Yom Kippur, or in English, The Day of Atonement, is the one day each year that the high priest of Israel went into the Holy of Holies to make the sacrifice to cover the corporate sins of the nation. It is important to realize that this was not only a day to focus on individual sins, but the sins of the nation.
I find that as I reflect on my own faith journey that most believers are willing to focus on their personal sins but are hesitant to “own” the sins of the nation. I think we will see that scripture acknowledges our individual responsibilities in both. Yom Kippur is a time to focus on the sins of the nation / commonwealth of Israel.
But Debbie, I’m an American (or insert your nationality here). What does this have to do with me? Good question, and before you go getting your map out so that you can locate the nation of Israel in order to pray for her sins, let me remind you of the words of the Apostle Paul:
For not all those who are descended from Israel are Israel, nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s seed; rather, “Your seed shall be called through Isaac.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God; rather, the children of the promise are counted as seed. – Romans 9:6-8
In chapter 11 of the book of Romans, Paul explains that we who follow the Messiah of Israel have indeed been grafted into the olive tree, or commonwealth, of Israel (Romans 11:17-18). Have we who follow Messiah Yeshua replaced Israel? May it never be! (Romans 11:1-2) Paul is clear that The Father has not rejected His people, but that gentiles have been joined to them.
So, we may be Americans (or other nationalities), but that needs to be subordinate to our identities as grafted in, Messiah following, Israelites!
Keep that in mind as we learn about Yom Kippur…
We get some pretty specific information about Yom Kippur from Leviticus 23:26-32 and Leviticus 16:3-34. I hope you will take the time to read from scripture about it. What I am giving you here is just a thumbnail of what The Word tells us.
During the Yom Kippur service there were 2 goats. One would become the sin sacrifice and one would be led into the wilderness, carrying the burden of Israel’s sin.
Scripture tells us to remember Yom Kippur as a statue forever on the 10th day of the 7th month (Lev 23:28-32). This comes just 9 days after Yom Teruah (The Day of Trumpets).
So what does one do on Yom Kippur? Well, it is the most solemn of any of the Appointed Times. It is a day that scripture tells Israel to “afflict” her soul. Most people fast on Yom Kippur for this reason. And, no matter which day of the week Yom Kippur falls upon, it is to be kept as a sabbath, or a day of resting. Most Jews, and now a growing number of believers in Messiah Yeshua will take the day off from work for this reason.
While this all sounds pretty depressing, let me share with you some good news about Yom Kippur. You may be aware that Yeshua is THE Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world from John 1:29, but did you know that He is also THE Goat sin offering?
In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul tells us that Yeshua BECAME SIN on our behalf! Yeshua BECAME the sin offering of Yom Kippur in order to save the nation of Israel!!!!
So while this is a reflective and serious holy day, we certainly do have a reason to smile and be grateful.
Yeshua. Made. Atonement. HallaluYAH!!!
Do we believe the whole bible?
Well, Friends, if we do, then we believe these 2 things:
- Yeshua gave Himself as the Passover Lamb in order to forgive our individual sins; and
- Yeshua gave Himself as the Sin Offering Goat in order to forgive the corporate sins of The Nation of Israel.
What does that tell us?
It tells us that YHVH is not finished with Israel! Gentiles have not replaced Israel, but joined her. Her salvation is not yet complete, but one day it will be. The sacrifice has already been made!!!!
I urge you Dear Reader to really think about using this soon coming Appointed Time to confess the sins of the Nation of Israel and pray for her salvation. As you confess, keep in mind that we are also guilty of her sins.
Okay…umm…still not sure about that Deb…
I get it. I’ve given you so much to think about, and believe me we have only investigated the very tip of the iceberg.
But, just what if I’m right? Would you be willing to take a day out of your busy year to pray for and confess the sins of the commonwealth of the nation that we have been grafted into…that we are part of…that we have participated in?
We are told in Leviticus 26:40-45 that IF we confess our iniquity and the iniquity of our fathers, THEN YHVH will remember His covenant with Isaac and Abraham AND remember the land.
But Debbie, what do we confess?
In the book of Deuteronomy there are blessings for obedience and curses for lack of obedience. Israel is told that when they are disobedient they will be cursed with all of the diseases of Egypt (Deut 28:60) and scattered among the nations (Deut 28:64).
Obedience to what, Deb?
The Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible: The foundation which the entire cannon of scripture is built upon.
Hold on a minute. We are New Testament believers…
I submit to you that the entire New Testament is built firmly on the foundation of the Torah. How can we know this for certain?
Messiah Yeshua said that He did not come to destroy the Torah (Matthew 5:17-20), but to fulfill it, and John tells us that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). We have been sold the idea that the Torah is now obsolete, but scripture just doesn’t support this view. In fact, the new covenant is the Torah written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:32). Food for thought and further seeking, perhaps…
Want to understand more? There is no other way than to read your bible from cover to cover…Genesis to Revelation. If you are reading this, you are most likely engaged in that process right now. If you seek, scripture tells us that you WILL find (Matthew 7:7)! Hallelujah!!
This has gotten a bit long for an introductory article about Yom Kippur, but I hope I have answered the question of why believers would want to participate in this day of affliction. It is a day that I will be confessing the sins of the commonwealth of Israel, of which I am a part. It is a day when I will be thinking of believers and how we have corporately rejected the Torah…the very foundation of our faith…and the very thing that Messiah Yeshua lived out within the pages of the gospels in our New Testaments. It is a day that I will be remembering our brother Judah and his sins as well. And I will be lifting these sins up in prayer to The Father and asking for His forgiveness with my whole heart.
What would happen, Friends, if we each did this…with our whole hearts?
What would happen, if those of us who follow the Messiah of Israel started acting like Israel, started reading the foundational texts of Israel, and started obeying them…with our whole hearts?
I will leave you with these thoughts today but will return soon to share with you the last of the fall feasts: Sukkot.
When I do, I hope you will…
Come Seek With Me!