Does the Ancient Ark of the Covenent Still Exist?

    September, 1998 - New Year Edition            
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Does the Golden Ark which held
the Original Ten Commandments Still Exist?


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Do the original Ten Commandments still exist?

By Zev Kassman

  There is good reason to believe that not only the original Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai, but also a jar of manna, from which the Jews ate during the forty years they traversed the desert prior to coming into the land of Israel still exists buried under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (see the Rambam, Mishna Torah, Hilchot Beit HaBecheirah 4:1 and see Tractate Yoma, 53b) These, plus the legendary staff of Aaron the High Priest and a jar of oil to be used in anointing the next king, the new high priest and perhaps the Messiah.

  When King Solomon built the first Temple, he constructed according to a prophecy. Each compartment and area was designated for specific purposes and function. Along with the Temple as we know it, an underground passage was created. This passage was made of winding passageways which extended deep under the Temple Mount.

  During the four hundred and ten years that the first Temple stood and functioned, the golden ark which housed the original Ten Commandments rested in the area of the Temple Compound called the Holy of Holies. This was an area that only the High Priest was permitted to enter and only on Yom Kippur. When King Josiah, who lived during the final years that the Temple stood, saw the impending tragedy that loomed, he commanded that the four items be taken into hiding. This was some 22 year before the actual destruction of the Temple.

  King Josiah was considered a righteous king. He foresaw the imminent destruction coming. When he ordered the precious ark and artifacts taken out of the designated resting place in the Holy of Holies, they were taken out with out knowledge of the population. (see Second Chronicles, 35:3) This means that the Ark was not removed from the Temple through a door way or entrance, but rather by opening a secret underground passage that had been in the Temple since its creation.

  During the destruction and pillage of the Temple, the gold and silver vessels were removed and taken to Babylon as booty. There has never been any record of the whereabouts of the ark and it's holy contents. Although Nebuchadnezar, the king of Babylon, and his subsequent successors used the vessels from the Temple, they did not have the ark.

  When the second Temple was built, new vessels were made. However, the Holy of Holies existed albeit, with out the ark and it's contents. Yet even though there was a Holy of Holies in the second Temple and even though the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to perform the service of Yom Kippur, the ark and the Ten Commandments were not there. Reason is given that in truth the spot on which the Holy of Holies was built was over the secret resting place down deep in the ground under the floor of the Temple. The ark was never brought out of it's hiding place, rather it rests there in hidden slumber waiting for the time of the final Temple, the third and according to tradition last Temple to be built. Then and only then will the ark be removed and brought to it's final and supreme resting place where it and the jar of manna, the jar of the oil and the staff of Aaron will be a source of inspiration for all mankind.

  Today there is an interesting phenomenon on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount now houses two Mosques. One is called the Mosque of Omar and the second is called the Dome of the Rock. The center piece, so to speak of the Dome of the Rock is that in the middle of the mosque a gigantic rock sits. There are many Muslim traditions regarding this rock, however there are those who speculate that perhaps this gigantic rock which is too big too be moved covers the entrance to the secret tunnel.

  Perhaps now it is only speculation, however a time soon will come when investigators will be permitted to dig and examine the areas below the Temple Mount. What will be the out come of such a discovery? One thing for sure, nothing this big as ever before been uncovered.


from the September, 1998 - New Year Edition Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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