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Ark of the Covenant : Tudor Parfitt find 700 year old duplicate

Soldier of God

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For more than 3,000 years the Ark of the Covenant has been a symbol of the presence and terrifying power of God on earth. It’s fate is still a matter of passionate interest to millions of people worldwide.


Respected Hebrew lecturer Tudor Parfitt, from Porth, South Wales, states that he has discovered the Lost Ark of the Covenant in a dusty museum in Harare, Zimbabwe. Tudor Parfitt has spent 20 plus years trying to track down the lost Ark of the Covenant: and, incredibly, appears to have found its 700-year-old duplicate/replacement in Harare. His book ("The Lost Ark of the Covenant", to be published on 3rd March 2008 by HarperCollins) details the driven and (unavoidably) Indiana Jones-esque path he took along the way.


Many of the Lemba's clan names sound similar to words in Arabic or Hebrew: names like Hamesi, Sadiki, Sulamani. Parfitt is convinced the Lemba must have Semitic ancestors. But were they Jews?


In London, scientists took samples from dozens of Lemba men representing six different clans from towns and villages throughout the southern continent. Evidence was needed correlate the Lemba oral tradition of Jewish ancestry.


NEIL BRADMAN: When we analyzed the Y chromosomes of the Lemba, what we noticed was that amongst these Semitic Y chromosomes, there was a high frequency of Cohen chromosomes, what's technically called the Cohen Modal Haplotype.


Cohanim markers appear in the Lemba at the same frequency as they do in the general Jewish population, far more frequently than in any non-Jewish population tested.


DAVID GOLDSTEIN: Something just under one out of every 10 Lemba that we looked at in fact had this particular Y chromosomal type that appears to be a signature of Jewish ancestry. Perhaps even more striking than that, there was in fact an association between that particular Y chromosome type and one of the Lemba clans.


NEIL BRADMAN: There was one particular clan, the Buba, which is, we understand, the premier clan amongst the Lemba, where the frequency of the Y chromosome was very high. In fact, almost 50%.


TUDOR PARFITT: The fact that we found this in such high concentrations in one of the Lemba subclans, much higher than the general Jewish population incidentally, seemed finally to provide a real link - a really useable link between the Lemba and Jews, and that was really the first hard piece of evidence that we got.


The Cohen Y chromosome type shows up in the Buba clan about as often as in the Cohanim - in about half the men. Does that imply the Buba are Cohanim? What else might explain the frequency of these genetic markers in the Lemba leadership clan? Perhaps Jewish traders - including members of the priestly class - interbred with Buba women in Africa. Though men from the outside have never been welcome into the Lemba tribe - especially among the Buba.


No, no man can ever become a Lemba. Only women could qualify to become a Lemba after going through a process of initiation and acceptance.


The Lemba have oral traditions of being a migrant people with clues pointing to an origin in the Middle East. According to the oral history of the Lemba, their ancestors were Jews who left Judea about 2,500 years ago and settled in a place called Sena, later migrating further into East Africa.


Many Lemba beliefs and practices can inextricably be linked to Judaism. According to Dr. Rudo Mathivha, this includes the following:


They are monotheists and call their creator God, “Nwali”.

Like the Jewish Sabbath, they hold a day of the week to be holy and praise “Nwali”

They praise “Nwali” for looking after the Lemba, considering themselves a chosen people.

They teach their children to honor their mothers and fathers.

They refrain from eating pork or other foods forbidden by the Old Testament, or forbidden combinations of permitted foods, like mixing milk with meat.

They say grace and thank “Nwali” before feasting, as in Judaism one gives blessing for the foods provided before feasting.

Their form of animal slaughter, which makes meats fit for their consumption, resembles Jewish Shechita.

They practice male circumcision.

They place a Star of David on their tombstones.

Lembas are discouraged from marrying non-Lembas, as Jews are discouraged from marrying non-Jews. However, like Jews, they are rare in that they are a non-exclusive ethnic group


One can gain ethnic status in the community, though it is actively discouraged. In Lemba society, gaining ethnic status can be sought upon marrying a Lemba, where the non-Lemba must learn the religious laws, dietary laws, etc, before being vouched for. Contrary to this, both Lemba and non-Lemba are expelled from the community.


Parfitt has promised to find the long-lost Lemba homeland - a city somewhere to the north, called Sena - where the Lemba say they lived before coming to Africa. In the Bible? Nehemiah 7, verse 38 tells the a storyabout the children of Israel coming back from Babylon. There is a reference to "The children of Sena" in Jericho (present day Palistine).


According to the findings of British researcher Tudor Parfitt, the location of Sena was more than likely in Yemen, most commonly identified as the city of San‘a’. Indeed, the city had a vibrant Jewish population since ancient times, dwindling to a couple of hundred people since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.


After entering Africa, the tribe is said to have split off into two groups, with one staying in Ethiopia, and the other traveling further south, along the east coast. Furthermore, the Lemba claim that this second group settled in Tanzania and Kenya, and built what was referred to as "Sena II". Others were said to have settled in Malawi where their descendants still reside today. Others settled in Mozambique and eventually migrated to the area in South Africa and Zimbabwe, where they claim to have constructed or helped construct the great enclosure.


Finally, based on a tip about the transport of artifacts in war-ravaged areas and using a photo of the ngoma taken by a missionary scholar in the 1940s, Parfitt traced a sacred Ngoma to a storeroom in the Harare Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe. 'Ngoma' literally translated means 'drum' and is a term used to encompass all local traditional forms of dancing, drumming and singing.


The wooden drum had a blackened hole in the bottom and the shattered remnants of wooden rings on each corner. Parfitt also noticed a carved, interlaced pattern described in the biblical Book of Exodus.


He said: “I felt a shiver down my spine. Without a shadow of a doubt this was the Von Sicard ngoma. Everything in the room suddenly took on a hard-edged radiance.


“A strange sanctity seemed to shine from it. The ngoma was not covered in sheets of fine gold. There were shattered remnants of rings on each corner, through which carrying poles would have been thrust.


“There is no better description of the object that stood before me than in the Biblical passage from the Book of Exodus.”


That passage describes the Ark of the Covenant as being made of acacia wood and covered in pure gold.


It says: “And thou shalt cast four rings in gold for it and put them in the four corners thereof.” This would allow the ark to be carried by two wooden poles.


As Parfitt rubbed away the dust from the ngoma, a carving emerged.


He peered closely at the frieze that was revealed. It was an interlaced pattern as described in Exodus.


While the ngoma is still stored at the museum in Harare, Parfitt is concerned the highly valuable artifact may once again disappear in a nation plagued by violence and corruption.


A splinter has carbon-dated the drum to 1350 AD — ancient for an African wood artifact, but 2,500 years after Moses. Undaunted, Parfitt asserts that "this is the Ark referred to in Lemba tradition" — Lemba legend has it that the original ngoma destroyed itself some 400 years ago and had to be rebuilt on its own "ruins" — "constructed by priests to replace the previous Ark. There can be little doubt that what I found is the last thing on earth in direct descent from the Ark of Moses."

Edited by Soldier of God
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