What is the Kapporeth or the Mercy Seat in the temple of God? What is its purpose and why is it important? Do the Hebrew pictographs of Kapporeth describe a hidden mystery that will reveal a connection to Messiah? Let’s find out.
In the Ancient Prophetic Scriptures, a leader emerges who brings the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. As this leader, Moses, directs his people in an exodus towards the land promised to them in their father Abraham, YHVH gives Moses instructions to build Him a special dwelling place. In the book of Exodus Chapter 25 verses 8 and 9 Moses records the words of YHVH:
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make them.
Additionally, Moses writes in Chapter 29 verses 45 and 46:
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God, and they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
Even more specific instructions were given for what was to be housed inside this tabernacle. Chapter 25 verse 10 continues:
And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
Finally, YHVH in verse 21 tells Moses how the lid on this ark will be crafted:
And thou shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
The words mercy seat are the Hebrew word Kapporeth. This Kapporeth was to be made of pure gold with a cherub of beaten gold mounted on each end facing each other.
What was the purpose of this seat? In Chapter 25 verse 22, YHVH tells us:
And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim who are upon the ark of the testimony.
The only time that this commune with YHVH would take place was each year on the fall feast of Israel we call the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, when the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of a lamb on the Kapporeth. This blood sacrifice was offered yearly on this most holy day of the year and was intended to cover the sins of the nation for one more year. What is the significance of all this? Can the Hebrew pictographs of Kapporeth give us a clearer understanding?
Kapporeth is spelled Kaf Pey Reysh Tav.
Kaf is the picture of the hand and means to cover, to open, or to allow.
Peyis the picture of the open mouth and means to speak.
Reyshis the picture of the head and means master or the prince.
Tavis the picture of crossed wooden sticks and means a sign, to seal, or to covenant.
The first mystery we can see in these pictographs is that there will be a cover on the mouth of the prince. But what prince? That would be the prince of the cross which is Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Christ. If His mouth is covered, what is He not saying? For that, we must look below the seat and into the ark itself.
The first three letters in Kapporeth are the root word Kapher which in conventional Hebrew means to cover. The Kapporeth or mercy seat is not just a place for YHVH to meet with the High Priest, it is covering something important.
What is in the Ark of the Covenant? According to the writer of the book of Hebrews in Chapter 9 verse 4, the tabernacle in the temple contained:
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.
Although each of these items are symbols of the providential hand of YHVH in the lives of His people, they are also reminders of the sin of His people. When YHVH provided manna for food, the people complained it wasn’t enough so He gave them quail. Aaron’s rod that miraculously budded was a sign that Moses had been given authority from YHVH to lead the nation as a shepherd, but the people rejected the leadership of Moses and therefore YHVH. The stone tables or tablets containing the Ten Commandments were the law given to the nation for their instruction and their well-being. But the people again refused to obey and they rebelled against YHVH.
The prince with the covered mouth is Messiah, who by the blood shed on the cross on behalf of His people has made amends for the sins of His people. Those sins have not been just covered by His blood sprinkled on the Kapporeth but have been taken away forever. The people of YHVH no longer need the blood of a lamb once a year on Yom Kippur, for as the writer of Hebrews says in Chapter 10 verse 14:
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Each of the letters in Kapporeth is also a number which will tell us even more about this mystery.
Kaf is the number 20 and when found throughout scripture refers to redemption.
Peyis the number 80 and stands for a new beginning ordained in heaven.
Reyshis the number 200 and contrasts the insufficiency of man with the sufficiency of God.
Tavis the number 400 and points us to a divinely ordained period of time that will bring about deliverance and renewal.
These numbers combine to paint a wonderful picture for us. Elohim has ordained in heaven a plan of redemption for man who could never make amends for his own sin and rebellion. This plan was found at the perfect time in the Tav, the cross, where Messiah the Prince brought about deliverance and renewal for His people.
Not only will Messiah the Prince not speak against us regarding our sin, but in 1 John Chapter 3 verse 1 we see how the Heavenly Father will speak for us:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
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