Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement


1 John 1:9
Yom Kippur
The Day of Atonement

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Today is the Eve or Erev of Yom Kippur which begins tonight at Sunset. For Jews this is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. They have spent the last 10 days since Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) in meditation and repentance in preparation for today – they call these 10 day the “Days of Awe”.

According to tradition, on Yom Kippur, God decides each person’s fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. The holiday is observed with a 25-hour fast and a special religious service. It marks the date that Moses came down from Mt Sinai with the 10 commandments and found the Jews idol-worshipping the golden calf. He was so angry that he threw down the tablets and they shattered. The Jews had to all atone for their sin and ask God’s forgiveness and Moses had to go back up the mountain and ask him for another copy of the 10 Commandments. What I like most about it was that the women refused to have anything to do with worshipping the golden calf, which in part atoned for Eve’s sin.

Down through the centuries Yom Kippur was the one day of the year when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and perform a series of rituals including sprinkling the blood of the animal sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant which contained the 10 Commandments to ask God’s forgiveness and atone for the nation of Israel for the year.

Gentile Christians do not need to observe Yom Kippur because Jesus made the supreme sacrifice for us with his blood and his blood covers us for a lifetime, not just a year. So why is it important for us? Because it is important to our Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians. Many see it as a time to especially praise God for securing their Salvation in Jesus Christ. The group Jews for Jesus puts it this way:-

Yom Kippur can be somewhat of a conundrum to Jewish believers in Y'shua. Do we fast and confess our sins like the rest of the Jewish community or do we rejoice in the knowledge that we're forgiven in Messiah? Many Jewish believers view Yom Kippur as a time for identification with our Jewish people, introspection for ourselves and intercession for loved ones, knowing all the while that Jesus is the One that makes us at one with God.

They also note that the Jewish Yom Kippur prayer points the way to Jesus as the Messiah.

Synagogue is hardly the scene to begin a story about believing in Jesus, but it was there my questions started...From that point on, the entire Bible opened up. God's own Word described the One who would come, die, bear the sins of humanity, and be rejected. I knew that I had found the answer to my prayers in Jesus. I had met the God of Israel. It was through this Yom Kippur prayer that I came to see myself before God. There is no explaining away of sin. But there is a sin-bearer”

So today let us also make confession (Terse) and remember that as we are forgiven, so we must forgive, then rejoice in the knowledge of our Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then pray for Israel and Jerusalem and especially for our Messianic brothers and sisters in Christ and their outreach to their own people.