Solomon moved the Ark from the Gihon Spring into the Temple. He placed it in the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim, with the poles protruding out of the curtains. In 2 Chr 35.1-3 we read that Josiah moved the Ark, but why if it was already in the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim? At the time Solomon built the Temple, he built a chamber beneath the Temple because he knew the people would eventually turn from the Lord. The Levites carried it properly to it’s new resting place in the time of Solomon, then Josiah moved it because of repairs to the Temple. As we have seen with the kodshai kodashim (most holy) korbanot, the priestly garments and the stones from the desecrated altar in the time of the Maccabee’s, the concept of kedusha plays a huge role as to where things were to be taken.
What is the main duty of a priest? Ezek 44.23 says “L’hamadvil bein ha kodesh l’chol” which means “to teach the difference between the kedusha (holy) and the chol (common).” Judah Maccabee was a priest, of Levi. He knew the concept of kedusha and taught it and that is why they put the stones of the old altar where they did. Ezekiel was a priest, from Zadok. Zadok backed Solomon when Adonijah rose up against him. Jeremiah was a priest, from Abiathar, who backed Adonijah against Solomon. The priests from Abiathar were prohibited from serving in the Temple because of this (1 Kings 1-2). However, they served outside the Temple by inspecting Zara’at (leprosy), administered the ashes of the Parah Aumah (Red Heifer) and they were also teaching kedusha. All of these guys knew about kedusha. Ezekiel went into captivity with his people and Jeremiah stayed in the land.
In 2 Kings 19.15 Hezekiah prays and says, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim.” He is referring to the Lord who is enthroned above the Ark between the wings of the cherubim (Exo 25.20-22). This is 275 years after the Queen of Sheba and Menelek, so the Ark is not in Ethiopia (2 Chr 35.3). Nor did Shishak from Egypt take it 300 years earlier (1 Kings 14.25-28).
We want to go to 2 Macc 2.1-32, but we need to preface what Maccabee’s says with this concept. Maccabee’s is in what is called the Apocrypha, which means “additions” and it is not considered Scripture. We know from the tractate Parah in the Mishnah that young priestly boys were raised in a house from birth to be ritually clean in order to take part in the ceremony of the Parah Adumah. They are still doing this today. This house is over bedrock, and it is made of stone, on arches. This ensures that there is no corpse impurity from an unknown grave underneath the house. They need to be at least 7-8 years old to draw the water needed in the ceremony, and 17 to slaughter the heifer. There are people who believe they know where the house is in Jerusalem today. But, if you ask the Rabbi’s where the house is, they will not answer you. Why don’t they answer? Because it is a secret. They will mislead someone so that they will not find out where the house is with the young priests because the Temple is that important and you need these priests to have a Red Heifer, and you need the Red Heifer in order to have a functioning altar, Temple and priesthood. This concept will play a role in what we are going to present in 2 Macc 2.1-7. Remember, this portion is from the Apocrypha and is not considered Scripture. Also, Jeremiah was a priest and he not only knew the concept of kedusha, but taught it (Ezek 44.23).
We are not going to go over all of 2 Macc 2.1-32, but we are going to go over some selected passages that are essential in our study of where the Ark is, but we would encourage you to read the whole portion for yourselves.
2.4…”It was also contained in the same writing, that the Prophet (Jeremiah from verses 1.3) being warned of God, commanded the Tabernacle, and the Ark to go with him as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God (Mt Nebo).”
2.5…”And Jeremiah came thither, he found a hollow cave wherein he laid the Tabernacle, and the Ark, and the altar of incense and so stopped the door.”
2.19…”Now as concerning Judah Maccabee and his brethren, and the purification of the great Temple and the dedication of the altar.”
2.22…”And recovered against the Temple, renowned all over the world, and freed the cities and upheld the laws (of the Torah) which were going down, the Lord being gracious unto them with all favor.”
2.26…”Therefore to us that have taken upon us this painful labor of abridging, it was not easy but a matter of sweat and watching.”
2.28-30…”Leaving to the author the exact handling of every particular and laboring to follow the rules of an abridgment. For as the master builder of a new house must care for the whole building, but he that undertakes to set it out, and paint it must seek out fit things for the adorning thereof: even so I think it is with us. To stand upon every point (of the Torah, including kedusha) and go over things at large and to be curious in particulars, belongs to the first author of the story.”
Now, when you read the whole story in its entirety, we will pick up on a few things. It tells us that Jeremiah the prophet hid the Ark. The passages go into how and when they came back and how they rededicated the Temple during the time of the Maccabee’s, at the time that we call Chanukah. The Sanhedrin at the time made it a festival, but not a “Hag” which are the ones listed in Lev 23. A festival does not have the same kedusha as a “hag.” You will notice in these passages how they are very careful in everything they do and make sure that it is according to the Torah and the Temple laws. One thing to keep in mind is this. Just like the Rabbi’s and people in the know will not tell you, or even mislead you as to where the young priestly boys are being prepared for the Red Heifer ceremony, could it be that this story of Jeremiah hiding the Ark in the wilderness is a diversion from where it really is, just like where the house is with the young priestly boys? Would Jeremiah, being a priest, take something with the highest kedusha outside of the area where it belonged, when that went against what the Torah taught about kedusha? Could the Ark be in the chamber that Solomon made, where Josiah moved it in 2 Chr 35.1-3?
We will get into all this, and more, in Part 3 as we go deeper into where the Ark of the Covenant could be and how all of this will line up with the laws of kedusha and the Temple found in the Scriptures.