“‘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.’”Leviticus 17:11 NKJV
Welcome to the second Fall Feast, also known as Yom Kippur, which is celebrated on October 4th beginning at sunset through October 5th. It falls at the end of the 10 days of Awe–a time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Yom means “day,” and Kippur means “covering,” so this feast means “the day of covering.” As the holiest day of the year in Judaism, people celebrate with fasting, prayer, and repentance.
Atonement in the Old Testament
‘Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’Leviticus 23:27 NKJV
God can be in covenant with humanity only through a blood atonement. Each and every year, an atonement had to be made for the sins of the people, which required animal blood. On this most holy day, the high priest would take the blood of both a bull and a goat and enter through the veil into the Holy of Holies. Then he would pour out the blood on top of the Ark of the Covenant in which the Ten Commandments laid. When God saw the sacrifice, He would forgive the people’s sins for one year.
Fulfillment of Atonement in the New Testament
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,Matthew 27:51 NKJV
The animal sacrifice was simply a harbinger of the permanent sacrifice to come through Yeshua’s crucifixion. As Jesus shed His sinless blood on the cross, the veil in the Temple was ripped in two. No longer will mankind be separated from God. The blood of the Lamb of God paid the price for the sins of every person on earth. Now we can have fellowship with God and know Him personally through the blood of Jesus Christ.
He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.Hebrews 9:26b-28a NKJV
The Meaning of Yom Kippur for Christians
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
For Christians, Yom Kippur means a time to give special thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We remember His sacrifice on the cross, His suffering in our place, and His forgiveness of our sins. We rejoice in His precious blood covering that delivers us from sin, hell, and the grave.
A Joyous Prophecy for Israel
‘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. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.’Zechariah 12:10 NKJV
This prophetic aspect of Yom Kippur has yet to be fulfilled. What a glorious day it will be when the Jewish people will understand and know that Jesus was always their awaited Messiah. The veil covering their eyes of understanding will be lifted, and they will have a glorious and emotional reunion with the Lord.
The Book of Revelation also describes this future event prophesied by Zechariah:
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.Revelation 1:7 NKJV
Paul also predicts this future event:
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:Romans 11:26 NKJV
On that future day–not too far away–God will cover His Jewish people and bring His kingdom to earth where all believers will dwell forever with our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.
Dear Lord, we rejoice in Your sacrifice of sinless blood so we can be saved. Thank you for fulfilling Yom Kippur and being our permanent atonement for forgiveness of sins. We anxiously look for Your return and for the salvation of Israel. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Celebrating the Day of Atonement by Karen Jurgens Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved.
Referenced from Discovering the Jewish Jesus by Rabbi Schneider, September 2022 Special Edition