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Religion
Holy Days

Yom Kippur

Adonai said to Moshe, "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."

-Leviticus 23:26-28

What does the name mean?

Yom means "day". Kippur means "atonement". So Yom Kippur means "day of atonement".

What's with the goats? (See Leviticus 16)

There is a difference between sin (chatta in Hebrew) and iniquity (avon in Hebrew) that can be summarized as "sin is actions, iniquity is imperfections kept inside". One goat died a painless, sacrificial death for sins. The other died a long, painful death for iniquity. Notice Isaiah 53 has Yeshua also atoning for both. In Isaiah 53:5 the Hebrew word translated "wounded" means a cut or break in the skin, as with sacrificed animals. The word translated "bruised" means "crushed, destroyed, oppressed."

The Talmud records two things that happened 40 years before the second Temple was destroyed. The first involves a miracle that was associated with Yom Kippur. A scarlet cord was tied to the wilderness goat's horns, then a piece was cut off and tied to the temple door. Each year, when the wilderness goat died, the scarlet cord turned white: a miracle showing iniquities had been forgiven. But 40 years before the second Temple was destroyed the scarlet cord stopped turning white. The Talmud also records that from that year until the Temple's destruction, the goat for Adonai always got the unlucky (left) hand when the lots were chosen: an omen of rejection.

The wilderness goat died, leaving the iniquities in the wilderness. Yeshua took our iniquities to Sheol. (See Revelation 1:18.)

How has this day been involved in prophecy?

This day foreshadows the Day of Judgment at the end of this age. Currently God respects mankind's free will completely, which means evil must be allowed to flourish. But the day will come when evil will end. Then the books from the Yom Kippur of each year will be opened, and final judgment made.

At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book. Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence. But those who can discern will shine like the brightness of heaven's dome, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

-Daniel 12:1-3

Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 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. The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh'ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done. Then Death and Sh'ol were hurled into the lake of fire. This is the second death--the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire.

-Revelation 20:11-15

How do we celebrate Yom Kippur?

This is a day begun in great solemnity as we conclude ten days of repentance, but ended with great joy as atonement is made for the priest, the temple, and the community.

In Leviticus 16, the high priest first made atonement for personal sin. Repentence is still a valid issue for believers : we are told to examine our hearts at the Lord's Supper (First Corinthians 11:27-32, 1 John 1:9). As believers we still need introspection and repentance. We should start the day with these.

The high priest next made atonement for the tabernacle. Numbers 18 tells us that the priesthood bore the iniquity of the tabernacle and its equipment. But those earthly items still needed atonement yearly in order to be fit for God's dwelling. This day teaches that even though Yeshua bears our iniquity (Isaiah 53:6) we still need to make atonement to allow the presence of God to more greatly fill us (First Corinthians 3:16 calls our bodies the current temples of God).

The high priest then interceded for God's forgiveness upon the community. Pray for the communities to which you belong. For examples of intercession read Exodus 32:11-14, Daniel 9:2-19, Isaiah 58, Ezra 9:1-6, Romans 8:26, Hebrews 7:25.

The Hebrew word for "repentance" is teshuvah, meaning "turning [to God]". Although all ten Days of Awe are times of teshuvah (indeed, the entire year should be), the evening and morning of Yom Kippur have the most intense times of the year of considering what teshuvah really is, and doing teshuvah.

Since Jewish believers are part of the covenant of Sinai, a Messianic Jewish congregation has a holy convovation, and encourages congregants to deny themselves (traditionally by fasting) and have a sabbath from work. Leviticus 17:8-9 tells us not to perform animal sacrifices without the tabernacle/Temple.