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The Lost Ark – Oops – Nevermind

Reuters is now reporting that the lost Ark of the Covenant will not be revealed by its purported keepers in Ethiopia after all.

Ethiopian Church Patriarch Abune Paulos indicated the Italian media had incorrectly reported that he would place the Ark in a museum in the country’s north.

Abune said,

I am deeply disappointed that the Italian media misquoted me and disseminated false information about me unveiling the Ark of the Covenant to the world,….  It is a fabrication, disinformation.

He went on to restate that his congregation has the Ark but that it will not be on public display.

Oops! – Nevermind.

 

The Lost Ark – Found

American culture was largely introduced to the biblical story of the Ark of the Covenant in 1981 by Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford in the epic tale “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It now appears that the actual biblical artifact will be revealed for the first time in centuries.

Abuna Pauolos, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, has announced to the world the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps the world’s most prized archaeological and spiritual artifact. He says the Ark has been hidden away in a church in his country for over a millennia, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos.

In Italy for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI this week, Pauolos told the news agency, “Soon the world will be able to admire the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible as the container of the tablets of the law that God delivered to Moses and the center of searches and studies for centuries.”

The Bible describes the Ark as the sacred container designed to hold the 10 Commandments. (See biblical text below) God instructed Moses on how to build a chest overlaid with gold.  The lid of the Ark was more commonly referred to as the Mercy Seat (or atonement cover) and was constructed of pure gold. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the lid as a sacrifice to God on behalf of the entire nation.

The most recognized piece in the Tabernacle and perhaps best known for its remarkable powers, the Ark held a central place both physically and spiritually. The Ark of the Covenant symbolized God’s throne on the earth. God’s presence did not dwell inside the box, but remained over the Ark, in between the two Cherubim. Here God dwelt “in unapproachable light” (I Timothy 6:16 Psalm 104:2). The high priest had to shield his eyes, because “no man shall see Me and live” (Exodus 33:20). This was where God met with Moses (Exodus 25:21-22 Leviticus 16:14-15). The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle on the day it was erected and anointed (Exodus 40:9,18,34-35).

Ark of the covenantOne striking aspect of the Ark is its size. It is relatively smaller than one typically imagines. At about 45 in. x  27 in. x 27 in., it is smaller than a typical office desk. While no one accurately reproduce the appearance of the Ark, the photo below is representative of what biblical scholars believe the Ark looks like.

Another question for scholars and historians is the position of the angels. We are not told in great detail exactly what the angels.  looked like. Some models show the Cherubim kneeling. Other models show the Cherubim standing. What we do know is that the wings of the Cherubim were stretched out, to cover the Mercy Seat. The wings of the two Cherubim possibly touched one another to form a complete covering.

Over last 2500 years, dozens of locations have been suggested for the location of the Ark. The History Channel, biblical and archeological magazines, and hundreds of universities and treasure hunters have searched the globe for the wonderous Ark.

My own personal belief has been that either the Ark was lost to history after being melted down for the gold or it was located in the high monastery in Ethiopia.

What does the revelation of the Ark of the Covenant mean?

  1. Perhaps nothing. It could be a fake.
  2. Additional archeological confirmation of the authenticity of the biblical message.
  3. Affirmation of the Exodus pilgrimage and God’s deliverance of Israel.
  4. Additional archeological support for the presence of Israel as a nation.

I am personally looking forward to pictures, information and details over the next few days as we learn more about this compelling piece of history.

Exodus 25:10-22 NIV

“Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”

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Cleaning God’s House

The story of Jesus cleansing the Temple in John 2:13-16 is often cited as the basis and guide for righteous anger. Jesus was offended that the Priests and Rabbis had insulted God’s House with the traffic of animals and unethical business with money. So, appropriately, Jesus displays righteous anger and overturns the tables and sends the vendors away.

If you take some time to reflect on the passage, you will notice in verse 15 that Jesus makes a whip. If I had to make a whip, it might take me weeks. How long did it take Jesus? 2 minutes?   5 minutes? 20 minutes?

This verse tells me that Jesus did not act hastily and in anger. He had “time to cool off” so to speak; though it is hard for me to imagine the need for God Incarnate to cool down. While Jesus is clearly passionate about the events, He is not out of control. He takes time to make a whip. He gathers the materials and assembles them carefully. He knows the mission and purpose of the next few minutes and He carefully acts to deliver the right message about God’s House.

What message?

God’s House has a plan and a purpose. At that time, it was the place of intercession and prayer. The people needed animals for sacrifice and coins for offerings and taxes. The sin was placing the business enterprise above the spiritual enterprise. The goal of assisting people in their pilgrimage to a proper, redeemed relationship with God had been replaced by the objectives of business. Profit was the motive rather than reconciliation.

John also mentions that it is near Passover. Perhaps this is just a calendar reference to let people know something about the date in the same way a news reporter would today. I think there was more however.

Women the world over are familiar with the discipline of Spring Cleaning. It is likely that this tradition has roots in the Jewish preparation for Passover. Each year, Jewish families would clean, scrub, and launder their houses to rid the home of yeast in preparation for Passover. They were meticulous; even fanatical. Only when every cupboard and closet, every drawer and counter had been swept and dusted (multiple times if needed) would Mom allow them to rest from the labor.

What a contrast. Every Jewish home scrubbed and spotless. But the Temple of God dirty and filled with livestock. God’s Temple has literally been turned into a barn. No wonder Jesus throws everybody out. The Temple needed cleaning both physically and spiritually.

Perhaps you would take time to ask Jesus for cleansing in the temple of your life today.

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We Have A Winner – Again

After trying to give away an ESV Study Bible (multiple times mind you), we finally have a real, live, genuine winner!

Cathy lives in Missouri and you can find her blog at God’s Child. Her favorite Bible verse is James 4:17, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Cathy was excited to learn about her good fortune and had these kind words for the blog,

I love your ability to merge the news with how it affects us as Christians.  You take things that are normally hard to understand and place them in easy to understand analogies.  God has given you this insight and you are willing to allow Him to use it through you.

Congratulations Cathy and be blessed in this holiday season. Write in soon to let everyone know how you enjoy the new Bible.

Mere Christianity – Reading It Together

I have just joined a group of believers from across the country in reading and discussing Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The moderator of the group is Tim Challies and you can follow the discussion if you would like. My blogging friend, David, is prolific writer on these community reviews and has already started his first installment of his evaluation of the book which I encourage you to take a look at.

Reading classic Christian literature is a wonderful discipline. I hope my journey will assist you in your journey toward the Savior.

You may want to get a copy for yourself and read along. The paperback edition is not expensive and the link below will show you how to get a used copy at Amazon if your budget is especially thin.

You may know C.S. Lewis best for his series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

winning ticket

Claim Your Prize

Our winner for the ESV Study Bible has still not responded to their Super Duper Prize Winning Notification.

h20sidemom (at) bellsouth dot net is our winner.  If this is you, please contact me here at Faith and Facts so I can get so info and send you your Bible.

Blessings, Dr.Bruce

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Winner – ESV Study Bible

 

We have a Winner!

After some serious thought about how to perform the drawing, we resorted to the boring method of drawing numbers out of a hat. Well, … a bowl actually. We so wanted to make it interesting but our pointy brains could not devise a simple way to make the drawing fun.

My son, Greg, did the actual drawing and pulled lucky number seven. I downloaded my Feedburner subscriber list into Excel and counted to seven to find our lucky person and …

The Winner Is – ARRGGGHHHH! Someone that has not replied to their email yet so I do not even have a name; just an email address. As soon as we have the info I will let everyone know.

For the non-winners (politically correct language for losers), thanks for your participation and I hope you have been blessed by this community. Please do not stamp FAIL on your forehead. I have an idea for another give-away and will use the active subscriber list to give you another entry. This time I think the main entry will be to write a short review of Faith and Facts on your blog or social site.

Still mulling the details. How does an iPod Shuffle sound? Perhaps a gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble? Let me know if you have a suggestion for a prize.

ESV Study Bible

ESV Study Bible – Last Day to Register

Today is the last day to register for and ESV Study Bible. You can enter by subscribing to the RSS feed via email. Enter your subscription here today for your chance to win. There are 37 entries so far.

The ESV Study Bible was created to help people understand the Bible in a deeper way–to understand the timeless truth of God’s Word as a powerful, compelling, life-changing reality. To accomplish this, the ESV Study Bible combines the best and most recent evangelical Christian scholarship with the highly regarded ESV Bible text. The result is the most comprehensive study Bible ever published–with 2,752 pages of extensive, accessible Bible resources.

I am still working out the details on how to do the drawing. Leave a comment on what you think is the best way. I have considered:

  1. Assign everyone a number and use a random number generator
  2. Put the names on a wheel and spin
  3. The tried and true, but boring, pull a name out of a hat.

Let me know what you think.

There are more details on the entry at Win a New ESV Study Bible.

Blessings,

Dr.B

studying bible

Blog Meme – What are you studying?

My friend David, at Boomer in the Pew, asked an interesting question yesterday; “What faith materials are you studying each week?”

As a pastor, I am always reading and studying for this weeks sermon as well as the sermon series that is a month away. Sermon podcasts have been a great blessing to me and they have enriched my devotional life measurably.

1. Daily Bible readings in the Old Testament
2. Finishing last Bible study on the book of Psalms for our Wed night series.
3. Preaching a series, “The church Jesus would join.” – This week is “The church of faith.”
4. Sermon podcasts I listen to – Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv, Tommy Nelson at Denton Bible Church, Bill Mounce – Sermon on the Mount, Tim Keller at Redeemer Pres. Church.
5. About to finish Keller’s book “The Reason for God
6. Also reading “A Call to Die” by David Nassar, “The Effective Executive” by Drucker, and “My Grandfather’s Son” by Clarence Thomas.

My longer term projects include –

1. Researching and writing for two books –
What if it’s Real?” A gentle apologetic for post-modern thinkers. Attempting to present a basic defense of the Gospel in a way that will connect with un-believers. I hope that believers will find it useful as a tool in their own ministries.

Think Clearly, Act Wisely” Short, devotional length chapters on the need to think and act biblically. The difficulty is collecting the hundreds of stories from over the years. Glad for you to share one.

2. Expanding our missions ministry in Peru – “Casa de la Fe.” I need to find more time to complete the website and promotional materials. We have had very good response from churches to support missions in efforts.

Take a look at answers from other readers at David’s website – Blog Meme
He has some podcasts I am surely going to listen to.

ESV Study Bible

Win A New ESV Study Bible

You can win a new copy of the ESV Study Bible. Subscribe to my blog via email for your chance to win.

The ESV Study Bible was created to help people understand the Bible in a deeper way–to understand the timeless truth of God’s Word as a powerful, compelling, life-changing reality. To accomplish this, the ESV Study Bible combines the best and most recent evangelical Christian scholarship with the highly regarded ESV Bible text. The result is the most comprehensive study Bible ever published–with 2,752 pages of extensive, accessible Bible resources.

Enter your subscribtion here today for your chance to win.

Rules:

  1. You must subscribe to the RSS feed via email.
  2. It is fine to add the email subscription if you already have an RSS feed.
  3. Only one entry per person.
  4. A drawing will be held December 1, 2008 of current subscribers.
  5. Any disputes will be mediated solely by the author (me).
  6. The winner will be notified by email and announced on the blog.
  7. Subscriptions are handled by Feedburner. You will have to verify that you are human TWICE. You will also have to click a link in an email to authorize the subscription.
  8. You may unsubscribe at any time; but I hope you won’t.