The Ark of the Covenant contains the two Tablets of the Law with the universal principles of human morality, written by the very hand of God (Deut. 10:4). The Tablets were given to Moses as testimony of the eternal Covenant between God and His People.
The Ark became therefore the center of Jewish worship and is indeed associated with the Divine Presence. The Ark was placed in the Tabernacle by Moses and it remained there for more than 400 years. Eventually, it was introduced in the First Temple by King Solomon who said, at the time of the inauguration “God will dwell for ever in His House” (1 Kings 8:13).And then, not another word appears in the text, for 2,500 years… or so it seems! So many terms have been neglected or misinterpreted. Here is a new original theory based exclusively on the Hebrew words of The Bible, and intended for our times. It shows where the Ark of the Covenant may be found and how it got there.
Our theory investigates the idea of King Solomon finding a clever way to respect God’s will of placing the Ark in its designated location, where it would remain forever without being discovered, especially at the time of the destruction of the Temple!
Why was Solomon chosen to build the Temple and not his father David, the beloved of God, who had asked to do it and began collecting building material and designing the plans? We read (1 Kings 3:12) that God gave to Solomon wisdom as no man had before him and none will have ever after. Certainly, only an extraordinary mind would be capable of building a House where the Ark could remain forever, without being detected! This was the reason why Solomon was chosen. He faced tremendous problems, as the Children of Israel had no experience in building complicated stone structures. How was he going to conceal the site of the Ark? And did he leave clues and messages for us to understand his operation?
Solomon made an alliance with the King of Egypt and took his daughter to the City of David.(1Kings 3:1). It is controversial and debated if there actually was a marriage. But, it is significant that when this union is being reported, immediately after, there is a mention in the text of some activity of building: the walls of Jerusalem, the palace of the King and the House of the Lord. How suspicious! Maybe the lady was not an actual wife (she is not even named) but she was the one who brought from Egypt the know-how needed by Solomon. It is well known that the Egyptians had a phenomenal knowledge and experience in hiding the entrance to the tombs of their kings. They used a system which would conceal the access in such a way that it would look like the natural bedrock Future potential robbers, would think it was not worth digging. Huge blocks were carried to the top of an artificial mound of sand. The sand would then be taken away and the block would slowly come down and close the entrance to the tomb. More follows!
The Dvir:(the Sanctuary in translation)
What is it doing here? In the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies measured 10×10 cubits. Surprisingly, in Solomon’s Temple, we find a room, called the Dvir of the House, measuring 20×20 cubits (1 Kings 8:6) . This name Dvir never appears elsewhere in the Bible, in reference to the Holy of Holies. Neither in the Second Temple nor even in Ezekiel’s plan for the Third Temple! It is mentioned only as the name of a village! How suspicious! Usually, people are led to believe that the Dvir is the Holy of Holies. However, with a careful reading we notice that it never says that it is actually the Holy of Holies. It is called the Dvir of the House. We read that the Ark was taken “towards its place, towards the Dvir of the House, towards (again!) the Holy of Holies” (1 Kings 8:6).. This repetition is tantamount of saying to go “towards the airport, towards Paris”. It is evident that the airport is not yet Paris and the Dvir of the House is not yet the Holy of Holies either! Could it be an intermediate station?
The Cohanim placed the Ark in the Dvir (1 Kings 8:6), but the bars, used for its transportation had been “lengthened or were so long” that they protruded! (id. 8:9). How suspicious! We know that the bars could not be taken off the Ark (Ex. 25:15) and therefore they are the same in the Temple. How come these bars fit very well in the Tabernacle but protrude in the Dvir, which is four times more spacious? Evidently, they protrude because they have been lengthened. But why? Aren’t we shown that the Ark had not yet reached the end of its voyage? A kind of temporary parking spot before reaching the final destination?
When the Cohanim came out of the Holy place, a cloud filled the House, to the point that they were not able to finish their office! and they had to move far away (1 Kings 8:11). Why? There are no visible miracles mentioned during the whole reign of Solomon. This would be the only one! If we compare, with an attentive reading, what had happened when Moses introduced the Ark into the Tabernacle, it is emphasized that he introduced the Ark in the Holy of Holies and “he had finished his work and he could not go back in”. Then and only then, the cloud appears (Ex. 40:33). Instead, at the inauguration of Solomon’s Temple, when the cloud appears the Cohanim could not finish their service and they had to run far away ! (1 Kings 8:10). Was it a way to get rid of unwanted witnesses ?
The inauguration speech
Solomon gives an emotional speech to the Children of Israel assembled in Jerusalem. We should keep in mind that Solomon was an expert in playing with double-meaning expressions (see Josephus Flavius). For instance, when the two mothers come to judgement, demanding the surviving baby, he ordered to cut him in two (!) and… he immediately understood who the real mother was! (1 Kings 3:16/27)
So, a very careful reading of the speech is required. Maybe Solomon will give us important hints. Solomon tells us (1 Kings 8:12-13): “God said He will dwell in darkness (in Hebrew arafel). I built/constructed ( bano/baniti, but why the repetition?) for you a splendid (unconvincing translation!) House (in Hebrew beit zvul) for Your eternal residence”. How suspicious! What does Solomon want to say to us? Arafel is an uncommon word and Zvul appears again, only as the name of a certain king. However,later on, Solomon exclaims (1 Kings 8:27) “…. heaven and heavens of heavens cannot contain You…. ” hinting at the well known tradition of the concentric Seven Heavens, an old tradition shared by many cultures. The Seven Heavens have each a name in Hebrew: the lowest one, which is the central one, is called arafel! and above it, is another heaven called zvul!!! (see Even Shushan‘s well known Hebrew dictionary). Shall we now interpret and also “translate” clearly Solomon’s message? The House will be built high and in full view, while the Holy of Hollies will be in the innermost level, even underground … not to be detected.
Hence, the reference to some kind of double-building (built /constructed). Can we doubt that it was known to Solomon that this House would be destroyed? Consequently, he had to use his God given wisdom, together with the know-how brought by the daughter of the King of Egypt. He built the House high and visible, while the Holy of Holies was secretly built under it. Thus, he followed God’s will to place the Ark in the designated location, but in such a way that it was impossible to notice it, even at the time of the destruction!
AND HERE IT IS UNTIL TODAY
How could it have happened? The inauguration: Solomon did build the House, having covered all the floors and walls with cedar wood, so, no stone could be seen! (1 Kings 6:18). How advantageous! Who could check under the wood? At the moment of inauguration, he let the Ark be placed in the deceptive Dvir, but he indicates that it is not the end of the voyage (the bars) and he got rid of witnesses (the cloud). Then, we assume, faithful workers opened the cover of the real Holy of Holies, lowered the Ark into its designated place and closed the cover again. No need to say that the cover was a homogeneous slab of rock, looking like the natural bedrock.
The Egyptians used thousands of slaves to achieve this. But, Solomon did not have such a possibility and had to use machines. So, where are the machines? The machines: To realize the difficult operation of raising and lowering the heavy slab of rock, which was necessary to close the real Holy of Holies,Solomon took advantage of the Egyptian know how. He used the two peculiar pillars at the entrance of the Sanctuary, named Yachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:15-16). They were 18 cubits high with a capital of 5 cubits on top. They were hollow, self standing and did not support any part of the building. According to the Egyptians’ skill, the pillars could have been filled with thin sand, which would be made to pour out at the right moment, causing the descent of the weighty capital. The capital was attached to a pulley tied to the slab of rock to be raised and, using the second pillar, eventually lowered. See an animated picture of this performance showing the descent of the two capitals, causing the opening and the closing of the real Holy of Holies.
- The Opening (click to see the animation)
- The Closing (click to see the animation)
It is interesting to point out that, in Solomon’s times, they knew only one machine, the lever, which can be rigid or flexible, as in the pulley. We ask, why was it needed to give a name to the pillars? The root of the names Yachin and Boaz, is the same, in Hebrew, as the root of the name of two parts of a lever: base and force! Remarkable, no? Is it another clue for us? Again, with a careful reading of the text, one can realize that these machines did actually move. When the Babylonians destroyed the House, they were obviously interested in the enormous quantity of bronze constituting the two pillars. They had to cut them in pieces for transportation. The decision was made, we are told, because they measured the height of the pillars at 18 cubits. They measured the capitals at 3 cubits! This leaves a discrepancy of 2 cubits from the measurement mentioned earlier in 1 Kings 7:15 of 5 cubits. We undestand that the Babylonians measured only what they could see and they missed the difference of two cubits which had sunk inside the pillars! Obvious, no?
There is a multitude of other suspicious matters to be considered and questions to be answered, which further strengthen this theory.
WHERE IS THE REAL HOLY OF HOLIES OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE CONTAINING THE ARK?
According to our theory, we must conclude that it can only be in the Temple Mount, with the support of many, not least the Rambam (Hilchot Bet ha Bechira). But, where? The tradition indicates the Dome of the Rock as the site of the First Temple and later on of the Second, which means one and the same spot. Can we accept this?.
The Babylonians did not build anything on the ruins of the First Temple. But later on, after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, they built a temple to Jupiter on its ruins. If both our Temples had been built at the same location, and if our theory is correct, it means that over the real Holy of Holies, containing the Ark symbol of the Divine Presence, God would have let the Romans build the abomination of a pagan temple. Hard to believe!
But is it possible that the Second Temple had been built in a different spot? How? The explanation is simple. When the Jews returned from Babylon, they fortunately missed the exact location! They built the Second House, which did not contain the Ark, on a different site! Therefore, no foreign building was ever erected on top of the real Holy of Holies, containing the Ark with the precious Tablets of the Law.
The proof ?
At the moment of starting the building of the new Temple, we are told three times that while beginning to dig the foundation, some of the Jews were noisily rejoicing, while some, who had seen the foundation of the First House , were crying (Ezra 3:11-12). What were they crying about, already at the moment when the digging had begun? The only logical explanation is because they noticed that the location was not the exact one, and they could not oppose it! They were old people and they were not heard through trumpets and joy scream. Evident?
There is a wide area on the Temple Mount, on the northern part of the platform, just in front of the Gate of Mercy (wrongly called the Golden Gate) far from the Muslim sanctuaries. To the west of it stands a small dome, the Dome of the Spirits, whose floor is constituted of a single slab of rock. The locals refuse to talk about it or to give explanations. They only say that it is somehow bad, that there are devils around it! Is there the vague memory of a messy event in the past… maybe someone trying to dig? How suspicious.
This is definitely the best guess. The space is empty of other buildings, which would not require demolitions in order to build the Third Temple…which will sit ultimately over the real Holy of Holies containing the Ark of the Covenant! A House of prayer for all Nations (Isaiah 56:7).
Last but not least, we believe that the wise Solomon left us a Treasure Map. Most probably, it is in the mysterious Song of Songs, attributed to him and full of expressions which can be interpreted in so many different ways. We found a few clues and we are studying them. They clearly strengthen this theory! We hope that it will deliver its secret, when the time has come!