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Author Topic: The Ark of the Covenant: How to reconcile our tradition with Scripture?  (Read 2259 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: July 06, 2009, 03:39:40 AM »

A Catholic friend of mine repsectfully asked me a question about the Ark of the Covenant. He does not doubt that it is indeed in Ethiopia, but he wants to know how to reconcile this tradition with what the Scriptures say. Below are the biblical references that he says seem to conflict with the what our Kebra Nagast teaches regarding how and when the Ark came to Ethiopia. Can my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo brothers please shed some light on this? HaileAmanuel, Hiywot, Amdetsion, and AmdeBirhan, can you help me out here?

I don't mind some insight from other OO Christians, but please only respond if you have some solid explanation. Thanks.

Here is what my friend wrote regarding this matter:



Dear Gebre Menfes Kidus:

You asked for the scripture citations on the Ark.

Second Chronicles says that King Josiah (649-609 BC) had the Ark put
back in the temple:


2Ch 35:3  And he said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were
holy to the LORD, "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son
of David, king of Israel, built; you need no longer carry it upon your
shoulders. Now serve the LORD your God and his people Israel.

Jeremiah prophesied under Josiah and was in prison in Jerusalem when the
city was captured  by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Second Maccabees ch. 2says

2Ma 2:1 Now it is found in the descriptions of Jeremias, the prophet,
that he commanded them that went into captivity, to take the fire, as it hath
been signified, and how he gave charge to them that were carried away
into captivity.
2Ma 2:2 And how he gave them the law, that they should not forget the
commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds,
seeing the idols of gold, and silver, and the ornaments of them.
2Ma 2:3 And with other such like speeches, he exhorted them that they
would not remove the law from their heart.
2Ma 2:4 It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet,
being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should
accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God.
2Ma 2:5 And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he
carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of
incense, and so stopped the door.
2Ma 2:6 Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place:
but they could not find it.
2Ma 2:7 And when Jeremias perceived it, he blamed them, saying: The
place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the
people, and receive them to mercy.
2Ma 2:8 And then the Lord will shew these things, and the majesty of the
Lord shall appear, and there shall be a cloud as it was also shewed to
Moses, and he shewed it when Solomon prayed that the place might be
sanctified to the great God.

So, we've got he Ark in the Temple some four centuries after Solomon
according to scripture.  That seems to be a conflict with the Ethiopian
tradition.  I'd like to know what your priest says. Or, what some other
sources say.

Peace to all,

JTM


Selam
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 03:40:52 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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Hiywot
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2009, 11:15:25 AM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus ,

There actually were two Arks. King Menelik I (son of Queen Saba) took the original one and left the replica on the place of the original Ark. I have read that some Jewish Midrashim still believe that two arks existed. Some say that the replica was made by the levites that collaborated with Menelik. When God ordered Moses to make a copy of the original one that he destroyed, we learn that the copy was equally powerful as the original.

Hiywot
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2009, 07:54:39 PM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus ,

There actually were two Arks. King Menelik I (son of Queen Saba) took the original one and left the replica on the place of the original Ark. I have read that some Jewish Midrashim still believe that two arks existed. Some say that the replica was made by the levites that collaborated with Menelik. When God ordered Moses to make a copy of the original one that he destroyed, we learn that the copy was equally powerful as the original.

Hiywot

Thank you so much my brother! I will pass this information along.

Selam
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2009, 08:07:20 PM »

I have a question.  Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia the tablets that the 10 commandments were written upon, or is it the box that they were put in, or is it both? 

The reason that I ask is the the tabots (I hope I spelled it right) which you see carried by priests are replicas of the Ark (I think) and they are flat.  It could be I am completely confused and the tabots are supposed to be replicas of something else.  Anyway, any explanation would be appreciated.
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2009, 08:15:42 PM »

I have a question.  Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia the tablets that the 10 commandments were written upon, or is it the box that they were put in, or is it both? 

The reason that I ask is the the tabots (I hope I spelled it right) which you see carried by priests are replicas of the Ark (I think) and they are flat.  It could be I am completely confused and the tabots are supposed to be replicas of something else.  Anyway, any explanation would be appreciated.

Good question. I was confused by this as well. My understanding is that the Tabot refers to the actual Ark as well as the tablets. Every EOTC Church has a Tabot or replica of the actual Ark. On certain holy occasions the Tabots (tablets of the comandments) are carried out on top of the Priests heads and around the Church. They are always covered. I do not know if the actual Tabot (Replica of the Ark) is ever carried out. It may always remain in a part of the Church for only the Priests to see. I could be wrong. Can my Ethiopian Orthodox brothers shed more light on this?

Selam
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 11:29:11 AM »

Good question. I was confused by this as well. My understanding is that the Tabot refers to the actual Ark as well as the tablets. Every EOTC Church has a Tabot or replica of the actual Ark. On certain holy occasions the Tabots (tablets of the comandments) are carried out on top of the Priests heads and around the Church. They are always covered. I do not know if the actual Tabot (Replica of the Ark) is ever carried out. It may always remain in a part of the Church for only the Priests to see. I could be wrong. Can my Ethiopian Orthodox brothers shed more light on this?

I once went to an Ethiopian Orthodox Bible study here in London. It was held in an Anglican church that they are permitted to use. The priest told me that when a Liturgy is celebrated, a Tabot is brought and placed in the altar. I think that would suggest that the tabots found in churches are only replicas of the tablets, not the whole Ark.
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 11:38:13 AM »

That is my impression too.  And yet I seem to recall being told that they are supposed to be replicas of the Ark.  Like I said, though, it could be I am confused.  Won't be the first time.   Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2009, 05:40:40 AM »

Salpy,

What we have at Axum is the original Ark of the covenant with the tablets.

What you saw priests carrying is the replicas of the tablets inside flat boxes. We call the tablets as "Tsilat". Tsilat with its box is "Tabot". The Tsilat are replicas of the original tablets of Moses but the boxes are representations and not exact replicas of the original Ark. We, in Ethiopia, including myself commonly call the "Tsilat" as "Tabot" simply because of traditional usage.

Hiywot
 
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2009, 11:08:56 AM »

Thank you!
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 04:01:11 PM »

Salpy,

What we have at Axum is the original Ark of the covenant with the tablets.

What you saw priests carrying is the replicas of the tablets inside flat boxes. We call the tablets as "Tsilat". Tsilat with its box is "Tabot". The Tsilat are replicas of the original tablets of Moses but the boxes are representations and not exact replicas of the original Ark. We, in Ethiopia, including myself commonly call the "Tsilat" as "Tabot" simply because of traditional usage.

Hiywot
 

Yes, thank you Hiywot!

Does every Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have an actual replica of the Ark somewhere in the Church?

Selam
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2009, 05:44:07 AM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus,

Every Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have an actual replica of the Tablets and not the Ark.

Hiywot
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2009, 06:54:01 AM »

So how did king Menelik I , got in the possesion of the Ark ? How is the legend in details?I heard that he manage to foul the wise Solomon?Solomon who according to what I read/heard has made a replica after the Ark of the Convenant to give it to the Ethiopians, and thus Menelik exchange the genuine one with the replica , by foulishing Solomon and took it with him in Egypt.I don`t think Menelik was wiser than Solomon and I believe the bible when the reference to the Ark of the Convenant is made , years after the death of Solomon.Althought i`m interested in reading about this enlarged from our Ethiopians brothers. Forgive my english .
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2009, 08:04:53 AM »

So how did king Menelik I , got in the possesion of the Ark ? How is the legend in details?I heard that he manage to foul the wise Solomon?Solomon who according to what I read/heard has made a replica after the Ark of the Convenant to give it to the Ethiopians, and thus Menelik exchange the genuine one with the replica , by foulishing Solomon and took it with him in Egypt.I don`t think Menelik was wiser than Solomon and I believe the bible when the reference to the Ark of the Convenant is made , years after the death of Solomon.Althought i`m interested in reading about this enlarged from our Ethiopians brothers. Forgive my english .

Solomon was foolish enough to build altars to the gods of his foreign wives.

The story is in the epic "Kebra Nagast"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebra_Nagast
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2009, 12:52:31 PM »

Btw, if anyone wants to see an ancient argument that the earth is flat, based on an argument that the Ark of the Covenant is a model of the world:
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/cosmas_00_0_eintro.htm
Cosmas Indicopleustes.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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