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I've heard several references in History and Discovery channel type TV programs that say that the Bible talks about the Ark of the Covenant miraculously flying. Not to mention there was a line about that in Indiana Jones. I am not aware of any Bible reference that says any such thing. Is there some verse I'm missing? If not, is there some other ancient source -- the Talmud or Josephus or something -- that makes such a statement? Or is this just some crazy idea that came out of nowhere?

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Good question. I have certainly never heard that before, and that's quite a rare occurrence. I found a discussion forum that has several verses in the thread, but all of them could easily be taken another way... Have you tried this on the Judaism site? It might be a better fit there. While the Ark of the covenant is certainly of interest to Christianity, it's arguable more of interest in Judaism, and the experts there may have a more definitive answer. – David Jan 3 '14 at 6:30
You may find that asking your question here will help too: – The Freemason Jan 3 '14 at 17:59
@curiousdannii A simple edit to "What is the basis of this belief" should suffice. I'm going to bed now, but that's probably better than closing, so I'll do it later if you don't. – fredsbend May 3 '15 at 8:40
@fredsbend I think that would almost invalidate AG's answer. But it probably would be better. Better still would be for the question to be edited with specific quotes which claim that it flew. – curiousdannii May 3 '15 at 9:07
@curiousdannii I'm pretty sure I've heard it before. Yes, a link showing that someone believes it is probably necessary. – fredsbend May 3 '15 at 23:23

The Ark of the Covenant is never recorded as having flown in Scripture.

There were only two means by the Ark ever moved -

  1. Per God's command, the Ark was transported by the priests, using the Acacia poles which held it through the base, for this purpose.

    When the Priests carried it into the Jordan River when it was still flowing in Joshua 5, for example, the river receded. If it could have flown, there would have been no need for the priests to "step out" in faith.

    enter image description here

  2. On two occasions, contrary to God's command, an ox cart was used to transport it.

    a. In 2 Samuel 6, the Ark is being drawn "on a new ox cart," as follows:

    And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio,[a] the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart,[b] 4 with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.

    Famously, it began to tip, and Uzziah tried to steady it. For this, he was immediately zapped (that's not a technical term) by God, and died instantly. Had the Ark been capable of flight, one would have assumed that it would have steadied itself in such an instance.

    enter image description here

    b. Also, in 1 Samuel 5, the Israelites had lost the Ark in battle to the Philistines. When the Philistine's local deity Dagon kept falling over before it, as if it were bowing, the Philistines started moving it from Ashdod to Gath and throughout their cities. Problem was- people kept dying. So, eventually they decided to get rid of it, and send it on its merry way with a bunch of gifts for the Israelites.
    enter image description here

    1 Samuel 6 records:

    The men did so, and took two milk cows and yoked them to the cart and shut up their calves at home. 11 And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. 13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. And when they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A great stone was there. And they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.

  3. The story of the Ark of the Covenant being moved by Nazi jeep pickup truck is, alas, non-canonical, and adheres only to the obscure Spielbergian sects of Christianity.

    enter image description here

In all seriousness, however, the legends of the ark flying may be attributable to the winged cherubim on top of the mercy seat. This ornament of two angels, only either end of the ark, their wings touching, may have inspired such an idea, but they were strictly ornamental.

enter image description here

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+1 Great information... and GRAPHICS TOO!!! – Narnian Jan 3 '14 at 12:52
Thanks! When I heard in Indiana Jones about the Ark flying I figured that was something they just made up for the movie. Then I heard the same thing on some documentary that was full of things the Bible supposedly said that I was pretty sure it didn't, so I dismissed that too. But then last night I was watching something on History channel that seemed to take the Bible seriously -- one of those "can we find naturalistic explanations for Bible miracles" -- and then they went off about the Ark flying, and I was wondering if I was just missing something. – Jay Jan 3 '14 at 17:04
And of course the Ark was never transported by Nazi jeep. They would have needed a pickup truck. – Jay Jan 3 '14 at 17:06

In regards to the above text: "Consider Numbers 10:33-36, the ark seems to be flying in this text". I think that your statement is somewhat interpretive of the text. Nothing is hidden in the Bible. You can take the text at face value. If you do, then the above passages do not mention the ark flying by any means. When I read that passage it would appear to me that Israelites in charge of carrying the Ark scouted 3 days ahead of the main tribe and that Moses' blessed the Ark upon exit and return. I think its these type of passages that can be twisted to create alternate paradigms that seem plausible to luke warm Christians (of which I have been guilty of as well). That said, The "History Channel"or the Atheist Channel as I like to call it is no source of viable, accurate scripture for Christians. Shows like Ancient Aliens are clever at throwing in Bible passages and references (They had a great time fabricating stories when they discussed the book of ezekiel) to muddy the waters,but even mainstream scientists say the work is largely founded on wild fantasies that have no merit in the scientific world. Also regard these type of programs with respect as they are undoubtedly one of the largest tools that diseminate lies creating doubt, traps and pitfalls for Christians.


Matt 6:34

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see What this site is about and How this site is different to help you learn how the site works. Also see the help center and take the tour to learn the site functions. I hope to see you post again soon. – fredsbend Jun 18 '15 at 7:44

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