God instructed Moses to build the gold-covered wooden box not only as a vessel for the Ten Commandments, but also as a device though which He could, according to the Bible, literally converse with Moses when He wanted to. It was also a source of great and deadly power. This makes the Ark one of the most interesting and mysterious artifacts of the Old Testament.
Considered by the Israelites to be the embodiment of God himself on Earth, they carried the Ark before them as they traveled in search of a homeland and to lead their army into battle. According to Graham Hancock's The Sign and the Seal, Biblical accounts and Jewish legends describe the Ark as sometimes "blazing with fire and light, inflicting cancerous tumors and severe burns, leveling mountains, stopping rivers, blasting whole armies, and laying waste cities."
Some of the other Biblical anecdotes about the Ark's amazing power include: an incident in which priests attempting to carry the Ark were thrown into the air and then to the ground; that two of Moses's nephews were killed by the Ark when they entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark was kept; and that the cherubim figures on top of the Ark often sparked and caused damage to nearby objects.
If the Biblical accounts are to be taken as fact, then we have to ask why an almighty and omnipotent God needed such a vessel through which to speak and wield his power in the first place. This particular question has led some paranormal investigators and ufologists to speculate that the Ark was, in fact, some kind of communication device that an "extraterrestrial god" designed to speak to the Earthlings he favored and befriended - namely, the Israelites.
However, although Exodus provides the dimensions of the Ark and specifies how it should be overlayed over in gold, inside and out, there is no mention of any kind of circuitry... or even some kind of rudimentary speaker.
So unless we take the stories of the Ark strictly as fable, how it worked its amazing feats of communication and destruction is a great mystery. But just as mysterious as the Ark's powers is its fate. Built by Moses and his artificer Bezaleel around 1250 BC, the Ark is mentioned off and on in various books of the Bible. Then somewhere in the time period between the tenth and sixth centuries BC, the references to it end. It simply is not mentioned again. There is no indication of where it was kept, where it went, how it was hidden... nothing.
Besides providing a great premise for the first Indiana Jones film, Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Ark has inspired many modern-day archaeologists and religious organizations to search for its present location - not knowing whether or not, of course, that is still exists.
Astonishingly, some Ark hunters have claimed recently that they have found the long-lost Ark... or at least know where it currently resides - and they don't all agree.
Next page > Where is the Ark today?