An artist's rendering of what the Ark of the Covenant is believed to have looked like
The fate of the Ark of the Covenant becomes a historical mystery after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, leading to the destruction of the First Temple. The Ark is not mentioned in the subsequent Biblical or historical accounts, leaving its whereabouts unknown.
Numerous individuals and organizations have sought to uncover the Ark's location over time, with theories ranging from hidden chambers in Jerusalem to remote regions in Africa. Various theories and speculations about its fate have circulated for centuries, ranging from claims of its relocation to Ethiopia, Egypt, or even buried beneath the Temple Mount.
According to Jewish tradition, as noted in the Book of Maccabees, the Ark was buried by the prophet Jeremiah in a cave before the Babylonian invasion along with several other artifacts such as the Tabernacle and Altar of Incense. It is believed that its location is supposed to be unknown until God decrees for it to be found again.
Some Jews believe that the Ark of the Covenant may be kept in Rome under one of its centuries-old basilicas. The second-century CE Judean rabbi Eliezer ben José had claimed to have seen the golden lid of the Ark in Rome. This is probably the last, concrete eyewitness account we have, but no evidence as to what may have happened to it since then.
No matter the Ark's whereabouts, it continues to capture the Jewish imagination to this day and is an important part of our history!
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