As we saw in chapter 2, God is still grieving about how His beloved people rebelled and rejected Him for false pagan gods and idols. However, in the 2nd part of this chapter, the prophet gets prophetic and mentions the Ark of the Covenant. What happened to it? Did the Babylonians get it? If not, where is it? Is it even important? Check out the legends, theories and the actual Words of God. Let’s dig in….
“If a man divorces a woman
and she goes and marries someone else,
he will not take her back again,
for that would surely corrupt the land.
But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers,
so why are you trying to come back to me?”
says the Lord.
2 “Look at the shrines on every hilltop.
Is there any place you have not been defiled
by your adultery with other gods?
You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer.
You sit alone like a nomad in the desert.
You have polluted the land with your prostitution
and your wickedness.
3 That’s why even the spring rains have failed.
For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless.
4 Yet you say to me,
‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth.
5 Surely you won’t be angry forever!
Surely you can forget about it!’
So you talk,
but you keep on doing all the evil you can.”
Judah Follows Israel’s Example
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. 7 I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. 8 She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. 9 Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. 10 But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Hope for Wayward Israel
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah! 12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“O Israel, my faithless people,
come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt.
Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
14 “Return home, you wayward children,”
says the Lord,
“for I am your master.
I will bring you back to the land of Israel—
one from this town and two from that family—
from wherever you are scattered.
15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
16 “And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the Lord.’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord. They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever.
19 “I thought to myself,
‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’
I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—
the finest possession in the world.
I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’
and I wanted you never to turn from me.
20 But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel!
You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”
21 Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains,
the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people.
For they have chosen crooked paths
and have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “My wayward children,” says the Lord,
“come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”
“Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply,Jeremiah 3 NLT
“for you are the Lord our God.
23 Our worship of idols on the hills
and our religious orgies on the mountains
are a delusion.
Only in the Lord our God
will Israel ever find salvation.
24 From childhood we have watched
as everything our ancestors worked for—
their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters—
was squandered on a delusion.
25 Let us now lie down in shame
and cover ourselves with dishonor,
for we and our ancestors have sinned
against the Lord our God.
From our childhood to this day
we have never obeyed him.”
God considers spiritual infidelity very serious. He sees it as adultery and even worse. Those fake gods and man-made idols are just cheap thrills, a delusion. They may give you a moment of pleasure, an instance of peace, a quick feel-good experience, but in the long-run, they do NOTHING. It’s like a 1-night stand. The moment, the thrill expires and it fades away. You are left empty, wanting more. It all becomes an addiction. Addictions are a form of slavery. You cannot be free if you are a slave to religion!
Judah should have learned from watching what happened to northern kingdom of Israel. Obviously, they didn’t.
In God’s pattern, He warns, gives the people time to repent, judges, then offers hope…
- He promises to bring the people back. Clearly, some of this happened after the 70 years of Babylonian Exile. However, the Jews are still returning to Israel right now.
- God promises “shepherds”. Those are the pastors of the church age. Needless to say, not every pastor feeds the folk the true Word of God. They are supposed to guide us with knowledge and understanding. Many don’t. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to discern for us what is the truth and what is false teaching.
- He pleads with us, “My wayward children, come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” You need to seek God and Him only!
- Where is the Ark of the Covenant? Does it still exist? Apparently, God says we won’t need to rebuild it? Does that mean that it was destroyed? The reason we will no longer need it is that Jesus will be our King and He’ll rule from His throne in Jerusalem. He won’t need a box to connect us to Heaven. He will bring Heaven down. (After we go up, of course!)
Some Legends and Theories of the Ark of the Covenant
As it turns out, there is a legend in the Apocryphal Book 2 Maccabees that Jeremiah himself hid the Ark. Let’s check it out…
Jeremiah Hides the Tent, Ark, and Altar
2 One finds in the records that Jeremiah the prophet ordered those who were being deported to take some of the fire, as has been told, 2 and that the prophet after giving them the law instructed those who were being deported not to forget the commandments of the Lord, nor to be led astray in their thoughts upon seeing the gold and silver statues and their adornment. 3 And with other similar words he exhorted them that the law should not depart from their hearts.
4 It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up (Mount Nebo) and had seen the inheritance of God. 5 And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. 6 Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. 7 When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: “The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. 8 And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated.”2 Maccabees 2:2-8 RSVCE
Here are 2 short videos shot in Israel and Jordan on other theories as to where the Ark of the Covenant is…
Is the Ark of the Covenant Still Hidden in Jerusalem? | The Watchman with Erick Stakelbeck
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ARK OF THE COVENANT?
Listen to God!
God couldn’t be any clearer…
“And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the Lord.’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord.”Jeremiah 3:16-17 NLT
One of my favorite Bible passages explains why we won’t need the Ark any more…
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. 7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:1-8 NLT
It’s Your Choice!
Furthermore, it’s a choice you have to make now, while you are still alive. You can either join the evil folks in the “lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (hell), or dwell with Jesus, where he will wipe all our tears away, and there will be no more death, no more sorrow and we’ll have the fountain of the water of life freely flowing so we will spiritually thirst no more. Heaven or hell – you pick.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…