By Dr. Kluane S pake
THE FIRST ARC:
By faith Noah built an ark to save his family... (Heb. 11:7). What was needed to keep that ark secure?? He coated the ark inside and out with PITCH. (Gen. 6:14-16 NIV). The word that means "to cover with pitch" is "kaphar," OT:3722; a primitive root which meant in this instance, to cover. In much the same way, we understand that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ covers us inside and out (Mt. 26:28; 1 Cor. 10:16; Jn. 6:53-56, & 1 Jn. 1:6-9).
Later, Nimrod planned to build a city with a tower to the sky by using bricks and slime (once again the word "kaphar" Gen 11:3-4). Here we see a further definition of "kaphar," to adhere or glue with mortar, bitumen. Moffat's 1935 translation says "They had bricks for stone and asphalt for mortar," but the New English Bible states, "They used bricks for stone and BITUMEN for mortar."
When the Patriarchs spoke of "kaphar," they were well acquainted with its properties. Many ancient civilizations mined the shallow deposits of bitumen. Springs of liquid bituminous minerals existed in Mesopotamia, Siddim, Syria, Mt. Hermon, where it was exported and widely used for mummification, paint, and preservatives for paintings.
The Dead Sea was originally known as Lake Asphaltites (from which the term asphalt was derived - another word for "bitumen"). Researchers conclude that both Sodom and Gomorrah were probably cities that traded heavily in natural asphalt. Any major earthquake in that area, almost certainly would have ignited any flammable methane pockets under the Dead Sea and destroyed the cities (Gen. 19:24). (The cuneiform symbol for Bitumen represents a "Lake burning as a pit of hell.") From a distant vantage, Abraham saw the dense smoke from the petroleum fires (19:28). This area is presently found to be a lush valley full of oil.
When we understand its use, we can have greater insight on very important principles. Archeologists have found it widely used for sealing watercourses, levees, and caulking ships. Sewers were discovered in Harappa that were waterproofed with bitumen 5,200 years ago. Nebuchadnezzar used bitumen for waterproofing the masonry of his palace and for grout in stone roads. Bitumen also was employed for bonding tools, building weapons, and adhering mosaics and jewelry settings. Today, we still use Bitumen in transportation fuels, asphalt, waterproofing, sealing roofs, and paint that mark the centerlines on the highways.
Returning to Nimrod. Of course, he planned for his people to make a name for themselves ... but there was an underlying reason why the tower was built. It was their means of protection from a possible future flood judgment by God. Should the water ever rise again, they would be quite safe on the top of the tower. At least, that's probably what they thought, since they didn't have any covenant protection within themselves. When their ziggurat was completed ("with its top in the heavens"), we read: "And the Lord came DOWN to see the city and the tower."
Surely you've noticed how ever since then, man has built "towers" - "towers of ministry," "towers of humanitarianism," etc. Our preconceived towers often attempt to give us the latitude to NOT live right ... BUT by using "kaphar" as the mortar to hold their tower together - they entered oblivion. God would not allow them to have unity and "bonding" of "one accord" without Godly vision and purpose.
The New Testament continues this same bonding theme, 1 Cor. 6:13 B "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?" That means that even if you're fat or old, if you have arthritis or limp, your body is a vehicle of spiritual relationship. "... Do you not know that whoever is UNITED to a prostitute becomes one flesh with her?" United = GLUED, STUCK. What's stuck, can't be removed without lots of damage - it's kinda' like old wallpaper that just won't come off! In these days of exploitation, it's hard to realize that casual relationships cause irreparable damage against our body. As believers, we are called to honor and respect our bodies by presenting them as a living sacrifice, "... But anyone united (GLUED) to the Lord becomes ONE spirit with him."
This understanding of being GLUED or adhering, explains how those who are joined (glued) to Christ become ONE FLESH (Matt. 19:5, Eph. 5:31). And so how does this apply to the Unity of believers nowadays - our one accord??? Why for us, we just have to recognize that we're already stuck together - IN HIM! In Him all things consist (are held together,Col. 1:17). Like an application of bitumen, He's the Mortar and the Glue. Without Christ, even the individual atoms would scatter. He's the adhering quantity that holds all things together. We're living stones SEALED together with Him like rocks in an asphalt road. Aggregate. We're permanently glued together and bonded to Him.
THE SECOND ARC:
The next ark was built when a distressed Levite mother tried to save her three-month-old baby by putting him into a papyrus basket into the river. This basket (ark) carried Moses to his destiny. Interestingly, the mother coated the lining of the basket (Ex. 2:3) with pitch (kaphar) and then concealed the baby among the reeds of the Nile (Ex 2:3). "Kaphar" kept the child afloat and dry. The ark typifies Christ's position in us (Col. 1:27), and our position "in Christ" (Eph 1:1-14). The ark also symbolizes the Lord as being our refuge from judgment (Heb 11:7, etc.).
THE TABERNACLE OF MOSES:
After 80 years, Moses returned to deliver his people who were still building with bricks and mortar for their Egyptian taskmasters. After escaping Egypt, Moses was given a precise plan by God on how to build a tabernacle of the Testimony in the desert (Acts 7:44-55). There are probably more chapters devoted to the construction of the tabernacle than any other subject in the Bible. It was to become a "Sanctuary for God to dwell" (Ex. 25:17). Within Moses' tabernacle were two amazing concepts that pertain to "kaphar."
This word "Kaphar" (cover, mortar, slime) is also the exact same word used in the Old Testament translated ATONEMENT! (See: Ex. 29:36,37, 30:10, 15, 16, Lev. 1:4, 20, 30, 4:26, 31, 35, etc.). I.E., Leviticus 5:13, "In this way the priest will make atonement (kaphar) for him for any of these sins he has committed, and he will be forgiven" NIV. "Kaphar" (also spelled kapar) also can also mean to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: This word is also commonly translated as to appease, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, make exchange, reconciliation, pardon, purge (away). The noun form (kophar, #3724) is translated: redemption-price, bribe (Amos 5:12), camphire or henna (SOS 1:14, 4:13), ransom (Ex. 30:12, Numb. 35:22), satisfaction, sum of money, and village (1 Sam. 6:18).
Only on the Day of ATONEMENT (kaphar), which was celebrated once a year during the Feast of Tabernacles (booths, Ingathering -- on the 10th day of the 7th month), could the high priest sprinkle the blood upon the Mercy-Seat (Lev. 16). Leviticus 17:11-12 explains, "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make ATONEMENT (kaphar) for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes ATONEMENT (kaphar) for one's life." The LIFE of the blood provided ATONEMENT (covering, sealing) safety from the waters of divine judgment and the lake of fire.
So far, we've only slightly peered through the darkened glass at these concepts... but now we begin to further comprehend that the Sacrifice at the cross allows God's kingdom to become sealed within His spiritual temple (that's us!), so that we might obtain a wholeness that belongs to our mind, body and spirit. Today we know that it is Christ's blood that keeps us safe from harm. As believer's, we are preserved by His blood.
2. THE MERCY-SEAT:
One of Moses' first assignments was to build the THIRD ARC -- a precious gold-overlaid chest. (Again, this ARK typifies God's plan and purpose in redemption to bring the human heart into the holy of holies.) The instructions included how to make the lid. God said, "Make an atonement cover" (Ex. 25:17 NIV - #3737, the noun form of the root-word "kaphar"). This MERCY-SEAT (covering or lid for the ark) along with the attached cherubim was considered together with the ark as ONE piece of furniture.
The Atonement-Seat was known to be a place of eternal mercy (Heb. 4:16). This was where God sat (2 Sam. 6:2, Ps. 991, 80:1). This was the place of communion and meeting (Ps. 85:9, Ex. 25:22, Numb. 7:89) and the place of rest (Ps. 61:4, 63:7, Mt. 11:28-30). (Incidentally, the Greek word translated as "propitiation" (Rom. 3:25), is the same Greek word used for Mercy-Seat.)
Ex 25:17-22 "You shall make an atonement seat (#3727, meaning "throne or seat of mercy") of pure gold... 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the MERCY-SEAT with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the MERCY-SEAT. You shall put the MERCY-SEAT on top of the ark ... And there I will MEET WITH YOU, and I will speak with you from above the MERCY-SEAT, from between the two cherubim..." NKJV.
Jesus meets with us at this PLACE where He has glued us together with Himself. He canceled our failure and we are totally pardoned. Because He forgives our mistakes, we can boldly stand before the famous judgment seat, knowing that God's not going to say, "You rotten awful person." That's because we're sealed and cemented into His MERCY. The judgment seat has become a seat of Mercy.
King David rescued the ark from his enemies because he envisioned how God would be once again manifestly enthroned (shechinah or luminous cloud presence, possibly similar to the igniting of the bitumen?) above the Mercy-Seat (kaphar) of the ark. David called this resting place "God's FOOTSTOOL" (1 Chron 28:2-3, 25:20-21; 2 Sam 6:2; 22:11, Matt. 5:34-35, Heb. 4:9&11, Rev. 3:21, 1 Cor. 9:24). Isaiah 60:13 says, "... and I will glorify the place of my FEET" NIV.
The resurrected Jesus has "Put everything UNDER HIS FEET (1 Cor 15:22-28)." He has fully overcome ALL things. When we dwell at the place of our enemy's defeat - at the Mercy Seat (kaphar) - nothing can harm us. This assurance provides a rest that stabilizes our lives. EMANUEL tabernacles, not in what we make with our hands (Acts 7), but within who we are IN HIM and Who HE is IN US - (THE FINAL ARC). He's over us with a protective sealant, He's in us, around us, and envelops our very cells.
And Jesus "WAITS for his enemies to be made his FOOTSTOOL" NIV (Heb. 10:13, Ps. 110:1). Soooooo, it's up to us to put OUR enemies where they belong -- under His feet. He's waiting... Beloved, Christ adheres within our spirit, soul, and body intending to end the Adamic cycle of death; He comes to bring us LIFE -- and death to our enemies. It is there at His resting place, that we "WORSHIP at his FOOTSTOOL (Psalm 132:7-9, Ps 99:5). We've not fully WORSHIPPED until we find the place of the DEFEAT of our enemy. This defeat provides a manifested place of rest for our ark -- His ongoing residing presence upon our personal Mercy-Seat (kaphar).
Yes! At this internally bonding Mercy-Seat (kaphar), God becomes enthroned (Ps. 99:1). Our unhindered prayers and praise soar past the rent veil (of our Adamic nature) and in between that wondrous space -- where the cherubim faces kiss... the place of kissing. "WORSHIP," = proskuneo NT:4352, from pros, "towards," and kuneo, "to kiss."
This NEW CREATION, now sealed (kaphar) with the kindled kissing presence of God, emerges as the "image" of the PATTERN SON. This bonded ONE FLESH CREATION is "caught up" in His nature and consumed with Him - demonstrating the overshadowed manifestation of Christ.
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