The Mystery of the Lost Ark: Part 12
In the fourth century AD, Ethiopia was part of the Axumite Empire. Ezana, their king, became a Christian in 331 AD. Shortly thereafter, Ethiopia adopted Christianity and built the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, in the city of Axum. The Ark was taken from Tana Cherkos and placed in Axum’s flagship church.
Ethiopian Jews, called Falashas, were dominated for centuries by the Christian and Muslim majorities. As the prophet Jeremiah predicted, they became victims of the sword, famine, and disease. Pariahs, they dubbed themselves, “the lost tribe of Israel."
There is no shortage of people around the world claiming Judaic roots. (For example, the 5,000 black Jews of Zimbabwe claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.) Most claimants remain unrecognized by Israel because there is a lack of conclusive evidence to substantiate their claims. However, the Israeli government, through their chief rabbi, successfully traced the origin of Ethiopian Jews to the land of Syene and then to Palestine. Thus, at 4 PM on May 24, 1991, the Israeli Secret Service began Operation Solomon. Thirty-six hours later, 14,325 Ethiopian Jews, snared in the horrors of civil war, were airlifted to safety in the land of Israel.
Over 2500 years earlier, Isaiah the prophet foresaw the return of scattered Jews, and most particularly those from the land of Syene, to the resurrected nation of Israel.
Thus says the Lord:
“In a time of favour I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages.
“I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
“See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.”
Today, the Ark is hidden in the sanctuary chapel, annex to the Church of St. Mary of Zion, in the city of Axum. The sanctuary, named the Chapel of the Tablet, is located within a fenced compound which is guarded 24/7 by an armed detachment of local militia. Like the high priest of biblical times, only one man is allowed to enter the sanctuary and approach the Ark. This man is chosen by his predecessor based on his absolute purity of heart. The Ark is reputed to have killed men who were unworthy to set foot on the chapel’s holy ground. Once chosen, this Christian monk may never leave the church grounds for his sole purpose is to serve as guardian of the planet’s holiest of holy objects.
Many believe, at an appointed time, the Ark of the Covenant will be revealed and the dazzling light of God’s presence will appear in a cloud as it did in the time of Moses, King Solomon, and Hananiah.