Yom Kippur in Yeshua

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Brothers and sisters, we are atoned for! We are covered, cleansed, and ever-changing because of our Messiah Jesus. Today is the high holy day of Yom Kippur. In Israel, it’s one of the most sacred days of the calendar. For followers of Jesus, its a reminder of the depths of the sacrifice it took to make us new. It should not be a day of despair for anyone who has pledged their life to Christ. Today, we celebrate the saving power of our God. Today, we rejoice in our freedom from death itself. I pray for all of us to experience a new reverence and awe for Jesus. May our love grow deeper as we remember the life we’ve been rescued from and are continuing to be drawn out of. If we’ve strayed, let’s place our feet back on the narrow path. If we’re distracted, let’s take our eyes off of the waves of life and put them back on the one walking on the water. If we’re weary, let’s stop and sit at His feet. Today is a new day son and daughter because you are written in the book of life.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1 NIV

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Once and for All

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On the Biblical calendar exists one of the most distinguished days of the year. It’s called the Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. This day falls on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishrei not July). The Bible doesn’t operate on the Gregorian calendar that most of the world uses today because of the Roman Empire.  That’s why Yom Kippur can be in September or October depending on the year. This day is packed full of significance in terms of the Messiah. This is post number two from the book of Leviticus showing how the Messiah is revealed in the Old Testament. The first post looked at the process established for cleansing leprosy in chapter 14. Feel free to scroll back through my site for the posts out of Genesis and Exodus as well. If you’re joining us for the first time, welcome!

Sabbath

The Day of Atonement is regarded as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. The word sabbath means “rest” in it’s simplest terms. Sabbath was first practiced by God in the process of creation and then humanity was invited to follow suit. Yom Kippur would be a day unlike any other, where the people of God poured out their hearts, sang worship songs, praised, lamented, and more. Basically, anything that had nothing to do with a person’s relationship with God would be set aside in pure devotion. It was also seen as the day that people’s souls could find rest with God as the Atonement and repentance were done. The Messiah and Sabbath are incredibly connected. It is the Messiah who provides the ultimate rest for our souls and mends our relationship with God. That’s exactly what Jesus came to do.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Atonement

The act of atonement is the idea of making full reparations for a wrong or injury. The wrong in this context is sin. The sins of the people needed to be paid for. The injury was dealt to God since sin is an offense towards Him as well as others who are hurt by our selfishness. While sin carries with it, often heavy consequences, every sinner has the hope of escaping the full wrath that their sin deserves. We can’t always escape the temporal effects of our sin, which makes it all that more important to try to live a God-honoring life. And a good Father would never spare us from all of the consequences of our bad choices. That’s how we grow. But a good Father does spare us from His wrath because His love is so much greater. In God’s economy, payment for sin would only be fully made through the Messiah.

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:22-24 (ESV)

High Priest

It was the responsibility of the High Priest to carry out the service on the Day of Atonement. He made the sacrifice. He got blood on his hands. He prayed for the people. In a sense, the High Priest acted as a mediator between God and His people. The Messiah would step into this role upon His arrival. Only the Messiah would have to be a greater-than the high priest. Jesus Christ is called the Great High Priest because the sacrifice He made was greater than all of the sacrifice of the sacrificial system combined.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:7-14 (ESV)

Scapegoat

While one goat was sacrificed, the other was taken outside the gate and released into the wilderness. Before this was done, all of the sins of Israel were confessed and figuratively laid on this animal. Of course, the goat couldn’t carry the sins of anyone. But this was a powerful image of innocence carrying the sins of the guilty. The Messiah would be someone without guilt but would be treated and punished as someone who was sinful. A scapegoat is an innocent person who takes the blame and punishment for the guilty party on themselves. That’s exactly what Yeshua (Jesus) did for humanity.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

It is Finished

This day atoned for the sins of the people for the year. It would have to be repeated each year at the same time. The nation of Israel would spend an entire day repenting for sins known and unknown, for themselves and for those they knew. It was a day that many would both dread and rejoice over. It is a day to remember the price for sin as well as the goodness of God to make a way for our sins to be atoned for. The Messiah’s atoning sacrifice resembles that in all ways but one. His death on the cross should be both a dreadful moment for Christians, as well as a sacrifice that causes rejoicing. Remembering our Savior on the cross should lead every Christian into heartfelt repentance. Because it was our sin that put the Messiah there. Hebrews chapter 10 is a great description of the Messiah’s sacrifice in comparison with that of the Day of Atonement.

 …we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:10 (ESV)

Oh to hear those trumpets sound!

“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'””

‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭23:23-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

At sunset on Sunday, October 2nd, millions around the world joined in a biblical holy day known as Rosh Hashanah, aka the Feast of Trumpets. I would venture to say that most of those observing this day are our Jewish brothers and sisters, but many are followers of Jesus Christ (Yeshua).

Four years ago my wife and I embarked on a journey of discovery that has been, well, quite amazing. Feeling a mix of conviction and curiosity, we decided to dive into a study of the Holy Feasts that God had commanded His followers to honor. There are 7 specifically outlined in Leviticus 23. Three take place in the spring, one in the early summer, and three more in the fall months. Taken as a whole, they are a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive plan for His creation.

We have learned a lot of incredible things by studying these feasts. Among them is that every single feast is a record of something Jesus has either already done for us or is going to do for us in the future. That’s why a lot of Christians have gotten on board with learning about these feasts and observing them to the extent of honoring Christ. Every sacrifice made during these feasts were related to some aspect of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us. Now that doesn’t mean that Christians are supposed to make the animal sacrifices that are outlined in these feasts. That would be meaningless and empty in light of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice. But the call to sacrifice has not changed. Romans 12:1 says to be a daily living sacrifice. But, Every Old Testament event that these feasts were tied to were but a foreshadowing of Jesus (Yeshua).

I’ve already talked more about the feasts than I planned to because I really just wanted to focus on the ones happening this fall. Come springtime I’ll be highlighting the sweet truths contained in those feasts.

Rosh Hashanah carries with it a meaning of newness. Trumpets (shofars) are sounded which marks the beginning of both a serious series of days and a rejoicing moment looking ahead because of what it points to. This feast ultimately signifies the moment when Christ will take His bride. It’s the moment that all Christians look forward to the most. We will get to be with our Savior forever! For that reason, Rosh Hashanah is our new beginning in the most real sense.

For others, meaning those not devoted to Christ, this marks the beginning of the days of Awe leading up to judgment day, which happens to be ending today on the feast calendar (October 12). This day is known as Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. In the bible, it discusses this feast as the great day in the year when the high priest would offer a sin sacrifice for the nation. The High Priest (Jesus) has made that once and for all sacrifice. Prior to that, the Yom Kippur sacrifice would earn people’s entrance into the Book of Life for the following year. Are you seeing the foreshadowing here? The ultimate sacrifice of Christ bought His followers entrance into THE Book of Life for all eternity. So for Christians, the ten days of awe are glorious reflection on His amazing goodness, culminating in The Day of Atonement when we honor Christ for inscribing our names in the Lambs Book of Lamb. How awesome is that!?

Coming up this Sunday, October 16, we have the final of the seven Holy Feasts of the Lord, Sukkot or Tabernacles. More to come on that…but it is amazing!

God bless my brothers and sisters. Be encouraged that God is and has been in control since the beginning of time.