Before I go into the meaty message of Yom Kippur, I just want to give an update of what I’m doing. I’ll be out celebrating the Feast of Booths, or Sukkot, from this Friday until next Thursday. I’d like to have a blog post for this Friday, at least, with news related to my book. And, God willing, I’ll have something to share next Friday, as well! So, this is just to give you a heads-up in case you wonder about my absent Tuesday blog post next week. : )
Yom Kippur comes ten days after Yom Teruah/Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah. The atonement process in the Temple on that holiest day of the year foreshadows our Messiah’s sacrifice that took away our sins once and for all. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are “The Days of Awe” and they are days of repentance, because Yom Kippur is the day when judgment – life or death – is sealed. Likewise, we must repent before our redemption in Jesus/Yeshua. The Day of Judgment is also the Day of Covering … we will be judged and found worthy on Judgment Day if we are covered by His blood.
Yom Kippur had a past fulfillment in Yeshua’s sacrifice, but its future fulfillment is the Day of Judgment when the righteous will enter into life and the wicked into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).
Leviticus 16 describes what the high priest did in the Tabernacle on Yom Kippur to atone for Israel’s sins from the past year. The most salient parts of the service were the sacrifice of the two goats and the high priest’s entry into the Holy of Holies, which only happened once a year. The great, solemn holiness of this singular day foreshadowed the solemnity of the day that Yeshua gave up His life. The two goats were an unusual offering. They were identical; one was slaughtered, its blood used to atone for the people and the Tabernacle, and the other was sent into the wilderness, symbolically carrying away the sins of Israel. Likewise, Yeshua died and yet also took away our sins, as if He was the two goats in one.
This day of getting right with God must come before the season of our joy, which is Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur. In the lives of Believers, we can rejoice only once our sins are forgiven. Sukkot represents life in God’s Kingdom … which comes after we are sealed for life on the Day of Judgment.
I am constantly amazed by how the Biblical holy days teach us about Yeshua’s redemptive work! God is a profound teacher, revealing these truths centuries before His Son accomplished them … but they only became clear in hindsight. We are certainly blessed to see it all clearly now.
The main way Yom Kippur is observed today is by examining our deeds and repenting where we’ve sinned, both against God and other people. Too often we put this task off or don’t take it seriously, but this would be a yearly reminder to ensure that nothing has come between us and God or us and our friends.