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Ark of the Covenant Discovery, part 7


Time Passes By

Danny and Ronny were now young men with lives of their own.  They both entered into specialized areas of construction work and had responsibilities which didn't allow them the luxury of taking off work to travel back and forth to the Middle East.  With the passageway that led to the chamber that held the Ark now solidly blocked, Ron had to rely on others to help with the work.  Since the time I entered the picture (1988) I've seen the hazards of having to rely on people Ron didn't know too well. Sometimes Ron had wonderful volunteers who were willing to follow instructions and abide by the rules.  Other times people who seemed like nice, trustworthy folks turned out to be a curse instead of a blessing.  The Ark of the Covenant seemed to attract its fair share of those who had their own agenda.

More Work in the Cave System

Ron decided to continue to search for the original entrance into the chamber from within the cave system.  With better hi-tech equipment, such as radar, he was able to detect voids behind solid rock walls which was extremely useful.  From one particular location within the cave system, he KNEW he was within a certain number of feet of the chamber- but getting from point A to point B through many, many feet of solid limestone just wasn't that easy.  He followed many false leads, such as a rock wall they found within the cave system which followed along the contour of the cliff-face, just as the wall of the chamber had done.  But this lead didn't pan-out.

I couldn't understand the problem when Ron tried to explain everything to me - that is until I went into the cave system myself.  As I entered the small hole, I expected to find myself in a large cave, like the ones I had been in as a child.  Instead, I discovered the small hole went through a jagged shaft about twenty-five feet STRAIGHT DOWN - I had to hold onto a rope and sort of rappel off the rocks.  Exiting the shaft, I found myself standing on some wooden planks which was the only "floor" and it was quite small - the open cavern continued on another forty or more feet beneath me.  It was nothing like I had expected.  By the time I had twisted and turned, trying to conform my body to the narrow shaft which led into this area, I discovered that I had absolutely NO idea of what direction I was facing.  Without a compass, I was completely disoriented.  Then, when I went through a couple of the small openings from the main chamber, I was absolutely amazed at how tight the areas were.  Tending a bit toward claustrophobia, I had a brand new respect for Ron, Danny and Ronny - I couldn't imagine how they did it, and I still can't.

I had earlier thought, "If you know how many feet it is to a certain point, why don't you just measure it and go there?"  But now, I understood why.  In the tight confines, with cave walls and rocks everywhere, it seemed impossible to measure anything. Or even knowing the correct direction seemed impossible to me.  Of course, Ron had worked in these caves and tunnels for so many years, he pretty much knew it like the back of his hand, but this was not going to be easy.

Impending Doom

In addition to searching within the cave system, Ron took his team to the blocked-up tunnel entrance in the quarry to open it.  Upon removing the blocks, there WAS the void Ron had detected with the radar as we explained earlier, and then the tunnel was plugged.  So, Ron crawled inside and began to remove the rocks and debris, passing the buckets down to the next person, who passed it to the next, etc., until the last person who dumped or disposed of the contents. (This is the same method they used inside the cave system - the "bucket brigade" we called it, sometimes consisting of ten or more people.)

As I was writing this, Ron reminded me of an experience he had during this time. While clearing the tunnel with a group of good friends from Florida, he suddenly was struck with a feeling of impending doom or disaster.  He told everyone about this impression, and explained that he didn't know what was going to happen but that they all needed to quickly pack up the equipment and get out of there.  All the guys did as he said, and just as they started walking out, everyone heard a loud booming thud coming from the area of the tunnel.  A huge boulder in the ceiling of the tunnel had fallen right where Ron had been sitting.

They returned the next day and Ron simply broke up the boulder and removed it - the feeling of "doom" was gone and they continued working.  But the debris plugging the hole appeared to have no end.  They replaced the blocks exactly as they had found them and gave up, at least for the time being.  For now, we have no idea if the tunnel is completely blocked the entire way, or even if it is the correct tunnel.  However, the last time Ron went back into the tunnel, Ronny was able to take time off work and return with him - and Ronny found a Roman coin with Tiberius on it which indicates that the tunnel was opened in Roman times but then resealed.  We could not find this particular coin in our list of Imperial Roman coins and therefore assume that the coin was a city coin.

Digging Straight Down

Ron's last resort was to attempt to dig a shaft through the solid rock into the chamber that held the Ark and other objects. But this was a very precarious approach - the shaft could cave in and damage some of the objects, or they could expend all that effort and discover they had missed the chamber.  It would be a tremendous undertaking, requiring a large amount of work.  But one time after his main excavation team had left to return home, Ron and a couple of faithful assistants began the shaft.  They now had jackhammer-drills and much better equipment than he and the boys had used during the early years.  They began drilling the shaft and penetrated about ten feet of solid limestone during several excavation periods but the end didn't seem anywhere in sight.  Ron experienced something that is common to the human species - he became frustrated at the tremendous effort and expense that appeared to be yielding absolutely nothing.

Of all the projects Ron has worked on and the discoveries he has made, his sense of unworthiness to work on the Ark of the Covenant was, and is, ever-present in his thoughts.  The biblical examples of those who did a work for God but at some time or another failed in some manner (such as the time Moses struck the rock when he was told to SPEAK to it, which cost him the privilege of being allowed to enter the promised land) are vivid reminders to Ron of how serious the consequences could be if he should allow any of his actions or motivations to go against God's will. Sometimes, it was easy to discern his course of action, but other times it wasn't. Plus, he reasoned that if the time came that he had failed and God could no longer use him, how would he know? And by this time, he was beginning to wonder if he was being taken off the job.  He has always known that God didn't NEED him to get His work done - He could always find someone else.  His efforts didn't seem to be paying off - it had now been almost ten years since he first found the Ark.

 Next Page: The Ark of the Covenant, Continued


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