Average reading time is about 5 and a half minutesAfter the Exodus, God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle where He would dwell among His people. The tabernacle structure was designed around a sacred centerpiece called the Ark of the Covenant, a rectangular chest set with two statues of angels looking down on top of it, a place called the mercy seat. This ark was placed within the temple’s second compartment, the “holy of holies.”
Later, King David had the ark transferred to Jerusalem, and Solomon, his son, placed it in the midst of a spectacular temple he had built. Originally, the ark only contained the two stone tablets of the Decalogue. Later, Aaron’s rod and a small pot of manna were also placed inside; the book of the law was put in the side of the ark (see Exodus 25:21; Deuteronomy 10:3, 5; and Exodus 16:33, 34).
The last time the ark is mentioned is in 2 Chronicles 35:3, during the reign of King Josiah. Naturally, many have wondered where this special chest now resides. Since the time Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, the Bible makes no mention of where the ark went. The Scriptures itemize many other vessels that were captured by the Babylonians, but the ark itself is clearly missing.
Based on 2 Maccabees 2:4–8, some believe the prophet Jeremiah was instructed by God to move the ark outside Jerusalem before the city was destroyed and to hide it in a cave on Mount Nebo. This seems unlikely because at this same time, the Babylonian king had Jerusalem completely surrounded. It is more reasonable to assume that Jeremiah, with the help of loyal priests, hid the golden ark in one of the many caves or tunnels that honeycomb the ancient city of Jerusalem. To this day, the ark’s location remains one of archeology’s greatest secrets.
But what really matters most is that the law of God is hidden within our hearts. Finding the ark will not matter if we do not have the law within.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
"And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."