King Josiah and the Ark of the Lord
Did the Temple Guardians know there was to be another Temple?
Five Sacred Articles not found in the Second Temple
In part one of this series we became acquainted with the fascinating document, Emeq HaMelekh and the role that five worthy men, Shimur Ha Levi, Haggai (Chaggai the Prophet), Zechariah son of Iddo, Zedekiah (Zidkiyah), Hezekiah (Hizkiyah), Hilkiyah, Ezra the Cohen, and Baruch son of Neriah the Scribe for the Prophet Jeremiah. Under the command of King Josiah during his reformation and cleansing of the Jewish Temple (Beit HaMikdash), the Torah was found. The temple was restored and the Feast of Passover was reinstituted, yet also after this time King Josiah instructed Jeremiah to institute a rescue operation for the treasures of Moses, David and Solomon that were in safekeeping in the temple. During this time the Wilderness Tabernacle was hid in a cave near the grave of Moses (Moshe) in site of Mount Nebo. There the Sanctuary (Mishkhan) with the Ark of the Covenant, the Stone Tablets of Moses (Moshe), Aaron’s Crown, the Ephod, Breastplate, Urim and Thummin, the Altar of Incense, the Menorah, the Qalal which held the ashes of the red heifer, the Sapphire Rod, the Silver Chest which held the garments of the High Priest and other temple treasures that had been stored in the Genizah of Solomon’s (Shlomo)Temple were stored in a concealed cave in the Valley of Achor.
In this document we will explore the archeological explorations of Vendyl Jones as he searches for the Qualal and the ark at the Valley of Achor and the site of the search of Ron Wyatt below the Temple Mount (Haram As-Sharif). Here was the Genizah site below the Holy of Holies in Zedekiah’s (Zidkiyah’s) Grotto or Cavern deep beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, known as the Royal Quarries or Solomon’s Stables with their underground tunnels that went from the Gate between the two Walls to the Valley of Passengers. This tunnel was last used as an escape route by King Zedekiah on the 9th of Av as the forces of Nebuchadnezzar were destroying the Temple of Solomon. Here in this valley is where Elijah was taken on an inter-dimensional journey on a fiery chariot just after he threw his mantle to Elisha the Prophet, Here also was the site of John the Baptist also with a special mantle, who introduced his followers to the mahout (baptism) of water and fire.
The second temple of Zerubbabel in the days of Nehemiah was known to be deficient in several areas to Solomon’s Temple, especially since there was no anointing oil to anoint prophets or kings. The temple was eventually desecrated by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes IV in the Abomination of Desolation which lead to the Maccabean Revolt, the restoration of the temple and the Festival of Chanukah (Hanukah) called the Festival of Lights.
According to the Mishnah III and Rambam II, in the section Parah, it was written that the Tabernacle of the Congregation and Qalal [Ashes of the Red Cow] were positioned "Deep, deep below the outer court of the House." This would place the location of the entombed Tabernacle, in Solomon’s Genizah, in the Grotto carved out of the mountain between the Temple. There the Tabernacle was positioned directly under the site of the Inner Shrine where the Ark of the Covenant was located in the Holy of Holiest directly above.
Here was a living symbol, an earthly type/anti-type of a greater type/anti-type in another spiritual dimension called the Heavenly Tabernacle. As the earthly Temple on top of Mount Moriah rested the Wilderness Tabernacle deep within the bowels of the mountain, so also the Israelite could envision the heavenly Sanctuary in that spiritual dimension resting over the Temple of Solomon. When did the Shekhinah Glory of God leave the Holy of Holiest? We do not know. What is at the division of the kingdom into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms? Was it at the invasion of Jerusalem by Sheshank, the Pharaoh of Egypt when the Ark of the Covenant was secreted down to an undisclosed location? What we do know is that the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Most Holy Place at the end of the reign of the wicked but later repentant King Manasseh and that King Josiah, his son, had it brought out of the secret dwelling place within the bowels of the Mount beneath the Temple. What we do know it that neither the Shekhinah Glory nor the Ark of the Covenant was within Jerusalem when the forces of Nebuchadnezzar encircled the city at the first invasion in 605 BCE.
King Josiah and the Ark of the Lord
Moses Maimonides, Book of Avodah, Hilchot Beit Habechirah, 7, 7. -
Jews entering the Inner Court of the Temple while impure risking the punishment of Kareit (cutting off of the soul).
“Even though the Temple is destroyed…a Jew is obligated to revere the Temple as if it were built. Only enter the permitted places and do not sit in the Azarah…as it say, ‘guard My Sabbath and revere My Temple’, just as the Sabbath is forever, so too is the reverence for the Temple eternal, even though it has been destroyed.
"Jerusalem, as is well known, is honeycombed with excavated caves, natural caverns, cisterns cut in the rock, subterranean passages and aqueducts…..In its underground chambers and catacombs it is richer than any known city. In Jerusalem the excavated chambers and caves were for three purposes. Some of them, especially the Bahr el Khebar were for the supply of water. Those outside the city were for burial places, while those under the city, the vast caverns known as the ‘Royal Quarries’ were actually used as quarries for the stone used in building. The entrance to them is by an opening so low that it is necessary to stoop, but the height rapidly increases……..The evidence of the place having been used as a quarry are very plain and numerous, the cuttings about four or five inches wide still remaining, and on the left hand side of each cutting may be observed a little hollow formed at the corner into which a wick and oil lamp may have been placed. The entrance to these caverns, known also by the name of "Solomon’s Quarries" because it is supposed that the stones for the Temple were prepared there is a little to the East of the Damascus Gate and opposite to Jeremiah’s Grotto."
Only two years earlier, Rev J.D. Newman, 1864 was a visitor in the city of Jerusalem and left his account.
“But of all the objects of interest which met my eye during my tour of the walls, none was more thrilling than the "Great Cave" beneath Jerusalem, the entrance to which is just east of the Damascus Gate. In constructing the north wall of the city, the Hill Bezetha has been cut through the solid rock to the depth of forty feet, the excavation having been extended 600 feet east and west, and 450 north and south….
Accompanied by the American consul and a single servant, we entered the cave without difficulty, and, lighting our wax tapers, proceeded along carefully for a hundred feet, when we began rapidly to descend. To our surprise, on our right sat an Arab maiden who had become the sibyl of the cavern, surrounded by several natives, to whom she was delivering her sibylline oracles. Rapidly descending toward the southeast, we soon found ourselves in a cave three thousand feet in circumference, more than a thousand feet in length, and more than half that distance in breadth. The air was damp; the darkness that of a ray less night; the ground on which we walked was strewn with the chippings of the quarrier; the walls around us were marred with marks of the chisel, and the ceiling above us adorned with stalactites of a rose-color hue, from which trickled the percolating waters of the city; while, disturbed by our approach, bats screamed their grief and flapped their long black wings against their solid nests.
Moving southward, we came to the verge of a precipice a hundred feet across and fifteen feet deep, on the bottom of which the skeleton of some lost explorer had been found. Threading a long gallery on the left, we saw a fountain as deep as it was wide, partially filled with water strongly impregnated with lime. Turning eastward, we entered a second gallery of greater depth, in the sides of which are immense blocks of limestone, in part detached from their native bed, just as they were left by the unknown quarrier thousands of years ago. Here, as elsewhere, were the unmistakable marks of a broad chisel-shaped instrument, evidently used to detach the blocks on either side and at top and bottom, and then by the pressure of a lever the mass was broken off from the rock behind. Occasionally we passed huge pillars supporting the ceiling above, and in several instances saw blocks hewn and squared ready to be hoisted to their destination. On the right and left winding passage-ways led us to noble halls, white as snow, and supported by native piers, on which are engraved the cross of some Christian pilgrim or knight of the Crusades; and on the sides of the chambers are Hebrew and Arabic inscriptions, the memorial of some wandering Jew and some conquering son of the Prophet….
Being unquestionably a quarry, many facts lead to the conclusion that here were hewn the stones for the construction of Solomon's magnificent temple. The material, both as to grain and color, is the same as that found in the antique walls and buildings of the city; the extent of the quarry, together with the vast amount of stone removed, and in such large blocks, suggest the erection of some grand temple; the ancient tradition coming down from the days of Jeremiah and pointing to this quarry; the remarkable absence of another adjacent to the city; and the important fact that the mouth of the quarry is many feet higher than the surface of the Temple area, which must have facilitated the transportation of those immense blocks of limestone, which were no doubt conveyed on rollers down the inclined plane of the quarry to the site of the Temple, where, hewn and finished, they were silently elevated to their destined place - the magnificent fane of Solomon, with all its courts and porticoes, rising noiselessly into being, as of old the world rose from naught, at once explaining and fulfilling the words of sacred history: "The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither, so that there was neither hammer nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building."12
Compare the 1864 account of Reverend Newman now with the recent account by explorer Ron Wyatt who has gained much fame his claims of seeing the Ark of the Covenant and all the Temple furniture within these cavern systems below the mount, yet even though his untimely death in 1999, his estate has not released any evidence of these claims. Even so the historical account of Zedekiah’s Cave is much different after 140 years.
“This vast cavern is located underneath the Muslim section of the city, extending 750 feet into "Mt. Moriah", and 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 its stone was used in the first temple, and that may be true. But its 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.
Drawing on Zedekiah’s Cave by Ron Wyatt
Viewing the diagram (below) of its 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…..
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 its 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.”
Cherub Drawing found in Zedekiah’s Cave
In 1874, a French archeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau explored the cavern system making sketches and drawing of the site. He discovered a carving on the wall near the mouth of the cave depicting a cherub, the winged, lion-like creature described in the Bible as part of the Ark of the Covenant and whose motif is found in the royal palaces of Assyria, Babylon and Persia. The Ivory Palace of Ahab in Samaria had similar carving left in ivory as reflected in comparison and reflects the iconoclastic images used in the First Temple period. This etching was removed at taken to the Palestine Exploration Fund Offices in London. There is also some suggestion of early burial caves here.
Cherub Carving on Ivory - Samaria
During the days of the Hasmonean rulers and King Herod, the use of the quarry was again apparently put into use. The stone on the Temple Mount, thought to be Herodian match the size and grain of the limestone and the indentation marking of the stones in the quarry.
In 1989, Israel J. Herman, MEComp spoke to the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel on King Solomon’s Quarries. Reprinted in The Israeli Freemason, it records,
“The Freemasons, believing that the cave does indeed go back to Solomon's reign, called the cave King Solomon's Quarry and, since Solomon is considered the first Freemason, they have used the wide, high-ceilinged central chamber for ceremonies since the late 19th century.
The cave opening is beneath the north wall of the Old City of Jerusalem; close to the Damascus Gate. From the entrance, the main path leads south for nearly 225 meters (~740 ft) till it reaches the main large cave called "The Freemasons Hall." From this hall, it bears east, leading to the dripping spring and the lowest place of the cave. The known area of the cave is about 900 m² (~10,000 square feet)….
One of the methods for hewing the stones was to carve broad slits along the rock face, and to drive dry wooden wedges into them. Water was then poured over the dry wedges, so causing them to swell. The resulting pressure then cracked the stone along the slits. This primitive method of quarrying was quite effective, and traces of it can still be found in the cave.
The cave-quarry is quite close to the Temple Mount, and even, large stones could have been transported to the Temple construction site. Furthermore, it is known from the first book of Kings that it was forbidden to use any iron tools in the actual 'on site' construction of the Temple, nor was the sound of such permitted to be heard. This cave would be the ideal place for quarrying and dressing the stones for the Temple, while meeting with those requirements.”
This cave, since the days of the British Mandate, was used in the yearly august ceremony for the consecration of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel, with the exception of the years from 1948, when the British were driven out by the Israelis, to 1968, after the war of 1967, when the Israeli once again had possession of the entire city of Jerusalem. Also yearly the Mark Master Mason ceremony is conducted.
As inscribed in the Copper Scroll, they were hid in the last chamber on the western wall of the cavern system beneath the Cave of the Column. According to the translators, an artificial bonding wall was created to seal the exit to Zedekiah cave and produce a camouflage so that only a small exit escape shaft, well hidden, to allow the remainder of the treasury guardians to escape.
On the ninth day of the fourth month (9th of AV) in the Jewish year 3338, King Zedekiah, with the remnant of his royal body guards fled through this grotto and tunnel system, passed through the “gate between the two walls”.
The history of the Jewish people are consistent in their legends that King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, tried to escape the Babylonian siege, following a secret tunnel from here all the way to Jericho. Redak and Rashi, Talmudic scholars, wrote that it was the intention of the Lord of hosts that Zidkiyah was to be caught by the Babylonian. As states, "There was a cave from the palace of Zedekiah to the plain of Jericho and he fled through the cave, and G-d caused a buck to walk on the roof of the cave and the Chaldeans followed the buck. When they reached the cave opening in the plain of Jericho, Zedekiah was emerging. They saw him and captured him."
The Book of Kings continues on with the story that the king was forced to watch the murder of his sons and then his eyes were blinded. The legends account that the percolating water dripping into a basin carved in the quarry wall is known now as Zedekiah's Tears, depicting his grief over the city and his children lost because he did not follow the advice of the Prophet Jeremiah to submit to the authority of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
A fascinating account of exploring this tunnel system by Vendyl Jones and his son was recorded in an article called The Gate between Two Walls, our first discovery. In this article records the first discovery of the Gate between Two Walls. For 2390 years there is no historical record of the whereabouts of this gate until 1967, the Jewish year 5728, just after the Jewish people took full possession of the city of Jerusalem.
Did the Temple Guardians know there was to be another Temple?
The Prophet Haggai, now a revered Tzaddik (righteous man) in the Land of Israel, began to speak oracles of encouragement to the Jewish remnant who were struggling to
re-establish a foothold back in the land of their forefathers and to erect a new Temple to the worship of the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Haggai 2:5-9 -
2:5 - “According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
2:6 - For thus saith the Lord of hosts (HaShem Tzavaot - also called The Lord, Master of Legions); yet once, it is a little while and I will shake (future to their day) the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
2:7 - And I will shake all nations, and the desires of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.
2:8 - The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.
2:9 - The glory of this latter house (Later date to the Temple of Zerubbabel, which was called the Ezekiel Temple) shall be greater than of the former (former to the Temple of Zerubbabel, the Temple of Solomon) , saith the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of host.
Here the ancient Tzaddik with the wisdom of the knowledge of the prior era of Jewish history, which he also knew as a participant in the Temple life of Solomon’s temple, talks of a time in the future when this temple will be built. Haggai was keenly aware of the present house, the Temple of Zerubbabel, a former house, the Temple of Solomon and that there would be a physical latter house.
Only two times did the Glory of the Lord fill the temple or sanctuary of the Lord. The first was at Mount Sinai with Moses (Moshe) and the second was upon the completion of the Temple of Solomon (Shlomo). The Jewish sages have concluded that Haggai was speaking of the apocalyptic end of times and Temple of the Lord that would be built in those days, whose beauty and magnificence would rival all the wonders of the world that have been built in the historical ages.
The prophet Amos revealed one thing about the intent of the Lord of hosts.
Amos 3:7 - “Surely HaShem will do nothing unless He reveals it first to His servants, the Prophets.”
Yet a little notice wording in the Book of Haggai, suggests part of his message was about a later and more glorious House of the Lord.
Haggai 2:18 - “Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider it.….from this day I will bless you.”
Yet according to the historical record, when was the foundation of the Temple of Zerubbabel laid? In the Book of Ezra 3:6, 8, 10-11 it confirms that the temple foundation of the Second Temple was laid on the 2nd month of the 2nd year of Darius. It also records in Ezra 6:15, that the temple was competed on the 3rd day of the 12th month of Adar, during the rule of Darius.
What was this discrepancy? The Book of Ezra states that the foundation of the Temple of Zerubbabel was laid on the 2nd month of the 2nd year of Darius and yet, Haggai stated that it was laid on the 24th day of the 9th month. What temple was he talking about?
Haggai then poses two questions to the Levites and priests, asking them to define what would defile a man from the outside and defile him from the inside. Either one would render them unclean, said the Levite. So Haggai responded,
Haggai 2:2:14 - “So this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands”. This included the construction of the Temple in which an unclean people, from unclean nations built an unclean Temple.
He also writes in Haggai 2:7, 9 -
2:7 - “And I will shake all the Nations. And the desire of all Nations will come. And I will fill this House with Glory, says the Lord. ….
2:9 - The Glory of this Latter House shall be greater than the Glory of the Former.”
The historical documentation is clear that the glory of the Second Temple did not match up to the glory of the Temple of Solomon. Yet this was not what they were talking about. The Glory of the House is actually stating the Glory that comes from the presence of the Lord of hosts residing within these walls. As we have noticed above, the only time the Glory of the Lord came to visit and to dwell was in the Wilderness Sanctuary of Moses and the Temple of Solomon.
Yet, since the building of the Second Temple, the word of the ancient Hebrew prophets was silenced. The Rabbabim in the Land of Israel are adamant to a voice that a prophet has not arisen with the people of Israel since the days of Ezra, Zechariah and Haggai. What we now know, there was no anointing oil and so no prophets were ordained to their prophetic role. There was no anointing oil and so no kings were anointed to the throne of Judah. The Temple of Zerubbabel served more of a political national identity for the rulers of Judah and for the Jewish people as a nation.
It must be noted that the mystical sages never did refer to the Second Temple as the “House of the Lord”. One of the hallmarks of the diminished status of this temple was that there were five ‘Holy Objects” that were not found in the Second Temple. These include:
Five Sacred Articles not found in the Second Temple
The inter-testament era, known as the era between the canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures by Ezra the scribe and the birth of Y’shua, was known to all the sages of Judaism as the era when the gift of prophecy left the Jewish people. Without the anointing oil, they could no longer anoint the prophets, the priests and the kings (the anointed ones). After the remnant of the Jewish exiles returned from Babylon, no king of the House of David ever did sit and rule from the throne in Jerusalem. So also with the death of Haggai and Zechariah, no anointed prophets would be present to speak the “Word of the Lord.”
During this time, the Maccabean family called the Hashmonean did restore the Land of Israel to an autonomous era to the people of Israel, after decisively driving out the Syrian leader who was persecuting the Jewish population, Antiochus Epiphanes IV. It was this Syrian ruler who also desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, by sacrificing a pig on the altar in Jerusalem, in 175 BCE and converted the Temple into a sanctuary for the god Jupiter. This act of desecration, call the Abomination of Desolation, required that the temple complex undergo ritual purification and cleansing. Only after the temple and the Levites were cleansed in 165 BCE did the Jews participate in the joyous celebration of Chanukah. The Festival of the Lights, celebrating the day when the Great Menorah was relit for the first time when they had only enough purified oil for the lamps for one day. Miracles upon miracles, the Menorah remained lit for an entire eight days.
It was the Essenes that recognized that the Temple was to be controlled by a corrupt and illegitimate priestly family, who bought and sold their position as the High Priest of the Temple first from the Greeks and later from their Roman appointed rulers. These families included: House of Annanias (Hananiah), the House of Jason, the House of Katros (Caiphas) and the House of Ishmael Ben Phiabi.
According to the Talmud, “Because of these wicked priests, Heaven decreed the destruction of the Second Temple.” And so the Lord of hosts prevented the Guardians of the Temple treasures from restoring these treasures to the Jewish people. They took the secret of where they hid the temple treasures to their graves, except for leaving behind a record of where these treasures were hidden: on a Copper Sheet, two marble tablets and the parchments that were preserved in later years in the Masakhet Keilim, and Tosefta (addition) to the Talmud about the 8th century CE.
Credits and Links:
Ashes for Beauty--The Mysterious Ashes of the Red Heifer by Jim Long
The Gate Between Two Walls, by Vendyl Jones
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Home Page
Temple Mount Sites
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem by the Temple Mount Organization
The Gihon Springs Temple Site by Ernest Martin
Emeq HaMelekh Sites
The Temple and the Copper Scrolls by the Order of the Nazorean Essenes
Emeq HaMelekh and the Ark in King Tut’s Tomb by Andis Kaulins
Ron Wyatt Archeological Sites
Wyatt Archeological Research - Website of Ron Wyatt
The Ark of the Covenant by Wyatt Archeological Discoveries by AnchorStone
The Ark of the Covenant by the British Covenant Seekers on Wyatt Archeology
The Last Siting of the Ark by Ron Wyatt by Henry Gruver
Archeology with Ron Wyatt by Bernard Brandstater MD
Ron Wyatt’s Biblical Treasures by Bible Revelations
Ark in Egypt and Ethiopia Sites
The Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia by Dr. Stuart Munro-Hay
Solomon’s Temple the floors of Gold in Pi-Ramesse by Lexiline
Emeq HaMelekh and the Ark in King Tut’s Tomb by Andis Kaulins
Ark in Ireland Sites
The Ark of the Covenant in Ireland by Cry Aloud in Canada
General Sites on the Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant by Internet Inspirations
Welcome to the Tabernacle by Martin Barrow
Where is the Ark? by Gary Bowers from Associates for Biblical Research
Recreation of the Ark by Chester Comstock, Artist
The Treasures in the House of the Lord by Lambert Dolphin
The Walls of Jerusalem - Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine by Rabbi Joseph Schwarz
King Solomon’s Quarries by Israel J. Hermann ME Comp Supreme Grand Arch Chapter
State of Israel from the Israeli Freemason
Underground Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund
From Dan to Beersheba by J.P. Newman 1864
The Legacy of the Copper Scroll
The Holy Anointing Oil (Shemen Afarsimon)
The Holy Temple Incense (Pitum haQetoret)
Qalal, the Urn that contains the Ashes of the Red Heifer
The Ashes of the Red Heifer