Image Source: The Life of Adventure.
One thing on which Jews, Christians and Muslims might agree is a prophecy that the Ark of the Covenant will be discovered just before a great conflict and the end of times, or the end of the world.
The disappearance of the Ark is one of the world's great mysteries. After the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, the Ark is no longer present and accounted for in the biblical narrative:
Most accounts assume the Ark was not destroyed at this point but was hidden, either in tunnels beneath the ruined Temple, or after transportation out of Jerusalem. Wiki: "The place shall remain unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy, and then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud shall appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place be specially consecrated. 2 Maccabees 2:4-8"; and "Revelation 11:19 says the prophet saw God's temple in heaven opened, 'and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple'"; and finally, "A Shia sect of Muslims believe that ... [the Ark] will be found by Mahdi near the end of times from Lake Tiberias [the Sea of Galilee]."In 586 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple. There is no record of what became of the Ark in the Books of Kings and Chronicles. But the Greek 3rd Book of Ezra (1 Esdras) suggests that Babylonians: "...took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, and the ark of God, and the king's treasures, and carried them away into Babylon." (1 Esdras 1:54)
These and related scriptural passages inspire the superstitious - or the literal-minded - to scan archaeologists' latest news bulletins concerning possible Ark discovery. Some believe the Ark has been in Ethiopia all along. Others believe that the Ark will be found or has been already been found at some point around the turn of the Millennium (see here (1999 - Jerusalem); here (2008 - Zimbabwe); here (2011 - Greece); and here (2012 - Canada)). The Ark gets around!
But perhaps religious enthusiasts or archaeologists are not the people who will 'find' the 'Ark.'
Fortean researcher Graham Hancock - among other popular commentators on ancient and classical history - examines how the Israelites used the Ark as a weapon. Hancock assumes that religious language and symbolism regarding the divine word encased within, the clouds, flames and lightning emanating from the Ark, and the plagues and tumours the Ark inflicted on the Philistines, conceal this object's true nature as an early technological device. Given the descriptions of the Ark's deadly effects, Hancock believes that the Ark may originally have contained radioactive material, and "that the Ark's power source and/or emanations might have been nuclear, electrical, or chemical in nature." You can see similar theories that the Ark was a sophisticated Leyden Jar, here and here. These theorists presume that humankind's knowledge of electricity extended far earlier than previously believed. A parallel debate revolves around the controversial Baghdad battery.
But - 'finding' a nuclear event at the Sea of Galilee? Such imaginings belong to the surreal realm of biblical tales mapped onto pseudoscientific suppositions. Not surprisingly, linking the two does not offer auspicious symbolic associations.
See all my posts on Nuclear topics.