The ARK OF THE COVENANT continued...
Before we continue, there ARE two references in non-Biblical sources which are interesting. In the Apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees, we read:
The writer, in this letter to "Jewish kinsmen in Egypt, the Jews who are in Jerusalem, and those in the country of Judea", explains where he got this information:
Also worthy of note: the quote in 2 Maccabees, above, could have been mis-translated over the years and originally have stated that the Ark was hidden NOT in the mountain Moses was ON when he viewed the promised land (Mt. Nebo, Deu. 32:49), but instead it could mean that the Ark was hidden IN the mountain that Moses SAW when he viewed the promised land. From Nebo he would have been able to see Jerusalem because of its altitude.
In the Pseudepigraphal book called "The Paralipomena of Jeremiah" (meaning "the remaining words of Jeremiah") it is also written that Jeremiah, in obedience to YAHUVEH'S command, hid the sacred objects from the temple just before the destruction of Jerusalem. Now, neither of these books are to be trusted as completely accurate - however, they do show a strong tradition that has Jeremiah hiding, or having someone else hide, the Ark and other objects from the temple. Is there any truth in these two books? Perhaps. Since Jeremiah WAS the prophet in Jerusalem during the time of Josiah (when the Ark was brought back into the temple) and he continued through to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, it is logical to believe it possible that YAHUVEH directed him to have the Ark and other sacred items hidden. Also, Jeremiah wrote:
The implication here is that at the time he wrote this (during the reign of Josiah, v. 6), they still had the Ark in their possession. This entire passage, which begins with verse 6, is a plea to return from their apostasy, although their captivity was already foretold by Isaiah. Therefore, could this above verse about the Ark of the Covenant be a prediction that they no longer will have it when they return from captivity? Just two verses later, he writes:
The "land of the north" was Babylon where they would soon spend 70 years in captivity. If this understanding is correct, it indicates that Jeremiah DID have knowledge that they would no longer have the Ark when they returned from Babylon. But also important to note is that he CLEARLY indicated that "neither shall that be done ANYMORE", which is proof that there is no promise of it ever being reinstated. In fact, in Ezekiel, when he gives the instructions for the temple, he gives NO instructions which included the Ark. It was never mentioned.
Since Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian siege wall during the time the Ark seemed to have disappeared, Ron believed it may have been possible for someone to have taken it to a location within the siege wall and not be detected. The quotes we read above agree with the "time", but we just don't know for sure - and again, these books are not inspired so we cannot rely on them.
The Location of the Site
Jerusalem is situated on two hills, traditionally referred to as "Mt. Moriah" and Mt. Zion". Moriah is the one on the right, while Zion is on the left (although the Bible refers to the entire city as "Zion"). To the extreme right can be seen the beginning of the Mt. of Olives. "Moriah" is mentioned only twice in the Bible - first as the place Abraham was told to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice, and second as the place where the temple was built:
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