You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the evocative nature of the Ark of the Covenant. Abyss of Chaos explores the mythos surrounding the fabled “maguffin” of Raiders lore, while jumping through flaming hoops in an attempt to not be derivative of Lucas and Spielberg’s mega-opus. No small challenge, as those two men seem to own the very mention of this mysterious archeological treasure, and that’s a shame, because I’d like to read more stories about the Ark. With Abyss, I’m hoping you do too.
The real-world facts behind this powerful symbol simply beg at the imagination. Though the factual content of the Bible is debatable, let’s start there, since this is the text where the legend of the Ark begins.
And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
I’ve selected these two passages because they tell us that the Ark was used to communicate directly with God. (By the way, think of “cherubims” as angels. The Bible describes their wings stretching across the lid, known as “Mercy Seat” and touch at the center, “made from one piece.” Like the movie, duh.) Over the years, the cultural perception of what this means has grown literal. That is, we imagine a spiritually worthy person may enter the Holy of Holies to receive God’s Word directly. The rest of us will presumably have to continue “looking to our hearts” to have answers to our prayers.
In Moses’ day, the Holy of Holies was situated at the rear of the Tabernacle – a kind of mobile command unit for worship during their nomadic wanderings. Hence, the precise location of the Holy of Holies – the place where God physically manifested to commune with humans – was not a location we are ever likely to find. This is the way of faith; we’re expected to accept that it is true, without proof.
This is exactly why the Ark is so fascinating. It is an object that, if found, could be used to get some answers. Though the Tabernacle was mobile, we are given to believe that the Ark possessed some intrinsic connection to the Divine Presence. Find the Ark, and you may be able to “Instant Message” God. But, though we may hope for the supernatural, discovering the Ark is a two-way street. What if the Ark is found but God doesn’t show up for a command performance? This could prove a disaster for Judaism, Christianity and even Islam. Skeptics would surely use the powerful symbolism of the Ark against these three religions. In fact, these faiths presuppose we’ll not see the Ark again until the End of Days. Indeed, the fact of discovering the Ark before the “End” would challenge even the most faithful. Particularly if we find the Ark and the oceans and rivers don’t turn to blood, etc.
So what did happen to the Ark? What are the real world faithful saying about it? What are the real world archeologists saying about it? Turns out, quite a bit. Below is a link to get your quest going. This is such a juicy topic. I am breaking it up into multiple parts to post between now and Sept. 1, when Abyss of Chaos is released. In the meantime, I’d love to get some discussions flowing in the reply section below. Enjoy!