1. A Life for a Life
We are at the end of the High Holy Days – the 10 Most Sacred Days of the Jewish Year. They are also called the Days of Awe or [yamim nora’im].
They began with Rosh Hashanah (10 days ago). Yom Kippur begins at sunset this evening and continues thru sunset tomorrow. (Yom is the word for Day – and Kippur means Atonement)
Just how holy is “the holiest day” on the Jewish calendar? Even Jews who don’t believe in God, observe Yom Kippur “just in case”. More Jews attend synagogue services during these ten days than at any other time. It’s more than “tradition”. Historically, towns have used school absenteeism on Yom Kippur to measure Jewish population.
Yom Kippur is one of the most significant Feasts because Yeshua Jesus is everywhere in it. Plus, it gives us insight into the End times – Including the Second Coming and the Final Judgment. In fact, there is an interesting note about the other name of the High Holy Days – they’re also called The Days of Awe or [yamim nora’im] (ya-MEEM no-ra-EEM).
Curiously, “awe” isn’t the only meaning of the word “nora”. It also means Terrible! As in Joel Chapter 2:11, “…For the day of Yehovah is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?” These days are also the Tribulation. I’ll dig into that a bit later and see what they reveal for us about the end times.
In the Book of Revelation – When we first see Yeshua Jesus – He is wearing the white robes that the High-Priest wore on The Day of Atonement. This Feast helps reveal some of the symbolism and mysteries of the Book of Revelation.
Yom Kippur is also hugely significant because it’s all three Spring Feasts rolled into one:
- It’s similar to Passover in that Jesus is the focus of the sacrifice for all sin. It’s “a life for a life” transference of sin through confession and bloodshed. Keep in mind that Yom Kippur is the one day each year when the High Priest could enter in the Holy of Holies. He would go through the veil that separated the holiest of places from the rest of the Temple. The veil represented the separation between God and man due to man’s sin. When Jesus died on the cross at Passover, the veil in the temple was torn in two.
- It’s like His 3 days in the Grave/Hades because the entire day is spent fasting and wearing white (grave clothes) as if you are dead / or your life is hanging in the balance, and you are waiting in Abraham’s Bosom for judgment.
- It’s part Firstfruits because the scapegoat on Yom Kippur disappears from sight in the same place as Jesus ascended 40 days after He rose again.
As Christians we don’t observe any of the rabbinic traditions that come from the oral law. And since Jesus is the complete and total sacrifice for all sin for all time, our part in this day is really special.
Leviticus 23:28-32 tells us what God expects of us on this day: “You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom Kippur, [a day] to make atonement for you before Yehovah Eloha.” So, no work, complete rest.
God repeats that command, defines it, and repeats it a few more times: “…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…” So, no work, complete rest. He means it.
“…and you are to afflict your souls [deny yourselves]; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.” So, absolutely no food!
Yom Kippur is the only holiday that Fasting is explicitly commanded by God:
Leviticus 16:31 says, “It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.” Afflict [ʿānâ – aw-naw’] doesn’t mean to punish yourself but to be occupied with being afflicted or humbled (the root of the word means to answer or testify as a witness). It is your answer or testimony to God of your true condition – you have nothing to offer – no defense).
Traditionally it means to fast entirely or absolutely. It’s not a partial fast “of this or of that”, so not everyone can do that aspect of it. ***The Yom Kippur fast is never allowed to jeopardize health. Those too ill to fast fully are prohibited from fasting. Medications are allowed, as is small amounts of water.
So, summing it up, no work, complete rest, and no food. That’s our part of Yom Kippur.
In the Hebrew Torah Yom Kippur is written in the plural, Yom Ha-Kippurim (יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים), The Day of Atonements. Why? There are at least two reasons. First, Yom Kippur is written in the plural because it’s a Corporate Fast and Rest.
You don’t repent for your own sins or bring a sacrifice for your own sins.
Because you’re not fasting and resting for yourself, but for everyone. Just like Jesus on the cross!
The entire prayer of confession in synagogues is written in the plural.
WE have sinned…, WE are guilty…, WE have rejected…
We are doing what Jesus asked His disciples to do in the Garden of Gethsemane – to watch and pray.
Second, Yom Kip-purim has another meaning: A Day Like Purim.
I’ll look at Yom Kippur in that light, a little later.
2. Why Resting and Fasting
The most important part of Yom Kippur isn’t just resting and fasting, it’s understanding WHY resting and fasting is so crucial and significant!
Leviticus 16:29-30 says, “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall fast; and you shall do no manner of work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. For on this day [the High Priest] shall perform kippur (make atonement) for you to cleanse you of all your sins; you will become clean before Yehovah. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.”
The Day of Atonement is unique among all of the Feasts of Yehovah. During the Spring and Summer Feasts, God commanded them to: “Bring an offering”, “bring a sheaf”, “bring a lamb”, “bring bread…, etc.”
And in each of those cases, they were supposed to be looking at the lamb, or sheaf as the Messiah, standing in for them, representing them before Yehovah and paying their debt of sin.
But at Yom Kippur, everything takes the next step.
The rules changed; instead of bringing sacrifices, the sacrifices would be supplied.
Your job is: don’t eat, don’t work – what you need will be done for you.
It’s no longer about what you do or bring, it’s about what you don’t do, and what someone does for you. The High Priest does everything: he makes a sacrifice first for the priests and then for all the people.
The High Priest represents the heavenly High Priest Yeshua Jesus Christ.
Yeshua left heaven to be the sacrifice Lamb who would die for all the sin of mankind.
He alone made the atonement for all mankind.
Our Resting and Fasting on Yom Kippur represents that Jesus alone was worthy and able to do all we needed, while we couldn’t help ourselves.
The most important realization you will ever have is: You can’t do anything to fix yourself.
You have to stop, turn your eyes on Jesus, ask Him to save you from yourself, from your sin.
That is the only atonement for sin which, otherwise, will lead each of us to judgment, death, and hell.
Judgment Day came when Yeshua Jesus came for us. Justice was served to Him for us through His sacrificial offering for our sins. And now our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Leviticus 17:11 is clear, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” It’s really clear: No blood – No Atonement!
And this is why we need to pray for those Jews who don’t follow Yeshua Jesus.Those who try to bypass the cross of Jesus won’t find atonement for their sins. They mourn the loss of the Temple which eliminated their ability to make sacrifices. But their real problem is much deeper.
Over the last 2,000 years the rabbis of the Pharisee Party who rejected Yeshua Jesus as Messiah and arranged His crucifixion have created countless traditions of works to take the place of the blood of atonement.
They’re trapped in the most treacherous of lies, that they will be judged in the scales of good and evil, so they must avert an evil decree by various good works and human energy. They pray and ask forgiveness for their sins, and then try to earn that forgiveness so their names will be written in the Book of Life.
So, they celebrate every Feast from Spring through Fall in obedience to God but neglect the one obedience that actually matters the most. In John 14:6 Jesus is talking to His disciples, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”
As Christians we don’t observe any of the rabbinic traditions that come from the oral law. Those who are still trapped in the rabbinic, orthodox, and other subgroups of religious Judaism have no idea who Yeshua Jesus was and is or that He is their Messiah. Most Jews fled the harsh legalism of Modern Judaism that robbed them of knowing God, or even speaking His name “Yehovah” which is written in their scriptures 6,828 times.
They are trying to atone for disobedience and for the lack of obedience with empty ritual.
They hope to somehow “make reparations”, to “suffer some punishment or penalty” to settle their debt so their names are written in the Book of Life and sealed forever.
There is a biblical picture of what happens to those who reject Yehovah and Yeshua as High Priest. It’s the story of Korah and his followers in the desert.
He challenged God’s right to declare who could serve as High Priest. He didn’t want to follow Moses. And that turned out to be a bad decision. He and his family were swallowed up by the ground. It’s a picture of Hell and the lake of fire swallowing up those who refuse to follow Yeshua.
Sadly, the wounds of so many Jews continue to rob them of a relationship with the One who loves them most; the majority of Jews consider themselves Jew-“ish” and many are now atheists.
The Day of Atonement alternative is in Hebrews 9:11-15 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
3. How Do We Rest & Fast?
The Day of Atonement is what we call the end times Judgment Day. One day we will all stand before God and He will ask, “Did you do justly, did you love mercy, and did you walk humbly with Me? But there is one more question that is infinitely more important because the life and death of each of us hang on it. That question is “Do I know you and do you know Me?” Everyone, Jew, and Gentile needs Jesus if they are to know peace at the final judgment.
The Jews are pleading for mercy from judgment – Jesus took our judgment on Himself.
We can’t become right with God (righteous) from what we do or even obedience to the law.
Righteousness comes by faith. Trusting in Jesus to remove our sin – to be in charge of us – we rest in confidence.
This resting is encountering Christ intimately – becoming one with Him and His will.
In Colossians 2:16-17 Paul says, “Don’t let any man judge you in respect to holy days, new moons, Sabbath days:
Which are all a shadow of things to come; for the substance is of Christ.”
In other words, the Sabbath days and Feast Days are just a shadow of things still to come.
Substance creates a shadow. The substance is Jesus. Sabbath days and Feast Days were all looking forward to Jesus who would bring rest.
When we take the day off from all labor – we are providing a testimony for God, for ourselves, and everyone else. What is the testimony? That we completely rely on God for every breath and for eternity.
Rosh Hashanah was when God created man. 10 days later – Yom Kippur was probably the Fall of Man. This was the day that Adam missed his appointment with God (to walk in the cool of the day).
This was the day God killed animals to make skins for Adam and Eve.
Why do we to Fast – because we have learned from the failure of Adam and Eve.
We are choosing not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge as we return to the Garden spiritually to start anew our walk with God.
How do we Rest? (In Hebrew sleep or rest is the same word for dead).
Resting represents death so we wear white to represent death – (to symbolize a white burial shroud) to “live all day” as if they were dead (the dead don’t eat – so fasting makes sense).
Burial Clothes Have No Pockets (no possessions can be taken – only the Word and good works). Erev [the evening of] Yom Kippur is the only night of the entire Jewish calendar when a tallit (prayer shawl) is worn in the evening. One of the fringes (tzitziot) is cut off – it represents the law – the dead are no longer under the law.
Other Jews wear white to humble themselves before God and as a reminder that they are mortal. And they believe that final judgment is coming so they want to feel the awe and fear of their lives hanging in the balance.
As Christians, we wear white because we will all die – but we will be clothed in white robes of righteousness, and white for our marriage to Yeshua our Bridegroom, and white while we ride on white horses with Jesus to bring the sword of His judgment.
It’s the only holiday that Fasting is explicitly commanded by God
The Jews of course go a bit further: they abstain from food and drink, don’t bathe, or anoint their bodies, don’t wear leather shoes, and abstain from marital relations.
Traditionally they have a big meal on the eve of Yom Kippur (tonight) and then one following Yom Kippur (tomorrow night), and you wish everyone present a Tzom Kal – an “easy fast.”
Sadly, for the Jews it’s not a day of rest but of even more religious service. Most of Yom Kippur is spent at the synagogue praying and listening to chants.
Yom Kippur is the only Jewish Holiday that requires five separate services for the observant Jew to attend!
They believe it is your last chance to change the judgment of God and to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.
Isaiah 58 describes what God calls fasting on a Holy Day:
“Turn away your foot from doing your pleasure on My holy day. Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of Yehovah honorable. Honor Him by not doing your own ways Nor finding your own pleasure – Nor speaking your own words.”
Isaiah 58 also describes what God calls fasting on an Ordinary Day:
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness
To undo the heavy burdens; To let the oppressed go free.
To break every yoke; To share your bread with the hungry.
To bring to your house the poor who are cast out.
When you see the naked, to cover him; To not hide yourself from your own flesh.”
Jesus said that He came not to do His own will, but the will of His Father.
He fasted from His glory and heaven, to come to serve and not to be served.
This is an example to us – We fast – deny ourselves – so that we can grow in the desire to serve others.
4. The Life Is In The Blood – 1 Bull & 2 Goats
God told Moses, “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” Leviticus 17:11
The Hebrew word that has been translated “life” (nephesh) is the word for soul, which means God sees our sin “in our blood.”
We also see that through confession, sin can be transferred to an innocent substitute, specifically to its blood since that is where the life (the soul) abides. This prefigured the substitutionary death of Jesus for sinners. Notice the sin was transferred to the blood and the blood was poured, sprinkled, and wiped on all over the sanctuary, to transfer the “sin” to the sanctuary. So, the sanctuary “accumulated” the sins of the people.
“Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the priest would “make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” (Leviticus 16:16).
Yom Kippur was the only time the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies.
The High Priest sacrificed a Bull that would cover the sins of the priesthood.
Leviticus 16:6 tells us, “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.”
He would be totally covered in blood from making the sacrifice.
Then he would go through the [parokhet – פרוכת] veil or curtain) that separated the holiest of places from the rest of the Temple. The word [parokhet] is derived from the root [perek – פרך] which can mean to break apart or to fracture, but also rigor and severity.
The veil represented the separation between God and man due to man’s sin. Jesus was and is the veil, so when He died on the cross for sin, which separated us from God, the veil (His body) was torn.
Then he went into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood on the cover of the ark, the [kapporet] or Mercy Seat. Kapporet is related to Kippur – it’s translated purge, atone, expiate, and propitiate.
Essentially, it’s the cross. It’s the paying of a ransom to redeem; or “to atone by offering a substitute.” The “blood of life” of an innocent animal was required in exchange for “the blood of life” of a guilty person. A sacrifice was required.
The priest entered with incense before him as he approached the Mercy Seat and sprinkled the blood on it and then on the altar outside to cleanse it.
After the Bull, he would take 2 goats to cover the sins of the people:
“Then he is to take the two goats and present them before Yehovah at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats – one lot for Yehovah and the other for the scapegoat.” Leviticus 16:7-10, 21-22
The High Priest put both his hands into a wooden case, and took out two labels, one inscribed “for Yehovah” and the other “for absolute removal” (or “for Azazel”).
“Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to Yehovah and sacrifice it for a sin offering.”
Yehovah’s Goat symbolized Christ, who took upon Himself the penalty for our sins. Our sins have been transferred from our soul to His, He has died for those sins, and the sinner is judged to be perfect as if he had never sinned.
The High Priest would go again through the veil that and sprinkled the blood of the goat on the Mercy Seat.
The rabbis agree that the priest’s motion should be “ke-mazlif” (כמצליף), or “As If They Were Whipping Someone”. Here is how it is written in the Mishna and the Babylonian Talmud: “The motion is once upwards and seven times downwards, aiming to sprinkle neither upwards nor downwards but kemazlif [making the movement of swinging a whip]”.
Some have suggested that originally it was the word “ke-matzliv” – “Like A Cross”, instead of like a whip, but the obvious implications of this were too much for the Jewish sages and it was changed to “ke-mazlif” instead.
And now onto the 2nd goat: “But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before Yehovah to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites —all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place.”
In time, the Jewish people became concerned that the goat would find its way back into the camp and bring back the sins of the nation.
So, to ensure that the sins carried away by the scapegoat could never return to them, from then on the scapegoat was led up to a steep cliff and thrown down. So, in the end, both goats died so that the people’s sins would be forgiven.
The Talmud (ib. 39a) states that: A strip of scarlet-dyed wool was tied to the head of the scapegoat which would turn white as soon as the goat was thrown over the precipice as a sign that the sins of the people were forgiven.
Isaiah 1:18 was the inspiration, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says Yehovah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
In fact, there was a big change following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
5. Everything Changed
In the last break I told you that a strip of scarlet-dyed wool was tied to the head of the scapegoat which would turn white as soon as the goat was thrown over the precipice as a sign that the sins of the people were forgiven.
Beginning with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the strip of scarlet-dyed wool that was tied to the head of the scapegoat never again turned white as a sign that the sins of the people were forgiven.
The Talmud bears record to a spiritual decay among the people, such that murders became so widespread that the Sanhedrin ceased to adjudicate capital crimes such as homicide.
The miracle of the strip turning white was to show them (and us) that if “we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive them.” When Jesus died on the cross it tore the curtain forever and a permanent sacrifice was made and accepted for everyone forever
Jesus wasn’t “just another sacrifice” for the sins of man. Hebrews 9:24-26 described the incomparable effect of His sacrifice: “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
But the scarlet strip no longer turning white wasn’t the only change. There were four others simultaneously. Orthodox Judaism records in Tract [Yoma 39] of the Talmud that from 30 AD [That was when Jesus was crucified] until 70 AD [That was when the temple was destroyed], God no longer accepted the animal sacrifices commanded for the Day of Atonement. (so first the scarlet strip change and then the animal sacrifice rejection – that’s two changes.)
The third had to do with the casting of lots. Remember, the High Priest would cast lots for the two goats. One lot was for the goat to be sacrificed on the altar for God and the other was for the scapegoat cast out into the wilderness for the removal of sins.
As the Priest cast the lot, if he found it in his right hand it was a good omen, indicating that God had accepted the sacrifice. However, if the High Priest drew it in his left hand, this indicated God’s displeasure and even rejection of the sacrifice.
During the tenure of Shimon Ha’Tzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest’s right hand…but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest’s right hand at all.
The same result for 40 years. A lot cast into the left hand, carries a statistical probability of over 1 in a trillion chance! That 3 changes.
The 4th change was the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum normally burned continually [as a sign that God’s presence rested upon the nation]. During those same 40 years, the lamp did not burn continually.
And number 5, also during the tenure of Shimon Ha’Tzaddik, the fire on the arrangement of wood on the altar normally kept going strongly, perpetually by itself, such that the priests did not need to bring additional wood…But in the same 40 year period the priests could not avoid bringing wood to the arrangement throughout the entire day.
It’s clear that for Orthodox Judaism to make such notations in the Talmud dealing with the lot, the wool strip, the lamp, and the wood on the altar meant that they believed something of major significance had taken place which demanded an explanation relating to their most critical Festival sacrifice.
Changes to the lot, the wood, the wool strip, or the lamp would all have been considered a significant miraculous sign but taken together over the same 40-year period meant these events were impossible to ignore.
The 40 years were a period of testimony and testing for the Jewish people that the sacrificial system had been completed by the death of Jesus on the cross. 40 is a typical number of testing throughout the Bible. While animal sacrifices continued to be offered in the Temple while it stood, without intending to, the Talmud offered historical support for the significance and reality of the death and resurrection of the Messiah.
Apparently, God had established several obvious signs relating to the High Priest’s actions that everyone could see to know if their sins were forgiven. It was clear that after the death of Jesus, the sacrificial system was no longer accepted by God for the forgiveness of sins.
One of the more interesting signs included the garments of the High Priest. After completing his sacrificial tasks, the garments of the High Priest were covered with blood (Leviticus 6:27). Only after this blood was absorbed did Yehovah accept the sacrifice.
One midrash said that as the High Priest hung out his garments, a miracle took place in which his garments turned from bloodstained crimson to white, bringing alive Isaiah 1:18.
Obviously, those who rejected Yeshua Jesus as their Messiah found themselves in a bad place, uncovered, unforgiven, unatoned.
It’s not easy for everyone to adjust to no longer having a temple to make sacrifices.
Among some Ultra-Orthodox Jews there is a custom or sort of “scapegoat” ceremony that is performed before erev Yom Kippur. In this ceremony verses from Psalms and Job are recited, then you swing a live chicken around your head three times and declare: “This fowl shall be in my place, it shall be my atonement, my expiation. It shall go to death, and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace.”
The person’s sins are symbolically transferred to the chicken, which is then taken to a butcher to be slaughtered and given to the poor for their Erev Yom Kippur meal. Jewish scholars explained that since the Hebrew word [gever] can mean both “man” or “rooster,” the punishment of the bird could be substituted for that of a person.
6. For Many Days
A prayer often heard at the conclusion of Orthodox Jewish services is called the “Ani Ma’amin” or,
“I believe.” The full prayer says, “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach; and even though he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait each day for his coming.”
Sadly, at His first coming, Jesus did not meet the expectations of the Pharisees, they rejected Him because they were jealous of Him; plus, they were expecting the one called the “Mashiach ben David”, who would rule on the throne of David, bring judgment to the wicked, and restore the Temple and the Kingdom to Israel. So, to this day, Orthodox Jews anxiously await the arrival of a Messiah, still believing he could come at any time.
Hosea 3:4-5 “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Yehovah their God, and David their king; and shall fear Yehovah and His goodness in the latter days.”
That prophecy speaks of a period of time called, “for many days” when Israel would be without a King, or Prince, or a sacrifice, or other religious articles — but that in the latter days (literally “the End of Days”) the nation will return, and seek Yehovah and the Messiah.
We are currently living in those “many days” and have been for nearly 2,000 years.
But this period isn’t the first time God had to play hardball with us.
East of the Garden
In Revelation 13:8 Jesus is called, “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”
10 days after their creation, the first Yom Kippur occurs. Sin happens and spiritual death happens.
But blood must be spilled to cover their sin. God doesn’t desire to kill Adam and Eve
At creation, they were covered in light or glory but now it’s gone so they are naked.
So, God makes a sacrifice. He places their sins on the animal and kills it to make them coverings with its skin. The Hebrew meaning or concept of that word covering is anointing.
So, He restores their anointing. With what? The blood of that sacrifice.
Without shedding of blood there is no remission or removing of the sin.
And then God casts them out of the Garden to the east.
The first animal was killed to make them clothes and restore their anointing.
Adam and Eve leave the garden clothed with that animal.
In a sense they are the second goat walking off into the wilderness never to return.
This is the next picture of Christ slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus will be called the second Adam and so is the first goat,
And on the Cross when He is slain outside the city, He is the scapegoat.
The Day of Atonement is closely connected to Ascension Day and have been since the beginning in the Garden.
On the Day of Atonement, the “scapegoat” was led through the Eastern Gate toward the Mount of Olives where it would disappear from view, as it fulfilled the removal of sins from the people. “He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place.” Leviticus 16
It’s the exact same path up the Mount that Jesus took with His disciples on the 40th day after His resurrection. Jesus climbed to the top of the Mount of Olives and Ascended into heaven, showing that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west!
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11
The last place He left is the first place He will return: “Then Yehovah will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley…” Zechariah 14:3-5
If you watch videos of Jerusalem this morning and then again tonight, you will notice that they will change from wearing all black this morning to all white for Day of Atonement services. But sadly, the only change for them – without Yeshua Jesus covering their sins – is on the outside.
The Day of Atonement implies that we need atonement, so what is Atonement?
A separation occurred between God, who is holy, and man, who was holy but sinned, and now needs a way to be reconciled to God. Adam and Eve’s choice to sin made everyone guilty before God, without hope.
Until God made a way. Christ, the sinless lamb, took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, that we might receive atonement for our sins and be reconciled to God. To accept His atonement for sin is to acknowledge one’s sin and receive His sacrifice. So, reconciliation is not only possible it’s called the Good News.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19.
7. They Will Look On Me Whom They Pierced
Because the Day of Atonement is a National Repentance and atonement, it’s believed that it will be the day in the end times when Israel will look on Jesus and be saved.
John 19:35-37 says of the crucifixion, “The one who saw it has testified to this, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. Now these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of His bones will be broken.” And, as another Scripture says: “They will look on the One they have pierced.”
In Revelations 1:7 Jesus is speaking, “Look, He is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him“; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” So shall it be! Amen.”
Zechariah describes a great war. And in chapter 12 the Messiah intervenes. This is all prophecy.
Zechariah 12.10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication then they will look on Me whom they pierced.”
It’s God speaking in the First person. This is Old Testament. So, we have to ask, “When did Israel pierce God?”
Of course, Isaiah 53:5 is very memorable in that regard. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
Back to Zechariah 12.10 “Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” It switched to the second person for they.
The word “only” is [yāḥîḏ (yaw-kheed’)]. It’s singular. But in every other scripture speaking about God, He is always Echad. Plural.
This word [yāḥîḏ] is rarely used. It’s used to describe Isaac at Mt Moriah. So, in that case the singular is correct.
But [yāḥîḏ] in Zechariah 12:10 is the only time this singular word is ever used to speak of God.
And it is speaking of the Messiah as the Only Son. And He is the firstborn son.
In Acts 2:36-37 Peter is preaching at Pentecost and seems to quote this verse which immediately leads to the conversion of 3,000. “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
And as you read the chapter you have to ask, “Why are they mourning?” The Messiah has rescued them. Again, this is Yeshua Jesus. They finally have seen Him for who He is. The Word made flesh.
Which brings up a side note; back on Rosh Hashanah I shared the story of the only celebration we have of the feast of trumpets, when Judah came back from captivity, Ezra gathered all the people on that feast day and read them the Torah. And their response was to mourn as one great people. And it was for the word.
And because it was Rosh Hashanah, Ezra and the leaders told them to stop and rejoice.
But it was also part of the days of awe. A national mourning. And it ended in joy. Possibly prophetic. Both times mourning for the word.
Just like in Amos 8:10-11, “I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, and baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only son, and its end like a bitter day. “Behold, the days are coming,” says Yehovah God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Yehovah.” And it’s worth noting there that the phrase “the words” isn’t a prophetic word of God, but just His voice, His nearness.
Then in Zechariah 13:7-9 you have the verses, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” says Yehovah of hosts [of angel armies]. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones. I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, this is My people; and each one will say, ‘Yehovah is my God.’” And it shall come to pass in all the land,” says Yehovah, “that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it.”
Then chapter 14 is the final war and victory and the New Jerusalem.
One final note. It was on Yom Kippur – every 7 years and 50 years – that the year of jubilee was declared with the blast of a trumpet.
8. What is Atonement?
The word Atonement is used a lot in the Old Testament for sacrifices that were made for the people to be holy before God, and thus at one with God. The New Testament uses the word reconciliation for atonement because that is the literal interpretation of the word.
Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion on us, and He will subdue our iniquities. Yes, You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
In Hebrew, mercy is the word [checed (kheh’·sed)] which has no exact counterpart in English.
It’s usually translated as mercy, kindness, or lovingkindness, but has a much deeper meaning. [Checed] is not used randomly of kind deeds, because it represents the attitude required when two people are in covenant. It contrasts man’s frailty with God’s steadfast reliability; though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still. The loving-kindness is wholly undeserved. God’s passion for righteousness is so strong that he could not be more relentless in his demand for it, but God’s persistent love for his people is more insistent still.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.” 1 John 2:1-3
Yom Kippur was the one day each year the High Priest could go through the veil to enter the Holy of Holies with blood from a bull and a goat to make atonement for all of the sins of the priesthood and people. The veil that separated the rest of temple from the holies place represented the separation between God and man due to man’s sin. When Jesus died on the cross at Passover, the veil in the temple was torn in two – eliminated!
As Christians, because of the blood Jesus shed for us, and His death on the cross at Passover, our sins have been atoned! As we repent of our sins and put our faith in Jesus, He saves us by grace through faith. We have a new destiny and a new eternity that are determined by our relationship with Him. We celebrate that awesome truth at Passover. So why do we need a Day of Atonement if our sins have already been atoned once for all? He said, “It is finished.”
His job was indeed finished on the earth, but the story isn’t over. 1 John 2:1-3 tells us, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.”
Did you notice that it said, “He is the atoning sacrifice”, not “He was the atoning sacrifice”? This is where the Day of Atonement comes in for each of us. The Spring Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Passover, and Firstfruits all deal with an earthly problem – the sin that led to death for man and eternal separation from God. The death and resurrection of Jesus completely resolved this problem for mankind.
Hebrews 2:14-17 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death…For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
But there was much more to the cross, the grave, and His resurrection that didn’t take place on earth. Many people believe Jesus only fulfilled the Spring Feasts when He came 2,000 years ago; they believe the Fall Feasts will be fulfilled in the End Times. That’s partially true. The Fall Feasts will be fully accomplished in the End Times, but they were already fulfilled with His first coming.
He was born on Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets. His ascension on the top of Olivet mirrors the scapegoat’s yearly disappearance from the same spot on the Day of Atonement. As to Tabernacles, in the simplest of terms, Jesus came to the earth as a baby and lived with us (tabernacled). John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling [tabernacle] among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Day of Atonement isn’t just “The Judgment Day” to come in the End Times, or an unnecessary extra day of sacrifice now that Jesus died on the cross; the Day of Atonement was fulfilled 2,000 years ago because the cross was the earthly part of the Day of Atonement. But there’s more to the cross then we realize. Sin and death were defeated on the cross for all mankind who would ever live who came to Jesus through His blood poured out on the cross. But how does His blood still do for us what it did for those alive then? We all know the reality of life after salvation – we still fall into sin – and sometimes leap into it!
Unlike the human priests who served at the earthly tabernacle and temple, the good news is that Jesus was alive yesterday, is alive today, and will be forever more, and so the power of His atonement lives on as well. Jesus continues to serve at the original tabernacle in heaven. Hebrews 8:5 says, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Hebrews 9:11-12 reveals where Jesus went when He ascended into heaven, “But when Christ came as High Priest of the good things that are now already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
Why do we need Jesus as a High Priest in the tabernacle in heaven? It’s probably obvious – but I’ll break it down next.
10. Why We Need Jesus in the Tabernacle in Heaven & The Jewish Perspective of Atonement
Paul breaks it down beautifully in the Hebrews 4:14-16, “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Why do we have hope even though we continue tripping over sins? Hebrews 6:18-20 tells us, “We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged…It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a High Priest forever.”
And because we do still sin after we have come to Jesus for forgiveness, 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [accomplish atonement].”
Hebrews 7:25-27 tells us that Jesus is, “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them…He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” And where does Jesus make intercession for us? According to Hebrews 8:1, In the heavenly tabernacle!
“We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected…” It’s always the “Day of Atonement” in heaven since Jesus ascended, because there is no passing of time there.
Ephesians 2:6 makes it even more exciting, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” The Day of Atonement is the day God has set aside each year for us to celebrate the breathtaking reality of this intimate relationship with Him! And our part in this day is really special.
The Jewish Problem of Atonement
On the Sabbath in Israel, everything shuts down. Absolutely nothing will be open. No Radio, No Television, No Cable; Even the Street Lights Won’t Work! How strong is the power of the law and the fear of judgment in Israel? 60% of Jews in Israel will fast for Yom Kippur. But only 50% say they believe in God or pray.
In the scriptures, blood sacrifices were the focus of all the Feasts, because “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” But with no temple, no priesthood, and no ability to offer sacrifices (since the Romans destroyed the temple in 70AD), the Jews focus on God’s commands to fast, rest, and repent to remove potential judgment.
But nothing has changed in God’s standards. It is still “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” So, religious Jews are just going through pious motions that have no effect on their sins. Instead of focusing on the blood sacrifice, their eyes are on their own acts of righteousness to honor God and get them to heaven. Which is the very opposite of the true meaning and purpose of the Day of Atonement.
Our own efforts at self-improvement will never lead to eternal life. John 5:24 reveals this, “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears My message and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has passed over from death to life.”
Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the 10 Days of Awe known as Yamim Noraim, during which they believe seal their fate for the upcoming year by determining whether their name continues to be written in the Book of Life.
The 40-days from Elul 1 to the Day of Atonement was the third time up Mount Sinai for Moses. He broke the first set of commandments when he saw the golden calf. He went up a second time to ask forgiveness for the people and then went up the third time to get the set of commandments that would go into the Ark of The Covenant.
This 40-day period is where we first hear about the “Book of Life” in Exodus 32, “So Moses went back to Yehovah and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” Yehovah replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
The Scriptures teach that all of the words we speak and the choices we make are recorded in “heavenly scrolls.” Here’s Daniel 7: “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”
As a result of those standards, Jews spend the Days of Awe in great reverence, aware of the holiness and judgment of God, causing repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and a focus on moral conduct. Then after Yom Kippur, for many, it’s back to life as usual.
But for all of us, the Days of Awe don’t just occur once a year; they are every single day of our life. And much more importantly, obedience is very importance, but that’s after salvation – blood is still required to cover our sin. So, all of their labor doesn’t actually get them into the Book of Life.
The same agony that Moses felt after the Golden Calf incident, is the same anguish Paul talked about feeling in Romans 9:3-5 “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen [relatives] according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came…”
11. The Heavenly Scrolls & The Book of Life
Jesus gave us a little preview of what is in those books in Matthew 12, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Jesus also talked about the books in Luke 10:19-21 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”
We hear about the Books again Hebrews 12:22-24 “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
The idea that our name can be blotted out after coming to know Jesus comes from the letter to the Church in Sardis in Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Revelation 20:12 tells us of the day these scrolls will be opened as a testimony about what we did with our lives, “And I saw the dead, both the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is called the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done”.
Later we learn that only those whose names were found written in this Book of Life would be granted access into the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:27, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
So, what is this Book of Life and how do we get our names inscribed in it?
The Lamb’s Book of Life is the record – the words and deeds – of Yeshua Jesus, the Lamb of God; it is the testimony of His worthiness – of His righteousness – and power to save to the uttermost.
Yeshua Jesus came to be our atoning sacrifice for sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (ἐν αὐτῷ) we would become the righteousness of God.” Notice, we must be “in Him,” that is, fully identified with Yeshua so that his sacrificial death becomes counted as our own.
Being in Him means that our sin is “imputed” to his suffering and death on the cross, just as His righteousness is “imputed” to us. The word for sacrifice in Hebrew is [korban] – This is the principle of “a life for a life” – the innocent sacrificed for the guilty. His death is “for you.”
The root of [korban] comes from the word [karov] which means closeness, or relative.
So, sacrifice produces closeness. The sacrifice of Yeshua Jesus eliminated the chasm of sin and death that separated us from God, and it produced closeness between man and God. He longs for intimate relationship with us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This is best understood through rest.
Why does God hyper-focus on rest? Because rest represents how God deals with our sin.
He deals with it from first to last. Our part is repentance – to stop the action of the sin.
And to stop heaping on guilt and to stop shaming ourselves. They are all actions. They are all work.
If you are in ministry, you owe it to yourself and your family to rest once every week. Sunday doesn’t count. It’s the busiest day for people in ministry. Warning! The Jews turned resting into performance. They literally turned rest into work.
They focused on how resting or “sabbaths” made them holy. But it didn’t. God made them rest so they could experience intimacy with Him in a place of no performance.
There a 2 Kinds of Rest: Literally & Spiritually
Literally – it means physically stopping what we do in our normal week of work
Spiritually – it means spiritually stopping by repenting. Not trying to bear the weight of our sin.
For the last few years, I have been mentioning how important the name of God is. And how greatly I despise the fact that English translators for over 500 years have been replacing His name Yehovah with the words “The LORD” in all caps. They are following a Pharisee tradition. The Heavenly Books are one more reason this is a bad decision:
This is Malachi 3:16-18, “Those who feared Yehovah [The LORD] spoke with one another. Yehovah paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared Yehovah and esteemed His name. They shall be mine, says Yehovah of Hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
11. The Picture of the End Times in a Feast
The Feast of Trumpets is most likely the Rapture.
The Days of Awe are most likely the Tribulation.
The Day of Atonement really will be Judgment Day one day.
In the Book of Revelation, the judgment is broken down into 7 Bowls, 7 woes, and 7 trumpets. So, you may wonder, if the Ten Days of Awe are the end times tribulation and judgment, then why isn’t it 7 days long instead of 10?
In Hebrew numbers are very significant and there are crossovers as to meaning.
3 means completeness and perfection – like the Trinity, time, matter, third day.
7 means perfect – like a week of 7 days – the number of days is perfectly complete.
10 means absolutely complete – 10 commandments.
The number 10 means order
• 10 fingers – nothing lacking
• 10 plagues fully judged Egypt
• 10 commandments sum up the law
• 10 righteous can save a city
So, since the tribulation is the final, complete ultimate judgment – it fills 10 days of judgment – but that can still take place over 7 years.
The translation of [yamim nora’im] (ya-MEEM no-ra-EEM) is normally Days of Awe, but “awe” isn’t the only meaning of “nora”. It also mean Terrible! As in Joel Chapter 2:11 “…For the day of Yehovah is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?”
1-2 “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of Yehovah is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.”
3-5 “A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array.”
6-9 “Before them the people writhe in pain; all faces are drained of color. They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down. They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.”
10-11 “The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. Yehovah gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of Yehovah is great and very terrible
Are they Days of Awe because the judgment will be so fierce it will leave everyone in awe of the justice and wrath of God?
The words great [gāḏôl – gaw-dole’] and terrible [yārē’ – yaw-ray’] show up a lot together.
Joel 2:11 “The Lord gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of Yehovah is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?”
Deuteronomy 6:22 “Before our eyes Yehovah sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.”
Deuteronomy 8:14-15 “…when your heart is lifted up, and you forget Yehovah your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock.”
The Ten Days of Awe (Great and Terrible Days) are also called Days of Repentance [Teshuvah]
The Sabbath that occurs during the Ten Days is called [Shabbat Shuvah] (Sabbath of Return) or Shabbat Teshuvah (Sabbath of Repentance). The prophetic scripture (Haftarah) is Hosea 14 which begins with the word Shuvah or Return.
“Return, Israel, to Yehovah your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to Yehovah. Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine – Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.” Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of Yehovah are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”
So, as you rest and fast, pray for those currently stumbling that soon their days may be awesome. Especially for those who don’t believe in God but observe Yom Kippur “just in case”.
12. A Day Like Purim and End Times Prophecy
In the Torah in Hebrew, Yom Kippur is written in the plural, Yom Ha-Kippurim (יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים), the Day of Atonements. Why? First, it is written in the plural because it’s a Corporate Fast and Rest. You don’t repent for your own sins or bring a sacrifice for your own sins.
Second, if you were to break the word Kip-purim in two between the two “p’s” it would be Yom Kip-Purim – that’s the other reason it’s plural – It has another meaning: A Day Like Purim.
Purim is the story of Queen Esther and her battle with the evil Haman, who nearly destroys the entire Jewish race in Persia. But God turns it around and Esther and the Jews end up “in charge” and Haman ends up dead.
Purim became a day of deliverance and salvation for all Jews everywhere. Likewise, the day Yeshua Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross at Passover is like Purim, because through Jesus, both Jew and Gentile were forever delivered from our enemies (sin and the devil). Purim was also a picture of the end times.
The scroll of Esther is definitely a foreshadowing of the great end times spiritual war, and the final victory Jesus brings. Esther is filled with shadows and types that point to end times prophecies.
Haman perfectly symbolizes the Antichrist; The closest word in Biblical Hebrew for “antichrist” is “tsorer” which is translated as “enemy”. Haman is referred to as “tsorer” four times.
Just like Haman tried to annihilate the Jews of Persia, the Antichrist will try to kill every Jew and Christian. Just as Haman wasn’t satisfied to only punish Mordechai but united all 127 nations of Persia in his evil plot, so the Antichrist will unite the nations to attack the people and nation of Israel.
Esther, who prayed and trusted God with her life, is the interceding Church.
Mordechai, who is the first person called “Jewish” would represent Jews who have discovered Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah.
Esther chapter 9 sums up Purim as, “two days on which they would celebrate in every generation, by every family, in every province and every city as if they were relieved of their enemies all over again, and their lives were transformed from sorrow to joy and from mourning to festivity. There should be feasting, rejoicing, sending food portions one to another and giving gifts to the poor.”
If it seems odd that Yom Kippurim – the Holiest Day – is considered practically the same to Purim – you are not alone!
Keep in mind that Yom Kippur is the one day each year when the High Priest could enter in the Holy of Holies. He would go through the veil or curtain that separated the holiest of places from the rest of the Temple.
That said – there are probably no two more opposite days in the Jewish calendar than Purim and Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur they dress in all white, fast from food and drink and lots of other physical pleasures, and instead devote themselves to prayer and repentance, in hopes that God will write their names in the Book of Life and rescue them from death.
Meanwhile, Purim is celebrated loudly in costumes with noisemakers. There is feasting and drinking, giving money to the poor, sending food to a friend, all because God rescued His people.
Yom Kippurim is “a day like Purim”. Purim is really all about atonement; Purim and Yom Kippur are days of deliverance and salvation. Both look back in history and both we are told to celebrate as if we were actually there, and it was happening to us.
Purim may very well be a reminder about another End Times Event: that our wedding day to Jesus is set, so that as we pass thru tribulations, we will hold on to hope knowing that even though evil threatens, victory is guaranteed. Purim takes place in Adar, the last month of the year. So, prophetically speaking, whatever it represents must be the last thing that is to happen in history.
There is always more than meets the eye when it comes to Feasts. In end times scriptures we are often called the Bride of Christ, and we are waiting for our Groom to come and get us and for the wedding supper in heaven (which is the Passover meal). And of course, there is the theme of white robes that runs through Revelation that points to our wedding.
One of the themes of the scroll of Esther is the wearing of royal clothes. Esther wears them to go before the king and is described as being “arrayed in beauty”.
When the king wants to show honor to the person who saved his life, Haman, thinking the king is speaking of him hatches a fantastical tribute that would enable him to wear the king’s robes.
And after the king appoints Mordechai prime minister, he appears in royal garments.
In Christ, we have been clothed with Christ, and His royalty and anointing has become ours.
Revelation 19 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” That is Esther on many fronts.
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” [Esther had 3 dinners] And he added, “These are the true words of God.” I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war…
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” The amazing surprise ending of the story of Esther is the ability of the Jews to take up arms against the cities who want to kill them.
13. Judgment Day (Unpacking Revelation)
John’s encounter with Jesus in the Book of Revelation takes place on the Day of Atonement.
Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet…”
The first thing John heard was a voice “like a trumpet”. The Feast of Trumpets announces the Days of Awe including the Day of Atonement. The phrase “The Lord’s Day” (i kyriaki imera) is a Greek phrase unique to the Bible. By the First Century it was applied to Sunday, but there is no Biblical reason to use it that way. The only day that Jesus refers to as His Day is the day of His coming:
“For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.” (Luke 17:24). “The Lord’s Day” may simply be another way of saying “the Day of the Lord.”
The Day of Atonement was and will be the Lord’s Day…it was a day of judgment, in which the true spiritual condition of everyone was revealed, and it will be when He returns to bring judgment to the earth and rescue His people.
This First Part of the Judgment is a Courtroom Scene for The Investigation
In Daniel 7:10, he, “watched till thrones were put in place… the court was seated and the books were opened.” Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.”
The same number of angels is present in the judgment scene of Revelation – “I heard the voice of many angels around the throne…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Revelation 5:11
In Daniel 7 “…books were opened.” In Revelation 20:12, “Books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”
Since Revelation is written in a chiastic structure, we can see the investigation in chapters 4 and 5 and then also see the verdict carried out by the 144,000 in chapter 14.
Another key symbol in the investigation phase are eyes: The Lamb Has Seven Eyes (5:6), and the “four living creatures” who are “around the throne” are “full of eyes in front and in back…around and within.” Revelation 4:6,8
Eyes symbolize Yehovah’s judgment and separation of the righteous from those who are not.
The “eyes of Yehovah” have two related functions: to watch and protect His children, and to discern the wickedness of His enemies.
“The eyes of Yehovah are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3
“The eyes of Yehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
7 Lamps 7 Spirits
“And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Revelation 4:5
Even while the judgment of the “Day of Atonement” is being carried out, the daily intercessory ministry of Jesus (the lamps, the bread, and the incense) is still taking place.
“He [Jesus] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Since the “seven lampstands…are the seven churches”, seven lamps show the presence of the Spirit. Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”, but while He is in heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirit to bring His light through the fruits and gifts of the Spirit in the lives of believers.
Do Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly
Ordinarily, the High Priest’s outfit had bright colors and a breastplate of precious stones.
But on Yom Kippur, the high priest was required to take off the glorious robes in exchange for simple, white linen garments, in order to go into the holy of holies.
He looked just like any other priest. This foreshadowed Jesus, our great high priest, putting aside his heavenly glory and putting on flesh to become one of us – and yet remaining holy.
The High Priest wore a crown of pure gold called a Nezer, which comes from the word “nazar”.
This word “nazar” means to dedicate, consecrate and sacredly separate.
The word “nazarite” (they vow to be separate from the world) comes from this root.
In 1 Peter 2:9, we are all called “a royal priesthood”, and we also are called to live a holy life, dedicated to God and separated from the world in our thoughts and intentions.
Daily, negativity, cynicism, and impurity are battling for our focus, so we will dwell on things that are depressing, impure and evil. But these thoughts must be taken captive before they get a foothold.
If we Crown ourselves with thoughts that are pure, then we will be changing the world around us.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
What does repentance look like? It is pursuing a deeper level of dedication and consecration. 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
I believe the most important message you can take away from this Day of Atonement is that God has called you to be part of a royal priesthood that is not only holy (separate) but is bringing life to the earth by sharing the Gospel with the Lost – to Bring Atonement to the World!