Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, a Biblical Feast Day

Yom Teruah has passed and Yom Kippur is right around the corner. There are seven feasts or festivals of Yahweh. These feasts are to be celebrated every year at the time God specified in His word. The last three feasts happen in the fall season. They are Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. These feasts are known as the “season of t’shuvah,” the season of repentance from all of our sins, transgressions, and iniquities and turning back toward the Almighty Elohim, agreeing to do things His way.

ADONAI said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Israel: The designated times of ADONAI which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times. The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI. You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before ADONAI your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.” (Leviticus 23:1-2, 27-32 CJB)

On the tenth day of this seventh month you are to have a holy convocation. You are to deny yourselves, and you are not to do any kind of work; but you are to present a burnt offering to ADONAI to make a fragrant aroma: one young bull, one ram, and seven male lambs in their first year (they are to be without defect for you), with their grain offering, fine flour mixed with olive oil, six quarts for the bull, four quarts for the one ram, and two quarts for each of the seven lambs; also one male goat as a sin offering; in addition to the sin offering for atonement and the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings. (Numbers 29:7-11 CJB)

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the second of the fall feast days and is also called the Day of Atonement, which is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It is the day of reconciliation with others and the Great I AM. It’s the day when God decides the fate of each person and whether or not their name should stay in the Book of Life or be blotted out.

Yom Teruah

Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) announced the coming judgment by sounding the alarm with the blowing of trumpets. For the next 10 days we are to analyze our lives for the past year (longer if we haven’t been doing this every year). Then we are to try to fix the wrongs that were made, figure out what we did wrong and how we can become better people in the coming year. We are to reconcile with those we’ve hurt and who have hurt us.

Ten days later Yom Kippur arrives. The number 10 represents divine order, which is befitting for this day’s arrival because that’s when YHVH makes His decisions about our lives. There are four specific things we are told to do on Yom Kippur: (1) have a holy convocation, (2) deny ourselves, (3) bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI and (4) do not do any kind of work on that day.

Have a Holy Convocation

A holy convocation is a set apart time for God’s people to come together and remember what God has done in the past. It is a time to rehearse what God will do in the future. It’s a time for us to commune with the Creator of everything. It is a time to study and get to know the Father better so that we won’t sin against Him. David gives us the answer as to how not to sin against Him.

How happy are those whose way of life is blameless, who live by the Torah of ADONAI! How happy are those who observe his instruction, who seek him wholeheartedly! They do nothing wrong but live by his ways. You laid down your precepts for us to observe with care. May my ways be steady in observing your laws. Then I will not be put to shame, since I will have fixed my sight on all your mitzvot. I thank you with a sincere heart as I learn your righteous rulings. I will observe your laws; don’t completely abandon me! (Psalm 119:1-8 CJB)

Deny Ourselves

This is a day of prayer and fasting. It’s a day of turning off the world and all of its noise and seeking the King of Glory with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. It’s about having a broken spirit and a chastened and humble heart. It’s not a day of complaining because we can’t eat. It’s about desiring the true King’s heart. Daniel shows us how to do this.

I turned to Adonai, God, to seek an answer, pleading with him in prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to ADONAI my God and made this confession: “Please, Adonai, great and fearsome God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot! We have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled and turned away from your mitzvot and rulings. (Daniel 9:3-5 CJB)

At that time I, Daniel, had been mourning for three whole weeks. I hadn’t eaten any food that satisfied me — neither meat nor wine had entered my mouth, and I didn’t anoint myself once, until three full weeks had passed. (Daniel 10:2-3 CJB)

Fasting is the quickest way to humble yourself before the King of all kings. It shows Him you are willing to put aside every earthly pleasure to seek Him and all that matters at that moment is Him.

Bring an Offering

When the scriptures tell us to bring an offering many people begin to twist the scriptures to make them apply to modern day living. God hasn’t told us to bring cash in place of the burn offering so there can be no substitute.

He also told us that there is only one place for us to bring the offering. Therefore, if the offering place doesn’t exist anymore then we can’t fulfill this part. So people try to nullify the whole feast day because this is impossible to do anymore. But does that mean we are to avoid this feast day altogether? Of course not! The significance of this day is too great for that. (We’ll get back to this in a minute.)

Be careful not to offer your burnt offerings just anywhere you see, but do it in the place ADONAI will choose in one of your tribal territories; there is where you are to offer your burnt offerings and do everything I order you to do. (Deuteronomy 12:13-14 CJB)

Don’t Do Any Work

This day is like Shabbat but with more emphasis. The other feast days there is to be no laborious (servile) work. However the Hebrew terms used here is “sabbat sabbaton.” It means absolutely no work is to be done! It is a complete rest. If it is possible to take a day off from your job or miss a day at school, this should be done. This should be a day of reflecting on God and making peace with Him, not worrying about what needs to be done at your job or how much school work you have to finish or what didn’t get cleaned around the house.

When Yom Kippur Begins

This year’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) begins Friday, September 13, 2013 at sundown and continues until Shabbat, September 14, 2013 at sundown.

Did Jesus Fulfill Yom Kippur?

Many people believe Yeshua (Jesus) did fulfill the requirements for Yom Kippur because he die on the stake and took our punishment for us. He became our covering; therefore, we don’t have to honor this feast day anymore. But is that the truth? I don’t think so. God told us that this day is to be kept throughout every generation. Last time I check we were part of a generation. The generations haven’t ended yet. Therefore, there has to be more to completely fulfill this day. The testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of prophecy. Prophecy is something that hasn’t happened yet; it is the foretelling of what is to come, not what has already happened.

I fell at his feet to worship him; but he said, “Don’t do that! I’m only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers who have the testimony of Yeshua. Worship God! For the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10 CJB)

Yom Kippur is the rehearsal for what most people call “Judgment Day.”  The day we get to stand before our Creator and King and listen to all the things we have done throughout our lives. Will we be ready to hear all the secret things we’ve done? Will our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds? Will we be able to say we have lived the best possible life we could, walking in the way Yeshua walked and living by what the Father said to do?

And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12 CJB)

Yom Kippur Video

While looking for a good video to help explain Yom Kippur a little more I found this one. I thought it did an amazing job in getting at the root of what Yom Kippur means. It’s an animated show, written and drawn by Hanan Harchol. For more of his videos, please visit Jewish Food for Thought. Please enjoy this video and let me know what you thought about it.

Yom Kippur Conclusion

In closing, Yom Kippur is a serious holy day and should be looked upon as such. It’s not just another religious holiday that we can celebrate if we want to or not celebrate if we don’t want to. This day is about getting things right with Yahweh Elohim, who was, who is, and who is still to come. We need to do this while it is still time.

Remember, learning more about the feast days and practicing them will allow you to gain a greater understanding of the scriptures, how God operates, and build a deeper relationship with the Father. If you are not sure whether or not you should honor these feast days, then ask yourself the question, “Am I a part of the Messiah?” If so, then yes. For a longer explanation, please read, “The Feast Days of Yahweh.”

What does Yom Kippur mean to you? How long have you honored this day? Do you and your family honor the feast days? What wisdom can you share with us concerning this day? What testimony can you share concerning forgiveness? Please share your wisdom below in the comment section. 

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