THE DAY OF ATONEMENT AND ITS CHRISTIAN SIGNIFICANCE
by David Kiern
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is set apart as the most solemn of the Biblical Holy Days. In the days of the first and second Temple, the High Priest of Israel came into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur and made atonement for the Nation through the sprinkling of blood. The High Priest did all of the work while the people fasted, prayed and repented.
Today, there is no Temple in Jerusalem, scapegoat, blood sacrifice or Levitical High Priest, so the observance of this Holy Day looks very different than it once did. That said, many elements remain and are practiced by the Jewish people. God requires Israel to spend a full day in deep introspection, self-denial and confessing once's sin.
Whereas Passover is about personal salvation, Yom Kippur is about national salvation. In modern vernacular, it can be thought of as the original "National Day of Prayer."
Yom Kippur is observed by the vast majority of Jews all over the world. In Israel, an estimated 70% of Israelis fast. The normally traffic-heavy highways are virtually empty and most businesses are closed.
Many early Gentile followers of Jesus observed Yom Kippur. Luke writes that he, Paul and their companions kept the fast even when they were outside of the Land on their missionary journeys (Acts 27). Later documents show that hundreds of years after the resurrection, Believers were still keeping the fast.
The books of Hebrews and Revelation are packed with imagery and prophesies centered around the fulfillment of Yom Kippur, looking back at the atonement of Yeshua and looking ahead to His return to the earth.
Atonement for our sins is something every soul needs. The Apostolic Scriptures state that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," and "the penalty of sin is death." As Christians, we believe that since the first sin of Adam, only One has been capable of taking on the burden of our transgressions and washing away our sins—Messiah Yeshua. All of the blood offerings established by God pointed forward in time, toward the atoning death of the Suffering Servant.
So on Yom Kippur, Believers look back in remembrance of Yeshua's triumph over sin and death. But we also look ahead to the future! Here's why...
Unlike the Spring Feasts which were fulfilled during the First Coming of Jesus, there is an unresolved tension around the Fall Feasts. Their complete fulfillment has not yet come. Christians who fast on Yom Kippur look back at the atonement for sins made through Yeshua's death, and simultaneously look forward in faith that He will completely fulfill this holy day in His Second Coming.
How will Yeshua fulfill Yom Kippur? He will come again, bind Satan and completely remove the evil inclination from the hearts of men.
While atonement for sin was made at Golgotha, sin has not yet fully been eradicated on the earth. And while the King of Israel conquered death and rose from the grave, the Son of David is not yet ruling and reigning on the earth. Therefore, Christians fast on Yom Kippur looking both to the past and the future, longing for the King who will return and completely remove sin from our hearts forever.
When Yeshua returns and fulfills Yom Kippur, this day will turn from a fast day to a feast day, just as Zechariah prophesied:
"Thus says the LORD of Hosts, 'The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth month will become joy, gladness and cheerful festivals.'"
Together with the Jewish people, we look forward to that day. Shalom to you and your family!
JOIN THE 40,000+ LOVERS OF ISRAEL WHO RECEIVE OUR NEWS EACH MONTH
All subscribers receive product discounts, updates on the upcoming movie sequel and info on Christian volunteer opportunities in the Holy Land!