The Ark: Most Popular Focus of Religious Mysticism


“And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests, sons of Levi, carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.” Deuteronomy 31:9

I’m going out on a limb here. There is a great deal of chatter about giving Jerusalem to the Palestinians to appease the world. Everyone has an opinion, one way or another, and most are political, some ideological, many religious.

Netanyahu and sensible people agree returning to the old borders would mean certain destruction for Israel. Why? Indefensible, they say. They are right I believe. But not for the reasons you may think.

There seems to be one point though that I have failed to hear mentioned by anyone at all. Thus I shall take it upon myself to be the one who actually proposes the theory aloud.

It will be a bit far out there to some, but I believe worth a mention all the same, so by virtue of poetic license I thus proceed.

There has been a consistent search for the Ark of the Covenant since the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar. The Ark, that has been one of the most popular focuses of religious mysticism of all time with the exception of the Holy Grail, possesses quite a history.

The Ark of the Covenant isn’t a myth. It is an actual Jewish relic that was ordered by God with specific instructions for its structure and materials.

Only when the Jewish people lost their faith did the Ark fail to protect them in battle. When taken from Shiloh to a battle against the Philistines, the Israelites lost. 30,000 died and the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines. 98 year old Eli who judged the Israelites for 40 years fell back when he heard the news and broke his neck.

It was said that “honor was exiled from Israel for the Ark of the Covenant was taken.” (Samuel I 4:22) For the seven months the Ark of the Covenant was held by the Philistines, it brought destruction and death to them wherever it was placed. City after city fell to the plague until they returned it to the Israelites.

As long as the Jewish people carried the Ark and worshipped God alone of all the gods, with all their heart, they were invincible. Miracles are attributed to its presence. The parting of the Jordan River to allow the Jews to enter Israel, the fall of Jericho and numerous other victories ascribed to its powers.

Why this fascination with an ancient relic?

Why is it necessary to even mention something that may be a myth? A fairy tale that little Jewish children heard at bedtime to lull them into sleep.

Indiana Jones wasn’t the first to search for the Ark of the Covenant. There has been, and still is, a constant collection of archeologists and religious historians who remain fixated on discovering the whereabouts of this famous Jewish religious object. Why? What difference can it make now?

Obviously the Ark’s powers are gone and no longer serve any purpose to the Jewish people. Or have they?

Most agree that if the Ark is in the hands of anyone but those who are allowed into its presence, or if it is misused in any way, only destruction can ensue. Stories of its deadly flames are described throughout in great detail.

The Ark was a cruel taskmaster and dealt harshly with those who attempted to misuse its powers.

So if it’s in the hands of Israel’s enemies today, how does that affect the Jewish people? How does that influence Israel? What possible difference could it make?

There are numerous accounts of where it was hidden.

One theory claims King Josiah dug a hole under the Temple Mount and placed it inside.

One says Solomon hid it in a cave near the Dead Sea.

Some say it is in a church in Ethiopia.

It seems there have been more sightings of the Ark than of Elvis. So is it just a legend? Only a great story that captivates generations fascinated with mysticism and myth? Or an argument for religious scholars to chew on into eternity? I am not so certain it is any of those things.

I believe the Ark is still far more powerful than one imagines. Far more important to the Jewish people than they accept, and may even be the answer to why Israel cannot possibly give away any of Jerusalem without facing certain destruction.

If one believes that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments for humanity, and it seems the world has accepted this event without much controversy, then he must also accept that God ordered the Ark built as the vessel that carried the laws.

The entire purpose of the Ten Commandments was for men to learn to live correctly on earth. Without law there is chaos. God knows this. Man knows this. No rational human being can doubt the veracity of this statement.

Thus the laws came in a holy vessel, the Ark.

God’s word would, after all, require a sacred place in which to reside. The Lord himself specified rigid guidelines for its construction. The Bible says the Ark possessed God’s voice, His holy presence among us here on earth.

The responsibility for the laws and their container was given to the Jewish people.

And as the saying goes, “To those whom much is given, much is expected in return.”

God gave the Jewish people a great deal. We were the lawgivers; our people excel in creating medicine, science and advancements for the betterment of mankind.

Jews are resented and maligned for these achievements and not in any way appreciated, but they have never asked for any gratitude nor should we expect it.

It is what the Lord intended for us.

The Ark-God’s work-is our responsibility. What price would the Jewish people pay were they to allow it to be removed from their grasp?

I think we may have already seen the penalty on numerous occasions.

Even the most liberal anti-Zionist Jews among us are stopped mid sentence when asked, “If Israel had been a powerful country in 1938 would six million Jews have died?”

Most have to admit, probably not.

What happened when the Jewish people recovered Israel?

The war against the Arab world in 1967 was a miracle and there is no way Israel should have won that war. Yet it did, handily. Was it sheer military might? Or divine intervention?

Depends on how religious one is I suppose.

If it was a miracle, then it would give credence to the theory the Ark is under the Temple Mount and its return would signal the restoration of power to the Jewish people.

Israel’s enemies launch hundreds of rockets monthly yet few hit their mark. Why? Shouldn’t the law of averages apply? Strange. Maybe some unknown force protects Israel.

Perhaps giving away the Temple Mount would be giving Samson another haircut.

But is it the Ark itself that holds the key to the Jewish people’s connection with God? Or is it merely the symbolic earthly presence that reminds us of our commitment and obligation to follow God’s instructions and tenets faithfully as a people?

Would the loss of the Ark truly be the loss of the divine connection once shared by a people and their Lord? With so many Jewish people turning their backs on Jerusalem and Israel perhaps that connection is already broken. The question the Jewish people must ask themselves is whether the Ark can be restored. And does the true restoration lie in their return to faith.

Turning away from God’s presence has proven to have dire consequences throughout time for our people.

Can the Jewish people afford to gamble with Iran busily creating bombs to destroy Israel and the Judeo-Christian world?

I believe the Ark is still a force to be reckoned with. The Jewish people must take a long hard look at what they would be giving away in any land deal.

If we believed once that the Ark made us an invincible army, why should we as a people stop believing now? Now, when it is most important to the future of not just Israel, but the entire world.

Perhaps this is just another responsibility God has given to the Jewish people. The Ark is the representation of God’s good will toward the Jewish people and their bond with Him.

Protect the Ark and allow it to exert its power. As long as Israel possesses the Ark, the world is safe and all God’s enemies will be destroyed.

Relinquish control over the Temple Mount, and we may once again lose the Ark and God’s faith in our bond.

I am unwilling to take such a risk. Are you?

Norma Zager is a Jewish woman who lives in the USA.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counterpoint from home.

Israel and the United States are interrelated – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counterpoint” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.