The Day of Coverings: Old Covenant versus New Covenant

Most know the seventh Hebrew month and tenth day as, “atonement”.  The first usage of the word atonement Is found in Exodus 29:33: “and they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.”  The Hebrew word used here but translated atonement is kaphar, Strong’s number 3722.  Its essential meaning is to cover. Bullinger’s Companion Bible, in a footnote to this verse, says: “the English ‘at-one-ment’ has no connection whatsoever with the Hebrew word kaphar.”


The first usage of the Hebrew word in the Scriptures is in Genesis 6:14. In this usage, the word kaphar, translated pitch, is referring to a resin or material to seal the space between the Gopher wood used to construct the ark. This seal keeps the water out and the ark afloat.


In Leviticus 23:27, we are introduced to the day of atonement. The Hebrew word used here is kippurim, Strong’s number 3725. This is a plural Hebrew word meaning coverings. Again, this word is incorrectly translated as atonement. The proper name should be the Day of Coverings.


What is being covered here? In Exodus 30:15 we are told:  “And when they give an offering unto Yahweh, to make an atonement [cover] for your souls [lives].”  Just as the ark was sealed for its protection (Gen. 6:14), the Israelites were being sealed as a protective measure.


In Numbers 8:21, the word kaphar (3722) Is used when Aaron offers the Levites to Yahweh as an offering. They were being separated from all the Israelites for special work. This verse says: ”Aaron made an atonement [cover] for them to cleanse them.”  Therefore, one day a year, Aaron offers atonement for all Israelites with the purpose of cleansing them as an offering to Yahweh. Without this cover, they would not be acceptable and therefore could suffer punishment. Like the ark, they were sealed to prevent their destruction.


In Leviticus 16:34 we are told:  ”and this shall be an everlasting [age-abiding] statute unto you, to make an atonement [a cover] for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.”  Now we know that they were being covered or protected due to their sins. This had to be renewed each year.


The Old Covenant Day of Coverings had to be repeated every year. This is confirmed in Hebrews 9:7: ”but into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.”  However, under the New Covenant, Messiah entered a more perfect tabernacle, “by his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal [age-abiding, aionian] redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9: 12)  Under the New Covenant, Messiah only had to enter the more perfect tabernacle ONCE, no repetition is required.


This is confirmed again in Hebrews 10:12: ”but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of Yahweh.”  The Old Covenant coverings are from animal blood. Something was very different under the New Covenant. This blood came not from animals but was ”the precious blood of Messiah, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1: 19)


Now note that the observance of the Day of Coverings is listed in Leviticus 23, which is under the Old Covenant.  However it is not listed under the Doctrine of Messiah which is under the New Covenant, (Hebrews 6: 1-3)  The only two fall (or spring in the southern hemisphere) feasts enumerated in Hebrews 6 are the Day of Shouting (trumpets) and the Last Great Day.  Coverings and Tabernacles are not included.  Why is this?


Those called under the New Covenant are sealed once by the blood of Messiah. It cannot be repeated each year.  Remember what we are told in Hebrews 10: 25: “for if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.”


Under the Old Covenant, the covering of the blood of animals had to be repeated each year. Each observance had a shelf life of only one year. The New Covenant, mediated by Messiah, required a single offering that could not be repeated. After Messiah made the offering, he sat down at the right hand of Yahweh. The High Priest under the Old Covenant must repeat each year the process of covering with animal blood. This High Priest was not able to sit down, but had to prepare for the next year.


We of the New Covenant are not held to the same requirement of the day of atonement under the Old Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, each participant must afflict themselves by fasting. But fasting cannot be required because the repetition of fasting is like the repetition of covering with animal blood. That blood and fasting was replaced by the one sacrifice of Messiah. Fasting is a work under the Old Covenant. We are told in Galatians 2:16 that: ”knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of YahwehShua Messiah, even we have believed in YahwehShua Messiah, that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”


Hebrews 6 reveals the absence of the requirement to observe Yom Kippurim.  Romans 5:11 tells us why this change was necessary:  "and not only so, but we also joy in Yahweh through our Sovereign, YahwehShua Messiah, by whom we have received the atonement."  [Covering or reconciliation]  The world, including those who are to be in the better resurrection, are NOW covered by His precious blood.  We, in this age, are not required to observe Yom Kippurim.  Participation in this annual Sabbath places you under the old covenant.  We, who are of the new covenant and now are the sons of Yahweh (1 John 3:2) should no longer keep the old covenant.  We need to fully embrace the new covenant.  We need to follow Paul's revised list and not Leviticus 23.


Fasting is a work of the law, something the physical Israelites did to be protected or covered. The reality is we are covered by the faith of Messiah. It is Messiah in us, His mind, His faith, that justifies us and will result in our being in the better resurrection. Remember he is being formed in us (Gal. 4: 19) and we shall be like him. (1 John 3: 2). The Old Covenant had a weak or temporary cleansing process. We of the New Covenant, have an enduring process because our High Priest is working through us. His success is our success.


Neither fasting nor building temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles means anything under the New Covenant. Messiah means everything. This is why the Doctrine of Messiah does not include the Day of Coverings or the Feast of Tabernacles in the list of feasts to be observed. These are works that were performed under the Old Covenant but are no longer necessary. Galatians 3: 11 reminds us: “the just shall live by faith.”


When the Old Covenant High Priest entered the holy of holies on the day of atonement, he wore a gold plate on his forehead with the name of Yahweh. Not his own name, his human name, but the name of Yahweh. When Messiah entered a more perfect tabernacle, he left his human name behind because he had inherited the more excellent name of Yahweh. Therefore he entered the more perfect tabernacle with the name of Yahweh. But this more excellent name of YahwehShua was the name of the Father and the Son. Aaron could only wear the name of Yahweh.  Messiah was one with the Father through that name. This was not just a title but an expression of who he was and now is.


John tells us in 2 John 9 that: “he that abides in the Doctrine of Messiah hath both the Father and the Son.”  When we are baptized, we call on the name of the Father and the Son. (Matt. 28: 19)  When we are resurrected on the Day of Shouting, we will have the name of the Father and Son on our foreheads.  (Rev. 14: 1)


John reminds us: ”he that denieth that YahwehShua is the Messiah he is the anti-messiah, that denieth the Father and Son.” (1 John 2: 22) The name of faith is the name of the Father and the Son, YahwehShua. We are justified by His faith and we demonstrate this through our works.  (James 2: 17-18)