Ark of the Covenant: A Weapon, A Throne, A Temple – Part I

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Ark of the Covenant: A Weapon, A Throne, A Temple – Part I

The Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is one of history’s most intriguing ancient mysteries. According to Biblical sources, it was constructed after Moses had freed the Israelites from Egypt in the wilderness, and items of spiritual significant were placed in the chest. The Ark would serve as the observable sign of Yahweh’s (the Hebrew name of God) presence to the Israelites until it went missing after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.

Why the Ark?

According to Exodus 19:5-6 Yahweh made a covenant with the Israelites: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” It was believed this covenant brought about the construction of the Ark.

Another reason for the Ark’s construction was political. The Israelites believed Yahweh to be their king, and by building it, gave them the ability to transport their monarchy were ever they went. This also made the Ark a military weapon. If Yahweh was their king/god, then he was their commander, which made the Ark a weapon. Therefore, the Israelites needed a symbol that they could look to and it put fear into the minds of their enemies. More on this later.

A 4th century BCE drachm (quarter shekel) coin from the Persian province of Yehud Medinata, possibly representing Yahweh seated on a winged and wheeled throne. An inscription lies on the face of the coin, either a Phoenician inscription on the coin reading "YHW" or an Aramaic inscription reading "YHD"

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