Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement
With regard to understanding the significance of Yom Kippur, it's not enough for us in these last days to simply know that Jesus atoned for our sins. Today, we must go beyond the obvious and search out the deeper truths, those that hinge upon understanding about the times and seasons.
Each of the "moadim" (the appointed times on the Holy Day calendar) are intended to reveal the framework of God's plan of redemption for man. The Bible declares the following very vital truth in Colossians 2.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
If we are ever to understand what God has done, what He will do, and, what he is doing now, we must understand these "moadim." Since I began to apply myself to understanding them my study of the entire Bible has been enriched multiplied times. Our ultimate concern should not be to attain knowledge but rather to better understand the Lord's plan so we may better know and please Him. I pray this study will inspire you to such a noble endeavor. May the Lord of exceeding riches work a glorious work in you.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Yom Kippur not only the most solemn Holy Day of the year, it is the foundation or essence of them all. The observation that this is so was made only after I had made an extensive inquiry into the other major festivals. Its signification is broad in scope - a portrayal of the first and second advent of our Lord, remarkably rich in detail! It contains provision for the land and for the people of the land. Atonement must be made before all that was lost in Adam will be restored. Such is the portrait painted by the Master's brush upon the canvas of Yom Kippur.
To properly and honestly interpret our present time, we must look at Yom Kippur's past and future, its beginning and its end. The foundation upon which Yom Kippur rests is that which the Lord God commanded when it was first instituted. How the commandments given were observed is relevant to our study, as is how the day is viewed and observed by those who practice Judaism today. Much of what has been done so far in HisStory is, in a sense, a rehearsal, or, an anticipation of what glorious work is yet to be done. The mainstay of our teaching about this Holy Day is derived from the Gospel record. What was done and said on the days of its observance during Y'shua's earthly ministry are crucial views that afford us a greater perspective. Having learned from all this we can look with eager anticipation to the future knowing what to expect on some further anniversary of Yom Kippur. The preparations have been and are still being made. All creation awaits the day!
Primary Features of Yom Kippur
If you're not already very familiar with the commands concerning this day, please take this opportunity to read Leviticus chapter 16, 23:26-32 and 25:8-19. Please read Hebrews chapters 8-10 too. In brief, the promise of Yom Kippur features the provisions of atonement and restoration for the benefactors; the land and the people of the land.
When Adam sinned against his Creator, he brought ruin upon himself and upon the creation over which he had been given dominion. The curse was upon the land and upon its inhabitants. In order to "reverse the curse," God made provision through the outworking of the messianic plan. Restoration of what had been lost could only be make on the basis of atonement for the sin that caused the loss. This was first evidenced in the blood sacrifice necessitated as "the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21)
Yom Kippur both signals and signifies the great Jubilee. Atonement is both made and the result of that atonement is ultimately brought forth in restoration! The land will be restored and the people will be restored into the land. This is not merely a matter of motion from dispossession to possession. Far beyond that, it is a matter of a great renewal, of the coming into a possession of that which has been promised by a loving God in the pouring out of His love upon His creation. The mercy and grace evidenced in the outworking of this facet of the Messianic plan is awesome. Such a love as this is beyond my ability to articulate.
Lessons from Y'shua's Life
Those of you who are familiar with The Open Scroll should be aware it is through the pursuit of knowledge about the times and seasons of the Bible that the Lord gives understanding of such deeper things as these. Deep insight into the Gospel accounts of Y'shua's life often comes only upon consideration of when the events recorded took place. Although the "when" is sometimes declared plainly, it seems the "when" is frequently discovered only through the careful observation of subtle clues. This is indeed the case as we study Yom Kippur during Y'shua's earthly ministry.
Two major events took place on this day: Y'shua's baptism by John in the Jordan and His transfiguration on the mount. If you have not yet become familiar with the writing called, Baptism - The Prophecy, you may want to do so at this time because I don't repeat much if anything of it here. Consider it Part 1 of this writing. In it, numerous features showing Yom Kippur as the day of Y'shua's baptism are addressed. Additionally, you may want to take some time to read When Jesus was Baptized - The Celestial Signs. In it, two signs are addressed that were seen in the heavens on the very day He was baptized.
The Transfiguration on the Mount - A Snapshot of the Second Advent
This event is recorded in three of the Gospel records. Although it is conspicuously absent from John's Gospel you can go to the book of the Revelation of Y'shua HaMashiach to John to find an extended view. In Matthew 16, we find an account of this event that is commonly referred to as the transfiguration on the mount.
16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.'
17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun end note #1, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!' 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. 'Get up,' he said. 'Don't be afraid.' 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, 'Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the son of Man has been raised from the dead.
Note that the voice that gave honor and glory to His son is a feature shared with the baptism event! They are very closely related! Our Lord's baptism on Yom Kippur was a sketch of his entire first advent and here we see him in his coming kingdom, in glory on the holy mountain. The holy mountain is the Lord's Kingdom where he reigns as King of Kings. Notice we are told this happened after six days, meaning six thousand years of time; in the seventh day or millennium. Those men who accompanied our Lord were in a very real sense time travelers. Y'shua appeared to them in manner as he will appear in his glory at that time.
I believe those who were present each represent a people who will be with the Lord in His kingdom. Moses, Elijah, Peter, James and John, the brother of James. It seems likely to me that Moses and Elijah might have something to do with the two witnesses or Revelation and in representing the authority of the Law and the Prophets.
If you read and understand verse 28 of chapter 16, you see that the account that immediately followed in chapter 17 did indeed find some of those who were standing there, before they tasted death seeing the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
Before I knew when this event took place I used to wonder what Peter could have been thinking when he interrupted the conversation with the offer to build three shelters. (Greek "skene" - skay-nay') Since it was customary to begin building sukkah on the day after Yom Kippur in preparation for the coming holday Sukkot (the 15th through the 21st days of the seventh month) it seems Peter hadn't completely lost his mind. You do have to wait until Yom Kippur is over before you begin to build sukkah. end note #2 Peter was so terrified by the experience that he was a little disoriented, perhaps. He was just trying to be helpful, but it seems that it was an inappropriate comment. The voice from the cloud seems like a scathing rebuke, considering the source and how it came while he speaking just as Peter had interrupted the Lord's conversation. "Listen to him!" the voice said. Wow! From the account given in Mark 9, verse 6 adds, after Peter had spoken, "(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)"
Yom Kippur Marks the beginning of the Great Jubilee
Please observe from the following passage in Leviticus 25 how important the time elements are where the Day of Atonement is set forth.
8 Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. 13 "'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property. 14 "'If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other. 15 You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. 16 When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what he is really selling you is the number of crops. 17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God. 18 "'Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19 Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.
The Jubilee anticipates the great Jubilee, that glorious time when the people are restored to the land of promise and the land is restored to the people of promise in the seventh millennium. It's about liberty, about being set free from that which binds men - from the law of sin and death and the corruption effecting all creation. Daniel 9 speaks in this regard.
Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
The conclusion of all these things is celebrated in the Jubilee and that marked from Tishri 10 - Yom Kippur!
The blowing of the shofar, or, the ram's horn is a prominent feature of Yom Kippur and is that which proclaims liberty. The blowing of trumpets relates to angelic proclamations. They get your attention and they are meaningful. When you hear the shofar, your life should change! The concern on this occasion (that still today remains most solemn in orthodox Judaism) is whether one will "make the cut" through genuine "teshuva" - repentance. Its intent is understood to be to lead the sincere Jew to realize that his own attempts at holiness fall short and that he must then trust in the mercy of God if he is to make it. The symbol for the day is a gate in the process of closing. It represents the opportunity to pass through the gate, but only if one is sufficiently prepared. The tone for the day set by the synagogue services is that of time running out - the gates of heaven swinging closed. The Shofar is felt to mark the successful passage from sin into repentance, from death into life and into the liberty which is just the other side of the gates of heaven!
Have you read Hebrews 9 lately?
26b ... But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
10:1a The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves...
Within the context of Yom Kippur, this passage speaks of our Lord's appearance a second time - not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. This portion of the law that is Yom Kippur is a shadow of the good things that are coming. Indeed, on some future Yom Kippur He will appear to those who are waiting for Him. When the shofar blows on that day signaling the great Jubilee, voices will ring out as liberty is proclaimed for the land and the people of the land.
I can think of no more appropriate close to this writing than to ask you to read Psalm 105, and to simply offer Psalm 98 here. Shalom.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our god. 4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn-- shout for joy before the Lord, the King. 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
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1) Revelation 1:16 and 21:23.
2) "The most important ritual of Sukkot is living in a sukkah. The sukkah is a temporary structure usually constructed of four walls and covered with a roof of tree branches. We eat in the sukkah and some people sleep in it as well. The sukkah is constructed before the holiday, usually between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and is used for the first time on Sukkot eve." p. 126 The Jewish Holidays by Michael Strassfeld.