“Then God's temple in Heaven was opened,
and within His temple was seen the ark of His covenant.
And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder,
an earthquake and a great hailstorm.” (Revelation 11:19)
History of the Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant has had a fascinating history beginning thousands of years ago. It was integral for the sanctuary service when the children of Israel built the tabernacle and it will be a key element during the Great Tribulation. God chose Bezalel to construct the Ark of the Covenant after the children of Israel left Egypt. (Exodus 31:2) Centuries later, Bible scholars generally believe that between 605 and 586 B.C., a group of priests at Jeremiah’s bidding hid the Ark of the Covenant in a cave to keep the advancing Babylonians from discovering it.
Location of the Ark of the Covenant
Currently, no one knows where Jeremiah hid the Ark. People have made claims and written books purporting to know the location of the Ark. However, no one has revealed the Ark or its location. This is because the Ark of the Covenant is not on Earth. Instead, I believe God took the Ark to Heaven after Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. If Israel had accepted Jesus as the Savior, He would have remained on Earth after His resurrection and ruled from David’s throne (Isaiah 9:7) until God destroyed the Earth (I call the Father’s original plan, “Plan A”). As Ezekiel 40-44 predicted, the Ark would have been placed in a temple on Earth and Jesus would have served in it as our high priest. When Israel rejected and crucified Jesus, the Father implemented an alternative plan (“Plan B”) and Jesus returned to Heaven. God took the Ark to Heaven about the time Jesus ascended because the new plan requires the Ark to be in Heaven’s temple. (Link for additional information about God’s “Plan A” and “Plan B”, also link about parallel temple services)
When the Ark of the Covenant Will Be Found
God will reveal the Ark that Bezalel made to everyone on Earth in a glorious display at the time of the seventh trumpet. The timing will be as important as the event itself. Consider the following:
- During the Great Tribulation, people will be unable to travel because of badly damaged roads, dams, and bridges. Fuel for travel will be non-existent. People will be unable to communicate due to inoperable power grids, radios, television, internet, and limited electricity. This isolation will separate people and nations into small geographic cells. There would simply be no purpose to reveal the Ark near Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation when very few people would hear about it and even fewer would get to see it. Revelation 11:19 predicts God will deliberately show the Ark from the sky at the seventh trumpet so that everyone on Earth can see it! A local discovery would not fulfill this global objective.
- If someone finds the Ark of the Covenant on Earth prior to the Great Tribulation, it would be a sensational find, gaining worldwide attention for a few days. However, an archaeological discovery would not have the spiritual significance that goes with the display of the Ark at the seventh trumpet. The Ark would be considered a religious relic that belongs to the Jews. They would take possession and immediately hide it from view the way they hid it in the temple’s Most Holy Place during Bible times. Additionally, if someone finds the Ark before the Great Tribulation begins, it would have no moral or spiritual importance for most of the seven billion people on Earth. This is because most of mankind does not recognize God’s Ten Commandments as God’s will. In fact, most Christians consider them to be part of the Jewish religion in the same way a black stone mounted into the Kaaba’s wall in Mecca is considered part of the Muslim religion.
- If the Ark of the Covenant is found prior to the Great Tribulation and no one is killed when touching it (as Uzzah was – 1 Chronicles 13:10), this would prove the Ark is no longer holy and God’s consuming power no longer rests on the Ark. Many Christians would believe this to confirm their understanding the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross. 1 Kings 8:9, written in King Solomon’s day, reveals that the only items in the Ark were the two stone tablets (the Ten Commandments). If God abolished the Ten Commandments at the cross, the Ark would not have this covenant inside, leaving just an empty box. God would have no reason to show an empty box to everyone at the seventh trumpet.
- In Bible times, the only people permitted to touch the poles attached to the Ark were Kohath’s descendants. Before the Ark could be moved, the high priest had to cover it because they were not even permitted to look at it! (Numbers 4:15; 3:31) If someone finds the Ark on Earth prior to the Great Tribulation, who can look at it and who can move or handle it? If God’s consuming power no longer defends the laws which He wrote with His own finger, the stone tablets would be of interest only to archaeologists. Archaeologists would study the tablets not for what they declare, but because they show God’s handwriting.
- God could have easily removed the Ark from Earth in the same way that He removed Enoch and Elijah. I believe since there will be a war over worship during the seven trumpets, God will show the Ark at the end of this war so everyone can see that His laws are literally above all others. Earth is His footstool. (Isaiah 66:1) The saints who were persecuted for worshiping the Creator on His Sabbath (according to the fourth commandment), will have their faith affirmed when they see the Ark at the seventh trumpet. It will be an omen of God’s coming wrath on the wicked, and they will see the box that contains the laws they refused to accept and willfully defied.
Jesus will not show the Ten Commandments at the seventh trumpet because they are spiritual laws. (Romans 7:14) God’s covenant promise is that He will write His laws in the minds and hearts of His faith-full people – those led by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:14) He will complete this process during the Great Tribulation when He removes the sinful nature (the sealing). If, during the Great Tribulation, a person wants to see what the Ten Commandments look like, he can study the lives of the 144,000 and those who have God’s seal! When the wicked see the Ark in Heaven’s temple, anxiety will torment them similar to the night when a hand wrote on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast. (Daniel 5:5,6)
- Jesus will mark the completion of the judgment of the living and the close of salvation when He displays the temple in Heaven, because Heaven is His seat of government. (2 Corinthians 5:10) Jesus will also show the Ark because it represents the law He uses to judge mankind. He wants the world to understand that He kept His covenant. God will remove the sinful nature of each person who has God’s seal in his forehead and will write the Ten Commandments on his heart and mind. God will not destroy the wicked arbitrarily. The seven bowls will be legitimate judgments on the wicked because they knowingly rejected the clearest evidences of God’s will, defiantly refused to obey His laws, and unjustly persecuted and deliberately hurt His innocent saints during the Great Tribulation. God’s justice is declared righteous in Revelation 16:5 when an angel says, “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged.”
- Finally, some people claim the Ark in the Earthly temple was a copy of the Ark in the Heavenly temple. I cannot accept this argument because Jesus wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger and gave them to Moses. These tablets were placed in the Ark of the Covenant that Bezalel made. (Deuteronomy 10:4) This makes the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant originals, not copies. If the Ark with THE original Ten Commandments is still on Earth, revealing an Ark from Heaven would be less significant. Jesus deliberately wrote the Ten Commandments on stone at Mt. Sinai because they are enduring and will endure for eternity.
These points summarize why I believe the Ark in Heaven’s temple is the only Ark that has ever existed; and if my conviction is true, it explains in part, why God has protected this one article of furniture with His glorious presence for millennia.
Was the Sabbath Created At Mt. Sinai?
Many Christians agree that the Ten Commandments are important and we should live according to them. However, when pushed to acknowledge the fourth commandment, they change their position, saying the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross. Observing God’s seventh day Sabbath rest creates a problem because those who keep it face all kinds of headwinds. Resting on God’s Sabbath is contrary to the ways of the world. Most Christians believe it is still a sin to steal, commit murder, commit adultery, worship idols, and take the Lord’s name in vain, but they will not admit that it is a sin to break the fourth commandment. They have not studied the Sabbath issue and are surprised to learn that God made the seventh day holy long before He wrote the Ten Commandments. He did not suddenly make the seventh day holy at Mt. Sinai. He made it holy Creation week! “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:1-3)
Some people argue there is no record of anyone keeping the Sabbath before Mt. Sinai, but this is false. The Bible says Enoch and Noah walked with God. (Genesis 5:22, 6:9) God did not hide His Sabbath day from them. In fact, Jesus probably walked with them on the Sabbath! I believe this because Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man.” (Mark 2:27) It is unreasonable to think that our Creator made the Sabbath for man and did not tell him about it.
The Sabbath, Egypt, and the Children of Israel
God’s Sabbath rest became a test of faith for Israel prior to Mt. Sinai! About 2,500 years after Creation Week, the Lord sent Moses to Egypt with this message to Israel’s elders: If the Israelites want to be delivered from slavery, the Lord commands the Israelites to take a three day trip into the desert to meet with Him. Friday will be used for travel, Sabbath will be used for worship and rest, and Sunday will be used for the return trip. During this festival, the nation of Israel must corporately recognize and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on His holy Sabbath day and offer atonement sacrifices as the Lord requires. After this festival, the Israelites must cease working on the Lord’s Sabbath. Although the Bible does not explicitly state these conditions, there is sufficient evidence to reveal these details. Notice these five passages:
- “Afterward [after informing the elders of Israel of the Lord’s plan and His commands and after considerable discussion among the elders about Pharaoh’s response and after getting their agreement to proceed] Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.” ’ Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’ Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or He may strike us with plagues or with the sword.’ ”
- Even though Pharaoh did not permit the Jews to take the three-day journey, the Israelites stopped working on the seventh day. When Pharaoh learned of this, he summoned Moses and Aaron to his court. He said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work! Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.” (Exodus 5:4,5)
- When the Israelites stopped working on God’s Sabbath, they challenged Pharaoh’s authority. Slaves are not permitted to dictate anything, including their work days or hours! From an economic point of view, Pharaoh did not want to kill his slaves. War comes with a price, both to the defeated and the winner. Therefore, to regain control over the situation, Pharaoh decided to increase the torture. Pain would teach the slaves to obey his orders. Pharaoh continued to purchase straw from Egyptian farmers, but no longer required the farmers to deliver the straw as before. Instead, the Israelites would be forced to go into the fields and gather straw, and Pharaoh made it perfectly clear they would have to produce the same number of bricks. “The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, ‘Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.’ The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten and were asked, ‘Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?’ ” (Exodus 5:13,14)
- Week after week, the torture went on. Some of the Israelite foremen appealed to Pharaoh to stop the harsh treatment saying, “ ‘Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, “Make bricks!” Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.’ Pharaoh said, ‘Lazy, that's what you are – lazy! That is why you keep saying, “Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.” ’ ” (Exodus 5:16,17)
- Even though Exodus 5 does not mention the holiness of the seventh day explicitly, there is no other reason for millions of slaves to be punished for resting other than resting from their work on God’s holy day. “The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, ‘You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.’ When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, ‘May the Lord look upon you and judge [condemn] you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.’ ” (Exodus 5:19-21, insertion mine)
If you understand that God made the seventh day holy during Creation Week, the elements in this story are easy to discern. Resting on God’s holy day was a condition for deliverance from slavery. Faith in God came with a price. Jesus tested the Israelites to see if they would obey Him. When a person is willing to suffer for what he believes is God’s will, the Bible declares that person “lives by faith.” (Romans 1:17) God tested the faith of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace because they believed the second commandment forbade worshiping idols and God tested Israel when He required them to rest on the seventh day. Although Exodus 5 does not explicitly state the dispute over keeping God’s Sabbath holy was the reason that Pharaoh punished millions of slaves, there is no other logical explanation why this conflict arose.