An archaeologist who claims to have found the Ark of the Covenant directly below the crucifixion site of Jesus
Christ has died after giving a deathbed interview to WorldNetDaily. Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Ark of the
Covenant, the crucifixion site of Jesus Christ, and more have been the subject of controversial claims made by an
archaeologist who spent much of his life documenting sites and events from the Bible. Ron Wyatt died after a
lengthy battle with cancer last Wednesday, but his quest to provide information that would lead to more people
accepting the teachings of the Bible continues at Wyatt Archaeological Research, a non-profit, non-denominational
organization in Tennessee. Reached just before his death, the telephone interview with Wyatt was to last only a few
minutes because of his very weak condition. He actually spoke for nearly an hour. A few days later, Wyatt  
succumbed to the disease. The evidence of the various finds Wyatt claimed to have made has been debated by
religious leaders, scholars and lay people, for at least a decade. There are many who believe his findings are
genuine, and there are a few who are not so willing to accept his claims.

According to Wyatt, he was able to physically locate the Ark of the Covenant, the container for the original tablets of
the Ten Commandments, with the Mercy Seat intact on the top. It was found in a chamber just outside the walls of
ancient Jerusalem about 20 feet below what Wyatt also claimed was the actual site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Wyatt said he found an earthquake crack directly below where the cross would have been. It extends down through
the rock to the resting place of the Mercy Seat atop the Ark of the Covenant, he told WorldNetDaily. The blood of
Christ would have flowed through that crack after his death and after his side was pierced by a soldier's spear. The
site of the crucifixion appears to have evidence that it was once enclosed in a first century building, apparently a
church. The site includes a large round stone which perfectly fits the Garden Tomb -- accepted by many as the place
from which the body of Christ rose from the dead.

The Bible teaches the concept of sacrifice of animals, symbolic of the actual blood sacrifice Christ would make. The
act of Christ, regarded by some as the great High Priest, permitting himself to be sacrificed and placing his own
blood upon the Mercy Seat was the great and final act in the process of blood sacrifice, according to the writings of
Wyatt. Wyatt believed that the Ark of the Covenant, along with other sacred objects from the first Temple in
Jerusalem, were all secreted away just prior to the entrance of the Babylonians into the city about 600 years before
the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There are many tunnels beneath Jerusalem even to this day. These most sacred
objects were protected in a chamber and the entrance was sealed and hidden. "When Christ died, the earth quaked.
The rock was split right below His cross and this crevice extended right down into the hidden chamber which
contained the undefiled 'earthly' Throne of God -- the Ark with its Mercy Seat," explained Wyatt in one of his
research letters. "After He was dead, when the centurion stuck his spear into Christ's side and pierced His spleen,
the blood and water came out, falling down through that crack and was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat." Wyatt
explained that in the former Temple service, the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat.
Wyatt said Christ, as the great High Priest, was the only one who could physically sprinkle the blood on the Mercy
Seat. It was an act of God that everything was in the right place, and that there was an earthquake which enabled
Christ to spill his own blood onto the Mercy Seat in fulfillment of this ancient rite, he explained.

Wyatt did not make any claims of grandeur, nor did he claim to be a prophet. He said his only role was to be a willing
servant. "God has a way of communicating his wishes to people, and I'm not the only one able to do that so I don't
flatter myself to think that I'm something special. I was there, I was willing, so therefore God allowed me this
privilege. There are others who are in communication with him. There are others who are familiar with this material
who will see that it is presented," Wyatt told WorldNetDaily by phone just before his death, indicating that more of
his evidence and findings will soon be made public.

It was back on Jan. 6, 1982 when Ron Wyatt realized what he had found during the excavation of the Ark of the
Covenant. "I just went from stunned to more stunned I guess," he described. "When I started making the excavation
I wasn't looking for the Ark of the Covenant.  I had no idea or intent to be looking for the crucifixion site,  so as I
proceeded with the excavation and found this crucifixion site, it was a thrill and a happy set of circumstances, and I
didn't make the connection with the blood on the mercy seat until I actually saw it." He said the significance of the
find took on a new meaning when he actually found the crack which extended from the Mercy Seat all the way up
through solid rock to the location he had found above where the crucifixion took place.

Wyatt claimed that he was authorized to make his excavations by the Antiquities Department, but that bureaucrats
within that agency insisted that his findings must be kept secret. He was told that Jewish extremists might view the
discovery as a sign that it was time to rebuild the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. The Muslim Dome of the Rock now
sits on the site that Jewish fundamentalists believe must one day be destroyed and a new Jewish temple built.

Wyatt has made public a significant amount of his research and findings, but he has withheld certain documents and
photographs to comply with the agreement he made with Israeli officials. His refusal to provide everything resulted
in criticism from some. The day after the death of Wyatt, one detractor sent an e-mail to WorldNetDaily saying, "The
world has lost one of the most colorful charlatans of all time." He predicted that nothing will ever come of the
discoveries and even claimed that Wyatt is not with God now because he must account for his lies. "There's nothing
can be done to prevent ridicule that I'm aware of. I don't think it would be appropriate to deny people the
opportunity of using ridicule because I think that's part of showing their true character," Wyatt told WorldNetDaily of
those who have attacked his claims.

This discovery of the Ark of the Covenant and the crucifixion site are more important to the non-Christians than to
the believing Christians, according to Wyatt. He believes the discovery will help to bring people of other faiths to
Christ.  "They've been taught something else all their life. So God is doing this show-and-tell through these
revelations and these discoveries to prove to them real quick that the Bible is historically accurate and divinely
inspired," Wyatt explained. He quoted from Jeremiah 16:19-22 predicting unbelievers will come from all parts of the
earth to learn of the discoveries. "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no
profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods," quoted Wyatt.

"This last revelation is for the inhabitants of the earth who don't have a clue, as well as for those of us who do have
a clue and have been commissioned by Christ to reach out to help bring these people who don't have a clue into the
fold. So these are tools that God has given the believers to strengthen their faith and to reach out with. They are
tools that will be extremely effective in these the last pouring out to the entire population, all inhabitants of the
earth," he explained.

Wyatt has been involved in a number of significant archaeological studies of biblical sites and artifacts. These have
included Noah's Ark, the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses, Mount Sinai, Sodom and Gomorrah, and others. Nothing
else has the significance of the Ark of the Covenant and its tie to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he explained. "My
personal assessment is that this is the culmination of the whole plan of salvation. I believe it's the finishing off and
the final proof and evidence for what has happened here on this planet. And I think that it's being presented at a
time just before probation's closed while people can still decide to go along with God," Wyatt stated.

WorldNetDaily made contact with sources within the U.S. Intelligence community that have been reliable in past
investigations. Experts on both Israeli and Muslim politics and beliefs were contacted to determine their
assessment on the impact of Wyatt's discoveries. Both sources expressed disbelief that the Israeli government
wanted to hide the discovery for the reason they gave Wyatt. Instead both agreed that it was likely the Israelis are
concerned that when Jews learn of the connection of the crucifixion site with the Ark of the Covenant there could
be large conversions which would threaten Jewish control of the government, assuming that the discoveries are
true. Neither source was aware of the discoveries previously.

WorldNetDaily was not able to convey that assessment to Wyatt prior to his death for his reaction. Wyatt did say that
he did not expect the Ark of the Covenant would ever be removed from its current resting placed. The access
tunnel used by Wyatt's archeological team has been sealed. The pictures and videos of the find are what he said
would soon be shown worldwide. "The blood and all of that part will be shown, all of that, on video. The only thing
that will be shown typically that people will be able to have a look at and maybe touch, you know I don't know what
the restrictions will be on that, and that's the tables of stone," said Wyatt, referring to the tablets containing the Ten
Commandments found inside the Ark of the Covenant itself. Wyatt said he did not believe the Jews will ever
successfully rebuild the Temple because they would want to resume the practice of blood sacrifice within the
Temple, something that he says God would not permit to happen. "I believe that if they do set about to do a Temple
thing, it will be part of Satan's deception," he added. He said that when the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple
furnishings were moved to the hidden chamber, that location became the Temple of the Lord, or the Holy of Holies.
It remained untouched and undefiled so that Christ could complete his ultimate sacrifice.

He is confident they remain where he found them. He does not believe they have been secreted away. "Let me say
this, and this is a touchy point and I try to avoid it. There's some 14 to 16 individuals that have died because they
have tried to in some way to manipulate this," he explained without providing the details. "Some have had to do with
withdrawing a permit and others have had to do with, shall we say, trying to actually get in there and move the
furnishings. So I believe that God has adequately demonstrated, at least to me, that He is not going to allow this to
be moved. I do know this, and that is that nothing will happen to this that is not in God's plan because this is the
most important part of the plan of salvation that has been carried out. This is it, the heart and soul of it. There's no
way he's going to allow people, demons, or any other forces to interfere with it being done exactly as he wants it
done," he stated. The crucifixion site was found on the side of the Golgotha hill, or Place of the Skull just outside
the old north wall of Jerusalem, not far from the Garden Tomb. It was discovered under many feet of soil with actual
holes in the rock where crosses were placed, and niches in the rock wall behind where three signs were placed.
The large circular stone used to cover the garden tomb was also located there, and it was all surrounded by the
foundation of a first century building. The central, main cross hole has an earthquake crack beside it.

Photographic evidence was obtained, and then the site was covered back over with 12 feet of dirt and a garden
established. Wyatt says it was landscaped to avoid controversy. The entrance to the system of caves and tunnels,
found by the Wyatt team in the cliff wall was also sealed over. In conclusion, Wyatt was asked to describe his
spiritual growth since his discoveries. What is the difference in his gospel understanding before the discoveries
and since?

"Basically, getting to know God and complying with his required character changes and all of that. I was
experiencing those things, and of course I had a hunger and a thirst. I had a big curiosity. To be perfectly honest
that may have outweighed the other consideration and then the difference between what I felt then and now is I
believed what the Bible said. I believed what it says to be true, that's the Authorized King James by the way.
However, now I know that what it says is true," he concluded. Wyatt added that it has been his role to do more than
just dig up interesting artifacts. He accepted the added responsibility to explain the religious significance of the
items he found.

The Wyatt Archaeological Research group maintains a small museum in Tennessee where the evidence and work of
Ron Wyatt can be examined and studied. The death of Mr. Wyatt is not expected to stop the effort of telling the world
about the findings, according to a spokesman. WorldNetDaily has examined extensive evidence regarding the
various claims and discoveries made by Wyatt for several weeks. Several critics have been found who have voiced
their opinion that the work of Wyatt Archaeological Research is fraudulent, but evidence to support those charges
cannot be found. The evidence is sufficient to conclude that Wyatt's team conducted the claimed archaeological
digs and investigations. WorldNetDaily is not qualified to determine the value of the evidence.

Wyatt was given a deathbed opportunity to either reaffirm or recant his claims. He chose to reaffirm all that he has
claimed without hesitation.

David M. Bresnahan is an investigative journalist for
New claim over discovery of the lost Ark of the Covenant
By David M. Bresnahan © 1999                                           Posted: August 9, 1999 @ 1:00am Eastern