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Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

 

Introduction: Now that we will have been seriously contemplating the 10 days of Awe from “Yom Teruah” The Day of Trumpets/Shouting as a time of reflection and T’shuvah (repentance & returning) we will finally arrive at the most Kadosh or Holy time on the Hebraic Calendar. It is also called “Yom Kippurim” or the Day of Atonements or the day of Coverings so it is extremely important for us to consider why this day holds such a central place in the lives of Yisrael. 

Yom Kippur is also known as the Last Trumpet referring to the conclusion of the sitting of the heavenly Court when the final Judgement is given. We find Shaul (Paul) referring to it in the following:

 

QorintYah Aleph (1 Corinthians) 15:51- 52 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—  52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Shofar (trumpet).

If we consider the words of YHWH has holding great weight in our lives we dearly need to take note of this special day because it is clearly commanded by Elohim for all Yisrael to observe which surely includes all believers. It is a major Mitzvot (Commandment) being a most Solemn day for the people:

 

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 16:29-31 “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before YHWH the Lord. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls.  

Knowing its importance I would like us to consider how Yom Kippur in essence is a shadow of a desire for a more far reaching atonement and should be seen as more than just a yearly atonement of sins though that does not diminish the need thereof. 

 

We are all aware I am sure that this day was the only time in the year in which the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) could enter the Most Kadosh place (the Holy of Holies) but not without the blood of a sacrificial animal which he would sprinkle on the mercy seat and then come out, lay his hands on the Scapegoat thereby transferring the sins of the people upon it after which the Scapegoat was sent into the wilderness. 

 

The Purpose of Yom Kippur:

Apart from its purpose of cleansing the Sanctuary, the Altar, the Priests and the assembly we need to come all the way back to the Garden of Eden to discover an extremely relevant truth. When Adam & Chavah (Eve) sinned the following occurred:

 

Bereshith (Genesis) 3:23 So YHWH Elohim sent Adam out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 And he drove him out and he placed Cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.   

This is the picture of the fall of man when man sinned through disobedience and was sent from the presence of Elohim.  

The yearly recital of making t’shuvah or turning from man’s sins with repentance and actions resulted in the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) entering into the Most Kadosh Place (the Holies of Holies) with the blood of the sacrificial animal to make atonement for the Nation which foreshadowed the journey of manback into the presence of Elohim. We will see how perfectly this journey back to Elohim is wonderfully portrayed in the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) & the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) service.  

In the simplest form Adam was sent east out of the garden while the High Priest goes west into the inner Temple (Beyth Ha Mikdash). Just as Eden was divided into three so the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) also had three divisions. Eden had the Eretz (the Land), the Garden & the Midst of the Garden while the Beyth Ha Mikdash (the Temple) had the Outer Court, the Holy Place & the Holy of Holies. As Adam met with YHWH in the Midst of the garden so too the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) met with YHWH in the Most Kadosh place (the Holy of Holies) only once a year on this day. 

The concept of the desire to return back to the presence of YHWH is by no means new. We first observe this in Bereshith (Genesis) when we find Cain & Abel bringing sacrifices and Yahweh accepting the blood sacrifice of Abel. Where do you think the sacrifices were done? Was it not before the entrance to the Garden of Eden where the Cherubim stood with the flaming Sword? The is why also the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) went humbly to the Most Kadosh Place (the Holy of Holies) remembering this Cherubim that stood at the entrance to Gan Eden. 

 

Just as Eden had trees so too the temple had images of trees & flowers carved into its walls and Cherubim carved in gold on the doors. Yom Kippur therefore is looking back to Eden but prophetically it also looks forward with a hope of Yisrael once again able to enter the presence of YHWH for all time:

What we observe is that all aspects of Yom Kippur were shadows of what would be accomplished:

 

The First Yom Kippur

We are now reminded of the great sin perpetrated by Yisrael when Mosheh first went up the Mountain and Yisrael made & worshipped the Golden calf. We then find Mosheh returning up the mountain from the first of Elul for forty days interceding for the people while they used this time in T’shuvah & repentance:

 

Shemoth (Exodus) 32:30-32 Now it came to pass on the next day that Mosheh said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to YHWH the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Mosheh returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves an Elohim (god) of gold! 32 Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”

We find that the High Priest during Yom Kippur is doing the same when he enters the Most Kadosh Place (the Holies of Holies) with the blood of the sacrifice. He is interceding for the whole Nation of Yisrael.

However in these words Mosheh was surely a shadow of the Moshiach (Messiah) and how he would atone for the sins of his people. Prophetically this day looked forward to a day when transgressions would end and righteousness dwell in a New Heaven & a New Earth.  

 

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness

Yahshua in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 

As we consider the gravity of sin & use these days prior to the Day of Atonement to consider all our failures in the hope of receiving forgiveness it is a great moment to consider the work Messiah took upon himself on our behalf as the Cohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) with the purpose of finally putting an end to transgressions by his everlasting sacrifice:

 

Ibrim (Hebrews) 9:11- 12 But Messiah came as Cohen Ha Gadol (High Priest) of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect Mishkan (tabernacle) not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

For all who truly believe in Yahshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah) the knowledge of his perfect one time sacrifice should totally ignite within us a passionate desire to fulfil T’shuvah being a heartfelt return to him with repentance since our confidence rests solely in him and his sacrifice. 

To see how Yahshua is reflected in Yom Kippur should only heighten our desire to honour this day.  

Since Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) features as a means of casting the sins of the people on the scapegoat it is amazing how we find the Cohen Ha Gadol (The High Priest) taking the role of Judge & judging the Son of Elohim thereby casting sin upon him. 

YeshiYahu (Isaiah) 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”

Says Yahweh (the Lord),

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Just as they placed a scarlet cord around the neck of the Scapegoat so they put a scarlet robe on Yahshua as a symbol of sin. Even as Elohim gave the Kingship of the Earth to Adam so too Man mocked Yahshua and made him King of man’s world of sin. Just as YHWH made man in his image, now man makes Yahshua the true Elohim in his image the image of Sin. 

 

The Curse of Adam

In Bereshith (Genesis) we also read: 

Bereshith (Genesis) 3:17- 18 “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,

The symbol therefore of the curse was the thorns that were placed on Yahshua’s head since he was also bearing the curse of Adam. Yahshua the scapegoat therefore bore the sin & curse of man. 

 

Passover and Yom Kippur:

A rather significant question should now be raised. What is the difference between Pesach (Passover) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)? 

It is important to understand that at Passover the Wrath of Elohim was averted by Yisrael placing their trust in YHWH through the blood of the lamb placed on their doorposts just as a new believer comes to the faith and Judgement is diverted to Yahshua but all this came before the knowledge of the Torah at Mount Sinai with Yisrael just as it came to the New believer at conversion however upon revelation came the understanding that Atonement for sin needed to be made and so we come to Yom Kippur. 

Passover celebrated the deliverance from the slavery of Sin that left us blind and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) leads us to understand that the blood of Yahshua the perfect sacrifice for our sin was necessary. Therefore we know after being enlightened we understand how Yahshua fulfilled both the function to open our eyes to the judgement on sin for which he was judged but also how he made atonement for our sins with the foreshadowing of a final redemption.  

A New Beginning:

On the Day of Atonement there is this concept of a new birth like that which happens at the born again experience except that Yisrael would repeat this every year when all their sins would be atoned for. In fact the Hebrew word for Atonement is:

Strong’s Number H3722 from the Blue letter Bible

kâphar 

to cover (specifically with bitumen); to placate, appease, pacify, pardon, put off, reconcile. 

 

 

Much like a credit card that covers you until you can make the payment. Therefore we read that this was done yearly because it failed in the sense of cleansing permanently the person:

Ibrim (Hebrews) 10:1-2 For the Torah (law), having a shadow of the good matters to come, and not the very image of the matters, was never able to make perfect those who draw near with these same slaughter offerings, which they offer continually year by year. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 

This in no way assumes that the sacrifices were not acceptable for the transgressions but rather that the sinner still yet retained the heart to sin.

 

However Micah the Prophet gives us a promise:

Micah 7:18- 19 Who is an Ĕl like You – taking away crookedness and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? He shall not retain His wrath forever, for He Himself delights in kindness. 19 He shall turn back, He shall have compassion on us, He shall trample upon our crookednesses! And You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!

Yahshua was therefore the ultimate sacrifice that would perfectly atone once and for all for the people of YHWH as we read in:

GalutYah (Galatians) 3:13 Our beloved King Messiah redeemed from the curse of constantly keeping the whole Torah (Law) having become that curse for us- for it has been written. “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.” (Devarim/ Deuteronomy 21:23) (Kings Covenant Version)

 

The Unveiled Truth:   

  1. The Work of the High Priest on Yom Kippur therefore was a picture of returning and drawing near to the presence of YHWH through the blood sacrifice which can only be perfectly obtained through the Atoning blood of Yahshua. 
     
  2. Since we are in Yahshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah) we can be totally confident that the one time sacrifice of Yahshua’s blood has fully atoned for all our sins. With that confidence we should be ignited with great passion to continue the journey of T’shuvah or the returning to obedience to the Covenant with repentance since Yahshua has promised us Divine help through the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit).
     
  3. Both Pesach and Yom Kippur picture redemption through the shed blood of Yahshua; Passover being the deliverance from the bondage to sin and the rudiments of this world. Passover therefore symbolizes the first steps a new believer takes when coming out of spiritual Mitzrayim (Egypt) and accepting Yahshua, the Lamb of YHWH, as one’s deliverer and Master.
     
  4. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, pictures the blood of the Lamb covering over the corporate sins of the nation of Yisrael. 
     
  5. Yom Kippur also prophetically points to the time when Yahshua will return to the earth to initiate the final regathering of lost Yisrael, and to prepare to marry his bride, redeemed Yisrael. Yom Kippur doesn’t focus so much on leaving Mitzrayim (Egypt), but rather on YHWH’s people preparing to enter the millennial kingdom under Messiah’s rule therefore having the hope of entering his presence to be Echad (One) with him.

 

The Final Haunting Question Remains:

In considering the gravity of Sin and how Kadosh (Holy) Yahweh & his son Yahshua are we must ask ourselves:

Have I shown through my T’shuvah sufficient honour for the exceedingly great sacrifice that my Adon (Master), my Melek Ha Olam (eternal King) & Elohim suffered in giving his life so that I may have Eternal life.  

Amein!


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