Ethiopian Ark of the Covenant Not To Be Revealed After All

Following on from my last post, apparently we all missed this report in Adnkronos last week , which includes a clarification from Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abuna Pauolos:

Non sono qui per dare delle prove che l’Arca sia in Etiopia, ma sono qui per dire quello che ho visto, quello che so e che posso testimoniare. Non ho detto che l’Arca sarà mostrata al mondo. E’ un mistero, un oggetto di culto.

A Freeper has helpfully provided a translation:

I am not here to give proofs that the Ark is in Ethiopia, but I am here to say what I saw, what I know and I can attest to. I didn’t say that the Ark would be revealed to the world. It is a mystery, an object of veneration.

First the Jim Barfield let down, and now this…

(Hat tip: a comment at Joel’s Trumpet)

WND Arko-mania

With news that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is planning to make public – today! – the hitherto concealed “Ark of the Covenant” the church claims is kept at a church in Aksum, WorldNetDaily eschews scholars on Ethiopian religion and history in favour of some soundbites  from various self-proclaimed “ark-hunters” and fundamentalist evangelists. First up, Bob Cornuke:

Bob Cornuke, biblical investigator, international explorer and best-selling author, has participated in more than 27 expeditions around the world searching for lost locations described in the Bible…He told WND he believes this artifact may be authentic.

…Cornuke said he also met with the president of Ethiopia nearly nine years ago and had a one-on-one conversation with him in his palace. He asked if Ethiopia had the Ark of the Covenant.

According to Cornuke, the president responded: “Yes, we do. I am the president, and I know. It’s not a copy. It’s the real thing.”

That president would have been Negasso Gidada, who is a Protestant.

Cornuke is off to Ethiopia next week. As I blogged here, Cornuke, whose archaeological qualifications come from Louisiana Baptist University, already claims to have found Noah’s Ark in Iran.

A particularly daft story follows, provided by Grant Jeffrey:

He told WND he has spoken extensively with Robert Thompson, former adviser to former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

Jeffrey said Thompson told him the Ark of the Covenant had been taken to Ethiopia by Menelik, purported son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. When Menelik became emperor, he claims royal priests entrusted him with the Ark of the Covenant because King Solomon was slipping into apostasy. A replica was then left behind in Israel.

“The Ethiopian royal chronicles suggest that for 3,000 years, they had been guarding the ark, knowing that it had to go back to Israel eventually,” Jeffrey said.

He claims that after the Ethiopian civil war, Israel sent in a group of commandos from the tribe of Levi and the carried the Ark onto a plane and back to Israel in 1991.

“It is being held there secretly, waiting in the eyes of the religious leaders of Israel, for a supernatural signal from God to rebuild the temple,” he said. “They are not going to do it before that. When that happens, they will bring the Ark into that temple.”

This is typical of the way apocalyptic Christian Zionists make Israel into a fantasy land rather than part of the real world. A fuller account of Jeffrey’s story can be seen here. Thompson died in 1997, so we can’t ask him why he chose to share this information with nobody except the author of apocalyptic paperbacks.

Chuck “Peanut Butter” Missler, meanwhile, is hedging his bets:

“What everybody overlooks is that there’s a reason that particular story was cooked up in early times,” he said. “It was to give their kings Solomonic descent. There’s reason why they would try to sell that. But just because the official belief in how it got down there is not biblical, doesn’t mean they don’t have it.”

And Richard Rives adds, referring to the story that a replica Ark was built in Jerusalem after Solomon’s supposed son Menelik took away the original:

“God’s presence was on the mercy seat. That was the throne of God,” he said.

If the account were accurate, Rives said God would have been dwelling on an Ark replica in Jerusalem.

“I just don’t believe they could have persuaded him to sit on a fake Ark of the Covenant,” he said.

Rives should know – as I blogged here, he heads Wyatt Archeological Research Inc, which was founded by the late Robert Wyatt. Wyatt claimed to have glimpsed the Ark in a cave in Jerusalem; he also found Noah’s Ark (presumably a different one from the one in Iran), Noah’s house and grave, pre-flood wood without tree rings, sulphur balls from Sodom and Gomorrrah, and much else – including Jesus’ blood, which contained 23 chromosomes from Mary and one from God.