There are many claims being made today as to the location of the Ark of the Covenant and the purpose of this site is to give you an opportunity to hear Ron Wyatt's story as he has told it and his wife has written it. For now, we cannot provide conclusive evidence of his claims and we only ask you to consider carefully what you are about to read, and withhold your final judgment until you can see conclusive evidence.
What you are about to read is startling and may present new concepts that seem almost incredible. Wonderful and solemn new insight has been shed on a subject that is central throughout the entire Bible - the salvation of man through the death and mediation of the Messiah. As you read this account, remember the Biblical admonition: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. The Search Begins
In 1978, Ron and his sons, Danny and Ronny, made two trips to Israel in order to drive down to the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba in Egypt to search for chariot parts in the Red Sea. This was during the time that Israel was occupying the Sinai Peninsula and therefore, the place Ron believed to be the crossing site could only be reached by traveling from Israel instead of going through Cairo.
During his 2nd dive trip, he learned a very painful lesson. He swam for hours, searching the sea floor at a depth of about 30 feet- believing that the water would filter out the sun's harmful rays. However, this wasn't the case and as a result, his legs and feet became painfully swollen to such an extent that he couldn't get his fins on.
Unable to dive anymore, and with no motel in the area, he and the boys had no choice but to return to Jerusalem to wait until their flight from Tel Aviv left for the US.
One day in Jerusalem, after the swelling in Ron's legs and feet went down a bit, he decided to go sightseeing in the immediate area around his hotel near the Damascus Gate. Walking along an ancient stone quarry, known to some as "the Calvary Escarpment," he began conversing with a local authority about Roman antiquities. At one point, they stopped walking, and Ron's left hand pointed to a site being used as a trash dump and he stated, "That's Jeremiah's Grotto and the Ark of the Covenant is in there." Even though these words had come from his own mouth and his own hand had pointed, he had not consciously done or said these things. In fact, it was the first time he had ever thought about excavating for the Ark.
The man with him, quite out of character, also reacted strangely. He said, "That's wonderful! We want you to excavate, and we'll furnish your permits, put you up in a place to stay and even furnish your meals!"
But Ron didn't know what to think- he knew it was a "supernatural" experience, but was it of God, or was it of "someone else"? By this time, Ron had made major discoveries in Turkey, and had found numerous chariot parts in the Red Sea. But not once had he ever had an experience such as this. It was like a thunderbolt out of the blue on a perfectly sunny day. He had to decline the man's offer, at least until he could figure out if there was any reason to believe the Ark could be in that location. So, he and the boys came on home as planned. But once at home, Ron began some serious research and study.
Why Would the Ark Be in that Location?
In searching the Bible, Ron found the last mention in the Bible of the Ark's location:
2CH 35:1 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.... 3 And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, PUT THE HOLY ARK IN THE HOUSE WHICH SOLOMON THE SON OF DAVID KING OF ISRAEL DID BUILD; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,... 19 In the EIGHTEENTH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF JOSIAH was this passover kept.
This was about the year 621 BC, just 35 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, when Judah went into the second phase of their Babylonian captivity. This information told Ron that the Ark disappeared from the Divine record sometime between 621 BC and 586 BC. Since the temple was completely destroyed, there is no doubt that it was NOT there after that time.
As Ron continued to study, he noticed something he found strange- in 2 Kings 24:13, 2Kings 25:13-18, and Jeremiah 52:17-23, a very detailed account was given of the items taken to Babylon from the "king's house" and the "house of the Lord"- it even mentioned small items like "spoons", etc. But the Ark isn't mentioned.
Neither is it mentioned in the lists of things brought back from Babylon in Ezra 1:7-1:11. Since we are told in Jeremiah 28:3 that everything taken to Babylon from the "house of the Lord" would be returned, and since the Ark wasn't among the returned items, this proves that it was never taken to Babylon .
Shishak (Egyptian pharaoh) and Sennacherib (king of Assyria) are also mentioned as having taken items from the "house of the Lord"- but neither did any of those items include the Ark.
So what happened to it? In 2 Kings 25:1, telling about the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon, we are told that the Babylonian army "pitched against it" and built "forts against it round about"- which means they built a "siege wall". This verse further tells that the siege lasted over a year before the city was taken. And it was with this verse that Ron found the evidence which indicated to him that the Ark could be in the location he had pointed to. Of course, it wasn't positive proof- to Ron it only meant that it was a possibility. What did this "siege wall" have to do with the Ark?
The Siege Wall
Siege walls were built by attacking armies outside of the walls of the city under attack, at a distance outside of the range of the weapons used by that city- what were these weapons during this time?
2CH 26:14 And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. 15 And he made in Jerusalem ENGINES, INVENTED BY CUNNING MEN, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, TO SHOOT ARROWS AND GREAT STONES withal.
Uzziah, spoken of in this verse, was king over 100 years BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem, and we here learn that they had "engines" on the "towers" and "bulwarks" which shot "arrows" and "great stones". Catapults were capable of reaching over 1,000 feet, and therefore Ron reasoned that the siege wall would have been positioned out of the range of these massive devices, and therefore, further from the city wall than the site he had pointed to.
He finally concluded:
1) the Ark had to have been hidden between the 18th year of Josiah, (when we are told he had it taken to Solomon's temple), and 35 years later, when the temple was destroyed;
2) it was NOT taken to Babylon, based on the information from the Scriptures which told what went to Babylon & what was returned;
3) it was most likely hidden just prior to the destruction of the temple, when Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian siege wall; and
4) it was hidden somewhere within the confines of the city wall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian siege wall. The entire city AND the temple were destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians, so the Ark could have only escaped destruction or captivity by NOT being anywhere in the city.
Again, the site he had pointed to was, he believed, outside of the ancient city wall and within the siege wall. It was supposition based on study, but still only supposition. Yet, it was enough to base a decision on- he decided to go ahead with the excavation.
The Ark in the Apocrypha
He decided to see if any mention was found in any non-Biblical records, especially Jewish. He found 2 intriguing instances. In the Apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees, we read:
2 Mac 2:2 The records show that it was Jeremiah who... 4,... prompted by a divine message, the prophet gave orders that the Tent of Meeting and the Ark should go with him. Then he went to the mountain from the top of which Moses saw God's promised land. 5 When he reached the mountain, Jeremiah found a cave-dwelling; he carried the tent, the Ark, and the incense altar into it, then blocked up the entrance. 6 Some of his companions came to mark out the way, but were unable to find it. 7 When Jeremiah learned of this he reprimanded them. `The place shall remain unknown', he said, `until God finally gathers His people together and shows mercy to them. 8 Then the Lord will bring these things to light again, and the glory of the Lord will appear with the cloud, as it was seen both in the time of Moses, and when Solomon prayed that the shrine might be worthily consecrated.
The writer, in this letter to "Jewish kinsmen in Egypt, the Jews who are in Jerusalem, and those in the country of Judaea", explains where he got this information:
"These same facts are set out in the official records and in the memoirs of Nehemiah. Just as Nehemiah collected the chronicles of the kings, the writings of prophets, the works of David, and royal letters about sacred offerings, to found his library, so Judas also has collected all the books that had been scattered as a result of our recent conflict. These are in our possession, and if you need any of them, send messengers for them."
Also worthy of note: the quote in 2 Maccabees, above, could have been mis-translated over the years and originally have stated that the Ark was hidden NOT IN the mountain Moses was ON when he viewed the promised land (Mt. Nebo, Deu. 32:49), but instead it could mean that the Ark was hidden IN the mountain that Moses SAW when he viewed the promised land. From Nebo he would have been able to see Jerusalem because of it's altitude.
In the Pseudepigraphal book called "The Paralipomena of Jeremiah" (meaning "the remaining words of Jeremiah") it is also written that Jeremiah, in obedience to God's command, hid the sacred objects from the temple just before the destruction of Jerusalem. Now, neither of these books are to be trusted as completely accurate- however, they do show a strong tradition that has Jeremiah hiding, or having someone else hide, the Ark and other objects from the temple.
Is there any truth in these 2 books? Perhaps- since Jeremiah WAS the prophet in Jerusalem during the time of Josiah (when the Ark was brought back into the temple) and he continued through to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, it is logical to believe it possible that God directed him to have the Ark and other sacred items hidden.
Also, Jeremiah, himself, wrote:
JER 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
The implication here is that at the time he wrote this- (during the reign of Josiah, v. 6),- they still had the Ark in their possession. This entire passage, which begins with verse 6, is a plea to return from their apostasy, although their captivity was already foretold by Isaiah. Therefore, could this above verse about the Ark of the Covenant be a prediction that they no longer will have it when they return from captivity? Just 2 verses later, he writes:
JER 3:18 IN THOSE DAYS the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and THEY SHALL COME TOGETHER OUT OF THE LAND OF THE NORTH to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
The "land of the north" was Babylon where they would soon spend 70 years in captivity. If this understanding is correct, it indicates that Jeremiah DID have knowledge that they would no longer have the Ark when they returned from Babylon.
But also important to note is that he CLEARLY indicated that "neither shall that be done ANYMORE", which is proof that there is no promise of it ever being reinstated.
In fact, in Ezekiel, when he gives the instructions for the temple, he gives NO instructions which included the Ark. It was never mentioned.
Since Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian siege wall during the time the Ark seemed to have disappeared, Ron believed it may have been possible for someone to have taken it to a location within the siege wall and not be detected. The quotes we read above agree with the "time", but we just don't know for sure- and again, these books are not inspired so we cannot rely on them.
The Location of the Excavation Jerusalem is situated on 2 hills, traditionally referred to as "Mt. Moriah" and Mt. Zion". To the extreme right can be seen the beginning of the Mt. of Olives.
"Moriah" is mentioned only twice in the Bible- first as the place Abraham was told to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice, and second as the place where the temple was built:
GEN 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
2CH 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
The quarry which contains the site Ron was to excavate is part of the northern extension of Mt. Moriah. On the east, south and west sides of Jerusalem are very deep valleys which protect the city from foreign invaders. But on this north side, they were vulnerable. Therefore, a "dry moat" or trench was quarried out of "Mt. Moriah" on the north side to prevent an enemy from being able to simply reach and break through the wall along this ridge. Then, at some unknown point in time, the northern portion of "Moriah", now separated from the city, was used as a stone quarry. Starting on the south end of this now separated part of "Moriah", on the western side, stone was cut out of the mountain, lowering the ground level to that of the trench which extends just outside of the north wall.
The site Ron pointed to was along the quarried face (escarpment) of "Mt. Moriah". This cliff-face is referred to by some as "the Calvary escarpment" because it contains the "skull-face" that many believe was "Golgotha" or "Calvary" where Christ was crucified.
It also contains the site traditionally called "Jeremiah's Grotto", the "Garden Tomb" (where many believe Christ was buried) and St. Etienne which contains a large complex of Jewish tombs dating to the 1st and 2nd temple periods cut into the side of the mountain.
The escarpment is many hundreds of feet long. And it was Ron's belief that this WAS the general area of the crucifixion, and the Garden Tomb, he also believed, was indeed that of Joseph of Arimathaea which had once held the body of Christ. But these things were not related to this project. He was now searching for the Ark of the Covenant.