Monday, June 19, 2017

Day Of Coverings

High Priest in Holy Of Holies
Many consider Yom Kippur to be the holiest day of the year, because it was the only day the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. In English, we call Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement. However, it seems the word atonement has lost any real meaning - Yom HaKippurim [1]. Some people talk about being "at one" with God, but the Hebrew word kippur doesn't mean "at one", though that may be the ultimate result. "It is obvious that the English word 'atonement'  does not correspond etymologically with any Hebrew or Greek word which it translates." 
Bible Study Tools (Atonement)  [2]. The Bible doesn't even call the day Yom Kippur, it calls it Yom HaKippurim or Yom Kippurim, plural not singular kippur, whatever kippur means, which we will get to later. It would be better to say Day of Atonements. If you have achieved at-one-ment with God, how do you achieve more than one at-one-ment? Are you at one twice?

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Now I know what you're thinking - what's this got to do with Noah's ark? Well, the word kippur is used in describing the construction of the ark. This is also the first occurrence of kippur in the Bible, the first occurrence of a word often gives a word's root meaning. See Gen 6:14

"Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.

Modern Replica of Noah's Ark
Both the word "cover" and the word "pitch" are kippur. A number of translations say to "pitch in inside and out with pitch", ie. pitch it with pitch. In Hebrew, it reads to kafar it with kofer (In Hebrew, vowels don't matter, p and f are the same). Cover is the root meaning for kafar, though it has other meanings we will see later. "In fact, the English word "cover" can most likely be traced back etymologically to the Hebrew word kafar" - Yom HaKippurim [1]. That would make it "cover it with covering" - Ridiculous KJV Bible Corrections [3]. One meaning then of Yom HaKippurim is Day Of (The) Coverings.

Cover What?

To the Door Posts and Lintel

What is to be covered? The first answer is "cover our sins". The pitch of Noah's ark symbolizes the blood of Jesus which covers our sins. Note the similarity to the Passover Lamb's blood on the doorposts. Pitch is smeared on the ark, lamb's blood is smeared on the posts and lintel of the door frame, and Jesus' blood was smeared on the cross - all three made of wood. This is important - the covering is blood, and it cleanses us from sin.

Lev 16:30 for it is on this day that atonement (kafar) shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement (kafar) for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement (kafar).
Heb 2:17 (CJB) This is why he had to become like his brothers in every respect - so that he might become a merciful and faithful cohen gadol (high priest) in the service of God, making a kapparah for the sins of the people.
1 John 4:10 (CJB) Here is what love is: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the kapparah for our sins.
Here is how Dr John Hinton of the Bible Restoration Ministry [4] put it, "As kopher was used to cover the ship that provided for the salvation of the righteous, which amounted to God's forgiveness of mankind whom he would otherwise have destroyed completely, so those who accept Christ's offer are forgiven by being covered by his blood." - Ridiculous KJV Bible Corrections [3]. 

Second Covering

But remember Noah's ark was covered inside and outside with pitch - two coverings. And it is the Day of (the) Coverings. The first covering is to make us clean before the LORD, as it says in Lev 16:30. The second covering is to make us right with our fellow man.

The meaning (of Kippurim) has two connotations to it: One, that a person repents for his sins that he has committed against HaShem (God) and asks HaShem for His forgiveness, and the other is to ask for repentance from your fellow man for the sins that you have committed against him - Betemunah [5]. 

Cover What?

Cherubim Covering the Ark
Cover has another meaning that fits here. When we ask God for forgiveness, in a sense we are asking Him to cover His eyes, as if He didn't see sin happen. "The covering over of another's eyes to make it as if he didn't see certain events that happened in the past, specifically negative events. This 'covering' is usually accomplished by the giving of some kind of monetary reward or gift to the person in order to 'help' him forget." -  The Day of Getting Yehowah to Cover His Eyes And Forget [6]. A monetary gift would not work to buy God's forgiveness, but our fellow man may accept a payment in place of vengeance. This is my understanding of the real meaning of "an eye for an eye", payment instead of reciprocal injury. Covering the eyes works in a negative sense too, "for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise" - Exodus 23:8.


I mentioned above that kafar has other meanings, several in fact. Each meaning of kafar adds layers of meaning to Yom Ha Kippurim. According to Betemunah [5], kafar can mean  "to appease, make atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge away, put off, and make reconciliation". And just as kafar has multiple meanings, so does Yom Ha Kippurim. Whether you believe that atonement is cover, or ransom, or substitution, or all three, the day and its rituals are full of symbolism.




  1. What scriptures do you use to prove what the second covering is?

  2. Thanks for the question.

    I took the meaning from the quote "The meaning (of Kippurim) has two connotations to it: One, that a person repents for his sins that he has committed against HaShem (God) and asks HaShem for His forgiveness, and the other is to ask for repentance from your fellow man for the sins that you have committed against him - Betemunah [5]."

    I think that is defensible scripturally. The sacrifice of the two goats in Lev 16 is for the people. That is, retoring our relationship with God, and our relationship with our fellow man. The Ten Commandments has two parts, laws toward God and laws toward man. Jesus said "Mt 5:23 Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

    The Jews make a point of repentance on and before Atonement. They teach that repentance towards God and repentance toward fellow man are both required.