In the movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark, the hero Indiana Jones, not only searches for the missing holy Ark, but actually finds it. But that takes place in the fictional world, not in the real world that we live in. Most Jews have totally forgotten that the Ark of the Convenant has been missing for nearly 3,000 years. The prophet Jeremiah saw that this would happen at this time (the days preceding Mashiach) when he proclaimed in 3(16), "In those days they will no longer say, The Ark of the Covenant of Hashem, and it will not come to mind, they will not mention it and will not recall it."
While current day archaeologists search Israel for the hidden Ark, 1,600 miles away in Ethiopia a "watchman" spends his entire days, weeks, months, years and lifetime guarding a sacred object. Ethiopia is the modern day name for Cush. Does anybody stop and think for a moment why Cush is mentioned in the 44th verse in Torah? G-d just completed creating the world, the universe, the animal and vegetable world, and Adam. Just 6 verses after the creation of man, Cush is mentioned. Let's examine several verses preceding the one mentioning Cush. In Genesis 2(8) "Hashem G-d planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and placed there the man whom He had formed. And Hashem G-d caused to sprout from the ground every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food; also the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. A river issues forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it is divided and becomes 4 headwaters. The name of the first is Pishon, the one that encircles the whole land of Havilah, where the gold is. The gold of that land is good, the bedolach is there, and the shoham stone. The name of the second river is Gihon גיחון, the one that encircles the whole land of כּושׁ Cush." What is going on here? The holy waters of Gan Eden surrounds Cush and purifies it. Why Cush?
Let's turn the clock back to the Jewish year 2948 exactly 500 years after we left Egypt. King Solomon, the son of King David, had just completed building both the first Temple (which took 7 years) and his own magnificant palace (which took 13 years). It was at this time that the Queen of Sheba מלכּת שׁבא paid King Solomon a visit. She had heard of the King's great wisdom, and according to Kings 1, 10(1) she came to test him with riddles בּחידת. Most commentators discuss the content of the questions she asked the King and how he answered all of them. She was overwhelmed by the answers to all of her riddled questions. But there is a deeper, hidden secret in this episode. For the 793 gematria of Queen of Sheba, מלכּת שׁבא, is the same as חתם הספר, "Seal the Book." That is, until the Time of the End according to Daniel 12(4). There certainly was more that she searched for. There was a question that she needed to know. In Kings 1, 10(2) she came before Solomon and she spoke about all that was in her heart. What was this question or riddle that brought her from a distant nation? The answer is hidden in the word for riddles itself. This word, בּחידת, spoken by Hashem Himself in Numbers 12(8) is holy because it's gematria is 424, the same as משׁיח בּן דוד, Mashiach son of David. She believed that this great man, King Solomon, the true son of David, who had just completed the building of the Temple, who was the smartest person in the history of the world, was the Mashiach. He then answered her in Kings 1, 10(3), ויגד לה שׁלמה את כּל, "Solomon told her everything." What did he tell her? He told her that he couldn't be the Mashiach because certain events had to occur before the final redemption. Look at the first letters of these 5 words. They add up to 357 the same as בּרק אובּאמה, Barack Obama. Now look at the last letters of these same 5 words. They add up to 444. This is the atbash of ככלות נפּץ יד עם קדשׁ, "When the crushing of the power of the holy people." King Solomon explained to her that Mashiach cannot come until an evil, arrogant leader named Barack Obama causes havoc to the Jewish People and crushes the power they had attained through the course of history.
King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He loved them all, as it says in Kings 1, 11(2), "Solomon clung to them for love." Before the Queen of Sheba left, she blessed Hashem. Then in Kings 1, 10(13) King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba "whatever she desired." This word for desire חפצה, has an atbash gematria equal to הדבקים, "who cling." Whether or not the Queen of Sheba had any offspring through her relationship with King Solomon is not mentioned in the Tanach. The 700 year old Kebra Negast, an ancient compilation of Ethiopian traditions, is regarded as the final authority on the early history of Ethiopia. It claims, with explicit detail, that the Queen was pregnant when she left, and gave birth back in Ethiopia to a male child. King Solomon gave her a ring to give the child as proof that he was indeed his son. The child's name was Menelek, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Twenty years later Menelek visited his father and showed him the ring. King Solomon welcomed him and invited him to stay permanently with him. But he desired to return to Ethiopia and to his mother. Modern day Ethiopians claim that their rulers were all descended from Menelek, also known as "the son of the wise man." He would establish the kingdom of David in Ethiopia (Cush), a dynasty that would reign until Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. The Ethiopian nation would eventually convert from the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, to the "Lord G-d of Israel." The entire period covered 225 different kings, all descended without interruption from Menelek. It's no coincidence that it was 225 for it's the gematria of הטהור, "the clean." No wonder at all, since the waters of Gan Eden encircles the land of Ethiopia.
Let's now move ahead, 2800 years later. If you know anyone from Ethiopia, ask them a simple question. "Do you know where the Holy Ark is located?" You'll be amazed when they respond, "Of course I do. Everyone in Ethiopia knows that it is kept in a special treasury next to the Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. They'll also tell you that the ark cannot be seen by anyone but the high priest of Axum, an elderly, holy monk who is charged with its care and preservation for life. He doesn't leave the premises and names his successor on his death bed. His name is Abba Tesfa Mariam. He is the 30th guardian in history who never left that same enclosure. He as well as the guardians before him, worship 13 hours a day in front of the Holy Ark. So how did the Ark wind up in Ethiopia?
When King Solomon realized that his son Menelek was determined to go back to his mother, the Queen of Sheba in Axum, Ethiopia, he gave him a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. This would constantly remind him of the real one and be a source of spiritual inspiration that he would need when he was so far away from Jerusalem. Menelek was escorted on his journey with men hand picked by his father. Before he reached Ethiopia he realized that someone, somehow had substituted the real Ark for the replica. Was it just an accident? Did one of the men do it and why? Is it possible that King Solomon himself did it? He was about to go back to Jerusalem when he interpreted the incident to be a message from G-d. He realized that it was divine providence that he had the possession of this sacred object. Everyone will seek to find it in Jerusalem. No one will ever think for a moment that this precious, holy item would be in the dark, uncivilized land of Cush.
Several months ago Abuna Pauolos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, claimed that the real Ark of the Covenant rests indeed in Axum. Most, if not all, Ethiopian churches contain replicas of the Ark in order to protect the secret location of the real one. If the replicas are removed they are considered impure. These replicas are considered extremely holy. He said, "The Ark of the Covenant is located in Axum, Ethiopia and only G-d knows for how much longer." He continued that, "the artifact is described perfectly in the Bible, and it is in good condition. After a meeting with the Pope in Italy it was decided that the time had come to reveal the sacred object to the world and to house it in a planned museum. A press conference was scheduled for the following day, and all the details would then be revealed to the world. But there was no press conference in Italy the next day. Some mysterious person must have spoken to him that night for he ran out of the country straight back to Ethiopia like a man running for his life. All he would say was that he was misquoted and that the Holy Ark must be protected from the "gaze of the public."
Some of you might be skeptical. Some might be in disbelief. But before you decide whether the above is the truth or just a good script for a movie or book, please bear in mind the following:
1. The atbash of כּושׁ Cush, is 112. This number represents the time period of Daniel's famous, "Time, Times, and a half of Time." See our blog entitled, "The Connection Between The Blessing Of The Sun And The Final Redemption."
2. The flag of Ethiopia during Haile Selassie's reign depicted a lion. Selassie referred to himself as "The Lion of Judah." King David, King Solomon, Menelek, and all the kings until Selassie were all descended from Judah. Currently the flag of Ethiopia portrays its national emblem, a 6 pointed star corresponding to the shield of King David.
3. Zipporah, the wife of Moses, is described in Numbers 12(1) as a Cushite woman. But she was a Midianite. Why was she described this way? Gemara Moed Katan addresses this question and discusses 3 additional cases where a non-Cushite is described as a Cushite. The answer for all 4 cases is that, "just as a Cushite is unusual in the aspect of their skin, so was Zipporah and the other people mentioned, unusual in the aspect of their deeds." But why not compare these people to Abraham our Father, if they were so filled with kindness and good deeds? It's perhaps because Zipporah and the others were unusual with respect to their purity. As we mentioned before, the Gihon river flows from Gan Eden and encircles the whole land of Cush. If a Cushite exemplifies one special trait, it must be that of purity, the same trait that illustrates the holiness of the Ark of the Convenant of Hashem.
4. The name Cush appears in the 44th verse in Torah corresponding to the 44th word, ולחשׁך, "And to the darkness" as well as to our 44th President. This indicates that at this current time when the 44th President became elected not because he was filled with kindness, good deeds or purity, but simply because he resembled a Cushite with respect to the aspect of his skin, know for sure that this is the time when the secret of the missing Ark of the Covenant of Hashem will be revealed to the world.