Raider of the Lost Ark
There is a reason that I didn't use the plural for Raider in the title of this hub besides the fact that its a copywrited title for a very popular movie. The reason is that when the Ark is found, it will be by an individual, a raider, who will capitalize on its discovery for all the wrong reasons. Just as in a corporate raider, it will be a dark day for all of us. You also probably noticed I used the word when and not if. That is because as I write this hub which will actually be a very long disertation by the time I finish, there are thsoe actively pursuing the Ark for their own personal agendas. You have men like Ron Wyatt and Vendyl Jones, you have weekend adventurers and you have, believe it or not, a very strong and supported Islamic group that would like to take possession of it. This latter group seeks it for the sake of the Mahdi. And should one of these Muslim individuals find it and proclaim themselves as this messiah of Islam, the Mahdi, then I fear for the outcome for all of us. They see it as a weapon of great power. A tool and justification for the destruction and slaughter of everything that is contrary to their faith. They have been told that when they find it that it will be the End of Times. They believe it and they would be compelled to make it happen because that is the manner in which it is written. Most of all they fear it because as it is described in the Qur’an 2:248, should it be returned to the Jews then it will be a symbol and sign to the world that Judaism has always been the one true faith. But the thinking, though not rational, is that should it come in to the possession of Islam, then it would also hold true that it would decalre Islam as the one true faith. Should you read the Qur'an for this particualr Sura, you will see that is not what it being said by the prophet but then fundamentalists have their own way of interpretation.
But then I also fear that if it came into possession of rabbinical Judaism we would be no better off either. They have ascribed so many things to to the Ark that they are blinded by their own beliefs. What they have always failed to see is that the Ark was about ‘or h’oylum’, which translates as a light unto the world. Too long it was kept under hippopotamus hide covers in order to conceal it from the people. For those that have alway wondered what the unknown skin covering the ark and forming one of the drapes of the tabernacle was, now you know.
Sadly, I would say even as Cohenim, or as my family within the High Priesthood are called, somewhere along the way we too lost it’s true significance. Going from the Ark that was marched proudly before our people, available for all the people to see in its glory, to concealing it away behind curtains in the Holy of Holies where it would only be viewed by one man and only once a year.
Of course, therein lays the dilemma. Should it be found, then who should ultimately have responsibility for it? I see the Ark through Karaite eyes as the unifying force that once and for all ends the religious disputes that have plagued mankind since its dawn. If we can understand its universality then we will be able to understand its true purpose. Karaism is about the universality of mankind and personally it is my belief as the only way forward, especially when the Ark is discovered. As Kahana from the House of Phiabi, it is essentially our responsibility to see that this happens ultimately.
I’m hoping that the information I’m about to pass on will be of help to you. Perhaps one of you reading this hub will be the next Indiana Jones. If so, recognise that although you and I are searching for the same thing we are probably doing so for entirely different reasons. If I said to you, “It is time,” I hope you will understand fully what I’m saying. It is the reason I have thus referred to the 'when' the Ark is discovered rather than the 'if.' I don’t want to appear too cryptic and I assure you that as you may have already determined from my website http://legendsofthekahana.webs.com or from my other blog pages at both http://FromTheWriteHand.blogspot .com or http://hubpages.com/search/Kahana that I have some historical and hereditary validation to make these statements.
The following hub has a multiplicity of purposes and if you indulge me with your patience I will explain each one. As a Karaite most of my beliefs run counterstream to you yours. In fact my beliefs probably run counterstream to everyone’s except another Karaite’s. But the belief that the Ark is universal cannot be disputed. And if someone is reading this hub that is involved in archealogical discoveries, let's hope that what I'm about to write will help point you in the right direction.
If you read my other hubs you’ll notice I come from a very old family. The House of Phiabi to be specific which means that as a continuous male line of decent I’m talking roughly 2175 years. That in itself makes for a lot of memories. Many of the stories have been passed down from generation to generation, some are in books, and the rest are perhaps what others call voices but in my case I know they are nothing but specific memories my ancestors have incorporated into their genetic code and thereby ensuring that the memories stay alive. The trigger for the memories varies; sometimes its stress, or its being placed in a similar situation which makes one think déjà vu. Emotions definitely play a part but so do visual clues. They don’t happen often but when they do they usually involve very detailed and important information. THe principles and concepts behind this memory transfer can be viewed on my hub page http://hubpages.com/hub/GLEEM .
So let's talk about an event that happened when I was still a young teenager when I happened to engage a rabbinical teacher in a discussion of the Ark of The Covenant. That teacher said to me, “I know who your family is. You are Cohenim but they say you are no longer. The Ark of the Covenant has gone the way of the Priests.” You tell that to a thirteen year old and they can’t make heads or tails of it. It makes you confused, anxious and stressed, especially since I knew very little about my paternal side at that time of my life. It suddenly becomes a consuming passion to find out exactly what this person whom claims to know things about your family was talking about. And that leads to copious amounts of research. Between the stress and the research, exhausting as it becomes, you have a situation where GLEEM can be triggered. In this particular memory I found myself by a small river outside a city. Not a major city by the look of it. Probably best to refer to it as a town. I looked down into the waters and saw that much of this water course was manmade, a cistern flowing underground into the town. The edge I sat on overhung the waters by a good couple of feet. Holding on to the side, I peered under the ledge and saw that there was a dark opening, several feet below the water's surface. I was not a good swimmer, but I felt compelled to explore the mouth of this underwater tunnel. I dove into the water and swam through the opening. I held my breath for at least thirty seconds, swimming further and further into the darkness, until I could see a light ahead. I swam for the light, surfacing within a cave that was in reality an underground room, square and of stone, with the river running through the middle. I realise now this was designed as some kind of service access to the aqueduct that had been constructed. There was a stone staircase leading upwards to what appeared to be a stone slab in the ceiling. Where the exit led to I have no idea but I knew there was obviously an easier way to enter into the chamber if one knew where to look from the outside. On my left there was a large platform. That's where I saw the Ark of the Covenant and the vestments of the High Priest. The Ark looked nothing like it is portrayed for the Cherubim were not angels or any manner of creature that has ever existed. They were clearly a hybrid of the imagination and I could not describe them as creatures of beauty. The priest’s clothing was supported on an upright wooden tee. Whereas the Ark was dark or forboding in appearance, the clothes radiated. Fine silver bells and deep violet pomegranates but there were two rows, not one as had been described. The blue of the robes were dark like the sea but fine silver threads weaved their way through its entire length. The covering garment was a mix of red, gold and purple threads. Vivid imagination you might be saying now, and I wouldn't be able to argue with you. It's not as if there's any proof but as you will read in the next paragraph, even when you start doubting yourself, proof does become available eventually.
In 1986 I had my next encounter with GLEEM. As I said, these memories are far in between but when they do come, they make a major impact. After this episode I knew that the one I experienced in 1971 was not a dream or a hallucination but very real indeed. Just not from my reality but someone else’s. This particular night in 1986 I couldn't sleep, feeling sorry for myself as I was suffering a deep emotional trauma. It was about three in the morning I heard a voice whispering into my left ear. It spoke in a language I was not familiar with. It was not Hebrew although the gutteral sounds were very similar. It said the following.
"Lamah Kineeni. Avivu Ishu Sheltani."
I didn't have a clue as to what it meant. The next morning I went to my office, I discussed the event with Eldin, the pharmacist in the plaza, an Iranian of Shiite beliefs. He wrote down the words and said he'd get back to me. Something sounded familiar to him. The next day he told me that it was Aramaic. For those of us that are in the know, Aramaic fell out of use sixteen centuries ago, unless you're watching a Mel Gibson movie, such as the Passion and you have the opportunity to hear Aramaic and wonder why he bothered.. Eldin told me that it translated, to the best he could find out as, "Why do you bother me? If you persist, I will hurt you!" At the time I didn’t know that Aramaic would have been very similar to Hebrew and they would have translated similarly. That being the case, then this was definitely not what the mysterious words had said since there’s not even the remotest resemblance to Hebrew. But the one thing I did realise was that the possibility of a foreign and ancient language popping up in your head cannot be the result of dreams or hallucinations. I began to fathom that what I was seeing or hearing was the result of certain memories that were already pre-existent in my mind. But at the time I just couldn’t fathom how that was possible.
Words whipering in your head from an ancient civilization are not something you're going to forget easily. In 1998, my father-in-law arranged a meeting with an individual that he had met that was familiar with historical middle eastern languages. His name was Nazar and he was a Palestinian Christian. He agreed to help me with the translation and when I told him the words he thought he may have recognised hearing something similar. He contacted a colleague, a professor of ancient Semitic languages and asked him to translate. I finally had my answer. It was Syriac, a language that still exists in small pockets of Northern Iraq but once had been the linqua Franca of Mesopotamia. The Kahana came from a town in Mesopotamia. In fact they were the virtual rulers of Mahoza. So now I knew that I was dealing with a memory from over a thousand years ago and one of my ancestors was saying, “Why have you not assumed the task of reviving what Jesus had begun.” What it was suggesting was that Jesus was just a beginning and not an end and this particular ancestor was to lead a religious revolution of some sort. That others, particularly others in my family were to assume some mantle of responsibility and take over the tasks whatever those may have been. Not surprisingly, the message was not welcomed by Nazar or anyone else at the organisation he belonged to as it was contrary to their beliefs and that was the end of our meeting. I was quickly and unceremoniously ushered on my way out.
Locating the Ark of the Covenant
So after what has been a very circuituitous discourse I will get to the original intent of my hub. The Ark of the Covenant is not lost. As those of you familiar with the Kings and Chronicles, you will recall that King Josiah instructed the priests to bring it back to Jerusalem after it had been removed during the reign of Manasseh. So we know it was back in the Jerusalem Temple several decades later whenJerusalem is under attack. Naturally the priests are going to take it back to exactly where it had been hidden in the previous century for protection. Not too distant from Jerusalem as everyone would like to believe, since you had to move it in secret which meant at best you had the night to do so There are clues but they all should be thought of as reverse clues, as the opposites have the true significance. Maccabees 2 will tell you that Jeremiah took it to Mount Nebo but that is nothing but a riddle in itself. Remember that the Ark in Hebrew and Aaron share the same name. Aron being the word for the Ark or box. Mount Nebo by the way is where Moses was buried. Recalling what the rabbi told me when I was around twelve, that the Ark went the way of the priesthood, it dawned on me that whether he knew it or not, he was telling me that the Ark did not go to Mount Nebo simply because Moses was not a High Priest. It would not go anywhere where the priests had not been. Then again, perhaps he did know exactly what he was saying to me and planted the seed of this revelation.
So if Mount Nebo is no longer a clue to its whereabouts, and the way of the priesthood was referring to a definite migration of the Ark, then the possibility that it was referring to the path taken by the priests from the time they entered Canaan until the time that they carried the Ark into Jerusalem may have been indicated. We know it had a home in Bethel (Judg 20:18, 27), Shiloh (1 Sam 1:3, 25; 3:3, 4:3), Kiriath-jearim (1 Sam 7:1-2), and Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:12-17). So all these places would constitute the way of the priesthood as they carried the Ark. Bethel is only 10 miles north and Similarly Kiriath-jearim is only 11 miles to the west which would be possible sites but taking into consideration that the Ark would have considerable weight, couldn’t be treated roughly, and the priests involved would have been probably older than 40 years, then it would have taken all night to reach these destinations and that meant they would have been seen on the return trip, a chance they couldn’t afford to take. Shiloh is 22 miles to the north and therefore very unlikely as a destination to even be considered. Whereas Bethel and Kiriath-jearim would have been suitable since the presence of the Ark in the past signified that neither would defile the Ark if returned there, the distance and time required would tend to rule out both. Wherever the Ark was taken the problem remains that Jeremiah had no way of knowing if they would be able to retrieve the Ark following the occupation by the Babylonians. Therefore he had to take it to a place where there were existent clues that someone in the priesthood as he suggests would find it in the future. Clues hidden in plain sight.
As Kahana, my sons and their sons will go through a rite of passage known as the Ascent. It’s a beautiful ceremony that describes the knocking on the gates of Nicanor in order to gain access to the inner Temple. It is a pathway reserved only for the High Priests. You can view pictures of my son’s ascent on the website at http://www.legendsofthekahana.webs.com/apps/photos . The entry of the high priests into the Temple was known as the way of the Priests. Perhaps this was one of the clues that Jeremiah expected someone to pick up in the future. If the Ascent is a clue then there are certain Psalms referred to as Psalms of Ascent. Would there be a specific Ascent Psalm that refers to the concealment of the Ark of the Covenant. Yes, there is, it’s Psalm 132.
Bethehem, Oh Bethlehem
Little town of Bethlehem, or so the carol goes. But we know for such a small place it was capable of producing such great things. And my search through the Psalms led me to this particular one:
Psalm 132 Verse 6. We heard of it at Ephratah. For those that know their biblical history, the ark never was at Bethlehem which was also known at Ephratah. At least we think it was never there because we don’t have it mentioned as being there anywhere in the Bible. Or was it and it just didn't register? We know that King David had brought the Ark from Kiriath-jearim and before it reached Jerusalem, Uzzah reached out to steady it and died immediately. At that point David was no longer willing to transport the Ark and took it to the nearby house of Obededom and left it on his threshing floor. We also know that Obededom and his eight sons guarded the south Temple gate from 1 Chronicles 26:15. What did guarding the gate exactly mean? It meant that the approach from the south was protected by this family so that no one other than those authorised would be allowed to be in the Temple vicinity. It would not only be at the wall itself but the plains before the wall and probably extending several miles out. It also implies that Obededom’s home and threshing floor would be somewhere in that southern vicinity. Five miles south of this gate lays Bethlehem. So it is conceivable that the Ark was in the town of Bethlehem until David had it finally moved by the priests to Jerusalem.
But where in Bethlehem is the next question. As I am very familiar with how stories are passed down in families such as those in my own family, it would be expected that those that helped Jeremiah remove the Ark would have ensured that they in turn told those stories to their own offspring. This would continue ad-infinitum but would undergo alterations with the passage of time. I have a book published in 1896 which is entitled The Irish Prince and the Hebrew Prophet. The book is about Jeremiah bringing the Ark to Ireland. It’s an interesting story but is neither scholarly nor practical. The story is entertaining but is not to be taken seriously. So if you're one of the raiders thinking that the Ark is in Ethiopia, then I'm sorry to say that is about as close as one would get to finding it in Ireland. What is of interest though is a little poem that is found on page 145 of the book. The author is anonymous which would imply that the poem existed long before the book was written. It reads as follows:
Is this the funeral pyre, thy lonely grave, Oh, ancient Tara, city once so fair? Where are thy halls and palaces so brave, Thy sons and daughters, strong and beauteous, where? Great wast though in olden time—a sacred place. Here reigned wise kings in great Jehovah’s name; Here shone an aged prophet’s honoured face; Here to be taught the rude barbarians came; Here rests the Ark of God, The holiest thing within they spreading bounds; But thou hast perished, They sacred relics lie unsought, unfound; And midst the buried arches, pillars prone, And fragments huge, of hewn and carven stone, I search and lo! In a dim nook behold The Ark of shitim wood, o’erlaid with gold, And shdowed by the wings of cherubims.
For all intents and purposes the poem would appear to be talking about the ancient capital city Tara in Ireland. As in the episode I described where I encounter the Ark in a room below ground, so too it is described in this poem as being buried in a lonely grave, or below ground. A play on words perhaps because the Hebrew for Ark, aron, is also the same word for coffin or sarcophagus. Tara was an ancient burial ground for pagan kings but it was not a place of palaces or great halls. Even the forts that had been there were far from great. But notice that the ark is being buried at a time that the king who ruled in God’s name was being attacked by barbarians. Very different from the fall of Tara’s pagan kings in the 6th century to Christian armies. The poem is a reflection of events occurring in Judea and masked by Celtic legends. That being the case, where would Tara in Judea be? None other than Bethlehem which the Bedouins referred to as Za’ Tara where the presyllable is only a descriptor and the Benjaminites referred to it as Ephratha as the Psalm indicates which does sound similar being in some ways an anagram. .
Are there pools and aqueducts that run through the hills around Bethlehem just as what I envisioned in my GLEEM episode? Quite a few in fact the most monumental being the Pools of Solomon about five miles distant. Bethlehem was where David was anointed by Samuel and therefore was a holy place just as in the poem. Samuel who is frequently referred to as an aged or old prophet where Jeremiah is not. Bethlehem which is a sprawling village without defined boundaries and even today is considered a sacred place. Perhaps you will agree the poem has far more ties than initially given credit.
Where to Now?
I opened this letter with the remark that it is time to disclose these matters. As you may have perceived, these flashes of GLEEM which I have experienced are ticking down. For example, 1971, 1986, 1998, and then 2007 which led to this hub today. Fifteen years, twelve years and then nine years. I believe it is accelerating because the time is getting close at hand to uncover the Ark. Why now? Because those that are awaiting the rise of the Mahdi are getting too close. As a Karaite, we believe that we have a purpose that all men may eventually walk a single path through life. Yes, as individuals that path will still have its diversions and shortcuts. After all, Anan ibn David didn't care how we got to the same destination as long as we did what was right along the way. If the Ark is to be uncovered then it has to be by those that also see it for its universality and not as a destructive force of power.
If you are a 'Raider' and this very extensive hub has helped in some way to guide you in your efforts then I am glad. I wish you luck with your investigations and God speed. This is a race that we cannot afford to lose!