Author Yuval Avivi
It happens relatively frequently. Every once in a while, some daring biblical researcher or pretentious archaeologist emerges to claim that he found a clue that will lead him to the Ark of the Covenant. According to Jewish tradition, the Tables of the Covenant, on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed, were kept in the ark within the temple. On June 4, the Jews celebrate Shavuot, which is identified with the Mount Sinai revelation.
In July 2013, in an archaeological dig in ancient Shiloh, traces were found linking the place to the site of the Tabernacle, which housed the Ark of the Covenant until the construction of the temple. Two years earlier, in 2011, it had been argued that a church in Ethiopia was the secret repository of the ark.
If you ask the Temple Mount faithful, the answer is fairly straightforward: The ark is intact and well, securely protected within the Temple Mount itself. When we talked about the timing of the founding of the Third Temple, Rabbi Yehoshua Friedman of the Temple Institute told me, “There are 10 studies about the location of the Ark of the Covenant. We read them and studied all of them, and reached the conclusion that it’s buried in the tunnels under the Temple Mount. When the day comes, we will get to it.”
Friedman is not the only one who believes this. Numerous other Jews have reached the same conclusion, and in 1981 attempts were made to hasten the longed-for day and excavate under the Temple Mount to reveal the ark. This was no underground activity by the obsessed. It was an initiative involving the chief rabbis of the time, including Rabbi Shlomo Goren, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Gedalia Schreiber, the director-general of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The effort ultimately failed amid claims of a Muslim plot to thwart the discovery.
But Friedman errs in at least one way. There are many more than 10 theories regarding the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. Some of them seem totally delusional, but among them are some serious theories by erudite researchers determined to solve the ark riddle in our day.
In Steven Spielberg's classic movie, Adolf Hitler coveted the ark for its purported magical attributes, but the one who actually found it was the titular Indiana Jones. Spielberg’s theory is inherently Hollywoodian and full of holes. Another Jones did more in-depth work on the subject: Archaeologist Wendell Jones argued that the ark was moved to the Dead Sea caves, and that he was the inspiration for the Indiana of movie fame. Obviously, no ark came to light in searches conducted in the Dead Sea area.
“According to the Book of Kings, the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the temple’s Holy of Holies by King Solomon, and from that moment on we have no evidence of its existence,” said Yigal Levin, a faculty member of the department of Jewish history at Bar Ilan University.
While the evidence might have petered out there, the theories were only beginning. As we know, Jerusalem was conquered frequently over the course of history. Nations came and left; kings robbed and religious leaders coveted. There were countless opportunities for the ark to travel to the ends of the world.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/ark-of-the-covenant-mystery-indiana-jones-third-temple.html##ixzz33pa95DSD