A beautiful blueprint is laid out before us in the Torah that portrays the awesome work of our High Priest, Yeshua.
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. Lev. 16:30
He was not only the atoning sacrifice that cleansed us from our sins but also, He is the High Priest that mediates on our behalf before the Holiness of His Presence.
The Day of Yom Kippor
Lev. 23:27 instructs us to come together publicly to observe a “Day of Covering”. Yom Kippor or the Day of Atonement is an annual consecrated time when God’s people fast, pray and seek forgiveness from God and man. They call on God to reveal specific sins that they may have committed throughout the year and implore him to cover those sins through their confession and repentance. This convocation was pointing to the DAY in time when this work would be accomplished conclusively by the blood of Messiah.
It is assumed by some Christians, because Yeshua paid the price for sin once and for all, they need only to confess their sins one time. While it is true, we must profess the Lord Yeshua as Savior only once, it is imperative that this profession then shows forth changes in our lives with the evidence of constant fruit of His Lordship. This means He is Lord over our behavior. The problem is, Christians sin every single day and miss the mark. These daily sins must be confessed and acknowledged each day – immediately as we become aware of them. As the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, we must purpose to die to our will with every effort not to repeat transgressions. The church of Sardis is commanded to “Wake Up! And remember what they have received and repent” (Rev. 3:1-6). The Lord severely warns believers who continue in sinful behaviors that they have soiled their “garments” and need to repent so that their names will not be blotted out of His Book of Life.
The Kippa – His covering demonstrated
A Jewish tradition to remind one of this need daily need for atonement is pictured in what is call a kippah or a yarmulke in Yiddish. A kippa is a small skullcap worn by Jewish men and boys to demonstrate reverence and submission to God. The word yarmulke has an inference of awe and reverence to God just as the Hebrew word ‘kippa’ from the word ‘Kippor’ means atonement or covering.
The word “chuppah” comes from the same root as kippah and means a tent of covering. Tent is an idiom for a tallit or prayer shawl. A large tallit or chuppah is spread above the heads of a wedding couple while pledging their vows. This covering above their heads is a beautiful picture of a newly joined couple submitting to the Almighty Creator from the very beginning of their union in His sovereignty and governance.
The act of covering one’s head in the East is a sign of respect. Ironically, in the West the tradition is opposite -where one removes his hat as a sign of respect. The temple priests always covered their heads when they wore their priestly garments and ministered in their priestly duties as explained in Exodus 28.
When one was in mourning it was also customary to cover the head as depicted in 2 Samuel 15:30. Covering the head was a common custom among the ancient people. Women were expected to show submission by covering their heads. Orthodox Jews, be it male or female have always worn a head covering even to this day. Other Jews may choose to only wear head coverings during prayer, worship or when studying the Torah.
A head covering is worn to depict an outward demonstration of a submitted heart. Whether or not one covers his head outwardly is not really the true issue as it is only a tradition of man. The true issue is “Are you submitted to the authority of God in your heart?” Is He in control of you? Is He the head of your relationship? Are you under His covering and authority?
The Tallit -A Place of Prayer
We know that Yeshua wore the customary prayer shawl or tallit to cover his head when he prayed. Many Christians have followed this example and have adopted this custom in their private prayer lives to pray under “His Wings”. Wings or kanaphim in Hebrew, refer to the corners of the prayer shawl where the tassels or tzit tzit are attached. In modern and Biblical times, the one praying under the tallit would grab hold of the tassels (attached to the wings). This was a picture of grabbing the horns on the corners of the altar, imploring the attention of the Lord in passion and sincerity of heart. Praying under the tallit was often thought of as being lifted to a higher realm on “the wings of a prayer”. Instead of a tallit, many women choose to use a scarf to show their submission in prayer.
6 But he gives us more grace. This is why it says, God stands against the proud, but favors the humble. 7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:6-8 (CEB)
May you be strengthened as you daily repent and submit to the Lord. May you seek and find Him in the secret place of the Most High!