ties in well with an actual sprinkling event.
Given that typologies are extremely common in the Bible, it is completely consistent that God uniquely positioned the Ark to collect the blood of Jesus as it dripped down the newly cracked earth. Given the extraordinary lengths that God went to to “buy back mankind” it is unlikely that He would be satisfied with a figurative covering of all the sins of mankind. Both a literal and spiritual sprinkling of Jesus’ blood on the Mercy Seat would completely satisfy the contractual requirements to reverse a permanent physical and spiritual death when man broke God’s initial Conditional Covenant.
Thirdly, God is exquisitely detailed in all His methods and actions and positioning the Ark under the very spot where Jesus’ blood would run down from the cross is completely consistent with the God of the Hebrew Bible and awesome in its planning and execution. I felt this to be true deep in my spirit and I spent several days in awe stuck worship over the remarkable details that God put into place that we don’t know anything about. I am so in love with the possibility that God positioned the Ark hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ crucifixion under the very spot that would crack upon the earthquake and this just blows my mind.
To summarize, I believe Ron’s account only because it is consistent with God’s nature and actions as recorded in the Scriptures. It is both reasonable and remarkable that God would fully satisfy the contractual requirements both literally and figuratively, leaving nothing to chance. As the Ark is instrumental in the OT covenant for the temporary covering of the sins of Israel I believe that a physical sprinkling of the blood of Jesus is an essential component of satisfying the contract that Jesus paid with His sacrificial death. We who are grafted into the Body of Christ are grafted into this final atonement. While belief or proof of this doesn’t change one’s salvation I do believe that it edified and strengthened my faith, and in faith I believe that it will be proven on God’s perfect time schedule. It makes me wonder what other amazing details God orchestrated to bring Jesus’ crucifixion to fruition that are not yet known to us.
So why would God hide this awesome and amazing work and why reveal it now?
I can only conjecture, but the Jewish sacrificial system ended in AD 70 with the destruction of the Jewish temple. God orchestrated the perfect event to hide the Ark with the Babylonian invasion so it would be ready for the final sprinkling of Jesus’ blood centuries later. Since the Jewish people did not welcome the Messiah, I am certain that they would not have willingly placed it under Jesus’ cross to collect His blood so the Babylonian invasion seems a fitting time to sequester it. Further, after Jesus’ death, God had no further need for a sacrificial system, so it is an important and Holy relic of the Old Covenant that must be preserved. Knowledge of it would only have been distracting, would not add anything to the Gospel, and would only create the kind of frenzy that the Holy Grail and other items caused over the centuries. The re-discovery only adds to the idea that we are truly in the prophetic End Times.
Our God is an awesome God who perfectly details and orchestrates events to rescue us from the teeth of Satan and eternal death. As to the veracity of this claim by Ron and his team, excavations claiming to be part of Ron’s group (refuted by Ron) were attempted afterward and they stated they did not find any evidence, which means that either it isn’t there or God is waiting for the perfect time and the right people to find it again. But if it is there and if or when God wants it revealed, He will reveal it in the fullness of time. Why God allowed Ron to find it in the late 1982 is a mystery but God’s ways are not our ways. Ron died unvindicated but time will prove his findings if valid, as he says he left proof in the cave.
To read the entire and very detailed account, click on this link. It is a long read and it is divided into multiple parts but it is awesome in its detail with thought provoking pictures.