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Josh Biography

Hunt for the Lost Ark

For centuries, adventurers, and archaeologists--the devout and determined--have all searched for the Bible's most sacred lost treasure: the Ark of the Covenant. Yet, despite all its fame, it mysteriously disappeared from the pages of history tens of centuries ago. How could something so powerful and holy simply vanish?

Josh's Journal
created by diggingforthetruth.net 2008
Journal taken from The History Channel DFT site. Photos taken from The History Channel DFT site and video.
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Hunt for the Lost Ark

On The Ark of The Covenant: Okay, so it really doesn't get much more 'Indiana Jones' than this, and I realize that. But Hollywood fantasies aside, this is a fascinating subject. When Graham Hancock's book 'The Sign and the Seal' came out in 1992, I read it within a few weeks. At the time, of course, I never thought I'd actually visit many of the places he wrote about, but who could say no to a story that attempts to trace the Ark from where we know it once was to where it may be hidden today...? Like the Pyramids, there are MANY theories and theorists, so for those who aren't open to this interpretation, I hope you'll at least enjoy the pictures from abroad. And for those who want to see where many believe the Ark still is today, stay tuned! It wasn't easy to get there, but we did."

On the Bible as a Historical Document: "As if the Ark subject weren't tenuous enough, I also realize that using the Bible as a 'treasure map' or for historical accuracy is contested by many. The Bible has many parts which have never been archeologically supported, but many of its figures do show up in the physical proof of places and other cultures. Again, if you are a purist at heart, you may find yourself stretching a little during this episode, as the passages of the Bible have no shortage of interpretations."

The Burning Bush: "Father Justin and I had a few long talks about 'The Burning Bush.' According to the research that ethnobotanists have done at the Monastery, this is not a copy of the burning bush, but the actual bush, still alive after several thousand years. Justin explained to me that the bush actually regenerates from within, producing genetically identical branches that would make this the exact bush that Moses saw in Exodus 3:2. I didn't know bushes could live that long..."
Mt. Sinai: "Of course, I still had doubts if this was THE bush, and whether or not I was even in the right area at all to climb Mt. Sinai. There are many people making many claims that they have each found THE Mount Sinai, and the others are fakes. Personally, I think the real Mt. Sinai is Jabal Al Lawz in Saudi Arabia. So does Bob Cornuke, one of the experts who joined me for part of this adventure and who is credited with discovering it (do a web search to read the articles). However, filming our show in Saudi Arabia was not possible, so I'll leave that to some other intrepid explorer to document. So, I climbed Jebel Musa near St. Catherine's Monastery, a place many scholars feel is the real Mt. Sinai."
Ethiopian Archbishop: "Archbishop Abba Kewistos has been the Archbishop in Jerusalem since 2002. He is a very softspoken man, but he really appreciated the journey I was taking and the interest I had in the Ark being in Ethiopia. Before heading out to Ethiopia, he was kind enough to give me his blessing."
Debra Damo: "I wish I could have spent more time exploring this monastery. However, once the rain started, we knew it would be a mad dash down the rope and across the river. The place is huge, and it's true that only men and male animals are allowed up there—women must pray at the bottom (not sure about the female animals). That leather rope climb up is a LOT harder than it looks. At least, with boots on, I could barely get up. Without boots—and with a harness—it was much easier and safer. But I'd love to return back there if only to give that climb another shot without any help..."
Tana Kirkos: "I speak on behalf of all 6 of us who made the journey to Tana Kirkos—it's a magical place. The monks possess an unusual wisdom which can be seen in their eyes and in their faces. I'm grateful that Bob's relationship with the Abba, or head priest, made our journey there so worthwhile. And that stuff they were pulling out of the storage room...!! There were other things in there which we only glimpsed at which I'm sure a Biblical archeologist would LOVE to carbon date. I recognize that it's a leap to suggest that these bronze tools are THE tools of the Temple of Solomon, but if they are, they're the only remaining objects from the Temple left on earth."
The Perfect Storm: "It was a challenge to capture the true sense of despair some were feeling during this storm, mostly because no one wanted to break out the cameras and get wet. But we really were in the middle of this storm, with no compass, no radar, no radio, and no sense of where we were going. I ended up using my pocket compass to tell the captain that we'd been going in circles for an hour. Our three hour tour (Gilligan's Island?) almost cost us our trip, and some of that shows in the footage. I assure you, this was no joke."
Axum, Ethiopia: "Axum is one of my favorite towns in the world. Like Tana Kirkos, there is something in the energy there. Jerusalem has it, too, but there's no sense of violence in Axum—just the blaring of trumpets for funerals and the bleating of goats in the field, plus the occasional camel caravan. And those stelae are unbelievable! The place must have truly been a royal city."
"Bob and I explored the town for several days and I really enjoyed it. Axumite Crosses are everywhere, and the people truly embrace a lifestyle that, at least from the outside, seems spiritually driven. The Guardian of the Ark spends his whole life in that little fenced in area, guarding what people believe is THE Ark of the Covenant. Is it really? Well, that's up to you to decide. But I did speak off camera with an official in town, who explained to me that there are three people in addition to the Guardian who are allowed to see the Ark. Once a year, they secretly meet (no one knows who these three people are, just that they exist) and they go into the church to inspect the Ark and make sure it's still there, safe and sound. They're basically checking inventory on the guardian. This official, for whatever reason, confided that he was one of the three (his wife didn't even know it), and that the real Ark is indeed inside that building. I asked him what it looks like, and he described a large case covered completely in gold...."
Hunter Biography
Season 4
That's what host and adventurer Josh Bernstein is determined to find out when he follows a trail that starts where the Ark's story begins--on Mount Sinai. Next, he explores a secret maze beneath Jerusalem's streets and visits Deir es Sultan, an Ethiopian monastery located on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In Ethiopia, he climbs up a sheer cliff to reach Debre Damo, one of the country's most ancient monasteries, and travels across Lake Tana to the place where some say the Ark is kept today. But how close can he get to this mighty and mysterious treasure?