The beam of light shone forward over the massive pile of rocks. Something shiny under a gap in the rocks caught his eye.
He began to move the rocks one at a time. It was slow, tedious work. And just under the rocks were planks of dry-rotted wood. And beneath them some dry-rotted remains of animal skins. When he touched them, the skins turned to powder.
The animal skins were laid over a gold-veneered table with a raised molding around its side. The molding comprised an alternating pattern of bells and pomegranates.
His heart raced. In a moment, the truth flashed into his brain. This was one of the lost items of furniture from Solomon's Temple!
The space was so cramped here, he could not uncover the whole table. But for a long time he examined it closely. Ultimately Ron Wyatt concluded that this was the legendary Table of Shewbread described in the biblical scroll of Leviticus... and fashioned in 1446 BC.
There were several other objects in the chamber, as well.
With adrenalin racing through his veins and with mounting anticipation, Ron scanned the chamber to see what else he could see, which wasn't much.
He shone his torch around over the stones and then up to the ceiling. Ahead, something caught his interest. It was a crack in the ceiling, on which a black substance was deposited.
Slowly and painfully, he crawled over the rocks to the other end of the chamber.
There he saw a stone case extending through the rocks. It was a thin-walled case, similar to those used in ancient times to store objects.
It had a flat top. This stone lid was within four to five inches of the ceiling. And it was cracked completely in two. The smaller section of the cover was moved aside, creating an opening into the stone case.
He could not look inside because the top was too close to the ceiling. Yet he knew what was inside. The cracked part of the lid where it was open, was directly below the crack in the ceiling. And the black substance had fallen from the crack into the case. He knew this, because some of it had splashed onto the lid.
Three of those involved in that dig under the streets of Jerusalem have also been with me on other expeditions. My own expeditions in Israel were vindication expeditions.
One of the men involved, Bob Murrell, has helped on the Ark of the Covenant dig three times. Although Bob and Ron have not always agreed on methodology, still there is one thing about this project that Bob would not dispute. He has seen enough evidence to be certain that the Ark of the Covenant is down there.
And since then, so have I.
Ron made several more trips into the chamber. Eventually he reported to the authorities what he had found.
Perhaps not able to believe what Ron told them, or perhaps recognizing the problems that could arise were it made known, his superiors told him not to tell anyone about this discovery.
Alas, it was too late for that, since Ron had already told a few people, he confessed.
Realizing that "what is done is done", they then ordered him not to reveal any more details than he had already revealed. For this reason, we cannot be as specific as we would wish, in relation to what follows.
Some time later, Ron was able to present something from the excavation to the authorities. What he presented convinced them that he had indeed found some items from the First Temple.
This particular item was a beautiful ivory head of the priestly scepter from Solomon's Temple. The Jewish Testament refers to the artifact as a pomegranite. Written on the pomegranite is an inscription in Hebrew.
When the existence of the artifact became known, Biblical Archaeology Review termed it "the only surviving relic from the Solomonic Temple" (Jan/Feb 1984).
It is now on display at the Israel museum and is labelled a "sensational" discovery.
Dan Bahat was a Doctor of Archaeology. Bright, keen and well-read. He also lectured at the Hebrew University. And he had written a book or two.
This was the year 1989. Dan was in charge of the Jerusalem district this year.
It is reported that one morning Dan headed toward the dig. He had on some old gear. An outfit that could get torn or dirty and it wouldn?t matter.
He pushed aside the barrier and peered in.
"A piece of cake," he decided. "Scared? Scared of what? Today I shall see the Holy Ark."
Dan pulled out his flashlight and headed in. He had not got three steps toward the tunnel system. Suddenly his legs and back didn?t work. He fell to the ground, groaning.
Dan lay on a bed for two weeks? in agony. Two weeks to think. Two weeks to re-live each second. Two weeks to wonder...
"I can?t believe it," he kept mumbling to himself. "Whatever happened?"
A well educated man, Dan Bahat knew well the story of the Ark. Certainly, there was no doubt something had happened to him. Thank God, at least he was alive.
Some time later, while visiting the United States, Dan would meet Ron Wyatt again. And they would recall the episode. "You know, Mr. Wyatt," he is reported to have said, "I?ve never had trouble with my back before. And I?ve never had trouble with my back since."
After that, he gave up any idea of going in to view the Ark of the Covenant.
So now the Antiquities officer with whom Ron was liaising permitted Ron to continue his work alone. And for a considerable time, knowledge of the find would be kept more or less secret.
By the time of the final visit into the chamber, the stones, rotted timbers and skins had been largely cleared away, and even the stone case that surrounded the Ark itself was removed.
At last Ron was able to make a video of all the furniture. For the moment this remains in the cave. Nevertheless I believe the time may be near when this video footage will be released for all to see.
On instructions, the excavation hole was sealed. Linkback:
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