Yom Kippur means “the day of Atonement”. It is essentially the most important holy day of the Jewish year. It occurs on the tenth day of Tishri (ten days after Rosh Hashanna).
Traditionally, most Jewish observers set aside work on this special day, attend a synagogue service and respectfully refrain from food by fasting.
This day is the pinnacle of somber period of reflection over the sins made during the past year. It is essentially, the last day for man to appeal to God and seek repentance for the offences committed to others (and to God), to make amends with God (and your fellow man), and to ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy by granting you another healthy year.
Many Jewish observers respectfully wear the color white to outwardly symbolize their hearts, actions and attitudes becoming pure from sin as they chose to repent and turn away from it.
We, as Messianic believers in Christ, do not have to wait for a special day to ask for God’s mercy and appeal to His forgiving nature. Everyday is a new day and a fresh start.
Because of Jesus becoming the sacrificial lamb for our sinful natures, He has washed our sins away and we are seen as pure white in the eyes of God. In John 1:29 it says:
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
This LAMB was named JESUS.
Jesus Himself was also described in the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”
We see the fulfillment of this very prophecy when Paul describes Jesus’ death at the cross: Acts 8:32
“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was Led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before His shearer, so opened he not His mouth.”
In Isaiah 7:14 it was prophesied:
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
In Matt. 1:18-25 we see the fulfillment of this very prophesy:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But, while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall shave His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord bidden him, an took unto him his wife.”
Through Christ, the direct relationship between God and man has been restored. Unlike the days of Moses, when the Israelites chose to have a mediator between God and themselves, Christ, through His shed blood, has become the mediator that has absorbed all judgment upon His own body, for our sins.
Yom Kippur is a wonderful time of year to reflect on how one can become more like Christ. One can reflect on the past year and ask the Lord to change not only the outward actions, but the inward motivations for those actions.
The rejection of Jesus throughout the ages by the Jewish nation has become a taboo topic. For this very reason, many men have died and suffered. The Jewish nation rejecting the Messiah is actually very the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:1, 3. It says:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom it’s the arm of the Lord revealed? He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised and we esteemed Him not.”
Another prophecy of the Jewish nation rejecting the Messiah comes from Psalm 118:22:
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.”
These fulfillments of the prophecies of rejection of the Messiah are revealed in: John 12:37-43:
“But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him; That the saying of Esias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, lord, who that believed our report? And to who hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe because that Esiaas said again, He hat blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him, Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
Although many Jewish people have suffered because of this rejection of Jesus, this actual rejection shows proof of Him being the Messiah that many are still seeking for. We should not be ashamed as a nation, but feel privledged that God has chosen us to bless the world with Jesus the Messiah. We should no longer hold onto the stuborn mentality that Jesus is the god of our oppressors, as the Messiah was sent to save the whole world from sin, not just people of Jewish heritage. The Gentile embracing of Jesus the Messiah is actually another prophecy that was predicted in: Isaiah. 42:1:
“Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon Him,. : He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”
There was another prediction of Jesus being embraced by the Gentiles in Isiah 49:1,8:
“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.”
The fulfillment of these prophecies are said in a short verse in Matthew12:21
“And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.”
Instead of embracing this time of year with sadness, one can celebrate with heart of rejoicing. God is a good God that wants to shape us to becoming closer to His nature. By us purposefully taking the time to reflect upon our mistakes, we are allowing those lessons to take root in our hearts and our minds. We can learn from those mistakes and they can be the very catalyst for change when we make the choice to not do what we have always done, (or seen our fathers and forefathers do), but chose a better way. Nothing good ever comes easy, and most positive life changes happen through tough circumstances. A repentant heart is one that turns from sin (and it’s destructive ways) and turns toward the heart and wisdom of God.
The Bible is not just a “good” book to live by; it is the guide to LIFE itself. As we celebrate Yom Kippur, it would be wise to rededicate ourselves to healthier living by carefully and prayerfully using the Bible as the life guide and tool that God always intended for us.
In Jeremiah 23:5-6 Christ was explained, described and prophesied:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby He shall be called, the Lord Our Righteousness.”
In Acts 2:36 we see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus Christ, the Son of God:
“Therefore let all the houes of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, who ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
As God’s chosen people, we have the privilege of not only introducing God’s ways of life and living, but also God’s solution to man’s sinful nature: Jesus.
We, as Messianic believers are thankful for the gift of Jesus. All of humanity who have accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God is actually free from condemnation! God has completely forgiven all who have come to Him, through Jesus. Celebrate every day that God has given you with a heart that wants to bless others, not to win God’s “favor” and mercy, but BECAUSE God is a good and merciful God and we want to be just as He is.
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan