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Jewish Journal

The Ark, Ethiopia and Jesus’ return

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 24, 2009 | 4:55 pm

Indiana Jones went looking for the lost Ark of the Covenant in Egypt. But for millenia, the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia has laid claim to official ownership.

This is, obviously, a point of debate. No one outside the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has ever what the church claims are the remnants of the holy ark that carried within it the tablets God delivered to Moses at Sinai.

But the argument follows:

According to the First Book of Kings, King Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem to house the ark. It was venerated there during Solomon’s reign (c. 970-930 B.C.) and beyond.

Then it vanished. Much of Jewish tradition holds that it disappeared before or while the Babylonians sacked the temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

But through the centuries, Ethiopian Christians have claimed that the ark rests in a chapel in the small town of Aksum, in their country’s northern highlands. It arrived nearly 3,000 years ago, they say, and has been guarded by a succession of virgin monks who, once anointed, are forbidden to set foot outside the chapel grounds until they die.

Now, I’m having trouble reading this article translated from Italian to English, but sounds like the Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch is going to reveal on Friday, in some way, the secret that his country has kept for 2,700 years.

And this has the New Wineskins blogger a bit giddy. Because, obviously, this means Jesus is coming home:

The wood has likely deteriorated. The Ark’s function of holding the tablets of the Mosaic Law was no longer necessary after Jesus came to fulfill the law. The Mercy Seat however, (made of gold) has remained and is central to the coming Millennial Kingdom — the fulfillment of the irrevocable Davidic covenant which God made with David (in Psalm 89 among other places) that his progeny (Jesus) will reign physically on the earth for a thousand years… shortly after his return and triumph at Armageddon, that is. (Kinda funny that my Bible just happened to flop open to Psalm 89 last night when God told me (rather clearly) to pick it up and I responded, ‘what should I read?’)

I refuse to believe that the timing of this news is random on the part of the Ethiopian religious authorities. If they’d wanted to corner the market in kitch and gawker-tourism they would have done so a long time ago. Why spend 2700 years caring for the Ark only to release news of it at a random time? It makes no sense… unless they received instructions from on high. The fact that the Pope is taking this seriously (further cementing ties between the Catholic and Orthodox churches) makes it doubly interesting.

The fact that it is being revealed now means… Jesus is coming back soon. Very soon.

I’m not so certain. I mean, the Rapture Index isn’t even currently at its high for 2009. As for the Ark still being in Ethiopia, I’m skeptical about that too.

Thanks for the link, Mollie.

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