Sunday, May 11, 2008

Obsessed in searching for Lost Ark of the Covenant

ALTHOUGH I don't own a bullwhip and have never worn a battered fedora like Indiana Jones, I'm still obsessed with searching for the Ark of the Covenant.
In fact, as I flipped through the TV channels the other day, Harrison Ford was fighting off the Nazis once again for possession of the most important archaelogical, historical and religious object in man's history.
But that was pure fiction and well told in the hands of Steven Spielberg in the classic 1981 movie.
And just when I thought that was sufficient and this obsession would become dormant, a Sunday news story, however, jarred my interest once again.
The headline in WorldNetDaily read: Ark of the Covenant altar found in Sheba's palace, and then added: Remains of animal sacrifices discovered at home of Ethiopian queen.
Incidentally, I was once the Middle East Bureau Chief for WND, based in Jerusalem.
What was so startling was that archaelogists from the University of Hamburg were now verifying the findings that I, along with other "searchers," had made nearly 20 years ago.
In fact, after travelling to Ethiopia on the advice of Prince Stephanos (Stephen Mengesha), a great-great grandson of Haile Selassie, in 1990, I had written a five-part newspaper series along with three unpublished volumes , entitled The Glory of the King. It traced the Ark and its Ethiopian history; its sighting in Ethiopia during the 1896 Battle of Adowa and The Last Emperor of the Ark concerning Haile Selassie and his long reign, which ended with his murder in the 1970s.
Of course, another "searcher" Graham Hancock also put out a best-selling book entitled, The Sign and The Seal, published by Doubleday in 1992.
In the latest so-called "revelations," scientist Helmut Ziegert and his university team reportedly found "the queen of Sheba's palace at Aksum in Ethiopia, purported to once have been the home of the Ark of the Covenant," according to the WND report. It also claimed Ziegert's research began in 1999 with the palace only discovered three months ago.
In a full-page Ottawa Sunday Sun article in March 1992, I penned these words:
"Shrouded in mystery and intrigue and cloaked with a legacy of divine wrath for more than 3,000 years, the Ark of the Covenant is believed to be in northern Ethiopia.
After a three-year investigation, The Sun has learned that the Ark is likely buried beneath an Ethiopian Orthodox church, St. Mary of Zion, in Aksum, a "holy city" in Tigre province, 623 km north of Addis Ababa.
Its location within the archaic religious compound hasn't been divulged by either Ethiopian Orthodox officials or the secretive cadre of priests, who still guard a sacred chest, which supposedly housed the Ten Commandments.
Efforts to locate the Ark aren't new because throughout history, various individuals and even countries have tried to track it down.
It's believed with some validity that Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini hunted for it in the 1930s when the Italians occupied Ethiopia and the separatist province of Eritrea.
Through the centuries, the Ark has taken a life of its own, overshadowed by mysticism and wild claims that it houses a nuclear reactor or that it's still being used as a transmitter for aliens from outer space.
If it is such a lethal weapon, why are there adventurers combing Aksum's ancient ruins in search of the invaluable relic?
It's certain Israel has a great interest in it because it's the lynchpin of rebuilding a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which would herald their messiah."
Besides Ziegert and his Hamburg group, there will be others launching a frantic search -- and soon.
Now where can I get a bullwhip and a battered fedora?
SOME 'ARK' FACTS: Its construction by the Hebrew patriarch Moses' chief carpenter, Bezalel, in about 1250 BC. This occurred after Moses came down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments ... The stone tablets were placed in a chest about four feet in length and about 2 1/2 feet high and the same 2 1/2 feet made of acacia wood and covered inside and out with gold. There were two carrying poles also covered with gold ... Inside were the two tablets, the rod of Moses' brother, Aaron, and a pot of manna (the miracle food).
ETHIOPIAN CLAIM: The fabled Ark "disappeared" from Jerusalem between the reign of King Solomon (970-931 BC) and the Babylonian destruction of the Great Temple in 586 BC. This "disappearance" sets into motion the Ethiopian claim that Menelik, a son of King Solomon and Makeda, also known as the the Queen of Sheba, took the Ark and replaced it with a replica in the Jerusalem Temple. The legend also claims it's now housed in Aksum in northern Ethiopia.


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