AT THIS TIME, WYATT ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH CAN PROVIDE NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE REGARDING THE DISCOVERY OF THE ARK OF THE COVENANT.
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 Discovery of the Ark of the Covenant by Ron Wyatt – 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.
What is the “Ark of the Covenant”?
“Types and Antitypes”
All of the objects of the earthly tabernacle were “patterns of things in the heavens” (see Hebrews 9:23).
The Ark represented God’s Throne – it was where He manifested His Presence among His people. This earthly Throne was a “copy”, so to speak, of the Great Throne in Heaven.
Beneath His Throne, God’s immutable Law, the 10 Commandments, lie inside the earthly Ark, just as the great originals are beneath His Throne in Heaven.
In the side of the Ark was placed a copy of the Mosaic law. At one time, Aaron’s rod and the pot of manna were in it, but when the Ark was placed in Solomon’s temple, we learned that those were no longer there. (1Kings 8:9)
Above the Mercy Seat of the earthly Ark was where God communed with Moses; it was where He met with the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement, when the sins of the people that had been confessed throughout the year were figuratively cleansed from the sanctuary. His Presence was always there, until He left the temple forever, just before they went into Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel saw, in vision, the Glory of the Lord leave the temple. (Eze. 8:6 and 11:22,23)
Later, Ezekiel was given, in prophetic vision, the new instructions for the re-instituting of the sacrificial system which contained no mention of the Ark. (Eze. 42-44)
And of course, everyone is familiar with the fact that the Ark was sacred – so sacred that if anyone touched it or looked upon it, they were struck dead immediately. We’ve had a number of people approach us with the theory that it is electrically charged, etc. and they wonder if it is still dangerous to touch. Let’s discuss that point for a moment. These folks have a legitimate question.
Why was it instant death for anyone to touch it or gaze upon it? The Bible doesn’t specifically spell out the answer – but the answer, I believe, is there.
The Ark is where God actually manifested His Presence:
LEV 16:2 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
EXO 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
The physical Presence of God was upon the Mercy Seat and as we know that God cannot look upon sin, it meant instant destruction to any human, except the high priest, who came in contact with the earthly “Throne of the Lord”:
HAB 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:
God would not permit men to defile His earthly Throne. This was the one object on earth which they were powerless to defile. This entire planet is temporarily “ruled” by its prince, Satan – and in order for God to be able to meet with His chosen people, He provided Himself a Throne that was not defiled by Satan or his followers (angels or men.).
What is the Ark’s significance today? We believe the key to this subject lies in the “types” and “antitypes” of the sacrificial system.
Sins of the People Transferred to the Sanctuary,
then the DAY OF ATONEMENT
The sacrificial system was designed to teach the people how to approach God through the merits of the future Sinbearer, Who would die once and for all for their sins. It represented the work of Christ as both Sacrifice and High Priest.
“Important truths concerning the atonement were taught the people by this yearly service. In the sins offerings presented during the year, a substitute has been accepted in the sinner’s stead; but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for the sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the Law, confessed the guilt of his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released from the condemnation of the Law. ”
On the Day of Atonement , the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the Tables of the Law. Thus, the claims of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied. Then, in his character of mediator, the priest took the sins upon himself, and, leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel’s guilt.
At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” And as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were, with him, regarded as forever separated from the people, Such was the service performed “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” (Hebrews 8:5)
Concerning the 2nd apartment, or Most Holy Place, where the Ark was:
HEB 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
The Ark wasn’t just a sacred box – it was far more. It was the central means (symbolically) of the final cleansing of the sanctuary of the sins of the people, just as the Throne room of God in Heaven is central to Christ’s final acts as our great High Priest.
History of the “Ark”
What Happened to the Ark?
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:
- 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;
- it was NOT taken to Babylon, based on the information from the Scriptures which told what went to Babylon & what was returned;
- it was most likely hidden just prior to the destruction of the temple, when Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian siege wall; and
- 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.
The Excavation Begins
It was January, 1979 when Ron and the boys returned to Jerusalem. Snow was on the ground. He now had to decide how and where to begin. The site he had pointed to was being used as a trash dump and appeared to hold very little promise to the human eye. It was located along this escarpment where the ground met the cliff-face. He had investigated the area adjacent to the escarpment and realized that the ground was raised to a much higher level today, which meant that the rock floor was many, many feet below the present ground level.
In the past, Jerusalem has been destroyed many, many times. And the customary method of rebuilding these ancient cities was to simply build on top of the destruction level. Today, the debris is removed before rebuilding, but not so back then. This is why archaeologists are able to find evidences of many cities which have existed on the same site – they simply excavate through each successive level down to the next until they reach bedrock – which indicates that they have reached the first city to be established on that particular site.
The site Ron was to excavate had a ground level many feet higher than the quarry floor to the south before the city wall. So, he and the boys could do nothing but begin to dig straight down.
The original location that he had pointed to in 1978 contained an extremely large boulder just barely exposed above the surface, and Ron decided to begin digging several yards to the right. It was to be a job of mammoth proportions – Ron, Danny and Ronny, would eventually remove many tons of rock and debris, having to sift through all of it for any artifacts. This was a requirement of the Department of Antiquities which they would always comply with.
First Discovery – The Crucifixion Site?
They dug straight down along the cliff face, forming a steep wall with the earth they removed. Almost immediately, Ron noticed a “shelf-like” niche cut into the face of the cliff. Digging down further, he discovered there were 3 of these “niches” cut into the face of the cliff with a smaller one on the right side.
He was convinced that these were cut into the cliff-face to hold “signs” or notices. And because of the location – in the vicinity of the “skull-face”, and because there were 3 of these, he believed they were where the notices stating the crime of the crucifixion victim in 3 languages were placed.
He had studied the available information on Roman crucifixions and had discovered that they used this form of punishment as a deterrent. The well-known quote of Quintillian explains:
“Whenever we crucify criminals, very crowded highways are chosen, so that many shall see it and may be moved by fear of it, because all punishment does not pertain so much to revenge as to example”.
Roman crucifixions consisted of 3 basic elements, all perfectly described in the account of the crucifixion of Christ – first, the scourging; then the carrying of the crossbeam by the condemned to the site; and finally the nailing or binding of the condemned to the cross-beam and then attaching this beam onto the upright post and setting it up.
But another element was also involved. In order to be a deterrent, the CRIME of the victim had to be posted in clear sight of the passers-by. For this purpose, they used a titilus, which was a board covered with gypsum, inscribed with black letters. This was usually carried ahead of the victim on the way to the crucifixion, and then posted above the cross in clear sight.
The common conception about Christ’s crucifixion was that a single sign written by Pilate was nailed to His cross above His head. This may very well have been – however, in order for the passers-by to be able to read these signs, written in 3 different languages, they would have had to have been quite large – much larger than a hand-written notice on a paper.
Just recently we learned a great deal about the visibility of signs at our new museum. We put up signs that looked very large to us (6 & 8 inch letters) but when we placed them on our building and walked across the street, or even to the end of the parking lot, we discovered that they were very difficult to read. A sign written by Pilate on a piece of paper, nailed to a cross, would have been almost impossible to read even by those standing directly in front of the cross. Add to this the fact that in Jerusalem, 3 different languages were common – Hebrew, Greek and Latin, – and it becomes apparent that the signs above Christ’s head were much larger than we have commonly believed.
When Ron read and reread the accounts of these signs at Christ’s crucifixion, he discovered that although they had been translated to read “ON the cross”, the Greek could just as accurately have been translated “above the cross” or “over the cross”.
MAT 27:35 And they crucified him,… 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, HIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
JOH 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
In the above quote from John it states that the “title” was put “on” the cross – the Greek word here translated to read “on” is “epi”. In Luke, this following verse also tells about the same “title”, but here, the word “epi” is translated to read “over”:
LUK 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
“Epi”, here translated to read “over”, certainly could NOT be translated to read “on” here! This same word, “epi”, is also translated in other places to read “above” – therefore, the Scriptures do not specifically state that the “title” was nailed onto the physical cross. All it states for sure is that the “title(s)” were placed “over”, “above”, “about”, etc., the cross.
So with this understanding, and the information on Roman crucifixions and the titilus covered in gypsum and written in black ink that the Romans were known to use, he felt his conclusion was at least not to be ruled out. Little did he suspect how it would later be so incredibly confirmed.
When he first found the niches, Ron placed boards in them for demonstration purposes. Digging deeper, and showing that there were no more niches below these, he had signs painted in the 3 languages which they set up and photographed. He believed the much smaller niche was for the ever-present Roman eagle. But again, this wasn’t the purpose of this excavation so they continued to dig.
Second Discovery – The “Stoning Ground”
As they continued to dig straight down, the cliff face was on one side, forming a solid wall. But on the other side, the earth wall began to exhibit signs of instability and Ron feared that it would soon collapse, perhaps burying them in the hole. He decided that they should move back along the cliff-face to the original site that he had pointed to. He dreaded it because of the huge boulder he had found just under the surface – but he felt he had no choice.
Back to the Original Site
Ron had felt justified in beginning the excavation several yards from the original site, because it was in the same general area. And with the discovery of the niches, he was satisfied that it hadn’t been a completely wasted effort – but still he had another purpose for this excavation.
As they began to dig around the huge boulder extending out from the original site, he discovered that here was enough room behind it (between it and the cliff-face) to begin their dig. As they began to dig downward, they very soon came upon another item of interest. Carved out of the cliff-face was a hole which extended through a section of protruding rock allowing a rope or similar object to be threaded through it. The great care obviously devoted to chiseling out this object indicated that it had an important use, but they would learn that later.
The first site they had begun excavating was where the cliff-face was relatively vertical like a wall. Here, the cliff-face slanted inward, forming a “roof” over the place they were digging. As they dug down into the earth, they found open areas beneath the surface which contained a large amount of pottery shards, and even a few pieces still intact.
A Grain Storage Bin later Used as a Cistern
They reached bedrock 38 feet below the present ground surface. Carefully removing debris, they found themselves in an approximately 15 foot diameter round chamber carved out of the rock with steps chiseled into the shaft descending from the top in a spiral to the bottom. At some point in time it had been modified and plastered, reused as a cistern. Either of these explanations would explain the presence of the “rope hole” chiseled in the cliff-face (see the above photo) – it was for the rope that held the bucket or jug which was lowered down into the shaft to retrieve grain or water.
Ron chiseled through the plaster and found a large amount of pottery among the dirt and debris used as fill to form the cistern. When he turned these pottery pieces in to Antiquities and they examined them, they informed Ron that some of them date back to the Jebusite time (before David took the city). The latest dated specimens were from the Roman period, which tells us that the grain bin was plastered during Roman times.
As exciting as these discoveries were, again they weren’t what Ron was looking for.
Tunneling Along the Cliff-Face
As they descended through the earth and debris, they were able to distinguish the Roman level because of the pottery and coins. Ron decided again that he needed to keep looking – that these things were not the object of his search. They covered up the circular shaft, careful to preserve everything, and began to tunnel under the present ground level along the cliff-face on the Roman level back in the direction of the first site they had begun to excavate. Ron was looking for an entrance into a cave or tunnel in the now underground cliff-face. But his next discovery was so gruesome that it still reflects in his face when he talks about it.
The “Stoning Ground”
The grain shaft/cistern was cut into the solid rock. When Ron began his tunnel back in the direction of the cut-out niches, he found that the rock floor abruptly ended about 3 to 4 feet from the edge of the shaft. Digging a 3 foot shaft straight down, he found a massive amount of fist-sized and larger rocks. As he sorted through them, he found several human bones, in particular some finger bones. He believed he knew what this represented – while it is common to find rocks in an excavation, it is NOT common to find them of this particular size in such a massive pile. It certainly wasn’t a tomb – and the disarticulated bones among the large rocks led Ron to only one conclusion – this has been the “stoning ground”
ACT 6:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And CAST HIM [Stephen] OUT OF THE CITY, AND STONED HIM:
Third Discovery – A First Century Building
When Ron realized what he had found, he quickly climbed back up the shaft he had dug and he and the boys continued their tunnel back in the direction of the first site. Soon, they found the remains of a buried structure. This building was built directly adjacent to the cliff-face and a portion of the back wall extended along the actual face of the cliff. The foundations of the building were still in place.
As Ron studied the best preserved sections, he discovered a hewn stone extending out horizontally from the wall against the cliff face – his first impression was that it was an altar. It displayed smooth wear on its top.
It was below and in front of this “altar stone” that Ron noticed a very unusual large rock. When he examined the rock closer, he saw that it was covered in travertine – travertine is formed when underground acified water seeps through preexisting limestone and dissolves calcium carbonate; as this water containing calcium carbonate flows over objects and begins to evaporate or lose it’s carbon dioxide, this dissolved limestone is redeposited in the form of stalactites and stalagmites, flowstone, etc. In this case, it was redeposited in the form of a coating over the rock which can be clearly seen, when examining the rock in person, in the layering of the coating.
Ron thought this rock was much too symmetrical to be a natural-shaped rock, so he decided to pick it up and examine it more closely. When he lifted it, he discovered that it was covering a squarish hole chiseled into the bedrock.
(The dark object at the top of the squarish hole is a crow-bar extending downward into the hole.)
The Hole that Held the Cross?
As should be expected, there was a great deal of dirt and debris everywhere. As he examined this hole and cleared away the dirt around it, he discovered that it had a large crack extending out from it.
As they removed more dirt and debris, he discovered a platform-like shelf of bedrock which extended out about 8 feet from the face of the cliff, and this squarish hole was chiseled in this “shelf”. There were no more holes in the platform-like shelf, so he began digging into the packed earth in front of and level with the “platform”.
It was about 4 feet before he came to the lower level of bedrock, and here he uncovered 3 more squarish holes chiseled in the rock in front of this “platform”. His measurements showed that the elevated “platform” with the squarish hole and crack were located 14 feet directly below the 3 cut-out niches in the face of the cliff, now above ground level.
His earlier conclusion that the cut-out niches were for the signs stating the crucifixion victim’s crime in the 3 languages of Jerusalem was now supported by the fact that he had found more square holes, all about 12 to 13 inches square, cut into the bedrock – holes he firmly believed once held crosses. The one elevated above the rest (on the shelf-like platform of bedrock), he believed, held the cross upon which Christ was crucified.
The building structure that remained intact showed that a building covered the entire site. He concluded, based on the evidence they’d found, that a Christian church had been built over the place of the crucifixion of Christ – the stone wall extended along the cliff-face directly behind the cross-hole that was on the “platform-like” shelf of bedrock. It appeared that this was the place where the “featured” criminal-victim was crucified, being elevated several feet above those crucified around him.
The “altar stone” was set in the stone wall, extending out horizontally almost directly above the elevated cross-hole with the crack.
The “Crack” in the Cross-Hole
The crack extending out from the cross-hole on the elevated “platform” appeared to Ron to have been caused by an earthquake – it displayed no evidence of being chiseled. (See above color photo which shows this crack.)
As he removed debris from the cross-hole, he finally reached the bottom and measured it – it extended 23 inches into the solid bedrock, while the crack appeared to extend much deeper. But at this time, he didn’t attempt to clear it out nor did he measure it. It would be over a year later before he would learn that the crack extended about 20 feet into the bedrock.
“Dating” the Remains of the Building
He found coins during the course of the excavation which helped to narrow the date of the building. He found a Roman coin with Emperor Tiberius who was Emperor from 14 to 37 AD, which was the earliest dated coin they found. The latest coins were from about 135 AD, but no later. This is consistent with the known history of Jerusalem and placed the date of the building between the time of the crucifixion and 135 AD.
But further information indicates that it was most likely built after 70 AD. Prior to 70 AD, (when the city and the temple were completely destroyed by the Roman general, Titus), Jerusalem was still under Roman rule and the crucifixion grounds would have remained in use. Josephus tells how Titus, during his siege of Jerusalem, had as many as 500 people a day crucified (Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter XI, para. 1).
After 70 AD – No More Mass Crucifixions
But after the destruction in 70 AD, with most of the Jewish inhabitants having been killed or sold as slaves, the city was reduced to a Roman camp. Vespasian offered the landed property of Jerusalem for sale to foreigners, although we have no records of who purchased any land there. The garrison of 800 Romans in the camp was stationed there to insure that the city was not rebuilt. The hatred of the Romans was for the Jews. Therefore, during the time after 70 AD, when Jerusalem was only a Roman camp with the occasional foreigner (non-Jew) living in the area, the use of crucifixion would be virtually eliminated.
The Christians were apparently tolerated by the Romans, as is supported by the fact that in 130 AD, when the Emperor Hadrian came to Jerusalem to rebuild it as a Roman city named Aelia Capitolina, he showed favor to the Christians while forbidding any Jew to ever set foot in the city again.
This and other things contributed to a revolt among the Jews in Judea in 132 AD which finally resulted in the death of at least half a million Jewish men, and from this time on, Judea was no longer called by that name, but referred to by the old name of “Palestine”.
The new Roman city of Aelia Capitolina remained a city, but did not prosper. The fact that the coins Ron found in the ancient building cease at about 135 AD indicates that whoever built and used this ancient structure apparently abandoned it at that time and left the region. The fact that the foundations are still intact indicates that it didn’t suffer destruction at the hands of an invader, but most likely fell into disuse and decay. Eventually, over time, it was covered in dirt and debris. Whatever was the case, the evidence shows that the structures were not disturbed since the Roman time.
A “Very Great Stone”
from a “Very Special Tomb”
As they continued to clear the area outward from the cliff-face, the layout of the building was found to be very simple. One wall ran parallel to the cliff-face, along the top of the elevated “platform” section of bedrock. Two exterior walls extended out at 90 degree angles from each end of this first wall.
They began to dig, searching for the last wall when they came to another hand-hewn rock. It was a little less than 2 feet thick, and the portion that was extending out of the dirt and debris looked as if it were curved, somewhat like a large, thick rounded table-top. Clearing more from around it, Ron saw that it was of immense size and they decided not to continue digging. He theorized that perhaps this was the seal-stone from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea in which Christ was buried. If he was correct in his conjecture that this was an early Christian church building, perhaps they had incorporated this seal-stone into the actual building. It certainly appeared to be larger than any seal stone he had ever seen or read about. The largest that had ever been found, to his knowledge, was 5 feet in diameter. THIS stone would far exceed that.
However, it would be several years later before he would learn it’s true dimension – a little over 13 feet in diameter – when he used sub-surface interface radar from above the ground.
MAT 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled A GREAT STONE to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.
“In the Garden a New Sepulcher”
In the same escarpment is the Garden Tomb which was discovered in 1867 when the landowner was digging a cistern on his property. As with the sites Ron was excavating, this tomb was beneath the ground level, buried in the debris of many, many years.
When the owner discovered the tomb, he abandoned his plans for a cistern. When General Gordon of Britain visited the area and became convinced that the “skull face” in the relatively near section of the escarpment was the true location of Golgotha, this tomb became the prime suspect for being the tomb of Christ. It met with strenuous opposition from the traditionalists who were adamant that the Holy Sepulcher inside the city was the true site – but it soon gained some adherents.
When completely excavated, it did indeed exhibit characteristics which proved it was dated to the 1st century AD, the time of Christ. But the subject that now concerns us is the missing seal-stone from this tomb.
Directly in front of the tomb is a groove for a rolling stone. The width of this groove is about 2 feet, the correct size for the stone Ron found buried in the earth.
(Above – “groove in front of “Garden Tomb”)
Another tomb from the 1st century (time of Christ) is that of Queen Helena of Adiabene. It is also located in the same general vicinity, further north, and the groove is exactly the same size as is featured in the Garden Tomb. Not only are the grooves for the seal stones identical in size, hers also contains an inclined section at one end at which the stone was rolled into the groove – exactly as does the Garden Tomb.
Breaking Through the
Cliff-Face into the Cave System
By this time, Ron and the boys had been working here for almost 2 years. They had begun in January of 1979 and it was now late 1980.
Of course, they weren’t working constantly – Ron was an anesthetist with obligations to the hospitals he worked with. Due to the nature of his work, he was able to arrange to come over numerous times a year, but he could only stay for a few weeks at a time.
And Ron was getting anxious. They had made some wonderful discoveries, and provided details to the authorities of their finds along with any artifacts they found. Some, they were allowed to keep because they were deemed of no significant worth.
But they had explored the entire underground cliff-face, looking for an entrance into a cave or tunnel. If the Ark was in that location, it certainly would be hidden in a cave, he reasoned.
Finally, as they continued to search, Ron made the comment to his sons that he was “impressed” that they should just break through the rock of the cliff-face. Ronny said he thought that was a good idea, but Ron resisted. That rock is extremely hard and he knew what difficult work it would be. Finally, when Danny told his father that he, too, believed they ought to do go ahead and break through the cliff face, Ron relented and agreed. It was the only option left.
With hammers and chisels, they began their work. It wasn’t long before they broke through the rock into an open space. Enlarging the hole, they saw behind it a cave which was about 15 feet in height and of about the same width. Crawling through, they finally were inside the actual mountain called “Moriah”.
Inside the Cave System
For almost 2 years, they had been tunneling underground, finding artifacts and uncovering exciting structures almost daily. But now, they were in a barren cavern that they would soon learn was only a very small part of a very extensive honeycomb of natural caves and tunnels within the mountain.
For almost a year, they explored this area, finding no evidence of any human presence. These natural tunnels were not all connected to each other, and they spent many hours chiseling through cave walls, searching for adjacent tunnels which they eventually found. But they found nothing else.
As 1981 came to an end, Ron and the boys took their winter holidays to come to Jerusalem and work. Even though it is cold there in the winter, the cave system was always a very comfortable and constant temperature, both in summer as well as winter. But the work was beginning to take a toll on all 3 of them. They all began to develop a fever and slight chills. The dust they had inhaled over the years in those confined tunnels perhaps contributed to their pneumonia-like symptoms. Finally, on Christmas eve, Ron had to send Ronny back to the US because he was so ill. Danny had to follow on New Year’s eve. Ron, too was sick but this was a very special trip.
The Incredible Discovery
Expectant after what happened to “James”, he looked at his watch – it was 2:00 pm, Wednesday, January 6, 1982. Shining his flashlight down through the massive pile of large rocks, his eye caught a glimpse of something shiny.
He began slowly removing the rocks one at a time and discovered some dry-rotted wooden timbers just beneath the rocks, and then some dry-rotted remains of animals skins that turned to powder when he moved them. The animals skins were covering a gold veneered table with a raised molding around the side which consisted of an alternating pattern of a bell and a pomegranate. It only took him a moment to realize that at the least this WAS an object from the first temple! But he was in such a confined space, he couldn’t uncover the entire table. He later concluded, after closer examination, that this was the Table of Shewbread.
The Discovery of the Earthquake Crack in the Ceiling
With adrenalin flowing through his veins and great anticipation, he looked around to see what else he could see, which wasn’t much. He shined his flashlight around the open area and then up to the ceiling. There, he saw something that caught his eye – it was a crack in the ceiling with a black substance within the crack.
Crawling slowly and painfully over the rocks to the rear of the chamber, he saw a stone case extending through the rocks. It had a flat stone top which was cracked completely in two and the smaller section was moved aside, creating an opening into the stone case. But the top was too near the ceiling for him to look inside. Yet he knew what was inside – the crack in the ceiling was directly above the cracked part of the lid, where it was open, and the black substance had fallen from the crack into the case because some of it had splashed onto the lid.
It was at this time, as Ron recalls, as the instant realization of what had happened here dawned on him, that he passed out. When he realized that the crack in the ceiling was the end of the crack he had found in the elevated cross-hole many feet above him, and the black substance was blood which had fallen through the crack and into the stone case, he KNEW the Ark was in the stone case. But the most overwhelming realization was that Christ’s Blood had actually fallen onto the Mercy Seat.
When he came to, it was 2:45 pm. A mere 45 minutes had passed since he entered the chamber, yet in that short time, he became the first witness to the literal fulfillment of the “type” represented by all the sacrifices made by God’s people since Adam and Eve, and later specifically directed by God, Himself, in the laws of the sacrificial system.
Now he knew why he and the boys had to do the last 3 years of excavation that he had sometimes felt was useless. If they had not found first, the cut-out niches, and then the elevated cross-hole with the earthquake crack, he would not have recognized what had happened here. And the promise Ron believed he had received HAD been fulfilled – he DID find the Ark of the Covenant on that trip. But he didn’t even lay eyes on it. And in his frustration and complaining, he received another VERY strong impression – “I only promised that you would FIND it. It will come out when the time is right.”
The condition of the chamber, completely full within 18 inches of the ceiling, made it impossible for Ron to do anything else. He could not foresee any possible way of bringing anything out unless the entrance to the chamber through which the objects were originally taken in was found. He climbed out the small hole, back through the tortuous series of tunnels and sealed the passageway with a stone. To anyone looking through the tunnel, it would appear that it came to an abrupt end. However, the rock could and would be easily removed by Ron when he returned.
Ron didn’t report his experience to anyone at that time. He needed time to think and it would be a long time before his mind quit whirring with everything he had experienced. He had expected to find the Ark and bring it out, but that now seemed impossible.
He made several more trips into the chamber, and eventually reported to the authorities as to what he had found. Perhaps not able to believe what he had told them he had found, or perhaps recognizing the problems that this could cause if made known, his superiors told him not to tell anyone about his discovery. However, it was too late for that because Ron had already told a few people and he confessed this fact to them. Realizing that “what is done is done”, they then ordered him not to reveal any MORE details than he already had revealed. Therefore, from this point on, we cannot be as specific as we have to this point.
The Chamber with the Ark of the Covenant
Verifying that the Ark was in the Stone Case
Ron returned to the chamber on several occasions – one time he took a “Trinkle Drill” used by Orthopedic surgeons and a colonoscope used to look into the human body. He wanted to be sure the Ark was in that stone case. He tried to drill a small hole with the “Trinkle Drill” but it wouldn’t penetrate the stone. So he took his star-tipped stone chisel and hammer to accomplish the job. He would hammer the tip a little, then turn the bit, hammer then turn, over and over until he had an approximately 5/8″ hole into the stone case.
The “colonoscope” is an optical device with a powerful light source which allows doctors to peer into the human body, and Ron had borrowed one from one of the doctors at the hospital he worked at. Inserting the colonoscope through the tiny hole, he guided it downward, rotating the lens until he saw what he recognized as the bottom of the crown-molding around the top of the Mercy Seat and then he saw the flat golden side. Since the colonoscope doesn’t allow viewing of a large area, and since he had little means to guide it other than a small latitude of rotation, he couldn’t see a great deal. But he saw enough to KNOW it was the Ark.
Measuring the Depth of the Earthquake Crack
On one trip, he had one of his helpers sit by the elevated cross-hole with the earthquake crack while he ran a metal tape measure through the crack in the ceiling of the chamber. It extended through to the cross-hole and when his helper grabbed it to show that it had come through, Ron noted that the crack extended through 20 feet of solid rock.
The Contents of the Chamber
During his several visits to the chamber, he tried to thoroughly explore the contents. He measured the chamber and found it to be 22 feet long by 12 feet on 2 sides, while the other 2 sides followed the line of the cliff-face, forming a chamber that narrowed down in one corner.
The objects he saw in that chamber that he feels confident in identifying are: the Ark of the Covenant in the Stone case;
- the Table of Shewbread;
- the Golden Altar of Incense that was in front of the veil;
- the Golden Censer;
- the 7-branched Candlestick holder, (which didn’t have candles but had tiny, bowlike golden oil lamps which are built into the tips of the candlestick);
- a very large sword;
- an Ephod;
- a Miter with an ivory pomegranate on the tip;
- a brass shekel weight; numerous oil lamps;
and a brass ring which appeared to be for hanging a curtain or something similar. There are more objects, but these are all Ron could positively identify. All of these objects were covered by the dry-rotted dark-colored animal skins, then dry-rotten wooden timbers on top of the skins, and finally the large rocks piled over everything.
The Tables of Stone are still within the Ark, under the Mercy Seat. On the back of the Ark is a small open cubicle which still contains the “Book of the Law” and is presumably the one Moses, himself, wrote. To the best of his knowledge, the Book of Genesis is not there – only Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy. The thing that amazed Ron was that these Scrolls, written on animal skins, are in perfect condition today.
Oil Lamps Inside the Chamber
Just inside the chamber, by and near the original entrance which was now sealed up, he found a total of 7 oil lamps that Ron believes had to have been left behind by those who brought the items into the chamber. The soot on the lamps and the rocks they sat upon clearly showed the direction of the breeze that followed them into the tunnel.
One of the lamps is very ornate and displays Assyrian characteristics, which is consistent with the cultural influence of Judea at the time just prior to the Babylonian captivity. The picture (below) of this particular oil lamp was not taken with a camera because the design on the lamp doesn’t show up well in a photo. This picture was made by placing the lamp on a copier and it revealed a little of the design, which we find very interesting.
The center depicts a goat or a ram standing upon it’s hind legs, eating from a grape vine. This scene is very similar to the statue found in a grave in the Sumerian city of Ur. The suggestion has been made that this may represent the ram caught in the thicket at the very moment that Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, which served as the substitute sacrifice, sparing Isaac’s life – a “shadow” of the coming Messiah.
It is an interesting thought to consider the possibility of a relationship between the design on the lamp and the story of the “ram in the thicket” that was the substitute sacrifice – because the lamp was left in a chamber INSIDE Mt. Moriah where Abraham had brought Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice; and this same Mt. Moriah was where the Messiah died, the “substitute” sacrifice for fallen mankind. But this is just interesting conjecture on my part.
Sealing the Passageway to the Chamber
After his last visit to the chamber through the hole he had chiseled, he permanently sealed the tunnel through which they first entered. Ron has learned many lessons over the years, and some he had to learn the hard way. One lesson he learned this way was that he had to be very careful whom he shared his information with.
During the course of their work there, they had numerous experiences with people which could have been disastrous without “Divine Intervention”. For example, one famous evangelist stumbled upon the hole into the excavation one day and Ron invited him to come down into the cave. Believing the man to be honest, Ron told him what they were searching for and big promises were made of assistance. To make a long story short, a team of individuals from this evangelist’s group later returned to the site, telling the authorities they were with the Wyatt expedition and that Ron would arrive in a few days (which wasn’t true).
They went down into the cave system and began to dig. The cave walls where they were digging suddenly collapsed and they just narrowly avoided being buried alive in the debris. They immediately packed up and returned home. No real harm was done except that Ron and the boys had to re-excavate the entire area of the collapse.
This and other similar incidents led Ron to seal the passage. With the honeycomb of tunnels, it would be almost impossible for anyone to find the correct passage, and this one now looked – even up close – as if it was a natural stone wall.
Ron had done all that he could do using that passageway, anyhow. It would be impossible to get any large object out of the chamber through that original passage.
All his attempts to photograph anything in the chamber resulted in photos or slides that looked like a complete blur, so he concluded that he simply wasn’t supposed to take any photographs. (He later understood why – at that time, he was much freer with sharing his information and this could have caused a lot of serious problems if some of the “unsavory characters” he came in contact with over the years had SEEN evidence that this solid gold object REALLY existed.)
The next order of business would be to find the main entrance into the chamber – the passage through which the items were originally taken.
The Original Passage Used
to Carry the Ark to the Chamber
Before permanently sealing the passageway, Ron had gone into the chamber with the Ark and opened the original entrance (through which it was carried) to see if he could follow it to it’s point of origin. When he opened it, he discovered on the other side a very large tunnel which extended in both directions. He observed that the tunnel appeared to be a natural tunnel that had been enlarged since he saw chisel marks. But the bad news was that it was completely blocked with large stones in both directions. The problem now to be solved was determining the path taken by those who put the items in the chamber.
To resolve this question, Ron began by using simple reason. The items had been in the temple – that was their point of origin. They were now in this chamber, many feet below ground level. A great number of tunnels have been found under the temple mount and the city, but none that he knew of were heading in this direction. Was the entrance into the tunnel within the city or was it somewhere across the street in front of the northern wall? Ron had an idea as to where to begin his search.
In the winter of 1854, Dr. Barclay, a physician and missionary, went for a walk in Jerusalem. He was walking to the site of the traditional “Jeremiah’s Grotto” which is along the same Calvary escarpment. As he walked past the Damascus Gate, suddenly his dog, running ahead of him, vanished. As he searched for his dog who didn’t respond as he usually did to his owner’s whistles, he heard a muffled barking coming from the direction of the city wall. When he approached the wall, he noticed a deep hole and when he peered inside, he heard his dog’s familiar bark. And this is how “Zedekiah’s Cave” was discovered (or rediscovered.)
This vast cavern is located underneath the Muslim section of the city, extending 750 feet into “Mt. Moriah”, beginning at the trench or dry moat separating the northern and southern portion. It is 325 feet wide at the maximum point and the average height is almost 50 feet. It was clearly a stone quarry, but at what point it was in use, we really do not know. There are those who believe it’s stone was used in the first temple, and that may be true. But it’s existence was not a well known fact and most likely it was always kept completely sealed for fear of any enemies trying to tunnel into the city. So little is known for sure about the giant quarry, but one point everyone agreed on was the fact that there was no entrance into the city from the quarry.
Viewing the diagram (below) of it’s layout, the dark areas are pillars of solid rock left in place to support the ceiling, like the pillars left in a coal mine. As the miners work their way back out of the mine after depleting it of all it’s coal, they remove these pillars of coal and the mine usually caves in. These were obviously left in place to prevent the cavern from collapsing since part of the northern city is above it. As Ron examined the quarry carefully, he noticed one thing that bothered him.
When Ron began a project, the first thing he did was determine the easiest way to accomplish the task that requires the least work, and as he walked the giant quarry, something didn’t make sense. He tried to put himself in the “shoes” of the ancient stonecutters as he surveyed this massive quarry.
Seeing how deep into the side of the mountain the quarry extended, he thought about how much work it would have been to bring all that stone out of the quarry, carry it through one of the northern gates and into the city. It would have been easier to quarry it out of the quarry across the street than to haul it out of that cavern.
To Ron, the solution was obvious – to cut a hole through the ceiling of the quarry and simply haul the rocks up into the city. The more he thought it about, the more obvious it became to him – yet, no one had ever found an entrance into the quarry from the city.
So Ron began to examine the rock pillars. And sure enough, he found one that wasn’t a stone pillar at all. It was a giant mound of earth and debris, piled up, he believed, to the ceiling and through the hole in the ceiling. On the surface it would look like normal ground. But unable to examine the section above ground, he didn’t know if the rock had been cut in a manner that would allow the cut-out section to fit back over the hole like a “man-hole cover” or if it was only the piled up earth that filled the hole. But he was convinced that the hole is there.
A Tunnel in the Quarry
With this new information, Ron wondered it there were any tunnels leading from the quarry. If so, perhaps the Ark and other items had been lowered through the hole from the area north of the temple mount into the cavern, and then through a tunnel to it’s present location. So he began to look for tunnels. And sure enough, he found one.
Almost completely hidden from view by boulders and overhanging rock, there was an opening into the cave wall that was sealed with several large cut rocks and it was heading in the right direction. But it was a long ways from the site Ron had worked in all those years. If this was indeed the tunnel which led to the chamber, Ron would have quite a project ahead of him in clearing such a long tunnel.
“The Guardian Cherub”
In the late 1800s the cavern was systematically researched and plotted by Frenchman Charles Clermont-Ganneau who surveyed every nook and cranny in the mammoth quarry, making sketches, drawing maps and diagrams. During this survey, he spotted a flat etching in the rock, which he carefully sketched. It appeared to be a creature with wings, a lion’s tail and body, and a man’s head with a long, flowing beard wearing a strange-looking hat. The etching was removed by chiseling a slab of rock around it and it was taken to the Palestine Exploration Offices in London. The drawing made by the Frenchman is reproduced below.
The similarity in basic features between this creature and a cherub from the Israelite palace in Samaria (sketch below) can be seen.
The style of the etching (according to authorities that specialize in that area of expertise) indicated that it was to be dated to the approx. 7th century BC when Israel was under the cultural influence of Assyria. This would place it before the Babylonian captivity, which WAS the correct time-frame during which Ron believed the items were hidden.
And if we return to the passage in 2 Maccabees, which again we stress is not to be considered reliable, there IS a remark about some of Jeremiah’s companions during the time he supposedly had the objects hidden in the cave:
“Some of his companions came to mark out the way, but were unable to find it. When Jeremiah learnt of this he reprimanded them.”
Was this etching done by these “companions? It’s an interesting theory, but – who really knows?
Ron still believed it was significant. IF the tunnel Ron had found WAS the passage through which the Ark and other articles from the temple were transported to the chamber, just possibly someone did etch this cherub as symbolicy “guarding” the tunnel entrance. Remember Eden?
GEN 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden CHERUBIMS, and a flaming sword every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
The etching WAS located near the blocked entrance… but, of course, again this is just a theory.
Radar – A Tunnel under the Road?
Ron used the sub-surface interface radar in later years to check for the existence of a tunnel running from the underground quarry to the area of the escarpment. He did find a tunnel-like void crossing under the street in the correct direction that was, as best he could determine, about 20 feet under the road. But because it is quite a distance to the site he had excavated, and because of the buildings, etc. now built in the area, he couldn’t follow the line of the “void” to it’s final “destination”.
He used the radar on the blocked up entrance in the underground quarry and found that there was a void behind the blocks.
(The author in front of the blocked-up tunnel)
All that was now left was to open up the entrance, which he did. And there was a tunnel. But several feet inside, the passageway was again blocked with big rocks and dirt – to Ron, it looked as if whoever had blocked it had tried to camouflage the fact that it was a plugged tunnel and make it look like natural earth and rocks. The next decision he had to make was whether to attempt to clear out the extremely long tunnel or keep working within the original site and try to find the main tunnel from that end.
Continuing Work After the Ark was Found
The time came when Ron provided something to the authorities from the excavation which DID convince them that he HAD at the least discovered SOME items from the first temple. Then a plan was devised by authorities to “test” the water so to speak – they wanted to carefully determine the public reaction should the announcement be made that the Ark of the Covenant HAD been discovered.
The officials that Ron dealt with were serious government servants, concerned with the welfare of the people, and they realized that such an announcement would most likely set off a bloody clash between those who would want to immediately destroy the mosque on the temple mount to rebuild the temple, and the Arabs. While they did not necessarily have the religious belief that any temple would ever be rebuilt, they were well acquainted with the passion and fanaticism of those who did.
Their efforts to test public reaction to the rebuilding of a new temple resulted in much bloodshed, and many deaths. Until this day, it is an extremely critical issue and the Israelis will, with great care, handle the situation the way they handle everything else – by a no-nonsense approach with the best interests of the people’s safety foremost. What that approach will be, we don’t know and perhaps even they won’t know until the time arrives.
More Work in the Cave System
Ron decided to also continue to search for the original entrance into the chamber from within the cave system. With better hi-tech equipment, such as the radar, he was able to detect voids behind solid rock walls which was extremely useful. From one particular location within the cave system, he KNEW he was within a certain number of feet of the chamber – but getting from point A to point B through many, many feet of solid limestone just wasn’t that easy.
He followed many false leads, such as a rock wall they found within the cave system which followed along the contour of the cliff-face, just as the wall of the chamber had done. But this lead didn’t pan out.
I couldn’t understand the problem when Ron tried to explain everything to me – that is until I went into the cave system myself. As I entered the small hole, I expected to find myself in a large cave, like the ones I had been in as a child. Instead, I discovered the small hole went through a jagged shaft about 25 feet STRAIGHT DOWN – I had to hold onto a rope and sort of “repel” off the rocks. Exiting the shaft, I found myself standing on some wooden planks which was the only “floor” and it was quite small – the open cavern continued on another 40 or more feet beneath me.
It was nothing like I had expected. By the time I had twisted and turned, trying to conform my body to the narrow shaft which led into this area, I discovered that I had absolutely NO idea of what direction I was facing. Without a compass, I was completely disoriented. Then, when I went through a couple of the small openings from the main chamber, I was absolutely amazed at how tight the areas were. Tending a bit towards claustrophobia, I had a brand new respect for Ron, Danny and Ronny – I couldn’t imagine how they did it, and I still can’t.
I had earlier thought, “If you know how many feet it is to a certain point, why don’t you just measure it and go there?” But now, I understood why. In the tight confines, with cave walls and rocks everywhere, it seemed impossible to measure anything. Or even knowing the correct direction seemed impossible to me. Of course, Ron had worked in these caves and tunnels for so many years, he pretty much knew it like the back of his hand but this was not going to be easy.
In addition to searching within the cave system, Ron took his team to the blocked-up tunnel entrance in the quarry to open it. Removing the blocks, there WAS the void Ron had detected with the radar as we explained earlier, and then the tunnel was plugged. So, Ron crawled inside and began to remove the rocks and debris, passing the buckets down to the next person, who passed it to the next, etc., until the last person who dumped or disposed of the contents. (This is the same method they used inside the cave system – the “bucket brigade” we call it, sometimes consisting of 10 or more people.)
Once, while clearing the tunnel with a group of good friends from Florida, he suddenly was struck with a feeling of impending “doom” or “disaster”. He told everyone about this “impression”, and explained that he didn’t know what was going to happen but that they all needed to quickly pack up the equipment and “get outta there”. All the guys did as he said, and just as they started walking out, everyone heard a loud booming thud coming from the area of the tunnel. A huge boulder in the ceiling of the tunnel had fallen right where Ron had been sitting.
They returned the next day and Ron broke up the huge boulder and removed it – the feeling of “doom” was gone and they continued working. But the debris plugging the hole appeared to have no end. They replaced the blocks exactly as they had found them and gave up, at least for the time being. For now, we have no idea if the tunnel is completely blocked the entire way, or even if it is the correct tunnel.
However, the last time Ron went back into the tunnel, Ronny was able to take time off work and return with him – and Ronny found a Roman coin with “Tiberius” on it, which indicates that the tunnel was opened in Roman times but then resealed. We could not find this particular coin in our list of Imperial Roman coins and therefore assume that the coin was a “city coin”.
Digging Straight Down
Ron’s last plan was to attempt to dig a shaft through the solid rock into the chamber that held the Ark and other objects. But this was a very precarious approach – the shaft could cave in and damage some of the objects, or they could expend all that effort and discover they had missed the chamber. It would be a tremendous undertaking, requiring an awful lot of work. But one trip, after his main excavation team had left for home, Ron and a couple of faithful assistants began the shaft. They now had jackhammer-drills and much better equipment than he and the boys had used during the early years.
They began drilling the shaft and got through about 10 feet of solid limestone over several trips but the end didn’t seem anywhere in sight. And Ron experienced something that is common to the human species – he became frustrated at the tremendous effort and expense that appeared to be yielding absolutely no results.
Of all the projects Ron has worked on, his sense of unworthiness to work on this one was and is ever-present in his thoughts. The Biblical examples of those who did a work for God but at some time or another failed in some manner (such as the time Moses struck the rock when he was told to SPEAK to it, which cost him the privilege of being allowed to enter the promised land) are vivid reminders to Ron of how serious the consequences could be if he should allow any of his actions or motivations to go against God’s will. Sometimes, it was easy for him to discern his course of action, but other times it wasn’t. Plus, he reasoned that if the time came that he had failed and God could no longer use him, how would he know? And by this time, he was beginning to wonder if he was being “taken off the job”. He has always known that God didn’t NEED him to get His work done – he could always find someone else. His efforts didn’t seem to be paying off – it had now been almost 10 years since he first found the Ark.
Words of Encouragement from a “Visitor”
“God Bless You in What
You Are Doing Here”
Several years ago, Ron and one assistant had gone to Jerusalem to work on the shaft. A month or 2 earlier Ron had spoken at a church and one man present took a particular interest in the Ark of the Covenant. I well remember when he called here and began to question me about when Ron was going over, etc. He sounded like a nice enough person and I told him I didn’t know for sure (which I didn’t) but that it would be in a few months. He then asked me where they stayed because, he explained, he was going to Israel and wanted a relatively cheap hotel. So, I told him where we usually stayed – it seemed like an innocent enough question. But I was soon to learn a terrible lesson – that we cannot tell anyone when he is going overseas to work, whether it be Israel or Egypt, or wherever.
When Ron and our friend (who was helping him) arrived at the hotel, there was this man who had called me. He somehow had found out Ron’s arrival date (I hadn’t told him)! It turned out that this man was under the impression (or delusion) that he was a “prophet” and intended to impose himself into the project. So here was Ron and his digger, ready to go to work – but there was no way Ron was going to let this man know anything important, so they went into the main cave system but couldn’t do the work they intended to do – not with him present.
As Ron explained it to me, this episode was the straw that sort of “broke the camels back”. He had prayed, as he always does, about going over and had been convinced it was what he was supposed to do. Ron was paying all the expenses out of his own pocket and this one was costly. Adding it all up, it was approximately $7,000.00 to $8,000.00 down the tube, which is a LOT of money to us. So, Ron began to question if he was really doing what God wanted him to do, or if he was just fooling himself. At this time, it had been almost 10 years since he had first found the Ark – had he done something wrong that God could no longer use him? Whatever was the case, Ron decided on that trip that he was through – finished. He would close up the cave system and never return.
And let me tell you, this is NOT like Ron at all. He was very excited when he left here, and the experience with the “prophet” showing up must have been a terrible blow. What little he has told me about the incident indicates that it was a far worse experience than it sounds. But whatever happened, it completely deflated Ron, who interpreted the failed trip to mean that he had been “taken off the job”.
But then Ron had an experience that changed his life. One day on that trip, he and the “prophet” were sitting on the ground just outside the entrance into the cave system – Ron’s helper was inside. Ron was working on the radar scanner – changing the paper or something – and the “prophet” was in the shade of a large bush eating his lunch. Where they were sitting was, at that time, many feet lower than the ground level just behind them because this was where Ron had excavated down years earlier. It’s necessary to understand this in light of the next event.
Ron heard a voice behind him say “God bless you in what you are doing here”, and he looked up. Standing on the much higher ground many feet above him was a tall, slender man with dark hair wearing a long white robe and head covering similar to that worn in Biblical times – except that it was all pure white. Startled, mainly because he didn’t TELL anyone what he was “doing here”, he wondered who this man was.
He tried to make polite conversation and asked him if he was from around the area. The man replied simply “No” then remained silent. Ron then asked him if he was a tourist, and he again replied simply, “No”. More silence, then the figure in white said, “I’m on my way from South Africa to the New Jerusalem”. Ron was so startled that he couldn’t say anything, but just stared at him. Then, the man again said, “God bless you in what you are doing here”, and then turned and walked away.
After a moment, the “prophet”, who couldn’t see the man because he was beneath the shade of the bush, said, “Ron, do you think we’ve been talking to an angel?” Ron replied, “At least…”
I remember his call like it was yesterday. If you don’t know Ron personally, let me explain that Ron is very low-keyed. He never acts excited or angry – his voice rarely gives away his true feelings. But I knew something had happened even though his voice was calm. He told me what had happened, and explained how just hours earlier, he had silently given up – frustrated, tired and simply worn down, he had lost his belief that what he was doing was God’s will. Then, this stranger appeared and he repeated word for word their conversation. He was glad that the “prophet” had at least heard the conversation – at least he knew for sure that it really happened.
And when he questioned the locals who worked along the only path anyone could take to enter the area, he discovered that NO one had seen anyone of that description either come into the area or leave. Although the escarpment is extremely long, today it is surrounded by buildings, fences and stone walls which prevent anyone coming into the area except through one particular street. And the vendors along that street have been there day after day as long as Ron had worked there and he knew them well. There was no doubt about it – the stranger in white had been seen by no one else. And then Ron told me that he believed it was more than just an angel – he was deeply impressed that it may have been Christ, Himself.
Whether Christ or an angel, the experience was enough to encourage Ron and convince him that his efforts had NOT been in vain, and that he WAS still in God’s will.
And since then, I have seen the results of that experience over and over, in both of us. From that moment forward, nothing could or will ever dampened Ron’s zeal or belief in that or any other project. When he and his group were kidnapped about a year later (August 1991) in eastern Turkey, I know the knowledge of that experience gave me complete peace – I never once (after the initial shock) believed Ron was in serious danger because I knew he still had work to do. My calm was so noticeable that when Ron returned, his friends at the hospital ribbed him, saying “Your wife sure must not care too much for you because she was AWFULLY calm on TV when talking about her kidnapped husband.”
Ron doesn’t talk about this experience with “the man in white” a great deal, but I believe it literally changed his life, giving him enough encouragement to endure whatever it takes to get the work finished. And since that time until his death, Ron, like everyone else, had been “waiting”.
The Blood Tests
No one was any more surprised when Ron first publicly told about the results of the blood tests on the specimens he had taken from the broken top of the stone case, just above the Mercy Seat than I was. (All that he has stated about this can be seen in his talk on our “Presentation” video and will not be repeated here.)
He had taken other specimens from along the crack where it extends through the bedrock adjacent to the cross-hole and I myself had been able to take a small sample, rehydrate it over a 3 day period, and view the red blood cells through the microscope. But even then, he never mentioned to me any actual lab analyses being done. Nor have I ever seen the other specimen. Therefore, all I can report here is what he has already said, as he has told me that when the time is right, he planned to have 2 unbiased geneticists go into the chamber, take their own samples, and each do his own independent analysis which will be filmed in progress.
Again, this was Ron’s plan – what HE hoped would occur – but as with everything else, we do not know for sure exactly how, when or where everything will ultimately occur. But for now, I have nothing more to say on the subject. Ron learned from his experiences with Noah’s Ark that even when he had the lab analyses filmed as they were done, there were those who came up with incredible reasons for discounting the results, such as saying that Ron “made” the specimen, etc.
All one had to do is watch a bit of the O. J. Simpson trial to see how important blood tests can be, and how people can find a way to try to discredit them. My personal opinion is this: IF the Lord intends that His Son’s Blood be shown publicly to have such unique characteristics that His humanity and divinity cannot be denied, He will arrange for this evidence to be presented in a manner that “clever” men cannot “explain it away” from honest people. Since the time Ron found the Blood, genetic (DNA) research has come a long way, perhaps indicating that God is preparing mankind for the proof that will not remain silent, but will shake the world. So, for now, just consider what little Ron has told, and again, watch and wait. Ron is no longer here, so it is entirely in the Lord’s Hands.
I have one last comment on this subject – people who claim to be “believers” make statements like, “That can’t be true – it would be impossible to be a human and have the peculiar traits displayed in this blood”. We need to remember that HE made us; we have NO right to limit His power by our severely limited knowledge of His creation.
Some people refuse to believe He could have parted the Red Sea in deep water, at a spot that is 8 miles across. Then, these same people try to explain in terms that WE can understand, that He really parted it in 30 feet of water when the wind was just right, etc., etc. What they are forgetting is that HE created not only this planet, but EVERYTHING that is throughout the known and unknown universe. It is no great thing for Him to part a little water.
So, hold your judgment on matters that are not yet proven. This doesn’t mean to blindly accept the word of anyone. It only means to wait and see.
The “Dark Side”
Ron recalled to me the 5 people who had lost their lives at the very time they were attempting to interfere with or even halt the excavation. (There have been at least 6 more deaths since I first wrote this.) We will not make these public because of their families. But we still have the newspaper article – the front page of the Nashville Banner – telling about the death of one.
This man had stumbled upon Ron and the boys as they were coming and going from the excavation and began to ask questions. He soon found out what was going on (at this time, Ron had already seen the Ark) and was determined that “the world” needed to know. He called a “press conference” in which he was going to announce “a great discovery”. When Ron learned of this, he and the boys immediately changed their flight and left the night before it was scheduled.
The press conference was to take place in a nearby alley-way that was relatively secluded. When Ron arrived back home, he found the account on the front page of the Nashville newspaper. The man had been found dead in that alley-way, shot in the head by a single “sniper’s” bullet when the journalists arrived. No further explanation was given.
I could easily write volumes on the experiences Ron has had with those who have tried to interfere with the work, as well as those who have taken it upon themselves to try to discredit him and his work with lies and personal opinions. I know of 2 people who worked with Ron on one discovery (not this one) who both expressed to me that – bottom line – they “turned on him” because they simply cannot believe that he found the Ark of the Covenant.
Well, the way I look at that is – Thomas wouldn’t believe Christ was really standing before him until he saw the imprint of the nails in His hands and the wound in His side – and Christ DIDN’T chastise him for this. In fact, this very episode may have happened for the benefit of those who would come later and COULDN’T see Him, but would read of Thomas’s need of “proof”.
It is no “sin” to require evidence. “Faith” is not blind – it is based on reality which is all around us. But what was sufficient in the past is no longer sufficient to the “man” of today who is bombarded by so-called “scientific” evidences which the “experts” interpret to us as “positive evidence” that the Bible is a “myth”. God, in His mercy, is providing hard-core evidence for a generation that has been taught to believe “as gospel” the “word” of our educators and men of “higher learning”. No one should accept anyone’s word on anything until they can see evidence. However, when someone has backed up other claims with solid evidence, that is sufficient reason to consider something they may claim but be unable to prove at the time. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of educating yourself on the subject and withholding final judgment until solid evidence is shown “yea” or “nay”.
Will the Ark be made Public?
Everything is still where Ron found it, completely hidden and very well guarded. Will EVERYTHING be shown publicly? I don’t know – I know that Ron’s greatest desire was to excavate the entire area, exposing the site of the crucifixion down to the chamber, but now that he is gone, I doubt that will ever happen.
I have learned that no matter how I believe events will occur, they ALWAYS happen differently. “But surely the Ark will be brought out, won’t it?”, people ask. I don’t know if it ever will – it is deep in the earth and getting it and the other objects out at this time seems almost impossible without some Divine assistance. Ron had concluded several years ago that it would probably remain right where it is, with only the Tables of Stone being brought out. But I don’t know.
Ron was of the belief that the things you have read about here will be made public soon, due to other events which we have cause to believe are about to occur (which we won’t mention now), but remember, he had been waiting since 1982. If it doesn’t happen that soon, remember that he didn’t say that it WILL be that soon – only that he believed there was a strong likelihood.
I have often thought that perhaps the Lord intended for His workers to believe the time was soon – in fact, sooner than it really was, – in order for them to have the “drive” to get the work done. We humans tend to put off doing things if we think we have time.
I DO ask that you pray for this site because at this moment there are certain people, led by Satan, who are attempting to “bury it” even deeper in the earth than it already is. After all, what could Satan fear more than the evidence which lies buried there?!
However things happen will be in God’s perfect time and no one will be able to change the events which He intends to occur. But perhaps we can hasten His coming by being faithful and diligent servants, finishing the work He has given us to do.
I DO believe the world will get to SEE the Ark and other objects, and that the Tables of Stone WILL be brought out. And I DO believe the time is getting near. To understand why, keep reading.
Other Claims about
the Ark of the Covenant
A Copy of the Ark?
Every now and then someone asks us about the story of the Ark being carried off to Ethiopia by the Queen of Sheba’s son after he had a copy made to replace the original.
There are several things to consider here – first, in order for a copy to be made, someone had to view it. But no one except the high priest could access it and even then, he only stood before it once a year. If anyone else so much as looked at it, or touched the covering over it, they were struck dead. Who could have seen it to copy it?
But more than that, dare we presume that God could be fooled? His Presence dwelled constantly above that Mercy Seat – did He just “move over” complacently to a fake Ark? His requirements for the protection of the Most Holy place from being defiled were so precise, – He even gave very, very strict requirements as to the high priest’s garments when he came into His Presence. God would not allow man to defile His earthly Throne.
Then there are other stories, such as it having been taken to Elephantine Island. The problem with these outlandish theories is that the people promoting them have no concept of what the Ark really is, or God’s purpose and protection of it.
We must be very careful lest we forget His Holiness. Our God is all powerful, almighty and Holy. No man could fool God with a “copy” of His earthly Throne. Nor would He allow unsacred hands to carry His Throne away. It just didn’t happen. Amazingly, this is the same type of story that has been concocted about Noah’s Ark – the story that the true remains are a copy made by Constantine or someone like that. When Satan is confronted with God’s evidence and he cannot destroy this evidence, he has to resort to lies to try to lessen its impact.
These are Satan’s counterfeits. The stories constantly change. They bear no witness to our Redeemer.
The Ark and a Third Temple?
The Ark and the Jews – Sacrifices, Again?
A question we are sometimes asked is if we believe the Jews are to re-institute the sacrificial system when the Ark is revealed. If we believe the Word of God, the answer can only be “no”. As we discussed earlier, Jeremiah, who prophesied during the time of the Ark’s disappearance, 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 Lord had told the Jews that if they returned to Him, He would do marvelous things for them. But promise, being conditional on their obedience to Him, never came to pass.
However, the verse we have just read above, in Jeremiah, was to tell them that the day would come when the Messiah would die for them, all sacrifices would cease. This was not a conditional prophecy. It was a fact that would come to pass. They were to be His lightbearers to the world but their failure resulted in this great honor being taken from them. The fact that they, as a people, rejected God’s pleas and their final apostasy did not change the fact that the day would come when sacrifices to Him would be an abomination:
ISA 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
The verse in Jeremiah indicates that God will never return the Ark to the Jews for this purpose. But aside from this, when the Jews went into captivity in Babylon and the temple was destroyed, God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel in giving them new instructions regarding the sacrificial system – instructions which no longer included the Ark of the Covenant. See Ezekiel 44 through 46.
When they returned from captivity, they continued the sacrificial system as God has instructed, but without the Ark. During the time of Christ, they were still performing the sacrificial system, again – without the Ark. There is no reason why they needed the Ark to perform the sacrificial system. All they would have to do is build a “table of the Lord” as instructed in Ezekiel 41:22.
Let us never forget that Satan was once a “covering cherub” – he lived in the very Presence of God. And he knows the truth – he knows what’s going on, and his aim is to obliterate God’s Truth. He inspires men to come up with ideas and theories which do away with sacred truths, that we may be deceived. And for even the true believers, our only safeguard is in His Holy Word.
I am of the belief, as was Ron, that many people have applied prophecies which refer to “Israel”, to the literal Jewish race, when they in fact refer to the “people of God” (which, of course, consists of people of all races, including Jews):
GAL 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
As a result, many prophecies which refer to events which occur after the Second Advent of Christ, are misunderstood to be events which occur after His First Advent (and thusly before He returns.)
Christ’s Blood on the Mercy Seat
On January 6, 1982, Ron Wyatt entered a chamber underneath the Calvary escarpment, north of the city wall of Jerusalem. In this chamber he saw the Ark of the Covenant and numerous other things which he believes are the rest of the furnishings constructed at Sinai by God’s explicit directions for the earthly sanctuary.
Upon the Mercy Seat, he found what looked to him to be dried blood. Today, we know that this is blood and that it is human. We believe It is the very Blood Christ shed for our sins. This concept was entirely new to Ron, and we have never found any reference in any ancient records which speak of such a concept. But as we have studied, we realized – to our understanding – this was the only way it could have happened and fulfill the type perfectly.
God, in His dealings with His creation of man, teaches us His great truths in the only manner in which we can understand them – through types, similes, examples and parables. Christ, when He preached to the people, spake only in parables:
MAT 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
In our previous articles, we have briefly studied the sacrificial system, sometimes called the sanctuary service, and we understand that it is the “type” for the true work of the True Sacrificial Lamb and High Priest.
The design of the plan of salvation features Christ as the Perfect Sacrifice on earth. At His death, He was both the “sin offering” (sacrifice) and the “sin-bearer” (High Priest, who bears the sins from the sanctuary and places them on the head of the scape-goat that represents Satan when the sanctuary is finally cleansed)
His ministrations in the Heavenly Holy and Most Holy Places, which are His official offices of Mediator and High Priest, He resumed after His death and ascension into Heaven.
But in between His death as the Sacrifice for sin, and His assumption of His Priestly role in Heaven, lies the antitype on which it all hinged – the presenting of His Blood to His Father.
The Precision with which the
“Antitypes” Fulfilled the “Types”
Many people believe that His Blood, to perfectly fulfill the type, had to be presented by Him IN PERSON to His Father in Heaven. But that wasn’t possible – Christ died on earth, not in Heaven. His sacrifice had to be accepted before He would be resurrected and he was in the grave when His Sacrifice was accepted.
Others believe that His Blood had only to fall upon the ground to be considered “offered” to the Father. But, we have to look carefully for the “type” to this “antitype.
God gave extremely explicit directions as to the offering of the blood by the priests and high priest. The least little deviation from His instructions – if the sacrifice was not perfect, for example – and the priest was struck dead. Remember what happened to Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu when they offered “strange” fire before the Lord at Sinai
NUM 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD,…
God required His Holy Things to be kept undefiled. He would not accept an offering that was not perfect and did not meet all the requirements in its presentation. Ron did not, nor do I, believe the Father would allow His Son’s Blood to be offered simply upon the ground, for the earth is defiled. It belongs, for the time being, to the prince of this planet, Satan. Instead, it fell upon the ground, through the rock and upon the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant – God’s earthly throne.
Since every other type was met in antitype so precisely, this presenting of Christ’s Blood to His Father would also have been perfectly fulfilled. His sacrifice had to be accepted by His Father before He would be resurrected. The evidence that it was accepted by His Father can also be seen in those who were resurrected at the same time as Christ:
MAT 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Between the time Christ died on the cross and the time He arose, His Blood was presented to His Father and it was accepted by Him. Yet no human hands physically presented His Blood. From the beginning, the plan was perfect.
600 years before Christ would die, God arranged to have His earthly Throne, the Ark with its Mercy Seat, hidden deep within the earth just below where His Son would die on the cross. And upon this Mercy Seat, Christ’s Blood would fall, acknowledging the claims of God’s eternal Law.
In the earthly service, the high priest offered the blood, but Christ, the True High Priest, was dead. His Father had arranged that even in His death, Christ would sprinkle the required Blood upon the Mercy Seat.
When Christ died, the earth quaked. The rock was split right below His cross and this crevice extended right down into the hidden chamber which contained the undefiled “earthly” Throne of God – the Ark with its Mercy Seat. After He was dead, when the centurion stuck his spear into Christ’s side and pierced His spleen, the Blood and water came out, falling down through that crack and was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat.
Christ was taken down from the cross and placed in Joseph’s tomb. He was dead. He rested in His grave over the Sabbath.
Then, early the next morning, the same unseen Hand that caused the first earthquake, caused another earthquake at the moment the Sacrifice was accepted by the Father. The Son was commanded to life and came out of His grave, a victor over death for eternity.
And to prove this victory, many saints also came out of their graves at the same time, never to taste death again. Although Christ gave His life, the decision as to whether the Sacrifice was acceptable belonged to His Father.
The Ark – Undefiled by Man or Satan
God made wonderful provisions for this Ark. No man could defile it – only the high priest could come nigh unto it, and even then, if he did not comply with God’s requirements, he too would be struck dead.
It remained the only place on earth that could receive Christ’s Blood as the sin offering, for it was the only object on this planet that had not been defiled by man. God would not allow man to defile His earthly Throne, nor did He allow man to destroy the Tables of the Law beneath that Throne. The payment of every sin was made just above that eternal Law.
PSA 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
Perfect “justice” demands the death of the sinner. But perfect “mercy” provided a substitute for the truly repentant sinner.
PSA 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
The mercy of God the Father, which could never have been seen without the existence of sin, is finally manifested for all mankind when He allowed His only begotten Son to die. The “truth” of His Law was covered with the Blood of His Son – and provided salvation for all mankind from the condemnation of that Law through the righteousness of Christ.
Christ’s Blood Didn’t Shatter the Tables of Stone
What does the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant mean today? What is the connection with what we have just discussed?
The Ark was built to hold the precious Law and above the Law was the Mercy Seat where God’s Presence was manifested. The Perfect Law required perfect obedience – anything less demanded the death of the sinner.
God’s Presence and His Law are inseparable. No man can come nigh unto Him and live – except through Christ, Who shed His Blood on that very Mercy Seat, between God’s perfect Law and God Himself. Christ’s Blood didn’t shatter those Tables of Stone – His eternal Law does now and will eternally remain in effect. Christ’s Blood above that Law shattered the chains which bound us to sin and death:
PSA 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
“Mercy and truth” met together on that Mercy Seat. “From the earth” shall spring “Truth” when the Ark and the Tables of Stone can be revealed to all the earth. And as we sit here today, our “Righteousness” is looking down from Heaven, as our great High Priest pleads His Blood on our behalf before His Father.
When the entire world can see that very Ark that God manifested His Own Presence upon, then they will see for themselves that His Law is real. It wasn’t nailed to the cross – only the Law contained in ordinances which pertained to the sacrificial system was done away with. If God could have done away with His Law, He most certainly would not have allowed His Son to have suffered and died as He did.
His eternal Law will abide forever.
and the Tables of Stone
I believe we are very near the time of Christ’s return, as did Ron. But it appears that the majority of those who call themselves by His Name have been blinded to the great truths which will separate the sheep from the goats. If we go back to Genesis and the story of Cain and Abel, we learn from the beginning that God accepts NO substitute or variation in what He has commanded of us. Cain was enraged that his offering of produce from his fields was not acceptable – but God had specifically dictated the requirements of the sacrifices which were to be offered – blood sacrifices – because they were all representative of the death of His Son. In his rage, Cain slew his own brother, Abel, whose offering WAS accepted.
As we read through the Bible, we read over and over how God’s people never ceased from incorporating other practices in with the worship of God – practices which were NOT acceptable in any way, form or manner, EVEN though they may have appeared harmless to the people. God was and still is always VERY precise and clear in His requirements of His people – they never changed over the years, even though many will very quickly tell you that they have.
Today, the people who call themselves by His Name are about to face the greatest crisis they have ever had to face. This may seem hard to believe in this age when we no longer must worship in hiding and fear of persecution, but it is a fact. For it is now that the plan has been set into action for all churches to unite on common points of doctrine. All the suffering and persecution of God’s people who fought to maintain the purity of God’s doctrine through the ages is about to come to nought.
Day after day the TV features various and sundry “leaders” speaking of how this “unity” will accomplish God’s work, when in fact, it will indeed finish a “work”, but it won’t be God’s. Pagan practices and doctrines that swiftly crept into the Christian faith soon after Christ’s time still dominate “Apostate Christianity” even though some of the purity of the faith was restored to some degree in some churches over the last few centuries.
It was in this country, the United States of America, that the true purity of the faith was given the chance to grow and thrive. It was this country that would be uppermost in sending missionaries to the world to complete the spreading of the gospel. But now, just as the work is about to be finished, the churches that once fought so hard to remain free of the influence of “Apostate Christianity” are about to join with it.
The reasoning of those who are fighting for this unity is that there is “strength” in numbers. Are not we all “God’s children?” Can we not strengthen our position in the world by unifying? Let’s think a moment about these questions. Do we honestly believe that just because someone claims to be a “true believer” that they ARE when they teach and believe doctrines that are contrary to the Word of God? Read carefully the warnings:
MAT 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?… 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
1JO 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
We should all be aware that God does NOT force Himself on any man. But Satan, on the other hand, will stop at nothing to accomplish his purposes. What will happen when all of “Christianity” is unified? Will the “good” rub off on the “bad”? OR are we in danger of being deceived by these “false” teachers, and what happens if we are?
ISA 9:16 For THE LEADERS OF THIS PEOPLE CAUSE THEM TO ERR; and THEY THAT ARE LED OF THEM ARE DESTROYED.
JER 5:30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Being led astray by false teachers is NOT excusable by God, for He has continually warned us. Paul knew it would come:
ACT 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
The greatest danger we face is NOT from the unbelievers of this world, but those who claim to be believers and teach false doctrine:
ROM 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and AVOID THEM.18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
ISA 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak NOT according to this word, it is because there is NO light in them.
But is it really so dangerous for all the churches to work together? My friend, there is NO greater danger. It is easy to recognize those who make no claim to believe; but there is one who knows the Bible far better than any human alive, and it is those who are led of him (Satan) that can appear to be the most “godly” ON THE SURFACE while introducing their lies cleverly intermingled with the Word of God:
2CO 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
COL 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words… 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:… 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
MAT 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men
To follow any “man” – teacher, preacher, father, mother, etc. – is wrong. We follow only one, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We do NOT unite with those we know to have corrupt beliefs, even though we may share some common beliefs.
PSA 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Before He died, Christ carefully explained the transition from the “old covenant” to the “new covenant” – any and all changes were explained and foretold by Him. He delivered the doctrine to man Himself, and then the time came when He ascended to Heaven, to the right side of His Father. From that moment on, there would be NO changes made in the faith that He had personally delivered.
Yet, very, VERY soon there began to creep into the body of believers heresies and false teachings. The attempt to popularize Christianity led to the transference of pagan traditions to the practices of the church. This continued until the true faith was almost unrecognizable. Those of the true faith were once again forced to hide; they suffered the greatest persecution NOT at the hands of pagans but at the hands of those who had perverted the faith.
Eternal Life – A Free Gift
Many are of the belief that since the gift of eternal life is free, that we have to do nothing to obtain it but ask. It would not be a “covenant” if this were the case – a “covenant” is an agreement between 2 parties with stipulations which both sides must meet.
Eternal life is a free gift because we can do absolutely nothing to earn it. But we must cooperate with God in our own salvation, and this requires that we study His Word and KNOW what is His truth and what is the “doctrine of men”. We CANNOT compromise after the great sacrifice that has been made on our behalf.
Not UNITY, but COMPROMISE!
The plan has been set into action to undo the work of those who fought so fiercely for the preservation and restoration of the true faith. The plan is what some have referred to as a “one world religion”, but it is actually a plan for all the “churches” to unite under “common points of doctrine”, for the purpose of “spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.
But this “unity”, which WILL in some form come to pass, will ultimately NOT revolve around “common points of doctrine”, but instead it will involve COMPROMISE.
To the masses of believers who have remained in ignorance of the true Biblical teachings and taught instead the theories of men, they will think this new found unity of the “church” is of God. They will see it as the answer to the spiritual “death” that has come upon the world. But like a serpent slowly slithering in the grass, undetectable to the eye, the true character of this “unified church” will begin to unfold.
I will tell you exactly what Ron believed, and what I believe, is going to happen. The little compromises made by all of the churches in the beginning will soon be met with bigger and more radical ones. But the ball will already be rolling and none will be able to back out. Then suddenly, the “serpent” strikes – liberty of conscience will be no more. Religious laws will be issued which, although seemingly “good and moral”, will NOT be exactly as God Spoke them from Mt. Sinai, and then wrote with His Own Finger.
The “Mark of the Beast”
Those who accept this “unified apostate church’s” version of God’s law and comply with it receive the “mark of the beast” “in their forehead” – which is symbolic of their rejection of God’s Law. Those who willingly comply with it although recognizing that it is opposed to God’s Law, receive this “mark” “in their hand”, which symbolizes their “knowing” disobedience to God’s Law in order to avoid persecution.
But those who comply with God’s Law and reject this altered “version” do NOT receive this “mark”, which simply means they are considered by civil authorities to be lawbreakers. This has happened in the past to those who refused to compromise their faith and it WILL happen again.
They cannot buy or sell. The reason they cannot buy or sell is because everything they own is confiscated. Without money, you cannot buy. When you own nothing, you have nothing to sell. God’s people are those who “cannot buy nor sell”. But the rest of the world looks at this group as they looked at Christ and jeered, “If you’re the Son of God, SAVE yourself! Come down off of that cross!”
This is an event of world-wide extent which will encompass the countries of the globe before it is over. Right now, the governments of the world are in league to regulate peace efforts, and environmental and trading practices. It will be very easy to slip into these regulations laws which are contrary to God’s Eternal Law.
And it is now that the last call is going out:
REV 18:2 …Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.4…. come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Don’t people realize that this “last call” to come out of Babylon is given to GOD”S PEOPLE? – “Come out of her, my people,…” Just take a moment and think about that – where are God’s people? When you recognize where they are, then you will understand the call to “come out of her”.
The Tables of Stone with the 10 Commandments
We believe that when the time comes that these universal laws are being debated around the world and about to become the “law of the land”, the Tables of Stone written by God’s Own Finger will come out and be a witness to the true Law that He spoke from His Own lips at Mt. Sinai:
PSA 89:34 My covenant will I not break, NOR ALTER THE THING THAT IS GONE OUT OF MY LIPS.
Christ didn’t suffer and die so that the Law could be done away with – if that were the case, there would be no such thing as “sin”
ROM 3:20 … for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Some people use this next verse to claim that the Law was done away with:
ROM 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Yet, the very next verses clear it up:
ROM 6:15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
We are no longer under the condemnation of the law if we are Christ’s. Through His Holy Spirit, – the “helper” He sent to us, – we are able to overcome future sins.
When the time comes that man-made laws are enacted which contradict God’s Ten Commandments, or even ONE of them, we will be forced to make our ultimate decision. God’s Law, or man’s.
And just as Cain’s offering was rejected by God because it was not what He required, so too will those be rejected who choose to honor a law that is OPPOSED to what God requires. Then, the fury of Cain towards Abel when his sacrifice was rejected will again be manifest in the fury of those who reject God’s Laws towards those who accept it.
Does this sound too incredible to be true? You don’t have to believe me – just watch and wait.
The Ark in Prophecy
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT – “Home” of God’s Law
REV 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
On that lonely Isle of Patmos, John saw in prophetic vision the opening of the Most Holy Place in Heaven. When, in prophetic time, is God’s temple “opened”? If you read the verse just before it, Rev. 11:18, you’ll see that this is brought to John’s view just prior to Christ’s Second Advent, where we are told precisely what happens when Christ comes:
REV 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
And who “sees” this opening of God’s temple? Well, I don’t think it is the heathens who don’t even know that God’s temple is in Heaven. Who is aware of the fact that God’s temple is in Heaven? The true believers of God who have studied His Word..
But most of all, why is His temple “opened” (symbolically speaking) at the “time of the dead, that they shouldest be judged?” That, Ron believed, is of utmost importance.
The Description of God’s People Just Prior to Christ’s Return
In Revelation 14:14, Christ is preparing to come for the “harvest”, which is when He comes for the righteous at His second Advent. And just before this, a group of people are presented to view – the righteous saints. Let’s read how they are described:
REV 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Oh, how many times I’ve heard people say “We’re not under the Law – the Ten Commandments have been done away with!” They profess a love of God, but when the Scriptures are opened before them and show the binding claim of God’s Law, these people refuse to even listen. They will not compare their doctrine with the “law and the testimony”.
Yet, God has closed His Holy Book, the Bible, with a perfect and concise definition of the people of God – they are described as “those who keep the commandments of God”. It does not say, “these are those who didn’t have to worry about the Law, because it was done away with”. No, we are clearly told that these are those who keep God’s commandments.
I realize that this may be a new concept to many people, for we are hearing more and more of “famous” preachers who are preaching that God’s Law has been done away with. And if this idea is new to you, please just hear what we have to say.
As the Ark in Heaven is brought to view just before the time Christ comes, we understand that they are not literally seeing the Ark in Heaven, but that their focus is on something that is taking place in the Heavenly Most Holy Place – an event. But what event?
We believe God wants His people to have a complete understanding of the events taking place in Heaven, concerning Christ’s mediation and office of High Priest. And we know that it is through events on earth that He brings His truths and understanding to us.
At the time of the end, His people (the righteous) know that time is almost over. They know that the vindication of His Law is at hand. And Christ, Himself, tells us that the Law is still the standard of righteousness, even at the time of the end:
REV 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Adam was created perfect – he could keep the Law and eat of the tree of life. But when he sinned (fell), he made a conscious decision to do so, and he lost man’s right to eat of that fruit spoken of in the above verse, from the tree of life, and we inherited our sinful nature from him.
When restored, we will be able to keep His Law again and again have access to the fruit of the tree of life. Christ tells us in no uncertain terms that those who will eat of this tree and enter into the city, New Jerusalem, are those who keep His Commandments.
Satan has twisted and perverted the Scriptures so much that many people today really believe that they do not have to keep God’s Law. If that’s the case, what happened to that Law, spoken audibly by the Lord at Sinai, written twice in stone by His own finger and deposited in the Ark of the Covenant of the earthly sanctuary? Some have used this next verse as “evidence” that we, believers, don’t have to keep God’s Law:
GAL 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
No Longer Under the PENALTY of the Law
What happened to all the other Scriptures that clearly stated the opposite? They’re still there! What Paul was saying was that if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the penalty of the law – your sins have been forgiven, and the Spirit guides you in keeping God’s Law. Look at this next verse:
ROM 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Does this mean the carnal mind is also not under any obligation to keep God’s Law? Another definition of the Greek word “hupotasso”, (here translated “subject”), is “obedient”. Now, let’s look at this verse again – “The carnal mind” is not obedient “to the Law”, neither can it be. Why? Because without Christ, it is impossible to keep the Law. Why would Paul even discuss this subject if it wasn’t of vital importance?
We as Christians must have a correct understanding of the necessity of God’s Law and we must understand the requirement of our obedience to this Law. If God could have changed one precept of His Law, then Christ would not have needed to die. But the provision made for the salvation of men through the imputed righteousness of Christ does not do away with the Law or lessen Its claims.
The Law is the standard of righteousness. I think that maybe many people refuse to understand this great truth because they know that they do not keep God’s commandments and they know that they can’t. AND THEY ARE RIGHT! That’s the whole idea – we can’t keep His Law; not by our own power. Christ’s death on the cross occurred for one reason – God is merciful and He knew from the start that we wouldn’t be able to keep His Law by our own power. He knew that we would all be condemned to death if a provision wasn’t made for those who love Him.
But once we have come to Christ and asked forgiveness for our past sins, YES, we CAN keep His Law.
The “Covenant of Grace”
The Covenant of grace is made whereby He extends His mercy to fallen man; His Only Begotten Son, Christ, came to earth in the flesh of fallen man, lived without sin, then bore the full penalty of sin on the cross so that His Father could apply that payment to any and all who come to Him through the Blood of His Son. And this is a free gift to anyone who asks.
The sins of those who come to Him are not just covered by the righteousness of Christ – His righteousness actually replaces the sin and it is forgotten of them. In addition, Christ sent the “Helper” – the Holy Spirit, to guide us, that we may actually partake of the Spirit of God. And it is through the indwelling of His Spirit that we are able to keep His Law. He knows that not one of us can keep His Law on our own – not one of us. It is simply impossible.
People may ask, “What’s the purpose in all this plan of salvation if we still can’t keep the Law”? Well, we can keep the Law – but not by our own power. Christ showed us how.
Remember all the times that Christ would go away alone to pray? Remember the agony of Spirit He had as He prayed? He was just as we are when He was on earth – He felt every temptation that all men feel.
People want to say He didn’t sin because “He was God and therefore perfect”. But that’s not what the Bible says. It says He came in the flesh – and flesh is not God. Flesh is human. He is God but He took on the form of man, which included man’s inherited nature:
HEB 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Why did Christ Pray?
Why did Christ have to pray? It wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Christ to pray if He was God, would it? Well, He WAS and IS God, but He came to earth AS A MAN. He didn’t live without sin through His Own Divine Strength. This is the great mystery, but the Bible is clear on this matter. He, as a man, prayed for the same strength and wisdom that you and I have access to – the Holy Spirit.
That was part of the plan – Christ would come to earth as a man. Even though He was God, He set aside His Divinity to be like us. He was subjected to the same feelings and temptations as you and I. But He lived a life without sin in order that He could be the “perfect” sacrifice.
Had He come to earth as God, not as man, it would have proved nothing – people would say He was able to live without sin because He was God. But He didn’t come as God, although He was God – He came in the form of man. And because He lived without sin under the same circumstances that we live, God allowed Him to pass on to us that same ability.
We have all sinned. We will all sin again, most likely. But if we continuously ask forgiveness for those sins with repentance and a true desire to keep His Law, He will forgive us and continue to rehabilitate us.
And then, when our time is “up”, when the Father looks at us, He sees not our sins, for they have been actually removed from our record and the righteousness of His Son covers us.
Our Sinful Nature IS Hereditary
Christ died for us to provide the means that we may be forgiven of the times we break that Law through human weakness, and to give us the only means to keep the Law, or not sin. We have all heard of sin spoken of as being “hereditary” – and it is. The Bible is clear on this point – man is sinful by nature. It’s in our very genes. Look at how modern science is proving that certain traits, such as aggression, are actually inherited. Christ and the apostles many times tried to explain to men that their very fleshly nature was sinful:
EPH 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The Righteousness of Christ
The Law was in effect from the beginning and remains in effect. The penalty for the transgression of that Law is death. Christ not only died to vicariously pay our penalty, but He did even more. Christ provided the only means by which we could partake of His righteousness and overcome our inherited nature. Through this means, He “reconciled” us with the Father.
JOH 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
As a human, Christ is our example – He demonstrated:
- “The way”: the way it can be done; the way man can partake of His righteousness and perfect character. This is accomplished in us is through faith in Him and cooperation with the Holy Spirit, Whom He sent to us.
- “The truth”: He came as a man, lived perfect righteousness through the same Spirit that He imparts to those of us who ask. He demonstrated the truth that this CAN be done by man.
- And He is “the life”: the life we will live when we walk with Him by faith and obedience. His example was perfection.
If God’s Law had been done away with, there would be no such thing as sin:
1JO 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Did Christ die to take away the law? No, He died to take away sin:
1JO 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
He died to pay the price that we legally owe and remove our past offenses from our record. Who can partake of this free gift of forgiveness? It is available to all:
ISA 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
We Must Cooperate in the Working Out of Our Own Salvation
PHIL 2:12 … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We have absolutely no power over sin, except the power He imparts to us when we ask. And then, we must cooperate with His Holy Spirit. We are in charge of our own salvation in that we still have the choice to allow Him to work through us.
But, we only have to let Him lead the way. In doing so, we find we keep His Commandments. We find our hearts full of love for all of those for whom He died. We find we live the life He did. We find we prove the truth that it can be done.
Our past sins are forgiven us and they are removed from our person. His righteousness is imputed to us. And when we sin again, we ask forgiveness again through the merits of Christ’s Blood, and we are forgiven again.
However, we must be aware that this in no way means we can sin WILLFULLY and continue to receive forgiveness. The Scriptures are very clear on this matter.
HEB 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
The plan of salvation was demonstrated in the ceremonial law, or the sacrificial system. Once the people had accepted God’s covenant at Mount Sinai and the sacrificial system was instituted by God, there were many, many offerings and sacrifices, But study carefully – for there was NO provision given by God for a sacrifice for WILLFUL SIN.
“Working out our own salvation” is a daily process for us all. It is a moment to moment process – and Satan is always there, watching and waiting to catch us off guard. It is up to us – it is an act of our own will whether we assent to allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, or not.
We see all around us the results of breaking God’s Law. If God did away with His Law and it didn’t exist in Heaven, what a horrible reward for the righteous – to live eternally in a violent, destructive society! To live without God’s Law – as the world lives today – is something no sane person could possibly desire.
The Events at Calvary
Revealed in Scripture
ISA 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together;…
The earth at the foot of the cross opened during the earthquake at the moment of Christ’s death (Mat. 27:50-51). Then:
JOH 19:34 …one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Just as Daniel had prophesied, His Blood then flowed down through the freshly opened rock, falling upon the Mercy Seat – the central object of the Most Holy Place and the literal earthly throne of His Father:
DAN 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to… make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting RIGHTEOUSNESS,… and to ANOINT THE MOST HOLY.
The prophecy of Isaiah 45:8, above, was then fulfilled – “salvation” and the way for all mankind to obtain the “righteousness” of Christ did “spring up together” after “the earth opened” and His offering of His Own Blood was accepted by His Father.
1JOH 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood:…
In an instant, death was defeated by the greatest sacrifice in all eternity. Dare we ever – for even an instant – lose sight of what has been done for us? I pray not. And lest we do, we are reminded by the prophet, Habakkuk, who saw the future coming of the Savior in the heavens, that He STILL bears the mark of the spear in His side from which flowed His Precious Blood:
HAB 3:4 And his brightness was as the light; he had BRIGHT BEAMS coming OUT OF HIS SIDE: and THERE was the HIDING OF HIS POWER….. (Marginal reading).
Insight into Biblical Understanding –
The MARK of the BEAST
Ancient Manners of Speech
Have you ever heard the phrase “rule of thumb”? It’s a common phrase, but do you know where it came from? Get ready for a shock if you don’t know the answer. It comes from old U.S. laws which provide that a husband can beat his wife with a stick no bigger around than his thumb. It was termed “the rule of thumb” and long after the law was abolished, the phrase continued as a “figure of speech”. But would it make sense to someone who lived in another country, spoke a different language, and wasn’t familiar with our colloquialisms?
The Bible was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, but they wrote in the manner of their everyday “speaking”, as opposed to our manner of speech today. And all people develop “colloquialisms” or phrases or “slang” terms. For example, the first well-known copying machines were made by Xerox, so we know what is meant when someone tells us to “make a Xerox” of a document. This is a “figure of speech”; a word, sentence or phrase which is “figurative” in that it’s meaning differs from the literal translation. Some “figures of speech” are common to many languages while some are unique to one particular language. Also, some change “with the times”, while others are passed on. Obviously, the pilgrims didn’t know what a “xerox copy” was.
Some of the “phrases” or “figures of speech” are a sort of “spoken shorthand”. Take the term, “field hand” or “ranch hand”, used when referring to those who work in the fields or on a ranch. This goes back to Biblical antiquity, where the “hand” is used to represent the work or deed performed by the person. Hence, the “field hand” works in the field and the “ranch hand” performs the work at a ranch.
Sometimes, in reverse of the above, the person who performs the “action” is used as the word for the result of that action. For example:
LUK 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
The people didn’t literally “have” Moses and all the prophets there with them- they had the Divinely inspired writings of Moses and the prophets.
Then, there are “idioms” of which the phrase “three days and three nights” is an example.
MAT 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
If this phrase were to be taken literally, Christ would not have arisen on the third day, but on the fourth. Yet, we are told distinctly:
MAT 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
The Hebrew idiom “three days and three nights” means simply “a period of time that covers parts of 3 days”. It may begin the last 5 hours of the 1st day, then include all 24 of the 2nd, and end after 4 hours into the 3rd day. But if we interpret it according to OUR manner of speaking today, we think it must mean 3 complete day cycles of 24 hours each. Yet, this is just how the Hebrews reckoned “days”.
In the time of Esther, we see the same “idiom” and it clearly does not include all 72 hours of “3 days and 3 nights”:
EST 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
The literal interpretation of this above verse is that Esther, her maidens and all the Jews were to fast for 3 complete days and nights, or 72 hours, and THEN she would “go in unto the king”. Yet, we learn that she appeared before the king “on the third day” in chapter 5 verse 1. ANY time during the third day would be less than 72 hours and hence she and her maidens did NOT fast for 3 days and 3 nights.
These Biblical “figures of speech” are seen and understood from various sources- many times they can be understood in “context” or from numerous other Biblical passages on the same subject. Sometimes they are discerned from other non-Biblical documents from the same time period of the same region. In other cases, the language employed is figurative for a definite Divine purpose. When writing about the future Messiah, David wrote:
PSA 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:.
In fact, Christ spoke to the multitude ONLY in parables-stories which were figurative and explained Divine principles:
MAT 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
And though the Bible is literal in much that is written, much is written in “figurative” language. Like Christ’s parables, great Truths are expressed in terms that are simply not literal, but make it absolutely clear what is meant.
Just as we earlier discussed the origin of our term “ranch hand” or “field hand”, we find hundreds of Biblical instances which are similar. For example, the words “head” and “forehead” are used in this verse:
JER 3:3:… and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
This admonition to Israel meant that the people were unfaithful to God and had absolutely no remorse for their wrongful actions. The word “forehead” here implies the innermost conscience of the person, which is centered in the brain behind the forehead- who they really are; their morals; their character. The “whore” had no shame- she fully assented to her actions, unlike someone who may be forced to perform the same actions but does so against her will.
The Mark of the Beast
Understanding these concepts gives insight into the ever-popular “mark of the beast” which is received either on the “hand” or on the “forehead”.
The implication, as we now understand it, is that this “mark” is NOT a literal visible “mark”, but instead an “action”. Received on the “hand” means the action is “performed” but does not necessarily mean that the person believes it to be the right thing to do. Received on the “forehead” implies that the action is performed without any regret or remorse; like the “whore” who was without shame, the person performing the action is in full agreement with the act.
This is further verified by the fact that the “seal (or mark) of God is received ONLY in the forehead:
REV 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Satan’s “mark” is received by doing the “action” whether the person believes it to be right or not. They may even KNOW it to be wrong and do it because they are compelled by threat of bodily harm or loss of property, etc. Hence they are represented as receiving it either in the forehead or on the hand.
But God’s mark, or “seal” is only received by those who perform the action out of faithfulness to God- they KNOW it is right and why. They are represented as receiving it ONLY in the forehead.
The “seal of God” and the “mark of the beast” are actions which, when performed, separate the people who are loyal to God from those who are loyal to Satan, or the “beast”. Those who are loyal to Satan receive his mark by either fully accepting the principle behind the action and performing it (“in the forehead”), or by simply performing the action EVEN though they may know it to be wrong to do so (“on the hand”).
The people of God, however, receive His mark only one way- by their complete belief in the action. No one receives God’s seal on their “hand”.
It’s something to think about…….