The book of 2 Maccabees 2:4 explains that before the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians in 587 BC, the Ark was hidden by the prophet Jeremiah in a cave at the base of Mount Nebo in the Pisgah range of Jordan. Second Maccabees, as well as other apocryphal works, are retained in modern Catholic Bibles as well as the Septuagint and Vulgate.[i] It is found in the records…
…that Jeremy the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremy came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord show them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was showed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.[ii]
This account of the Ark from 2 Maccabees is also mentioned in the Jewish Talmud, in Huriot 12A and Tractate Yoma 72a. These texts explain that the Ark’s location would not be recovered until the Jews were brought back to Israel following the Diaspora, an event that miraculously did occur in 1948. The pseudepigraphic book, 2 Baruch, written near the first century, repeats the prophetic age in which the Ark would be recovered:
Oh earth…guard them [the Temple vessels and the Ark] until the last times, So that, when thou art ordered, thou mayst restore them, So that strangers may not get possession of them. For the time comes when Jerusalem also will be delivered for a time, until it is said, that it is again restored for ever.[iii]
According to prophecy, the Jews of the end time would return to Israel from all the nations of the Earth. Isaiah 11:11–12 explains that Israel would be populated by exiles that formerly lived in every part of the world. This has been the situation since 1948, and is not related to the first return of Jews to Israel after the Babylonian exile:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people…. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Amos 9:14–15 declares that after the second return of the exiles, they would never again go into dispersion: “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.”
The legendary accounts of Jeremiah and the Ark provide a hidden clue to its location at Mount Nebo. This is a symbolic link that exists between the names of the Babylonian king who threatened to destroy the Ark and the mountain where it was hidden by Jeremiah. Both “Nebuchadnezzar” and “Nebo” stem from the Semitic root nebu, meaning the god “Mercury.” This was also intimated in the prophecies of Ezekiel condemning Jerusalem (chapter 2). The name “Nebuchadnezzar” means “the prince of the god Merucury.”[iv] The Hebrew word nebo is from the root neba (“to prophesy” and also “a prophet”).[v] In the same role as the prophets of the God of Israel, Nebo was worshiped as the celestial scribe of the Assyrians, the “interpreter of the gods, and declarer of their will.”[vi]
According to the Bible, the greatest prophet of all time was Moses: “And there arose not a prophet [neba] since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”[vii] Ironically, Mount Nebo was the site of the death of Moses:
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that [is] over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan…. And the Lord said unto him, This [is] the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see [it] with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.[viii]
The Hebrew words nobe, meaning “high place,” and nabab, meaning “to hollow out,” “gate,” or “pupil of the eye,” also correlate with the location for the resting place of the Ark in a “hollow cave” on Mount Nebo, described in 2 Maccabees.[ix]
The Talmud explains that the tower of Babel was dedicated to Nebo, son of Marduk (Greek Jupiter) and that its destruction coincided with the confusion of languages and forgetfulness of knowledge.[x] The emblem of Mercury, a snake entwined on a pole, was first recorded in Exodus, which was the brazen serpent on a pole lifted by Moses to cure the rebellious Israelites of a plague of snakes (Numbers 21:9).[xi]
The serpent on the pole was used as a Messianic symbol, and was illustrated by Christ Himself, as told in John 3:14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” However, this object was preserved and later worshiped as Mercury—Nebo by the Israelites—until being destroyed by King Hezekiah ca. 725 BC, when “he broke into pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had burned incense to it; it was called Nehushtan.”[xii]
It is fitting with the cryptic name of Mount Nebo that a modern sculpture in metal of a serpent on a pole stands at its summit near the Church of Moses.[xiii] If the Ark was hidden in Mount Nebo, it was to remain forgotten until the end of days. This prophecy has remarkable similarities to the theme of Mercury as god of knowledge and forgetfulness. Its recovery sometime before the return of Christ fits the prophetic scheme of Sir Isaac Newton wherein a rebuilt temple, the Ark, and a world rule by “Babylon the Great” predominate.
Although Babylon’s power over Israel resulted in the loss of the Ark and the destruction of the Temple, the resurgence of Babylon as a spiritual force that governs the world at the end of days will accompany the rebuilding of the structure and the discovery of the Ark.
As Moses viewed the Land of Promise from Mount Nebo, but was prevented from entering, the Ark’s location upon Mount Nebo is seen, but not yet been obtained. However, according to prophecy, Moses will walk in Jerusalem in the end times, having finally gained access to the land viewed from atop Mount Nebo. As he waits for his designated time to enter the Promised Land, the Ark waits until the hour chosen by God.
The Bible records that the “glory of the Lord” moved into the Holy of Holies at the first installation of the Ark in Solomon’s Temple.[xiv] Ezekiel, the prophet who warned of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple while exiled in Nippur, Babylonia, had witnessed the glory of the Lord move away from the Temple to the east, directly in line with Mount Nebo. This was in reference to God abandoning the Temple to its enemies, and is stated in Ezekiel 11:23: “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which [is] on the east side of the city.”[xv] Later, Ezekiel was shown the vision of the restored Temple of the future in which the glory of the Lord returned from the east, stated in Ezekiel 43:4: “And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple by the way of the gate whose prospect [is] toward the east.”[xvi]
The “glory of the Lord” was a distinct feature of the Ark between the cherubim. Translated, “glory” is shekinah in Hebrew, meaning “presence.” This presence of God was in form of a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day during the travel of the Israelites in the desert. Whenever the glory of the Lord moved from the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the people followed. As the pillar of fire or smoke stood above the Ark, the Israelites stopped and set up camp. The glory of the Lord stood in a vertical column extending from Heaven to the surface of the Ark. The book of Exodus records that the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle had no lamps, largely because none were needed due to the intense glow of the Ark itself. In fact, when Moses went into the Holy of Holies to speak to God at the mercy seat, his face glowed so intensely that the Israelites were afraid to come near him unless he wore a veil[xvii] (Exodus. 34:35). These descriptions associate the Ark with the glory of the Lord. When the Philistines captured the Ark and removed it from Israel, the daughter-in-law of Eli, the high priest, referred to the Ark as the glory of the Lord itself, saying, “The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.”[xviii]
The Apocalypse of 2 Baruch provides the direction in which the Ark may rest in relation to the Temple. While the Babylonians began their siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC, Jeremiah the prophet threw the keys of the Temple and its sanctuary towards the sun:
But taking the keys of the temple, Jeremiah went outside the city and threw them away in the presence of the sun, saying: I say to you, Sun, take the keys of the temple of God and guard them until the day in which the Lord asks you for them. For we have not been found worthy to keep them, for we have become unfaithful guardians.[xix]
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This legend is found with variations in the Jewish Talmud and pertains to the destruction of the First and Second Temples.[xx] As the sun rises in the east, throwing the keys of the Temple to the sun implies this direction. It is remarkable that the story of the keys and the hiding of the Ark are both connected to Jeremiah. This story is also significant metaphorically. The “keys” of the Temple represent both the stewardship of the priests of God and the sacred knowledge embodied by the Temple and its rituals. In the Talmud versions, the Levites or the high priest climbed to the structure’s roof and threw the keys into Heaven, from whence a divine hand caught them and disappeared into a cloud.[xxi]
Jewish mystics believe that this act represented the loss of the correct pronunciation of the name of God, or the knowledge of Solomon. When viewed from this perspective, the “lost key” story represents the priscia theologia of the Temple of God as a divine receptacle of pure knowledge. It is a line of reasoning that Newton certainly had perused.
The Ark, representing the whole of the Law, was a designed using the Sacred Cubit. Because the 25.20-inch Sacred Cubit is a ratio of the Earth, being a fractal of 2,520 (and 2,520 x pi is earth’s diameter), the Ark reflects this geo-metry (literally, “earth-measure”). The solution for determining its present location might be found in the very word used for the divinely chosen resting place of the Ark, the naus or navis, the origin of the word “navigation,” which is the skill of measuring the Earth. As an expert in the Law, Jeremiah may have reasoned that if the Ark could not dwell in the Temple that was designed as its permanent resting place, it might at least remain in alignment with it, which suggests a specific navigational process for locating the Ark.
A measuring line extended directly towards the east from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount must remain on the latitude of the foundation stone where the Ark rested in the Holy of Holies, which is north 31 degrees, 46 minutes, and 43 seconds. Its length must also be related to the Sacred Cubit, which is exactly 25.20 nautical miles. The result at the end of the measuring line touches the north slope of Mount Nebo less than a mile from its summit.
That 2,520 is a constant is incredible. The terminus of this measuring line touches a point on the north slope of Mount Nebo 1,260 feet above sea level, which is half of 2,520, and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem rests on a hill 2,520 feet above sea level.[xxii] In fitting with the altitude of the location of the Ark on Mount Nebo, the letters of the name of Solomon in Greek equal 1,260; it is revealed that it was he who built the First Temple and established the Ark in the Holy of Holies.
These values are consistent with Newton’s scheme of the Temple’s prisca theologia, based on 25.20 of the Sacred Cubit and 2,520 of time recorded in the book of Daniel and Revelation. This numeric signature of prophecy and law is redundantly apparent in the proposed location of the Ark, situated in an area corresponding to the only description found in the biblical texts of its hiding place. Current satellite maps of the area reveal no modern settlements or excavations. In addition, the geology of the area is similar to the Qumran region of the Dead Sea, in which many caves exist. It would have been an extremely favorable location to deposit the Ark and furnishings of the Temple of Solomon.
There are questions that arise concerning the exposure of the location of the Ark, if this calculation is accurate. Is it wise to uncover it? Will it fall into the wrong hands? Will the Ark be present in the rebuilt Temple of the end times?
It is reasonable that God would not provide information to find the Ark unless it was part of His divine plan. Although the acacia wood comprising it may have disintegrated, the gold overlaid around it, as well the solid gold of the mercy seat and cherubim, would have certainly withstood the effects of time. Its recovery would follow the precise design of God from the beginning. If the Ark’s location has been revealed, then it is God’s intention that it be discovered in this age. One specific detail must be worked out, however. The site of Ark of the Covenant on Mount Nebo is dependent on the exact location of the foundation stone on the Temple Mount. There are several theories concerning this question, the most promising is, significantly, linked to the Eastern Gate of the Temple.[xxiii]
David Flynn’s reasoning above is spectacular to be sure, but one thing is certain: If the Bible is to be accepted as God’s Word on the matter, the Third Temple will be built and the revealing of the Ark of the Covenant and other Second Temple Treasures could—any day now—ignite global impetus for its construction.
NEXT: TEMPLE TREASURES AND THE COPPER SCROLL
[i] Columbia Encyclopedia, 213.The Apocryphal books were considered historically valuable enough to be included in the King James Bible from its formation in 1611 until 1885. Later, these fourteen books were officially removed from the English printings of the King James Bible by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1885.
[ii] II Macabees 2:4 Bishop Challoner’s 18th century revision of the Douay Rheims version Catholic Public Domain Version. 2005 Ronald L. Conte Jr., translator and editor.
[iii] R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudopigrapha of the Old Testament, Vol. 2, 2 Baruch 6 (Oxford, UK: Oxford Press, 1913).
[iv] James Strong, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hebrew Dictionary, Hebrew Lexicon, # 5015 (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 1986).
[v] Ibid. # 5013.
[vi] Ibid. # 5011.
[vii] Deuteronomy 34:10, KJV.
[viii] Deuteronomy 34:5, KJV.
[ix] Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, # 5014.
[x] Talmud (Sanhedrin XI. 109a) (Cf. Obermeyer, pp. 314, 327, 346). Translated by Michael L. Rodkinson. (New York: New Talmud Pub. Co., c1896–c1903).
[xii] 2 Kings 18:24, KJV.
[xiii] The sculpture of the serpent on the pole was created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni. Wikipedia Mount Nebo.
[xiv] 1 Kings 8:10, KJV.
[xv] Ezekiel 11:23, KJV.
[xvi] Ezekiel 43:4, KJV.
[xvii] Exodus 34:35, KJV.
[xviii] 1 Samuel 4:22, KJV.
[xix] R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudopigrapha of the Old Testament..
[xx] Ibid., Ta’anit 29a and in Pesikta Rabbati 26:6.
[xxi] Ibid., Talmud. Jalkut Shekalim 50a and B. on Isa. xxi.
[xxii] Columbia Encyclopedia, 1080.
[xxiii] David Flynn, Temple at the Center of Time, Official Disclosure, First Edition, (Crane, MO: Defender Publishing, September 8, 2008) 129–144.