can a filthy temple solve the mystery of the ark of the covenant? to solve this enigma, we will enlist the great indiana jones. a time machine and the bible will be the other tools needed besides the cool hat and bullwhip.
before getting into the time machine, we must first reference some parts of the bible. one of the earliest written texts of the bible, the song of deborah. deborah’s song depicts the mt. sinai experience not as one in which the ten commandments and the law were delivered but rather as the master of the universe’s eternal shock and awe moment. fire on the mountain! about this time, torah references that there was a book of the covenant. about that time, the ark of the covenant was crafted and it reported that the commandments were placed within them. exodus 24:7, notes “[a]nd he[moses] took the book of the covenant and read it within the hearing of the people, and they said, “all that the lord spoke we will do and we will hear.”
early one, the ark served as a communication device for the master of the universe. it later served as an instrument of war. one time, it was even captured.
the last apparent reference to the ark was with king hezekiah. “[a]nd [h]ezekiah prayed before the lord and said, “o lord god of israel, who dwells between the cherubim, you alone are the god of all the kingdoms of the earth. you made the heavens and the earth.” 2 kings 19:15
after that, the temple in jerusalem falls into disrepair and it is under king josiah the refurbishing takes place.
during the clean up, the following occurs: “and hilkiah the high priest said to shaphan the scribe, “i have found the scroll of the law in the house of the lord,” and hilkiah gave the scroll to shaphan, and he read it.” 2 kings 22:8.
the discovery led to the following event: “[a]nd the king went up to the house of the lord, and all the people of judah and all the inhabitants of jerusalem were with him, and the priests and the prophets, and all the people from small to great, and he read within their hearing all the words of the scroll of the covenant that was found in the house of the lord. and the king stood on his place, and enacted the covenant before the lord, to follow the lord and to observe his commandments and His testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and soul, to fulfill the words of this covenant, which are written in this scroll. and all the people were steadfast in their acceptance of the covenant.” 2 kings 23:2-3.
from here, we need mr. jones to get into the time machine. there are inquiries to be made.
both king josiah and the high priest hilkiah need to be asked some tough questions such as: if you made a great spectacle of the law, wouldn’t it have been more special with the ark of the covenant present? was it not present because it was stolen, damaged or it couldn’t be found? was the ark intentionally not presented? if so, why?
at this point, i would speculate that mr. jones would have obtained a confession. they might have indicated that it was, just like at mt. sinai, a time at which the children of israel or judah, began to embrace the words of the master of the universe and not the words that came out from the covenant. it was a time to move away from the ark’s symbolism, the physical ten commandments, and the mt. sinai pyrotechnics. it was the time to embrace the torah and the commandments that were within the ark. i suspect that the king and high priest would confess that they wished to institute torah literacy among the people. thus, the ark, at that moment in history, needed to disappear with the torah replacing it. at that point in history, the words were most important than any symbol.
in sum, while mr. jones never found the ark on his journey through time, he could possibly have discovered that in reality the ark’s replacement can be found all over the world. the ark’s replacement, ironically, can be found in an ark. just open a synagogue’s holy ark and you will find a torah or two.
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