I believe there were Israelite artifacts of precious metals and gems, maybe even the ark. But I also believe the individual pieces were long ago broken down for their intrinsic value. If someone had put away an actual object it would have been worth hundreds of times more that its raw worth and would have been revealed by now.
Do you believe the Ark of the Covenant still exists (or ever existed)?
While it is entirely possible that it existed, I think like much of the ancient past, the legends and powers associated with it were more about controling the people to believe in a god, then to actually be true. If it did exist, I think it was most likely destroyed for its value in gold and melted down to be other things. Most modern biblical scholars feel the most likely place for it, is Ethiopia.
I believe it did exist, but was either lost, or carried away with other spoils of war as depiced in the bible: I Kings 14:25-26 says, "In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made"
II Chronicles 12:2-4,9 also says: "... When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made..."
An apocraphal book, The Fourth Book of Ezra 10:19-22 mentions the ark as well: ".....For you see that our sanctuary had been laid waste, our altar thrown down, our temple destroyed; our harp had been laid low, our song has been silenced, and our rejoicing had been ended; the light of our lampstand had been put out, the ark of our covenant has been plundered, our holy things have been polluted, and the name by which we are called has been profaned; our free men have suffered abuse, our priests have been burned to death, our Levites have gone into captivity"
There were stories that the Romans captured it when they destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE, but Josephus' statement regarding the Holy of Holies seems to dispell that: "...The innermost chamber measured 30 feet and was similarly separated by a curtain from the outer part. Nothing at all was kept in it..." (Book 5, Chapter 5 page 304).
If it did exist, it was captured, melted down into something else long ago.
Well, let's break this into pieces.
First of all, the Israelites really existed a long time ago.
Secondly, they had a religion.
Thirdly, religions commonly have artifacts, one of which could be a box containing other items, all of which are considered holy.
So, did the Ark really exist? Well, sure, why not?
Is it still around today? Well, some ancient artifacts have been recovered. It is conceivable that this one is buried in a pile of rubble or at the back of a cave. Its recovery gets more and more unlikely with time, but it is not impossible that it may someday be found.
The big issue that I have avoided is: did the damn thing have supernatural powers? Of course not.
There is nothing better than concrete proof of something.
Don't believe me? Why look here at my proof.....see?
Now do you believe me?
A court of law works that way.
Exhibit A: the murder weapon with finger prints that match the accused.
Put that in the context of a murderered soul with the bullet that matches the weapon and BINGO! SOLID EVIDENCE!!
At least, ideally that is how things work.
But, what if you had a person claiming to have talked directly to God Almighty and who tells you God wrote laws with his own finger? Would you want to see the writing on the surface of the tablets of stone? Sure you would; I would too.
What if that person got so mad at you they smashed the tablets and destroyed the proof? Would you settle for a copy? Now, mind you, the copy won't be done by God's own finger--but, the laws will be the same.
See how that works? Like a magic trick a switch takes place.
Now, take this a step farther.
What if you want to "prove" a legend is true? What if you have a box that contains all the proof you need that the legend is true? Would that satisfy your human skepticism? Sure it would---unless....Oh-did I mention there is a rule about NEVER TOUCHING THE BOX? Yep, if you touch the box (to open it and remove the "proof") you die. Sure you will because.....there is this story about a guy named Uzzah who did that very thing. Yep, he just barely touched the box to keep it from falling and he was struck dead. Is that (story) proof you better not touch it?
See how that works? Proof can be "proof" just by representing PROOF.
What if you limit the handling and storage of this "proof" box to just one person and one day of the year they can even be around it? Gets better and better doesn't it?
But wait!! How about the box just mysteriously vanishing? That would conveniently omit any possibility of it falling into prying hands who might not believe the "touch it and you die" story.
I think that might work.
So, in summation we have:
Once upon a time we had lots of proof that our legend is true. We kept the proof in a box that nobody could touch or open and we stored it in a special place that only one person had access to before it mysteriously vanished.
Wouldn't you be willing to accept that as "PROOF"??
Huh? You say, "no"?
Well man----you must be some sort of rational thinker who refuses to be hoodwinked, then.
Or, to put it another way: you are a faithless rascal worthy of destruction.
I agree with Arthur. There is a good discussion of the Ark and the Tabernacle in the book Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman. So, current scholarship shows that it most likely did exist, though the miracles that were written about it in the Bible never happened. Does it exist anymore? It was made of wood. It may have naturally deteriorated over time. What happened to the gold? Could be in Fort Knox or a Saudi vault like so much Aztec gold.
Orthodox Jews seem to feel that it was hidden in one of the secret passageways/rooms under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but since Arabs control that area they are not able to excavate to look for it, hence there desire to get control of the Temple area back and then rebuild the Temple. The hiding was to protect this object when the Romans started to destroy the Temple in 70 AD.
I believe it existed, but do not know if it has survived all these years! If it did, it would fetch millions and millions of dollars as an artifact! $$$$$$$
Outaservice (broker than a skunk!)
Yes, it's in my garage. I use it as a base for my workbench, and I have the cherubs standing on either side of my front door.
Enough humor, let's help her with the question.
I believe that it had existed, but as to what happened to it, I don't know. At what point did it lose its magical powers and allow people to melt it down? :)
Search for the Ark of the Covenant
LOG BOOK ENTRY
ISRAEL , EGYPT , ETHIOPIA
EDITOR'S NOTE: While investigating possible locations of the Ark of the Covenant, the BASE research team has conducted expeditions to Ethiopia,Egypt, Israel and Rome. Although the subject is controversial and clouded with confusion, one emerging theory indicates that the Ark of the covenantwas transported out of ancient Israel and may be in Ethiopia today. As unusual as this may sound, the BASE team has uncovered compelling evidence that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River to an eventual resting place in the remote highlands of ancient Kush - modern Ethiopia. LOG BOOK ENTRY: ISRAEL (Jerusalem)
Although the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the last known location of the Ark of the Covenant, its date of departure from the Temple is a topic of much debate. The last known reference alluding to the Ark's presence in the Temple dates from 701 BC, when the Assyrian king Sennacherib surrounded Hezekiah'sforces in Jerusalem. Isaiah 37:14-16 reads, "And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying: 'O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim . . .'" This reference to the presence of God's shekinah glory abiding above the mercy seat on the Ark of the covenant, between the cherubim sculpted on the lid of the Ark, seems to confirm that the Ark was still located in the Holy of Holies in 701 BC.
It appears that the villain in the drama of the Ark was the subsequent king, Manasseh, and that the Ark most probably was taken out of the Temple during his reign. Although the extent of Manasseh's evil does not allow a full description here, the Bible summarizes his deeds by noting that he did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed. He practiced wizardry and sorcery, placed pagan idols in the Holy of Holies, and shed innocent blood in the streets of Jerusalem, from one end to the other. Our belief is that a pure Levitical priesthood, left over from the days of Hezekiah, would not have tolerated the degrading and polluting of the Temple containing the Ark of the Covenant. It is even possible that Manasseh would have ordered the Ark removed from the Temple before installing his own debased idols. Whatever the reason the Ark was removed, it is interesting to note that that just a short time after King Manasseh (687-642 BC), King Josiah (who brought great reform to the Jews) mentions the Ark's absence from the Temple. In 2 Chronicles 35:3 we read, "Then he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to the Lord: 'Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the Son of David, king of Israel, built. It shall no longer be a burden on your shoulders.'" This not only appears to confirm that the Ark had been removed from the Temple, but also that the priests had been moving it somewhere in the manner prescribed by Levitical law. But if the Ark of the Covenant was removed from the Temple during the reign of Manasseh, where was it taken?
LOG BOOK ENTRY: EGYPT (Aswan, Elephantine Island) We have discovered historical evidence that during the reign of Manasseh in Israel, a colony of Jews - including Levitical priests - migrated from Israel and founded a colony on Elephantine Island in Egypt. It is strongly possible, if not probable, that the Elephantine Jews were escaping the desecration and persecution of wicked King Manasseh, and that they had the Ark of the Covenant with them. In our visit to Elephantine Island, we thoroughly investigated ruins of a replica Jewish temple that had been built by 650 BC, matching precisely the dimensions of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. Of course, the practice of building temples outside of Jerusalem was strictly forbidden by Deuteronomic Law, so only the most dire of circumstances would have compelled a group of Jewish refugees to undertake such a project. Moreover, a temple replica would have been fruitless at that point in history without serving its primary function as a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. A number of ancient documents (such as the Elephantine Papyri) seem to confirm the existence of a Jewish Temple at Elephantine. Egypt, or at least certain districts of Egypt, would have been a safe haven for Jewish refugees, as we see from King Neco's friendly appeal to Josiah in 2 Chronicles 35:20-21 , less than a generation later. (It may even be that Josiah died trying to gain enough control over Egypt to reclaim the Ark). What's more, our scholarly contact in Egypt, Dr. Atif Hanna, curator of the Aswan Museum, has concluded from his investigation that the Ark of the Covenant did indeed come to Elephantine Island during the reign of Manasseh in Israel, and that it was housed in the replica temple. However, Dr. Hanna has also determined that the replica temple was destroyed for unknown reasons - possibly the advance of a new, aggressive from of idol worship - in 410 BC. That event, then, raises the question: Where would the Ark have been taken? Where might our search lead us next? At this point, all indicators pointed toward Ethiopia. LOG BOOK ENTRY: ETHIOPIA (Lake Tana)
Why take our search to Ethiopia? First of all, for centuries of Ethiopian history, there has existed strong tradition and legend that the Ark of the covenant indeed found its final resting place in Ethiopia. But even more important, the Bible and related sources are not silent on the subject of a direct connection between the Jews and Ethiopia. Josephus, Jewish historian to the Romans, cites a strong connection between Moses (during his princely upbringing in Egypt) and Ethiopia. In Book II, Chapter X of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus recounts an episode in which Moses, leading forces from Egypt, besieges the Ethiopian city of Saba, and subsequently receives an offer of marriage from the king's daughter named Tharbis. According to Josephus, Moses accepts and consummates his marriage to an Ethiopian, and so wins the city for Egypt. Is this fable or fact? It's hard to say for certain - but in Numbers 12:1 we find that ". . . Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian."