This is the amazing story of the discovery of the ancient Ark of the Covenant, which engraced the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and Solomon’s Temple down to the time when Nebuchadnezzar’s armies destroyed Jerusalem in B.C. 586. After that no mention was made of the Ark, and from an analysis of all ancient records, it seems clear that it must have been secretly hidden by Jewish Priests, at the instigation of Jeremiah the Prophet.
The story begins in 1978. During the year, as I understand it, Ron Wyatt had been swimming in the sea at Ashkelon, one of the ancient cities of the Philistines. He stubbed his toe on something, and on inspection found it to be the rim of a large Philistine burial pot. Others were also found nearby. Archaeologists had been looking for these for some time, but had not thought to look just off shore. The find was brought to the notice of the appropriate Authority in Jerusalem, in the Department of Antiquities, Rockefeller Museum, who was delighted. The event, seemingly by accident, was the means of cementing a relationship which was to serve a greater purpose in due course.
Later in the year Ron and his two sons Danny and Ronny were staying in Jerusalem, awaiting the time of their flight back to Nashville, Tennessee. They had been diving in the Red Sea, looking for more Egyptian chariot wheels from the Exodus. On a certain day Ron was walking along the ancient stone quarry known as “the Calvary escarpment”, which is just outside the Damascus Gate to the north of Jerusalem. (See the map.) He was accompanied by the same man from the Museum, with whom he had been discussing Roman antiquities. At one point they stopped walking, and Ron’s left hand shot out, pointing to a rubbish dump, and he said, “That’s Jeremiah’s Grotto and the Ark of the Covenant must be in there!” This surprised Ron, because he had not consciously thought about it. (Ron put it this way – “I was speaking to this Archaeological gentleman when my mouth said something my brain, – – ah – – shall we say, didn’t go along with, or had no idea about.”) Looking back it may be seen as a miracle, whereby the Lord put these words into his mouth at the right time. Furthermore, the man with him, quite out of character, said, “That’s wonderful! We want you to excavate, and we’ll furnish your permits, put you up in a place to stay and even furnish your meals.” This was like a thunderbolt out of the blue on a sunny day, but the offer must have been built on the confidence and trust from the earlier work Ron had done for him, mentioned earlier in this text.
Here was a miraculous situation. First of all Ron’s strange outburst about the Ark of the Covenant, then the Authority’s enthusiastic response to a foreigner, especially as it related to THE MOST HOLY ARTIFACT that Israel possessed. And the earlier event relating to the Philistine burial pots which cemented the relationship in advance. Clearly the Lord Himself was in charge of the whole situation, and had been setting things in motion beforehand. (And it must be added here for the sake ofcompleteness, that due to the tight security measures surrounding this whole scenario, the gentleman from the Museum, if questioned, will now deny all knowledge of this event. Others have lost their lives as a result of it. Why should he put his head on the chopping block? The situation in Israel is always tense. The public disclosure of the finding of the Ark of the Covenant might well trigger off a blood-bath. Ron’s detractors have had a field-day at his expense over this, saying that he never had permission to dig, and that he never found anything. He is “just a fraud and a charlatan”. In writing this article, having had Ron in our home and knowing what sort of man he is, we are happy to stand by him, and declare all the evidence that he has revealed in his writings and public lectures. We believe that in due time he will be vindicated, but a whole new atmosphere must obtain in Jerusalem before that comes about.)
Ron knew he had to decline the man’s offer for the time being. He needed to get back home and think the whole thing through, and do some research and study before committing himself to the venture. But the result of those studies gave him plenty of encouragement to pursue the course of action. A whole year went by.
Then Ron and the boys returned to Jerusalem in January 1979. Before they could start work, permission had to be obtained from the owners of the land. They learned that it was joint-owned by an Arab and a European. Once again the Lord went before them, because permission was granted without either of the men even asking what they were digging for! Then they had to decide just where to start. The cliff face was largely covered with debris and rubbish that had accumulated over nearly two thousand years. An awful lot of clearing would be needed, and it would take much time. They decided to dig straight down along the cliff face, thereby forming a steep wall with the earth they removed.
Their first discovery was a group of three niches which had been chiselled into the rock face. Ron suggested these might have been the ledges where notices of accusation were placed relating to those being crucified. (An interesting statement is found in the writing of Quintillian – “Whenever we crucify criminals, very crowded highways are chosen, so that many shall see it and be moved by fear of it, because all punishment does not pertain so much to revenge as to example.”) In Latin it was known as a TITULUS, from which we derive our word TITLE. Now a casual glance at John’s Gospel might seem to indicate that the Titulus was nailed to the cross itself, but in the Greek it is EPI TOU STAUROU. The preposition EPI may take either Genitive, Dative or Accusative case in the noun following it. Here in John it is the Genitive, and Grammarians tell us that the word can then legitimately be translated “OVER” rather than “UPON”. Hence there is no problem. Matthew’s Gospel says instead that the Titulus was placed “above His head”, which could be anywhere. Mark says the “superscription” was “written OVER”. Luke tells us that the superscription was “written OVER in Greek, Latin and Hebrew.”
After much more digging and tunnelling along the cliff face, with several other interesting finds, the details of which must be bypassed here, they dug down further below the niches, and found an almost square stone, about 12 by 13 inches in size, and 8 inches thick, which plugged a square hole carved into the rock to a depth of about two feet. This was the confirmation to Ron that he had indeed found the true site of the crucifixion of Jesus. This post-hole was about twelve feet below the three niches, and nearly 9 feet out from the cliff face. These “plugs” had the obvious use of preventing the holes from filling up when not in use, and also preventing people and horses from breaking their legs. Allowing for a total height of perhaps 8 feet for the cross, the Tituli would then be placed 4 feet “above” the cross.
Ron then noticed that there was a fissure in the rock which passed through the left hand side of the post-hole, showing signs of being caused by an earthquake. It certainly wasn’t man-made.
Further digging revealed three other post-holes. These were at a lower level, and further out from the cliff face. Partially uncovered was also a huge circular stone almost two feet thick, which later they found to be 13 feet in diameter. This was a huge “seal stone” used to roll in front of a tomb. Normally these stones were a lot smaller. Quite recently the stone which covered the tomb of Herod the Great was found, and it was less than five feet in diameter! Now the evidence from this dig showed that the site they had just uncovered had subsequently been made into a chapel, perhaps by Christians who lived after the Bar-Cochba revolt in A.D.132-135, and this great circular stone had been incorporated within that chapel. The cliff face formed the back wall, which still had the stones in place, and the building was about 22 feet wide, and 40 out from the cliff-face.
There was only one conclusion to be reached. The seal stone HAD to be the one used to seal Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. Investigations were thus made at the site of “the Garden Tomb”, which was discovered by General Gordon in 1882, on his way home from his historic Chinese campaign. Gordon was not satisfied with the traditional site of the crucifixion, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, founded by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, because that was WITHIN the city walls, and could not therefore qualify as the site according to Scripture. But Calvary, or Golgotha, the “place of the skull” was just outside the Damascus Gate, and by the highway that led to Samaria, and therefore met all the conditions. Searching led him to the discovery of the actual site of Jesus’ burial.
As I said, investigation was made at the entrance to this tomb, and in the wall were found two holes, exactly 13 feet 2 inches apart, in which metal rods had originally been inserted by Pilate’s order to act as a “seal” to the tomb. The metal rod on the right, as you face the tomb, was found to be missing, but the one on the left, which was about two inches in diameter, was still in place, but showing signs of having been sheared off by some mighty force.
Here was clear evidence that the huge stone found above in the chapel, was indeed the stone used to cover the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. The diameter of the stone, determined later by the use of sub-surface interface radar, was EXACTLY THE SAME as the distance between the metal rods. Also, the thickness of the stone, at almost two feet, was exactly right to fit the stone trench in front of the tomb. It was a mighty stone, as the Scriptures declare, and one that would have taken many men to roll back up the slope, to the left of the tomb. But whoever moved the stone, did so without REMOVING the two-inch-thick metal rod. In other words, it was the work of the Angel, who, we are told, “rolled back the stone”, shearing off the iron rod as he did so. Incidentally, the stone could not have been rolled to the right because a stone block had been built into the gully, presumably to arrest its movement as it was rolled into position.
Thus far in the digwas what they considered conclusive evidence that this was the true site of the crucifixion, and that the early church had in the 2nd century built a chapel of remembrance over the post hole and the great stone. It had already been known that “Skull Hill” (the meaning of “Calvary” in Latin and “Golgotha” in Hebrew) was the traditional site for burials, whether Moslem, Jewish, or Christian, and that in antiquity it was the place where criminals were stoned to death. (In theMishna it is called “Beth ha-Sekelah“, literally “House of Stoning”) It was here that Stephen was stoned. Also it was the recognised place of public execution for Jewish criminals. As late as the beginning of the 20th century Jews would spit at the hill, throw stones, and curse the “destroyer of their nation,” (as they termed Jesus.) All this is clear evidence that it was the true scene of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. Incidentally, Ron and his two sons found clear archaeological evidence of the place of stoning. “It was gruesome,” said Ron.
But Ron had found this crack in the post-hole at the higher level, the one which he believed was the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Was this the evidence of the earthquake that occurred the moment that Jesus died? This find was of supreme importance, but the full impact of it was not appreciated until much later.
The excavators had not as yet found the entrance to any cave that might house the Ark. The work was exhausting and slow. Two years went by, and the three men were getting weary and somewhat discouraged. By late 1980 Ron was impressed with the idea that they should just break through the rock face to see whether there might be a cave. (This “impression” was in fact an answer to prayer, but Ron is reticent to say outright, “The Lord spoke to me.”) It wasn’t long before they found themselves within a cave about 15 feet in height and about the same width. But it was empty. During the following year they returned and investigated the honeycomb of other caves leading off from it, but failed to find any sign of human activity. As 1981 came to an end, Ron and the boys began to develop a fever and slight chills due to the dust they had inhaled in the confined tunnels. The two boys had to be sent back to the States. Ronny was sent back on Christmas Eve because he was so ill, and Danny had to follow on New Year’s Eve. Ron stayed on, even though he was not fit. But he received a distinct “impression” from the Lord that he would find the Ark on this trip, and it spurred him on regardless of his low physical condition.
Needing help, Ron called for a young Arab friend he had met in his work at Hebron, a man he called “James” to cover his true identity. In addition to his trustworthiness, James was also a very slender young man, making it easier for him to squeeze through the narrow tunnels in the rock. After climbing through one very narrow chimney-like tunnel to a position many feet below their original entrance, they found a small opening “guarded” by a 16 inch stalactite, which Ron broke off (and which he later took home as a momento). James crawled through the tight opening, and Ron was about to hand him his flashlight. But almost immediately he came tumbling back, shaking and shouting, “What’s in there? What’s in there? I’m not going back in there!” His eyes showed sheer terror, and yet he had seen nothing! It was pitch dark! In fact James not only left that cave, but the whole system, and never returned. Ron has not seen him since, because he is required to live in Jordan, but they have conversed by telephone.
This strange reaction alerted Ron to the fact that “something” of value must lie within the cave. Enlarging the hole he crawled through and using his flashlight tried to ascertain what was in there. The cave was full of stones, leaving only about 18 inches clearance to the roof, which in fact was the level at which he had entered the cave. It was extremely tight to move in such a confined space. Looking at his watch, Ron saw that it was 2 p.m. on Wednesday January 6th 1982. Shining his torch down through the massive pile of large rocks, his eye caught sight of something shiny. Removing the rocks one by one, which was a very tedious job, he eventually came to some dry-rotted timbers, beneath which were the rotted remains of animal skins which just turned to powder when touched. These skins were covering a gold veneered table with a raised moulding around the side of an alternating pattern of bells and pomegranates. In a moment the truth flashed into his brain. This was one of the items of furniture from Solomon’s Temple. A little further investigation showed him that it must be the Table of Showbread.
Excitement running high, Ron inched his way over the rest of the rocks to the back of the cave. His flashlight caught sight of a crack in the ceiling, on which a black substance was deposited. Immediately beneath this was the top of a large stone case which extended almost up to the roof, so that he couldn’t look inside. On the top of the stone case was a flat stone slab, but this had cracked in two, and the smaller part had moved aside from the rest, just beneath the crack in the roof. The black substance was also on the lid, where the crack was situated. Suddenly the whole scenario fell into place in Ron’s mind. This black substance was DRIED BLOOD, which had fallen through the crack onto – onto – what? THE MERCY SEAT ON THE ARK OF THE COVENANT, which MUST BE IN THAT HUGE STONE COFFER. So great was the realisation that he passed out. Overwhelmed with emotion, coupled with the onset of double pneumonia, had caused this black-out. When he came to, he saw that the time was 2.45 pm. Three quarters of an hour had passed by.
And in his waking thoughts Ron realised that had they not first of all discovered the niches and the post-holes, with the crack running across the back one, he wouldn’t have “put two and two together” and realised the full implication of what now lay before him. Eager to SEE what lay within the stone coffer, he felt great frustration, and complained, knowing that although the Ark was THERE, right in front of him, he could neither see it, nor could he think of a way in which it might be brought out into the daylight. And then he sensed the Lord was conveying a message to him, although he heard no words – “I only promised that you would FIND it. It will come out when the time is right.”
At this juncture Ron eased himself back out of the cave, sealing it with a stone that completely disguised the entrance. At that time he didn’t report his find to anyone. He needed time to mull over the implications of what had been so amazingly revealed to him. He made several other trips back to the site, and eventually reported to the Antiquities Authority what he’d found. They asked him not to reveal this to anyone else, but he had to admit that he had already made known his find to a few people. Realising that “what is done is done” they asked that no more details should be made public. And that is why, from this point on, only certain facts can be revealed, so as to comply with the request of the Authority. Many people have tried to prise more information out of Ron. We have ourselves received requests from Israel, to which we have given negative replies, simply because WE DO NOT KNOW. In due course the Authorities in Jerusalem decided to make a guarded statement about the find, so as to test public reaction. It was a move that resulted in much bloodshed and many deaths. In Israel there are many Jewish religious fanatics, whose main aim is the destruction of the Mosque on the Temple Mount, and the rebuilding of the Temple. The Arabs (quite naturally) resist this with equal fanaticism. Hence there is the possibility of a full-scale religious war, which the Government must prevent at all costs. No matter how wonderful and exciting would be the display of the items in that cave, and the rejoicing of Jews throughout the world, it seems likely it will have to abide a while longer before being removed. However, there are murmurs that the time may be quite near. Why this is so, we cannot say. We have no idea. But we know that the sight of these artifacts would equally cheer the hearts of Christians as of Jews.
At a later date Ron took a special drill with him, and bored through the stone casing. Using a Colonoscope, borrowed from a doctor at the hospital where he works, he was able to view part of the Ark, particularly the crown-moulding round the Mercy Seat. This proved conclusively that the coffer contained the Ark. On another occasion he pushed a steel tape-measure up through the crack, where it emerged through the cross-hole. His helper grabbed it to alert Ron that it had come through. The rule showed that it had passed through a fissure extending through 20 feet of solid rock!
Ron attempted to photograph the Ark, using a polaroid camera, then a 35 mm camera, and finally using a Video camera. But in each case, after development, a strange effect was noticed. In front of the Cherub (which he could see clearly) there was a “supernatural” golden mist obscuring the view. We saw this on the Video, and also the shape of the Cherub, which Ron’s friend Jim Pinkoski had pencilled in.
The chamber in which these artefacts had been hidden measured 22 feet long, by 12 feet on two sides, while the other two sides followed the line of the cliff face, forming a chamber that narrowed down in one corner. The items that he was able to identify were as follows:-
The Ark of the Covenant in the stone case. The Table of Showbread. The Golden Altar of Incense that was in front of the Vail. The Golden Censer. The Seven-branched Candlestick. A very large sword. An Ephod. A Mitre with an ivory pomegranate on the tip. A brass Shekel Weight. Numerous Oil Lamps. A Brass Ring (presumed for hanging a curtain or something similar.)
The very large sword could be the one used by Goliath, that David laid up in the Tabernacle (see 1 Sam.22:10), and which was later transferred to the Temple. The Golden Candlestick had bowl-like golden oil lamps on the tips. The one depicted on the Arch of Titus in Rome must surely have been a replica, made to replace the original, the whereabouts of which no one knew when they returned from captivity in Babylon. There were other objects as well, but those listed were all that Ron could positively identify. He says that the Ark still contains the Stone Tables of the Law, and that on the back of the Ark is a small open cubicle which contains the Scrolls of the Law, written on animal skins, and looking in perfect condition. One of the oil lamps (which Ron now possesses) is very ornate, and depicts a goat or a ram standing on its hind legs, eating from a grape vine.
Like all of us human beings, we can easily “ride high” on the enthusiasm and emotion of some great event or discovery, but the initial excitement never lasts. It didn’t for Ron. In time he became despondent, wondering whether he had in some way offended the Lord, Who therefore could no longer use him. And so it was that some ten years after making the discovery in 1982, and he was back in Israel doing further work on the cave system. He had a colleague with him whose trustworthiness had not been tested, and so Ron was unable to investigate the region of the cave where the Ark stood. He was sitting on the ground just outside the entrance to the cave system. Ron was changing the paper on the Radar Scanner. His helper was in the shade of a large bush eating his lunch. They were both many feet lower than ground level in a trench.
Suddenly Ron heard a voice behind him, saying, “God bless you in what you are doing here.” Looking up he saw at the higher level a tall slender man with dark hair, wearing a long white robe and hair-covering similar to that worn in Biblical times, except that it was pure white. Ron was startled, mainly because he hadn’t told anyone that he was working there. He tried to make polite conversation. “Are you from around this area?” The man just answered “No,” and remained silent.“Are you a tourist?” To which there was another monosyllabic answer, “No.” There was yet another strange silence, after which the stranger said, “I’m on my way from South Africa to the New Jerusalem.” Ron just stood and stared. He then repeated his first statement. “God bless you in what you are doing here,” and turned and walked away. On making enquiries, they found that the stranger had not been seen by anyone else at the higher level.
After a moment, Ron’s helper, who’d not been able to see the stranger because of his position under the shade of the bush, said, “Ron, d’you think we’ve been talking to an angel?” And Ron replied, “At least – – -.” Later that day Ron phoned his wife. Mary Nell tells the tale. “I remember his call like it was yesterday. If you don’t know Ron personally, let me explain that Ron is very low-keyed. He never acts excited or angry – his voice rarely gives away his true feelings. But I knew something had happened even though his voice was calm. He explained that just hours earlier he had silently given up – frustrated, tired, and simply worn down, having lost the belief that he was within the will of the Lord. And then there was this conversation! And it was heard by the other man as well, so he knew for sure that it really happened.”
Before leaving the site for good, Ron took some samples of the dried blood that had fallen through the crack onto the Mercy Seat. In America he had it analysed. Using an electron microscope it was possible to find the chromosomal content of the blood. Ron described it in his address at Nashville, (which we have seen on Video,) saying that normal human blood contains 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. X chromosomes are female, and Y chromosomes are male. All 23 X chromosomes were present from the mother, but ONLY ONE Y chromosome was present, showing that the blood belonged to a male, but that HE HAD NO HUMAN FATHER. The Lord had preserved the blood until man had the technological means of determining its chromosomal content, thereby to prove that the Virgin Birth was no myth, but VERY FACT.
A book published in 1993, entitled “The Language of Genes” by Professor Steve Jones (HarperCollins Publishers) contains some pertinent information on this subject. “In the infancy of human genetics, 20 years ago, [i.e. about 1972] biologists had a childish view of what the world looks like.” (page 44). That is how recent is the ability to test the chromosomal content of blood. Then again, “Paternity can be tested beyond the grave. DNA is tough stuff, which can persist long after the death of its owner.” (page 21). And on page 24, “The Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried about the same time as another mummy, Smenkhare. Their blood groups can still be identified. The pattern of gene sharing suggests that the two Pharaohs were brothers.” How amazing, to be able to make such analyses, so long after the death of the individuals. If scientists can now make such assertions, then no one should pour scorn on the analysis that Ron had done in the laboratory.
Mary Nell writes in her article that Ron gave her a small sample of the dried blood, which she rehydrated over a period of three days. She was then able to see the red blood cells under a microscope. And Ron says that when the time is right he will seek the aid of two independent geneticists to take blood samples from off the Mercy Seat and test it. This will be filmed in the laboratories, so that “clever men” cannot any longer “explain away” the results.
It will be remembered that AFTER Jesus had died, and the earthquake rent the rocks, a Roman soldier pierced the Lord’s side with a spear. Presumably the spear entered the Lord’s heart and pericardium because “blood and water” flowed out. The Lord had died of a broken heart. There had been a complete breakdown of His physical system, crushed by the agony of carrying the load of this world’s sin. His death had not been the death of one who had been crucified. The two thieves had their legs broken to accelerate death, necessary to comply with Jewish law, that no man should remain on a cross on the Sabbath, which was due to begin at about 6 pm that day. But the Lord had died at 3 pm.
And so it was that God the Father rent the rocks to make a way for His Son’s blood to flow down from the spear-wound, through the newly formed fissure onto the very Mercy Seat itself. Now just think about this for a moment. Jeremiah had deposited the Ark in the cave some six centuries B.C., with absolutely no knowledge of the events which were to occur on Good Friday. The Romans who hacked out the post-holes had absolutely no knowledge of what lay beneath their feet, nor that they were positioning that particular hole in exactly the right place. And until the Lord had died, there was no way for His blood to trickle down to the Ark because there was no crack. But these amazing coincidences actually happened. Yes, they ARE coincidences, because everything had to COINCIDE exactly for it to happen, but there was never any human design – it was entirely the work of God in Heaven, who knew the end from the beginning, and arranged for it to happen in that way. This is indeed a “miracle of miracles.”
In Hebrews we read, “It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin, – – but Thou hast prepared a body for me – – and lo, I come to do Thy will O God.” “By His own blood He entered in once and for all into the Holy Place having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (10:4-7 and 9:12)
None of the O.T. sacrifices were able to take away sin. Only the blood of the Son of God could do that. But the children of Israel were accepted by faith as a result of their sacrifices. Because Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in God’s foreknowledge, God was able to accept the sacrifices of His people BEFORE Christ came into the world. Calvary was the Hub of History. Israel looked forward. We look back. Each acts in faith, the one in prospect, the other in remembrance.
These are the miracles connected with the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant. There may be others that I know nothing of. But surely enough has been given to provide us all with such an amazing extra proof of our Lord’s sacrifice and what it means, that all evangelism must change into top gear. I pray that this little paper may become a useful tool in this respect. Please feel free to copy it if you wish. There is no copyright on any of our papers. We only ask that COMPLETE copies be made, so that ambiguities do not arise.
I should now like to share another item of news in connection with the above scenario. I have a valued friend and brother in Christ who is a retired Doctor of Medicine. In an excited telephone conversation with me a short while ago he said that Ron Wyatt’s testimony about the chromosomes had caused him to question whether it would be possible for anyone to have blood so depleted in chromosomal content. Being a man of faith and action, he committed this to the Lord, asking for a clear sign of confirmation.
Not many days passed before he picked up the New Scientist for 7th October 1995, and there on page 16 he found the following heading –
The boy whose blood has no father
He could hardly believe his eyes! The author, Philip Cohen, quoting an article by David Bonthron and his colleagues at Edinburgh University in Nature Genetics (Volume 11, page 164) explained that a certain three-year-old boy had been found whose white blood cells contain only two X chromosomes, the signal for a female. To cut a long story short, they went on to explain that the probable cause was a self-activating unfertilised ovum which had subsequently (after a short time) become fertilised in the normal way. The sperm would then have entered only a PART of the divided ovum, thereby creating this most unusual effect. Bonthron believed that the boy’s remarkable genetics depended on a number of highly unusual circumstances combining together, and occurring within a very short time window. “I don’t expect we’ll ever see another one,” he said.
Here was yet another miracle! Our Doctor friend had been given information about an incredibly rare condition, yes, but the TIMING of the article in New Scientist was a true gift from God. The little boy’s chromosomes do not match those of our Lord, but present what Cohen called “partial parthenogenesis”, (parthenogenesis is the biologist’s name for Virgin Birth.) However, the similarity was such that it proved the possibility of a human being existing with a considerable depletion in his chromosomal blood-count.
And finally, what about those other reported cases of the finding of the Ark of the Covenant? I have left this until last so as not to spoil Ron’s story by preluding it with what is now seen to be spurious.
I find it interesting, almost intriguing, to realise that Steven Spielberg’s film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” should have come out for general release in 1981. I remember watching it at the time, and wondered what he, being of Jewish origin, was trying to say. The supernatural effects he attributed to the holiness of the Ark certainly had their parallel in the finding of the real Ark.
But late in that very year, an announcement was made by another team, saying that they had located the Ark in a cave in Mount Nebo, the mountain where Moses viewed the Promised Land before his death. This team included Tom Crotser, Jim Bollinger, and the astronaut Jim Irwin. Irwin had earlier been interviewed on BBC Television by Richard Baker, who asked him, “What are you doing now?” And amongst other things he said, “I’m helping to find the Ark of the Covenant in Jordan.” But it was in the Christmas 1981 issue of Far Eastern Berean that a panelled quotation appeared, taken from the Straits Times of Singapore, entitled “‘We found the lost Ark’ claim!”
And so, on BBC TV Channel 1 in January 1982 (at the very time when Ron Wyatt was breaking through into the cave) TomCrotser was interviewed, and he showed photographs of the Ark. Furthermore there was a guarded note to this effect in the Jerusalem Post. Now we may very well ask why Crotser was able to obtain clear photographs, whereas Wyatt was not. And I shall leave it to my readers to ponder that question. Incidentally, I have not personally heard anything more about this find in Mount Nebo, except that it is sited in a position belonging to both the Vatican and the Jordanian government, the latter being adamant in refusing anyone to remove the artefact. However, Crotser gave us the measurements of his Ark find, being 59″ long, 47″ wide, and 43″ high, with the Cherubim standing to a height of 108″ (i.e. 9 ft!) But in Exodus we are told that the Ark was 2.5 cubits long. And assuming that the longer cubit of 20.5″ was used, the length would have been 51.5″ (as Ron found), not 59″, thereby creating an abnormally long cubit. In addition, the RATIO of the measurements is incorrect according to the measurements from Exodus.
An American archaeologist by the name of David Lutz made the following statement. “One rabbi told me this discovery would not only promote the building of the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, but would also signal the end of the Diaspora, the dispersion of the Jewish people. It would be as influential as a spoken command from the Almighty to all Jewish persons to come home to the Promised Land. To Christians it would be a clear signal that we are nearing the end of this age and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.”
No wonder there is great excitement amongst many people, whether they be Jews or Christians. One wonders why the timing of the event on God’s calendar is just now. Are we entering the “crossroads of history”? And if so, then we shall need to know which route to take. I am in no position to say whether the Israeli government will make a move just now, but the facts are already out and being advertised quite widely, and this in itself is creating quite a stir. It is doing to us what the Angel did to Ron Wyatt – spur us on with greater vigour than ever before to be ready for the Lord’s return.
Many people have drawn up plans from prophecy. Some say that much still needs to be done before the second coming, but in doing so they destroy the urgency of our Lord’s words, “Watch and pray for you know not the day or the hour – and again I say, watch.” The interpretation of prophecy, particularly in the Christian dispensation, has never been an easy task, and we may very well be depriving ourselves of the very thing we need to “trim our lamps” and make ourselves ready. Who knows? We are living in days of electrifying excitement spiritually, and it behoves us to “love His appearing”, and“purify ourselves even as He is pure”.
So what is the artifact in Mount Nebo? I do not accuse Crotser of lying. He certainly found something. But what is it? My guess is that it is a REPLICA of the true Ark, made in Jeremiah’s day, and deposited in the cave according to the words that are found in 2 Maccabees 2:4-8. Why should Jeremiah do this? Because he was a man of great integrity and honour towards the Lord, and he lived amongst people, even his OWN people, who were dishonest to the core. They would be watching his every move, and wanting to know what he was doing. This would mean that SOMEONE would find the Ark and raid it, and he didn’t want that to happen. So he made a replica, and took it to Mount Nebo. In the event, even this replica has not been found until recent days. That is my theory. It is only a guess.
There is yet another story about the Ark which needs a mention before I conclude this paper. In 1992 Graham Hancock wrote a book, published by William Heinemann, entitled “The Sign and the Seal.” It is the account of his travels in Ethiopia in search of the Ark, which by tradition is held in great secrecy by a people who have a strange mixture of Judaism and Christianity. Hancock was never able to gain access to the building where this “Ark” is supposed to be kept, and which is closely guarded by a monk by the name of Abba Fameray. (And it is only fair to say that of recent days Hancock has withdrawn his belief that this was the true Ark of the Covenant.)
The story goes that King Solomon sired a son by the Queen of Sheba, whom she named Menelech, and when Menelechwas in his late teens he travelled to Jerusalem, and was treated very well by Solomon, who asked what gift he would like to take back with him. “The Ark of the Covenant”, he said, which prompted an immediate refusal of course. Menelech was displeased with this refusal, and later brought several companions with him, and stole the Ark in the dead of night, and transported it to Ethiopia, where it has rested until this very day. This story may be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and it adds that the Ark now rests in a town called Axum. This is a highly unlikely tale, and would have been a major embarrassment to the Priests of Israel if they found that their Ark had been stolen. No doubt a “holy war” would have been raised by Solomon to regain this priceless treasure. But no. There is no mention of it anywhere else, save in Ethiopia.
So what do THEY have in that land, which they guard so carefully? I believe it could be yet another replica, not taken in Solomon’s day, but probably in Jeremiah’s day or thereabouts.
Here then is the story as it stands at the moment. We have had very large numbers of enquiries about our earlier edition of this Telegraph, and it has been heartening to learn just how the faith of many of God’s children has been given a boost as a result of these recent findings. Just a few have queried certain aspects of the case. Two have queried why Ron Wyatt of all people should have been allowed to find the Ark. “Should it not have been a Jew?” was the question. But it seems to us that if one should ask such questions, he is missing the whole point. Who are we to question God’s wisdom and choice? (Did they say the same about the lowly Mary who gave birth to the Messiah? I rather doubt it was all “plain sailing” for her.) We hope to be able to report further on this issue. We hope that the Israeli Authorities will find it possible to bring these precious articles out fairly soon. The spiritual implications are vast. But one thing is certain – the Lord Himself is still guarding His own “Treasure Chest”, and if and when it will be allowed out will only be with His permission, rather than due to political expediency.
Please remember Ron and his wife in your prayers. They are under much unwarranted attack these days, but have decided not to retaliate or answer their critics, but just remain silent. We believe this to be a Christlike attitude, which does them credit in the eyes of those who are able to make RIGHT JUDGMENT about other men’s lives. Ron is seeking neither fame nor fortune. He is a quiet man of prayer and devotion, who tries to follow the “still small voice” of his Master. Obedience has brought a rich reward – not for himself – but for all mankind. We are glad to have this opportunity of speaking well of him, as a true brother in Christ.
[Those wanting to write to Ron and Mary Nell Wyatt, should address their letters to “Wyatt Archaeological Research”, 713, Lambert Drive, Nashville, Tennessee, 37220, U.S.A.]
And that is more or less all that can be told at this juncture. It is a story that seems incredible, and yet has all the ring of truth about it. Also, it creates a tension of expectancy, and an air of impatience. Ron and Mary-Nell ask that we should be patient and await the Lord’s timing of the next step. Our experience is that Ron’s account is causing polarisation amongst Christians. Many are thrilled and want to know more. But others seem to take violent objection to the whole account. We find it an interesting exercise to ponder the reasons for this antagonism!