THINGS OF SACRED POWER



Things of sacred power associated with Judeo-Christian history as recorded in the Bible and in various apocryphal texts have enraptured believers for centuries. Whether pilgrims seek the physical remains of Noah's Ark or the cup from which Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.) drank Passover wine at the Last Supper, great controversies over the physical existence of certain objects mentioned in the Bible have persisted for thousands of years and continue in the new millennium.

So prevalent is the belief that Noah's Ark can be located on the slope of the tallest mountain in Turkey, Agri Dagi (Mt. Ararat), that some travel agencies include participation in expeditions to search for the ark as part of tour packages to Turkey. Several ark sightings on Mt. Ararat occurred during the twentieth century. During a thaw in the summer of 1916, a Russian Imperial Air Force lieutenant flying over Mt. Ararat reported seeing half the hull of some sort of ship poking out above surface of a lake. A photograph taken in 1972 by the Earth Research Technical Satellite (ERTS) is said to reveal an unusual feature at 14,000 feet on Mt. Ararat. It was reported to be the same size as the Ark. In the 1980s, former NASA astronaut James Irwin participated in expeditions up the mountain, but he found only the remnants of abandoned skis. With the breakup of the former Soviet Union, expeditions up the mountain intensified during the 1990s, and the search for Noah's Ark continues.

As described in the Old Testament book of Exodus, the Ark of the Covenant, a wooden chest covered with gold, is said to contain such sacred relics as the tablets of law from God that Moses (14th–13th century B.C.E.) brought back from Mt. Sinai. The ark possessed super-natural powers and served as a means through which God could express his will to the Israelites. It was last known to have rested in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, but ever since Babylonian forces conquered the city in 587 B.C.E. the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant has been a mystery. Interest in the Ark of the Covenant has inspired generations of those who would recover the sacred relic. In medieval times the Knights Templar supposedly came into possession of the ark.

A whole mythology has been built around the legendary Holy Grail, said to be the drinking vessel of Jesus at the Last Supper before his crucifixion and resurrection. The legend of the grail has been perpetuated through literature since the twelfth century, particularly in tales involving knights of Camelot who served the legendary King Arthur of Britain. Through the inspirational recounting of the various quests, Christian teachings and virtues are presented. In modern times, the Holy Grail persists as a symbol of an ultimate achievement, a higher order of being for which people search.

Another thing of sacred power that has inspired generations of Christians is the Shroud of Turin, which is discussed in an earlier chapter. The Bible mentions a "clean linen cloth" (Matthew 27:59) in which the dead body of Jesus was wrapped following his crucifixion. Several cloths purported to be the one mentioned in the Bible have been made public through the centuries. The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that bears the image of a bearded, crucified man. The claims that the image on the Shroud of Turin was that of Jesus were first made public in the fourteenth century. The Shroud has been controversial ever since—embraced as authentic by believers, and written off as a forgery by skeptics. Each time evidence seems to weigh heavily against the authenticity of the Shroud, a new finding renews the controversy and inspires believers.

Perhaps a greater stretch for the skeptical mind is the belief that the lance that pierced Jesus' side has been preserved down through the centuries as a symbol that will bring vast political power to the one who possesses it. Nevertheless, when Christian crusaders discovered the lance in the Church of St. Peter in Antioch during the First Crusade in 1098, they used it as a symbol to rally their forces and defeat the Saracens. From that time onward, European monarches coveted the Holy Lance as a sign that their reigns would be far-reaching and long-lasting. Fortunately, the power of the Spear of Destiny ebbed when it fell into the possession of the Nazis and their leader, Adolf Hitler (1889–1945).

This section will examine these objects of sacred power and discuss why they have been deemed so precious and holy by believers down through the centuries.

DELVING DEEPER

Bernstein, Henrietta. The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail. Marina del Ray, Calif.: DeVorss Publications, 1998

Goodrich, Norma.The Holy Grail. New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1992.

Hancock, Graham. The Sign and the Seal. London: Heinemann, 1992.

Weston, Jessie L. From Ritual to Romance. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1997.


DELVING DEEPER

Bernstein, Henrietta. The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail. Marina del Rey, Calif.: DeVorss Publications, 1998.

Deevey, Edward S. "Ancient Wonders Abound in Ethiopia." International Travel News 23, no. 11 (January 1999): 23.

"Ethiopian Artifact Found in Cupboard." BBC News, December 6, 2001.[Online] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_1695000/1695102.stm.

Hancock, Graham. The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. New York: Crown, 1992.

Heverly, Lorry. "Where Is the Ark of the Covenant?" Christian Science Monitor. (March 30, 2000): 18.

Starck, Peter. "Are the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant Hidden on Baltic Sea Island?" [Online] http://www.rense.com/general6/baltic.htm


DELVING DEEPER

Bracken, Thomas. Good Luck Symbols and Talismans: People, Places, and Customs. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997.

Gregor, Arthur S. Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes. New York: Scribner, 1975.

Mintz, Ruth Finer. Auguries, Charms, Amulets. Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1983.

Nelson, Felicitas H. Talismans & Amulets of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2000.


DELVING DEEPER

Bernstein, Henrietta. The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail. Marina del Rey, Calif.: DeVorss Publications, 1998.

Goodrich, Norma Lorre. The Holy Grail. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992.

Starck, Peter. "Are the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant Hidden on Baltic Sea Island?" [Online] http://www.rense.com/general6/baltic.htm

Weston, Jessie L. From Ritual to Romance. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1997.


DELVING DEEPER

Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Capricorn Books, 1968.

De Saint-Didler, L. Hermetical Triumph: The Victorius Philosopher's Stone. Edmonds, Wash.: Holmes Publishing Group, 2001.

Kelly, Edward. The Stone of the Philosophers. Edmonds, Wash.: Holmes Publishing Group, 1990.

Smith, Patrick. A Light from Out of the Darkness: On the Composition of the Stone of the Philosophers. Edmonds, Wash.: Holmes Publishing Group, 2001.

DELVING DEEPER

Anderson, Ken. Hitler and the Occult. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1995.

Angebert, Jean-Michel. The Occult and the Third Reich. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1974.

Ravenscroft, Trevor. Spear of Destiny. New York: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1987.

Ravenscroft, Trevor, and Tim Wallace-Murphy. The Mark of the Beast: The Continuing Story of the Spear of Destiny. New York: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1997.

Sklar, Dusty. The Nazis and the Occult. New York: Dorset Press, 1989.


DELVING DEEPER

Boxer, Sarah. "One of the World's Great Symbols Strives for a Comeback." The New York Times on the Web, July 29, 2000.

Bracken, Thomas. Good Luck Symbols and Talismans: People, Places, and Customs. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997.

Gregor, Arthur S. Amulets, Talismans, and Fetishes. New York: Scribner, 1975.



User Contributions:

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Sep 7, 2011 @ 12:00 am
Allo! I`m a born again Christian ,a novalist and a scriptwriter in my country (I`m a french-canadian who live near Montreal).I written a new Indiana Jones Saga that I want as soon as possible to propose To Steven Spielberg.A Script about Indy who try to protect the Noah`s Ark against the Nazis and another script about the Spear of Destiny recovered in april 1945 by the US 7e Army and Indy who works for the OSS.I`m sorry for my bad english and my spelling mistakes,my mother tongue is french.Your article is very nice and good for all people.God bless all of you! Sincerly Michael Child`s

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