Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD. You shall not do any work on this very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:26-28

Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Biblical calendar. Known as Yom HaKippurim, it was the day on which the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)/ Beit HaMikdash (Temple) to atone for the sins of Bnei Yisrael (Children of Israel). The word “atonement” is “kippur כפור” and it is from the verbal root “kaphar כפר”. As a verb, “kaphar כפר” is used 104 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and it literally means “to cover with a thick substance”. We see its actual meaning the first time it appears in the Hebrew scriptures: Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with compartments, and cover it inside and out with pitch. Genesis 6:14. The word “cover” in this scripture is the verbal root “kaphar כפר”. In this context, the pitch is the thick substance that is used to cover the wood. The main aim of this covering action is to make sure nothing permeates the wood.

On Yom Kippur, that thick substance that is used for the covering action is blood. At this appointed time, we appropriate the blood as a potent covering for that which is ours. The Hebrew word for blood is “dam דם”. In its first appearance in the Hebrew Scriptures in Genesis 4:10, the word “dam דם” is seen to have a voice that speaks: Then He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground. The word for “voice” is the Hebrew word “qol קול”. Not only does it mean “voice”, but it is generally indicative of the presence of an entity. From a purely Hebraic perspective, it is shepherding term which means “gathering to the staff”; calling together for direction, discipline and protection of the flock. Thus, the blood calls us to direct us and to protect us. “and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24

The word “dam דם”, which means “blood”, is a parent root in Hebrew linguistics. This means it forms the basis of many other words in Hebrew. One of the words derived from this parent root is word “damam דמם” which means “silence”. When the blood of an animal is shed, that animal becomes still and quiet. The blood of our Good Shepherd, even our Great and Chief Shepherd, silences the noise of obstacles and impediments in our lives.

Another word derived from this parent root is the word “adam אדם”. Our Chief Shepherd is described as the last “Adam” in the epistle of the apostle Paul.  So also it is written: “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” The last Adam was a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47. Through the institution of the “Brit Chadashah ברית חדשה” (New Testament) which is the Communion Cup, we have access to get closer and closer to the image of God. In the Creation account, we are told that mankind was made in the likeness of The Holy One, Blessed Be He. It is very interesting to know that the word for “likeness” in that verse in the Hebrew scriptures is the word “demut דמות” which is another word derived from our parent root “dam דם”. In Hebrew thought, a son from the blood of his father resembles his father.

Beloved in Christ, Yom Kippur isn’t just any ordinary day, but the Holiest day of the Biblical calendar. It is the day to annex the life-giving power of Jesus, even Christ. Apply the blood on all that is yours, even as you partake uniquely of His cup.

Did you know that one word for “price” in Hebrew is “damim דמים” which literally means “blood” (in a plural sense)?

The LORD bless and keep you!