But I'm inclined to be much more skeptical of Ron Wyatt's other claimed discoveries, I haven't looked too deep into most. But I'm most unnerved by many implications of his Ark of the Covenant/Mercy Seat claim.
For starters it's dependent on the Garden Tomb model of where Jesus was crucified and buried, which I find interesting but has a major flaw with the Tomb being way to old, (Jesus was buried in a new Tomb no body had previously been buried in,) I haven't seen it's supporters adequately deal with that yet.
But even assuming that theory is correct. It bothers me how people who fully believe his claim, like especially Michael Rood, are constantly adding this extra Biblical information to how they describe The Crucifixion.
And then there are all the stories he tells about encountering Angels in the room where it was and everything. If he was explicitly trying to introduce New Scripture we'd all see it as being the same thing Joseph Smith did.
One thing from his story often left out when others talk about it is how he claims the last time he went into that hidden room, the Ark and almost everything else was gone, with the implication that the Israeli Government took them. And when he tells that story about the Tablets, the Angel defines the Tablets as being The Ten Commandants which contradicts The Bible, and then ties it into the Seventh Day Adventist view of the Mark of The Beast.
I've been a strong supporter of the Ark being in Ethiopia but getting there a different rout then the Menelik legend. Following the research of Graham Hancock (not a Believer) in his The Sign and The Seal which was followed up by Believer Bob Cornuke and endorsed by Chuck Missler.
One thing both those Ark theories have in common is claiming with alleged eye witness testimony that The Mercy Seat is a Throne. Which I accepted myself at face value till I decided to look deeper into that a few weeks ago, and found that claim doesn't hold up, and is based on a bad translation. Because of that I've been starting to doubt Cornuke's claim somewhat too.
The "Mercy Seat" is one word in The Hebrew. Strong number 3727 Kapporeth, which comes from from 3722 Kaphar being it's feminine plural. They both mean Mercy, no word for chair or seat or throne is used. The Greek term used in Hebrew 9:5 is Strong number 2435 hilasterion which comes from 4233, is the same. The Greek word for Throne that is sometimes translated Seat particularly in Revelation is Thronos.
Jeremiah 3:17 following 3:16 is the main Bible verse Chuck Missler likes to cite to say the Throne is the Mercy Seat and thus The Mercy Seat has eschatological significance. He then ties that into Ezekiel 43:7. The Hebrew word translated Throne in both those verses, and of God's heavenly four wheeled flying Throne, and the Throne of David is Kicce, strong number 3678. In Ezekiel 43:7 I feel the Mercy Seat, if it will still exist at all, is probably Yahuah's Foot Stool rather then Throne. That fits 1 Chronicles 28:2 and Psalm 132.
When God is described as dwelling "between the Cheirbuim" that could be referring to the Cheirmbum that were part of the design of the Tabernacle/Temple itself rather then on the Mercy Seat.
Michael Rood's depictions of the Mercy Seat show only 2 of the 4 wings of the Cherubim on the Ark spread out, with the other two at their sides. That doesn't match what Exodus 37:9 describes.
And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.Clearly all 4 wings are spread over the lid.
In Ezekiel and Daniel 7 God is described as having a Four Wheeled flying Throne. I think the Shekeniah Glory in a sense is that Throne. I believe Yahuah's Throne in the Holy of Holies of The Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple was the same Throne as his Heavenly Throne. And if anything The Mercy Seat was his Foot Stool. The Yom Kippur description in Leviticus 16 clearly has Yahuah ABOVE the Mercy Seat, not on it.
Michael Rood has also made it part of his view of Bible Prophecy that at the start of the 70th Week "The Messiah" who he views as Jesus, will "confirm the Covenant" (referring to Daniel 9 70 Weeks Prophecy), by revealing The Ark to The World.
Now I feel there is an unwitting danger there, I do not question Rood's intentions, I'm convinced he is a true Brother in Christ. But this idea of an Eschatological role for The Ark/Mercy Seat combined with mistakenly making The Mercy Seat a Throne, I see as having potential for an End Times deception.
Paul in II Thessalonians 2 does describe The Man of Sin as "sitting" in The Temple. Michael Rood thinks he'll sit on The Ark, so for that reason I'm certain he'll recognize The Abomination of Desolation for what it is when it happens even if he's mistaken on the events leading up to it.
Isaiah 14:13 describes Satan as having a Throne of his own, that he wants to make higher then the Most High's. The word there is Kicce also. Haggai chapter 2 refers to The Throne of the Nations.
Revelation 2 in the letter to Pergamos makes reference to Satan's Seat (Seat being Thronos). Because of the nature of the letters to the Seven Churches, I don't necessarily think Satan's Thronos is literally in Pergamos, though it could be. I may touch on one theory for where it could be later in this study or in a future one. In my past Seven Churches post I theorized that what Jesus meant by Satan's Seat allegorically in this context was the Serapis Temple (a cult that originated in Hellenistic Egypt based on Osiris and Apis/The Golden Calf and maybe also Apollo) not the more famous Altar of Pergamom.
In Revelation 13 The Dragon/The Serpent/The Devil/Satan gives his Thronos and his power and his authority to The Beast. The same Authority he offered Jesus in his third Temptation.
In Revelation 16 when the 6th Bowl of God's Wrath is poured out this Thronos is mentioned again. Because of how this ties into the rest of that chapter and the following ones. I'm convinced it must be located (at that time) west of the Euphrates.
Going back to Isaiah 14. Satan wants to place his Throne on the "Sides of the North", on the one hand this refers to God's Heavenly throne room. But The Tabernacle and Temple is modeled after that. Psalm 48 is the only other usage of this phrase "Sides of the North", where it is linked to Zion.
Now for those who think The Antichrist could be someone claiming to be the Islamic Mahdi, there are Mahdi Prophecies that say he'll discover The Ark of The Covenant and other ancient Relics like the original Torah Scroll and Gospel to Refute Judaism and Christianity. Here is a Sunni Muslim website on the subject, one I'll be talking about more in the future. And here is another Muslim claim that the Mahdi will have the Ark, and that Muhammad had it.
The sources conflict on where these things will be found. Some imply Antioch, some Rome, given the context of the origins of Islamic eschatology Constantinople could be what is meant by Rome, which would make two options in modern Turkey, same modern nation as Pergamon. Others say by or in the Sea of Tiberius, an ancient name for the Sea of Galilee. There is also a related prophecy about the waters receding from Alexandria in Egypt to uncover the treasures of Duhl-Qarnain, further confirming early Muslims saw him as Alexander The Great.
I have my skepticism of the Islamic Antichrist theory, but I do view all these false prophecies as potential satanic seeds for the Antichrist even if they wind up being irrelevant to how the End Times actually plays out.
Another reason to suspect a possible Egyptian origin for a counterfeit Ark would be how the Masonic Enoch built the Great Pyramid theorists like to claim the dimensions of the sarcophagus in the King's Chamber has the same dimensions as the Ark of the Covenant. I'm not sure how accurate that claim is but I know it's out there. Here is one crazy variation that says Moses stole The Ark from the Pyramid.
The theory about the journey of the Ark I said above that I used to and still kind of do favor does have it go through Egypt. In fact II Chronicles 35:21 is thought of as implying Pharaoh Necho had direct access to it.
But the most famous theory about the Ark's fate in modern popular imagination is the one used in the premise of Raiders of The Lost Ark. Which is that it was taken to Egypt by Shishak. The common theory among many Atheist Bible Skeptics (if they concede it existed at all) is that Shishak taking it is the only logical fate, but it wasn't fully admitted in the text because of national pride. I don't know if that was a factor in Lucas and Spielberg using that theory or not.
You can however be an Inerrantist and still favor that theory. The strongest Biblical argument for the Ark being in The Temple anytime after that is the "Dwelleth between the Cheirbum" references, and I already addressed that phrase. Besides that Josiah's request in II Chronicles 25:3 tells us that it was removed sometime before then and implies it's location was known, but nothing more concrete. It being in the same chapter as the Necho reference has been interpreted as explaining why Josiah inexplicably attacked Necho.
Maybe it's possible Shishak took it but the rest of the going to Ethiopia theory of Cornuke is also true.
Maybe an Ark substitute of some kind was created for the Onias Temple?
Another thing Bible critics love to make a big deal out of is objects in the ancient Egyptian Pagan religion that kind of resembled The Ark and claim Moses just ripped those off.
However given what I've argued above one key difference to weaken that argument is that the Egyptian Arks were Thrones for Idols and/or looked like Thrones. The Japanese Omikoshi I feel is more legitimately similar to The Ark of The Covenant because it's not a Throne, only a container of sacred relics.
So the gist is, could it be some Ancient Egyptian relic will be found in the End Times and claimed to be the Ark?
[Update: Follow Up Post]]