Celebrating Yom Kippur with a Christian perspective
The official beginning of Yom Kippur begins tonight, September 25, 2012 and lasts through tomorrow, September 26th which is according to the Jewish calendar, Tishrei 9 and 10. It is a time for reflection upon the great mercies of our God.
The Day of Atonement was given to Israel as a means to have their sins covered on one special day of the year. Yom Kippur literally means in Hebrew, ‘The Day of Covering.’ This was the one day that the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices for atonement for the entire nation of Israel before God Almighty. God set in place what would be needed for the atonement of sins, and we find this in:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.
But the Day of Atonement was but a shadow of that which was to come, namely the final atonement that would be purchased with the pure and perfect blood of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. We find this in:
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
As Christians, we can celebrate Yom Kippur by acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ’s complete sacrifice for us, and that His sacrifice does not have to be continually repeated as we also find in:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The Scriptures detail that the nation of Israel was to fast on this day in order that they might show the solemnity of the day. The animal sacrifice was to remind them that the atonement for their sins was going to ‘cost’ the life of an animal so that its blood could be sprinkled upon the altar. Of course, this looked forward to the costly gift of God’s only Son who would lay His life down for the many.
In the book, “Walk with Y’shua Through the Jewish Year” by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro, they write about how modern Jewish Christians sometimes celebrate this day by taking their family for a walk or driving to an area where they can climb a hill. They make a list of the things that they would like to ask God’s forgiveness for, tie it to a balloon and then let it go, letting the wind carry it away. By doing this, especially for the children, it allows them to physically see that as the wind carries their sins away along with the balloon, so also does God cast our sins away, as we read in:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
If the family chooses to fast in recognition of the solemnity of the Day, then they prepare a meal and then celebrate the forgiveness of their sins by the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In any event, although as Christians we no longer have to sacrifice animals and sprinkle its blood to obtain remission of sins, we can still celebrate the day and acknowledge the goodness of God’s eternal plan of salvation through praise and worship to the Holy Father and His Son, our Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is that we have these great and precious promises that have been given to us as we read in:
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
During this day of reflection, here are some other Scriptural readings that can further enhance our understanding of what a great Messiah we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the morning you can read:
- Leviticus 16:1-34
- Numbers 29:7-11
- Isaiah 57:14-58:14
- Romans 3:21-26
and then in the afternoon, you may also read for further reflection:
- Leviticus 18:1-30
- Book of Jonah
- Micah 7:18-20
- Hebrews 10:1-14
May the blessings of our God be with you as we praise and celebrate His Son, our Savior and so this writer closes with Psalm 118, which you can read in entirety, but here is the last two verses:
Thou art my God and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever.