Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is a holy day established by God. The people were to approach Yom Kippur with humility – They were to see themselves as God does. For Jewish people it is considered the most serious and holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur was to provide an atonement for sin, including sins committed in ignorance. Yom Kippur foreshadows the second coming of Jesus
Yom Kippur means to cover, or cancel. Atonement is the reconciliation of God with sinners. It is both a solemn and joyful celebration. Solemn because we serve a holy God that cannot allow sin into His presence, and joyful because there is great joy in having your sins forgiven.
During Yom Kippur The People Were To:
* put themselves in proper perspective
* recognize their spiritual bankruptcy
* acknowledge their total dependence on God
* think about, acknowledge, and confess their sin
Yom Kippur Services
Today most of the Yom Kippur activity takes place in the synagogue. The people gather together for five services wearing white clothing. Many times these clothes are their burial garments. The men wear a prayer shawl. Each service has its own special feature. But all of them have a time of confession of sins. Many times the people stand for the entire service. Some Jewish people spend the night in the synagogue reciting the entire book of Psalms.
The afternoon services consisted of the people reading the book of Jonah. Jonah is a book about judgment, repentance and forgiveness. The book teaches that you cannot runaway from God and that God always accepts sincere repentance.
During one of the services the duties of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement in biblical days is recounted. The High Priest would remove his beautiful priestly robe, take a bath, and put on a plain white robe for his duties on Yom Kippur. Jesus also laid aside His royal garments and put on a plain white garment (burial robe / shroud) to come to this earth to perform the work of our High Priest. Just like the High Priest in biblical times, Jesus began His ministry with a bath (water baptism) also.
The priest would go to an area where there were two goats. One goat would have the sins of the people place on it and the other would be sacrificed. In biblical times, the High Priest was only allowed to go in the most holy place one time a year – on the Day of Atonement, where he would sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed goat on the mercy seat. On this day the High Priest had to wear eight different garments and make forty-three trips between the court and sanctuary.
Forgiveness Of ( Atonement Of ) Our Sin
Some Jewish people feel that prayer, repentance and good deeds are enough to gain atonement. As a Christian, we know that according to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for your sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away your sins! The majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Jesus provided atonement for each one of us. Through the sacrifice that He made, we can be reconciled with God. It is only through the blood of Jesus, not through the blood of animals. Yom Kippur is a wonderful time to pray for the Jewish people. We should pray for the light to come and the reality of Jesus, to enter their hearts.
Romans 10:1 NKJV
“Brethren, My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
Hebrews 10:1 NKJV
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”
Yom Kippur is a shadow of the sacrifice that Jesus made. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be forgiven.
Hebrews 10:4 NKJV
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”
The Good News Of Yom Kippur
The good news of Yom Kippur is that God provided us with atonement. When He looks down upon a believer’s heart, He does not see the broken Law. Instead, He sees the precious blood of Jesus. The ONLY blood that makes us clean. Christians know that Jesus has provided their atonement! Jesus’ death surpasses and replaces the atonement ritual of the Jewish temple.
John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”