EDITOR’S NOTE: The following update was posted today by New Wineskins blog:
It should have happened an hour ago. Not clear yet what’s going on, but I’ll update this post as often as I can throughout the day. Nothing scheduled on Vatican TV.
WND, at least, is picking up the story, beginning Wednesday as well as in this extensive top-story article they posted last night. It quotes Bob Cornuke at length, along with other scholars and investigators:
Bob Cornuke, biblical investigator, international explorer and best-selling author, has participated in more than 27 expeditions around the world searching for lost locations described in the Bible… Next week, Cornuke will travel to Ethiopia for the 13th time since he began his search for the Ark. He told WND he believes this artifact may be authentic.
“They either have the Ark of the Covenant or they have a replica that they have believed to be the Ark of the Covenant for 2,000 years,” he said.
“The Ark could have been taken out of the temple during the time of the atrocities of Manasseh,” he said. [link added] “We have kind of a bread crumb trail that appears to go to Egypt, and it stayed on an island there for a couple hundred years called Elephantine Island. The Ark then was transferred over to Lake Tana in Ethiopia where it stayed on Tana Qirqos Island for 800 years. Then it was taken to Axum, where it is enshrined in a temple today where they don’t let anybody see it.”
Cornuke said he traveled to Tana Qirqos Island and lived with monks who remain there today.
“They unlocked this big, four-inch thick wood door,” he said. “It opened up to a treasure room, and they showed me meat forks and bowls and things that they say are from Solomon’s temple. When the History Channel did this show, they said it was one of the largest viewed shows. People were fascinated.”
He said Ethiopians consider the Ark to be the ultimate holy object, and the church guards the suspected artifact from the “eyes and pollution of man.”
“In Ethiopia, their whole culture is centered around worshipping this object,” Cornuke said. “Could they have the actual Ark? I think I could make a case that they actually could.”
However, he said reports about Friday’s unveiling are somewhat perplexing because Ethiopia has traditionally shielded it from public view.
“That’s the surprise for me,” Cornuke said. “I have always thought that they would keep it under wraps.”
He explained that a special guardian lives inside the church [Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Ethiopia] and never leaves. Once a guardian is appointed, he stays until he dies and another man replaces him.
“We know for a fact that there have been 30 guardians in history who have never left that enclosure,” Cornuke said. “I know the guardian. When CNN and BBC went over there, he wouldn’t see anybody but me. So I went and talked to him, and he’s getting very aged. He told me they have the real Ark and he worships 13 hours a day in front of it. When he gets through, he is covered in sweat and he’s exhausted.”
He said he met a 105-year-old man who claimed to have seen the Ark 50 years ago when he was training a replacement guardian.
“It frightened him to death when he got a glimpse of it.”
Cornuke is also featured on the Koinonia House podcast series I linked on Tuesday. Although he doesn’t say a lot more in it than is outlined above in terms of the evidence itself, the podcast provides more Biblical context. I found it useful.
As several of our Ethiopian brothers have pointed out here, the unveiling is not without controversy, skepticism, disgust and fears of cascading consequences as a result of its unveiling. The Ethiopian Review writes, in a Thursday article that:
Abuna Pauolos Aba Gebremedhin (aka Aba Diabilos), the illegitimate Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was in Rome this week to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.
The claim that the Biblical Holy Ark has been kept at the Church, in the city of Axum, is an old one, but this is the first time that the Church plans to actually reveal the actual container, or news of it. It is not known whether the Church claims that the actual Tablets of the Law are inside it.
Copies of the alleged Ark are kept in many other churches in Ethiopia.
This clip, out of Belgium, translated from the Dutch by Google doesn’t break any new ground, however it does give a glimpse as to how the world is likely to view this. In perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all time, they write: “the relic has major cultural-historical value”. And that’s all, in their view. The secular world insists on putting God (and His box) in their box. He won’t fit.