Within the Holy Bible, the Book of Exodus stated that two stone tablets which God had inscribed the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. In order to ensure the protection of the tablets and to allow them to be transported, a wooden chest consisting of elegant decorations was constructed. The chest was two feet wide, three-and-a-half feet long, with two poles attached through gold rings on its sides. The lid which was referred to as the atonement cover, or ‘mercy seat’ had two carved angels which sat on top. Accompanying Moses and the Israelite’s on their search for the promised land, the chest brought victory for them wherever they went. When they established Jerusalem, King Solomon constructed the First Temple, which is where the sacred box was kept. This supreme holy chest is known as the Ark of the Covenant.
Not one single artifact is associated with more legends of treasure, unexplained prosperity, and international interest than this magnificent chest. Few legends state the Ark was captured and destroyed by the Egyptians around 925 BC, while others say the Babylonians looted it in 586 BC. The Jewish faction who composed the Dead Sea Scrolls could have buried the Ark in the desert of Jordan before they were invaded. It has also been suggested that the Cathars, which was an early Christian group, possibly hid the Ark within an ancient church at Rennes-le-Château in France before being eradicated by the Catholic Church.
King Arthur has also been associated to the Ark’s history, while many enthusiasts assert that it was removed from the Holy Land by the Knights Templar. It is also claimed that it may have been hidden on Oak Island, or at a chapel in Rosslyn. Out-of-the-box thinkers suspect the progeny of the Knights Templar are indeed the Freemasons, who possess the Ark under their management. Actually, many arcane tales have features involving the Ark of the Covenant.
One of the most commemorated theories linking the Ark to a real artifact focuses on western Africa. A prevalent legend throughout Ethiopia, claims that King Solomon had impregnated the Queen of Sheba. Their child, Menelik, meaning ‘son of the wise man’, journeyed to Jerusalem when he was 20 years old to study in his father’s footsteps. After a year, the priests of Solomon had become envious of Menelik and demanded he returns home to the Queen. King Solomon embraced this request but declared all other elders first-born sons accompany Menelik. One named Azarius, who was a son of the High Priest, Zaldok, looted the Ark and took it to Africa. Menelik declared their success was of supernal will and established the ‘Second Jerusalem’ at Aksum in Ethiopia. Today, the Ark is said to be stored within the ancient church of St Mary of Zion and was brought out every January to celebrate Timkat. Timkat is the ritualistic reenactment of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river.
Due to the unstable atmosphere, the Ark has been hidden away and is cared for by a dedicated protector, who is the only one allowed to witness the true nature of the sacred chest. Surely, there are several notions to support these suppositions. For instance, Ethiopians are one of the few sects in Africa who practice Christianity, and it was ruled that the Ethiopian emperor is a direct descendant of King Solomon himself. Ethiopians are confident of their role in the Ark’s history, but with so many legends contending to disclose the Ark’s final resting location, it may be near impossible to determine the exact one. However, many religious groups believe the exact presence of the Ark of the Covenant will come to light when the proper time is right.