“A word of advice to Lost Ark enthusiasts: this is the book to take on holiday - it is a captivating and well researched romp through some of the most exciting Ark territory. Terrific!”
Tudor Parfitt, University of London scholar, author of The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500-Year-Old Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark.
Ark of the Covenant; Beyond Raiders
By David Beem
The year is 1936. You’re thick inside the Peruvian jungle. There’s the whisper of a gun sliding from its holster followed by the crack of a whip. A stubble-faced Harrison Ford steps into frame; Indiana Jones is born.
Actually, the year was 1981. The movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was nine years old, and wasn’t exactly sure why I was watching the movie in the first place. Sure, Han Solo was in it, but the Millennium Falcon wasn’t. There were no space battles. No Jedi. But then the movie started to get good. Like–really good. And by the time people’s faces were melting off at the end, I knew: The Ark of the Covenant was too cool for school.
Thirty years later, I’m still in love with the Ark. But what parts of the legend, if any, are true? And, did it ever really even exist?
In my novel, Abyss of Chaos, a cool action/adventure supernatural thriller, the heroes read a dark prophecy in an ancient sacred text, mentioning them with the Ark. But writing in the shadow of Lucas’ and Spielberg’s masterpiece, I realized I had to get trained up fast about all things Ark of the Covenant.
Here is my quick Ark of the Covenant geek sheet.
Word on the street was the Ark of the Covenant could kick your ass. But did it really have super powers? So sayeth the Bible. Here are a few:
· Dried up the River Jordan to allow Israelites to cross.
· Laid siege to the city of Jericho. With the help of the Ark, the Israelites literally “shouted” the fortress down.
· Caused false idols to bow down before it.
· Inflicted the unfaithful with tumors, caused a plague of rats.
· Killed 50,070 men in one fell swoop. The men were, apparently, just looking at it the wrong way. Seriously.
· Killed a guy named Uzzah who put his hand on it to keep it from falling off a cart when in transport.
· Bestowed wisdom upon King Solomon.
· Filled the sacred chamber known as “the Holy of Holies” with a radiant cloud.
“Nazis. I hate these guys.”
– Indiana Jones
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hitler wanted the Ark of the Covenant’s mystic power. But was he really after it in real life?
Well, not exactly. Hitler wanted to propagandize the supreme Aryan race to the German people, and rebrand Nazi Germany as a sort of modern day Camelot with himself as Arthur. He did have some far out ideas, but they were aimed at appealing to Germany’s sense of nationalism, and strengthening his political power. If Heinrich Himmler and his cronies ever seriously discussed the Ark of the Covenant with die Führer, it was probably as a weapon of propaganda, or, perhaps, as a really kick-ass coffee table.
Dude! It’ll totally melt your face off!
Besides being a radioactive-super-powered-weapon/radio-to-God, the Ark was also a chest. In Raiders, the Nazis opened it for an opportunistic peek inside. Then Lucas’ special effects team worked over time to show us what happens to baddies who mess with the Power of God. But what if their faces hadn’t melted off? What does the Bible say is supposed to be inside?
More super powers.
That’s right. More. The divine Manna, a miracle food. The rod of Aron. Both supernatural. Manna was said to magically appear on the slopes of Mount Sinai to feed the Israelites while they wandered aimlessly for 40 years. The Rod of Aron had mega powers, almost too many to name. Freaky stuff like turning into a snake. Oh yeah, also inside were the original Ten Commandments God gave Moses. And since it was supposedly jotted down by the Lord Himself, we’ll count it as super powered also.
The Ark isn’t lost. It’s just been misplaced somewhere no one can find. But if you’re really gung-ho, and you’re the adventurous type, why not launch your own quest? Where would you start looking? How about the places that the scholarly, and, er, less than scholarly are already searching today?
What’s the big deal? Why do we care about the Ark of the Covenant?
It’s impossible to overstate the religious, cultural, and historic significance of the Ark of the Covenant. For starters, if the Ark were discovered, it would challenge the faith of billions.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim the Ark of the Covenant will not “return to earth” until the End of Days. But, assuming it was discovered, but there were more than a few days left on the calendar, and angels weren’t trumpeting from the Heavens, the seven horsemen of the Apocalypse weren’t galloping down the street, and the oceans weren’t turning to blood and the whole mess, is it possible that its discovery might shatter our preconceptions about religion?
The Ark of the Covenant represents answers to the deepest mysteries out there. Who are we as a people? Where did we come from? Are there such things as miracles like those in the Bible? Is there a God? Faithful or not, we’d like to believe that discovering the Ark would answer these questions. And with answers like those, what would tomorrow bring?
Ark of the Covenantyou’ll definitely be a fan of the “Cool-Action-Adventure-Supernatural-Thriller-Genre” I’m doing with Abyss of Chaos. In fact, right now I’m having a special promotion; buy one book, get the “cool” free.
Hancock, Graham. 1993. The Sign and The Seal: Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. s.l. : Arrow New Ed., 1993.
Munro-Hay, Stuart. 2006. The Quest for the Ark of the Covenant: The True History of the Tablets of Moses. s.l. : I.B. Tauris; New Ed., 2006.
Parfitt, Tudor. 2009. The Lost Ark of the Covenant: The Remarkable Quest for the Legendary Ark. s.l. : Harper Element, 2009.
Formerly a professional cellist, David Beem was stricken by a rare neurological illness which ended his career. David was a founding member of the Corigliano (1996-98) and Eykamp (2002-07) Quartets, Principal Cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (2002-07) and member of the Euclid Quartet (2007-09). His performances spanned three continents and his Corigliano Quartet Carnegie and Weill Hall debuts garnered critical acclaim from the New York Times and Strad Magazine. His relationship with the Pulitzer
Prize-winning composer, John Corigliano, culminated in the South Korean premiere of the composer’s String Quartet No. 1.
David has served on the faculties of Murray State University, University of Evansville, and Indiana University at South Bend.
David has recorded the string quartets of Bela Bartok (2, 4 & 6), Frederick Fox’s Dawnen Gray, and Bernard Heiden’s Clarinet Quintet with James Campbell.
Currently, David is hard at work promoting his first novel, Abyss of Chaos, even while producing its sequel, The Philosopher’s Game.