The M+G+R Foundation

The Lost Ark of the Covenant

IS NOT

  In Axum, Ethiopia



PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to show that the much spread myth that the lost Ark of the Covenant has been in Axum, Ethiopia, since after the destruction of Solomon's Temple, is just that - a myth with neither Biblical, Historical nor Chronological foundation.


INTRODUCTION

Why do we consider this issue important enough to dedicate a full document to it? Because even if the only importance the Ark has for Catholics is of historical nature (1), there seems to be a movement afoot to perhaps use it as part of the falsification in the Second Coming of Christ.

For example - the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, Abuna Pauolos, has been in the high profiled news within the last six months making some rather dramatic statements. To wit:

The patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia says he will announce to the world Friday the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps the world's most prized archaeological and spiritual artifact, which he says has been hidden away in a church in his country for millennia, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos. (2)

Of course, Friday, June 26th came and went and not a word about the alleged Ark.

and while addressing (3) Third General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops where he was invited as a special guest of Benedict XVI....
[our highlights]

"Queen Sheba had taught her compatriots about the Old Testament which she learnt from Israel. Since then, The Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia, in the city of Axum.

The son of queen Sheba, Manlike I, had followed her example and managed to bring the Ark of the Covenant of Moses to Africa, Ethiopia.

Let us speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the heart of the Africans and Jesus will return to Africa, as he did when he was a child together with the Virgin Mary. And peace, mercy and justice will come together with Jesus!"

Notice that the Patriarch used the term "as he did" which means physically and not spiritually through the conversion of the African continent.


BACKGROUND

Using Bishop Usher's Biblical dating system....

The reign of Solomon started on                1015 BC
The Temple dedication was on                  1004  BC
Queen Sheeba (Sheba or Saba) visited on   995 BC
King Solomon dies on                                 975 BC

The prophet Jeremiah is active between      628 and 586 BC
The First Captivity took place on                606 BC
Destruction of the Temple took place on     586 BC
The Final Captivity took place on                586 BC

The Ark is allegedly in Axum, Ethiopia, seen by no one but its guardian, in what is now the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.  It's alleged that it reached Axum via  Elephantine Island (stayed ca. 200 years) and  Tana Qirqos Island (stayed ca. 800 years). That is - the Ark allegedly reached Axum no later than the year 25 AD [200 + 800 - 975 = 25]

The child that supposedly was born from the relationship between Solomon and Sheba (not a historical nor Biblical fact) went on to become Menelik I, King of Axum. Menelik, who reputedly had been a faithful practicing Jew, had allegedly been gifted with a replica Ark of the Covenant by King Solomon. However, the story goes on to say that the replica and original Ark was switched with the original eventually going to Axum with Menelik and his mother.  The claim is that it is still there, guarded by a single priest charged with caring for the artifact as his life's task. (4)


DETAILS

The problem with this romantic myth lies on two interrelated facts:

1. One just did not simply switch the Ark that easily. Understanding how restricted the access to the Ark was and the immense importance it had for the people of Israel, that is about the most ridiculous explanation to justify how the original Ark left Jerusalem no later than the year 975 BC (the time of Solomon's death).

2. The Prophet Jeremiah, who was practically on a first-name-basis with God, wrote in a letter, as the Second Book of Maccabees tells us:

4 It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet, being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God. 5 And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. 6 Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place: but they could not find it.  [2 Maccabees Chapter 2]

[The Second Book of Maccabees was written between ca 180 BC and 161 BC]


Obviously God would have been aware of any switching of the Ark as the Ethiopian myth claims.

Although Solomon's relationship with the Queen Sheba and their alleged offspring is not a matter of Biblical record it is not inconceivable that:

1. It indeed took place.
2. A son resulted from it.
3. The son returned to Jerusalem to meet his father, King Solomon
4. Being the son a devout Jew, his father commissioned a replica of the Ark for his son to take to Ethiopia to be used as a focus for the religious practice of  his people.

As a matter of fact - this proposed scenario really has a "ring of truth" to it; however, from this scenario to having switched the Ark, taken it to Ethiopia (with two stops on its way) and fooling God as to where the Ark really was, makes the Star Wars trilogy mundane by comparison.


CONCLUSION

As we stated earlier - if the Ark were to be found today in the place where Jeremiah had hidden it, it would only be of Biblical and historical interest; therefore, it should not impact in any way upon the Christian Faith in general and the Catholic Faith, in particular.

The Resurrection of Jesus and His presence - Body, Blood and Divinity - in consecrated hosts and wine are the absolute center of the Catholic Faith. Granted, the Tablets contained in the Ark were engraved by the Finger of God, but in each Tabernacle in the whole wide world God is present, hidden under the species of wheat and wine (wine in Orthodox Holiest of Holies).


NOTES____________________________

(1) The Real Presence in the Eucharist surpasses any and all relics
(2) News Sources - One - Two - Three
(3) Abuna Pauolos Address
(4) Source I and Source II

Published on December 18th, 2009 - Mary's Expectation


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