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The Ark QUESTION from Bill April 12, 2000 I have heard many different thing on the Ark of the Covenant. What is the Catholic churches standing on it. Some of the things that I have heard include it was taken to heaven and Mary became the new Ark. Also it was stolen and melted down, or lost in a cave.
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on April 27, 2000 Dear Bill,
I apologize for the delay in getting back to your question. My husband and I were finishing up some coursework and we both needed the computer a lot.
The Ark of the Covenant was probably destroyed when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 587 B.C.. The reason Catholic scholars believe this is that when the Temple was destroyed, the Babylonians carried off all items of gold and silver. Since the Ark was covered in gold, it would have probably been desecrated and stripped. When the Temple was restored in 515 B.C., the Ark was not listed among the items present. The Jews would have never made such an oversight had it been in existence.
Because of certain allusions to the Ark in the Bible, some people believe that it was never destroyed. There are many theories as to what could have happened to it. One theory is that the prophet Jeremiah figured out a way to have the Ark carried off and placed in a cave where the entrance was blocked. His disciples were supposed to have marked the spot, but they lost their marker. Jeremiah became angry and prophesied that they would never see the Ark until the coming of the Messiah. This legend is based on a passage in 2 Maccabees, chapter 2. The old Catholic Encyclopaedia explains that this passage cannot be regarded as having divine authority since it was copied from another document.
The Talmud says that the Ark was preserved by King Josiah in a place that King Solomon had set aside in case the Temple was ever set on fire. Many Jews believe that the Ark is buried under the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Some say the Ark ended up in Ethiopia. A few years ago, a British journalist filmed a documentary and traced the Ark to a monastery. When he met the monk who guarded the Ark, he was not allowed to view the Ark. So I’m sceptical of the claim. Such a treasure should not be kept from the world, and it would only take a few simple tests to see if it is old enough to be the Ark. Until there is solid evidence for the Ark’s existence, I think it’s safe to conclude that it was destroyed.
And yes, Mary is regarded as the Ark of the Covenant. The original Ark carried the stone tablets upon which God had spoken; and Mary is the new Ark in the sense of having carried Christ, the Word of God.
I thank you for your question.
God Bless, Suzanne
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