Yom Kippur begins at sunset Tuesday, September 22, 2015.
Yom Kippur is the holiest day for Jewish People, whether in Israel or scattered throughout the world. For Messianic Jews, it holds the deep meaning of Yeshua as our atoning sacrifice.
“The Fall Feasts and the Messiah,” by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year – a solemn time of acknowledging sins and seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy. Translated into English as the “Day of Atonement,” Yom Kippur was the only time of year the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place of the Temple to atone for his own sins as well as for the sins of the entire nation of Israel. This was done by sacrificing a bull and a goat and sprinkling the blood of these animals on the mercy seat of the Arc of the Covenant.
Also on this day, two goats were brought before the High Priest of Israel. He would lay hands on them and symbolically transfer the sins of the people into them. The first one was the sacrifice – the one that provided atonement for the people’s sins. The second, however, was the scapegoat. This one was released into the wilderness to wander and eventually die, removing sin from the camp. The blood of the first goat brought forgiveness. The second brought sanctification.
I want to mention two important points here. First, sacrifices under the Mosaic covenant only covered sin, whereas the atonement of Yeshua removes sin. Second, substitutionary atonement was not provided for sin requiring the death penalty. Under the Law of Moses there was no atonement for intentional sins such as adultery or murder. In other words, they had to pay with their own lives.
I want to emphasize also that the shedding of blood has always been required for the forgiveness of sin, and it always will be. That is why Yeshua the Messiah had to die and shed His blood for us. That is the good news. We have a Redeemer who exchanged His blood for ours. The debt we owe, for both intentional and unintentional sins, was paid by Yeshua through His death on the tree. All we have to do is accept His sacrifice on our behalf.
For Messianic Jews, Yom Kippur has a special meaning, knowing that the sacrifice instituted by God ages ago to be observed year after year reveals man’s need for a complete sacrifice, covering all his sin and eternally. God provided that for us in Yeshua.
Yom Kippur also looks forward to the day foretold in Bible prophecy by Isaiah when “the Redeemer will come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20), by Jeremiah, who said, “they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest” (Jeremiah 31:34), and the prophecy by Zechariah says, “they will look upon the One they have pierced and mourn for Him as if mourning for a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:10). Yom Kippur will reach its fulfillment when Yeshua is recognized as King of the Jews, King of Israel, King of kings, and Lord of lords. This will be the day when “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). I long for this day, as I know you do. I believe it is coming soon.
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