The Ark of his Covenant represents the presence of God, His faithfulness, and atonement in keeping the covenant He made with His people even when they disobeyed Him.
The Ark refers to the main Jewish icon, the box chest, made of acacia wood, and overlaid with gold, which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments and was placed behind the sanctuary curtain in the inner sanctum where the presence of God dwelt. It was meant to display God’s dwelling and power and our reverence of Him. This image also represented the Ark going to war. It went missing after “Nebuzaradan” (meaning: “the captain of the guard” who invaded and Captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple for Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-20; Jer. 39:11; 40:2-5).
A legend stated that Jeremiah hid it under the Temple Mount in a cave or gave it to an Ethiopian trader to hide it before Nebuchadnezzar could steal it, according to 2 Maccabees 2:1-4 and the Dead Sea Scrolls, “Copper Scroll” found in Qumran Cave 3, and testified by Rabbis Shlomo Goren and Yehuda Getz’s and hinted in Scripture, (2 Chronicles 35:3; and Jeremiah 3:16), which are the last 2 references in the Bible. Thus, the Levites, then nor today do not have it, nor is it in the Americas or in Hill of Tara in Ireland or in a secret government warehouse or any other legend for that matter.
Why did it leave? Because of disobedience!
God is committed to His people, to their betterment, spiritual formation, healthy relationships, healthy living, and wants us to excel in all things of faith and life, to know Him and continue to make Him known. Now was time for His judgment–a “time out”–for their unyielding disobedience. The discipline was to correct a wayward nation, to reboot them to be better and stronger for His glory. They were warned by God’s Word and Prophets to repent or face their consequences.
Here are the consequences. The Promised Land is left behind, and the majority of the peoples are taken into captivity for 70 years in Babylon. They left their Temple, the centrality of their religion and life, they left their homes, farms, business, synagogues, community–all they have known and felt secure and had confidence in. They must learn their lesson, then they will be brought back. Meanwhile, the land rests, and they discover how to better connect with God and others, because God was still at work and His plan was restoration, as God wants His people to continue.
For the Christian, the Ark is meant to remind us of a display of God’s dwelling and power and our reverence of Him.
Now, it is Christ, who paid for our sin, with whom we have our covenant (Ex. 25:10-22; Lev 26:11-13; Duet 10:1-2; 2 Kings 25:8-10; Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:23; 10:19-20; Rev. 3: 10-13; 4:6-8).
So, it is either under the Temple Mount in a cave, or it is in Ethiopia, or it is in Heaven (Revelation 11:19).