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Proving the Assumption of Mary: Part Three, The Assumption of Moses' Ark

Let's recap what we've discussed so far, since, after all, "recapitulation" is what's at work here. In parts one and two, we discussed the following:

(1) Elijah was assumed into Heaven on a "fiery chariot", as described in 2 Kings 2:11-12. Elijah's presence in Heaven is confirmed in the New Testament when Elijah stands next to Jesus at the Transfiguration, cf. Luke 9:28-36

(2) Enoch was assumed into Heaven, as described in Genesis 5: 21-24. Enoch's assumption into Heaven is then confirmed in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:5.

(3) Moses' death and burial are described at Deuteronomy 34:5-6. Yet, Moses' presence in Heaven is described in the New Testament when he and Elijah stand next to Jesus at the Transfiguration, cf. Luke 9:28-36. Moreover, Moses' assumption is later referred to at Jude 1:9, which itself cites the ancient apocryphal text, The Assumption of Moses, whose title speaks for itself.

So, who else, besides the Blessed Mother, was assumed into Heaven? The answer is not who, but what.  

The Ark of the Covenant 

First off, what does the Old Testament tell us about the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant? You will likely need to forget everything you learned watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Well, almost everything, the Ark was lost, but it is definitely not labelled #9906753 and stored in a wooden crate in some anonymous U.S. government facility. 

Second Maccabees, the last book of the Catholic Old Testament, records the following about the Prophet Jeremiah and the Ark of the Covenant: 

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 and had seen the inheritance of God. 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. Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. 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. 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 2:4-8)

So you're probably asking, when does God gather his people again and "show his mercy"? Well, there's Luke 1:46-55, Mary's Magnificat, but hold off on that for now. 

The Messiah who gathers together the people of God

The ten northern tribes, called the kingdom of “Israel”, were scattered in the Assyrian exile in 722 B.C. The two southern tribes, called the kingdom of “Judah” but also including Benjamin, were exiled and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 B.C. 

Although the two southern tribes returned from exile in 539 B.C., the “lost tribes of Israel” remained scattered among the Gentile nations. This accounted for the so-called diaspora of the Jews. According to the prophets, however, God would one day bring these scattered tribes back to the Promised Land and restore the kingdom of David. 

All the Prophets foretold that the Messiah would "gather" together God's people. This is the in-gathering of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Here are just a few examples: 

He will raise an ensign for the nations,
    and will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)

I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:14)

But if we want to find the moment when God "gathers his people" and "shows his mercy", we just need to find the moment when the Ark reappears, right? When do we next see the Ark of the Covenant?  

Where does the Ark of the Covenant appear in the New Testament?

The Ark of the Covenant appears after the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet at Revelation 11:15-19:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give thanks to thee, Lord God Almighty, who art and who wast,
    that thou hast taken thy great power and begun to reign.
The nations raged, but thy wrath came,
    and the time for the dead to be judged,
for rewarding thy servants, the prophets and saints,
    and those who fear thy name, both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, loud noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

In the verses above, all the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of our Lord. This is the final gathering of all the people. This is also the time of the Final Judgment when God shows His mercy. These two things occur and what happens? The Ark of the Covenant is finally seen again. 

This is where it gets really interesting. Look at the next verse:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. (Revelation 12:1)

Wait? The Ark is a ... Woman? 

The answer to this last and most amazing riddle of all is the subject of the last post of this series found here.

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  1. There is nothing indicating that God took the original Ark of the Covenant into Heaven. It is likely still hidden away in that cave.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Thomas! ... Revelation 11:19. The Ark appears in the Temple in Heaven and then is described as a "woman" at Revelation 12:1.