Every other Feast of the Lord, is just that…a feast.  Yom Kippur (literally “day of covering”) is a fast. Actually God didn’t call a fast, He said, “Afflict your soul,” but over the years it’s become a day to afflict the body.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:  “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.  And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.  For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.  And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.  You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening,  from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”  Lev 23:26-32

A TIME TO REPENT God provided this day for the nation to be forgiven of its sins through the atoning sacrifice.  But the rituals would avail nothing without repentance.  Repentance was the reason for the affliction of the people’s souls.  What does it mean to repent?  True repentance comes from the realization of the horror of sin leading to feelings of contrition, self-reproach, remorse and leads to a determination to turn from sin and turn towards God.  Repentance that doesn’t result in a change of behavior will not be acceptable before God.  As He said about Israel,

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men…(Isaiah 29:13)

Admittedly most Israelis, especially the younger generation, do not want to fast, but do so because of pressure of their parents.  Others tell me that they fast simply because it’s tradition.  My older religious neighbors continue to fast, and even attend synagogue, but have no  inclination to repentance. BIBLICAL DETAILS Chapter 16 of Leviticus describes in minute details the ritual performed by the High Priest on this most solemn day.  It was on this day and through this process that the sins of the nation were atoned for. (For personal sins, the sinner had to bring his own sacrifice to the Temple and by faith, transfer his personal sins onto the sacrifice.) The entire letter to  the Hebrews is based on this holy day, as the writer compares the insufficiency of the Mosiac Law to the New Covenant. There are two unique aspects of this day, the “scape goat” and the High Priest.

  • Actually there were two goats: one who bore the sins of the nation and the other carried them into the wilderness.
  • The rituals of this day could ONLY be performed by the High Priest who stood in the gap between Israel and God.

RABBINIC DISTORTION Today, without the Temple and rejecting the redemption provided by Messiah Yeshua, the rabbis have made a few changes in the holy day.

  • Traditionally the Jewish people fast from sun-down to sun down, thus afflicting their bodies but not necessarily their souls in repentance.
  • The focus is on individual repentance for personal intentional and unintentional sins.
  • The blood of a chicken is the suggested sacrifice…
  • Atonement through the blood of the chicken is sold for $5.00 (18 shekels)

YOM KIPPUR IN ISRAEL The more religious spend most of the day in synagogue which is always a short walk from home.  (Only a certain number of steps are allowed so it’s not considered to be “work.”)  But the majority of Israelis take this opportunity as family time. You will see whole families strolling along the streets… Yes I said streets, because cars are NOT allowed.  The entire country completely shuts down.  Children as well as adults take to the highways and byways on bicycles without fear. Another common sight are families spread out on blankets, appearing to be having a picnic, but there is no food. All in all, the atmosphere is one of  relaxation DESPITE the seriousness of the holy day. CHICKENS Chicken is the standard holiday fare, much like ham or turkey is in the States.  But since this is a day of fasting, the religious have found another use for the chicken….the sacrificial atonement. I’d heard about the tradition of the rabbis swinging a chicken over their heads and with its death, proclaiming atonement had been made.  What I wasn’t prepared to see however, was the religious standing in the shuk (outdoor market) with the intended sacrifice in a box and SELLING the opportunity for atonement. The going rate for atonement of sin?  18 New Israeli Shekel = $5.00 USD! FULFILLMENT IN YESHUA (see blog, “Yeshua IS Our Atonement”) OBSERVING AS A BELIEVER IN YESHUA       I am so grateful and agree with the Psalmist:

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)

At sundown tomorrow, all eyes will be on the next and final fall holiday, Sukkot…the Feast of  Tabernacles.  Soon we will see these brightly decorated “booths” on every patio and in front of most business establishments.

Yom Kippur (Part 2) – Fulfillment in Yeshua

Yeshua fulfilled or will fulfill every one of the feasts of the Lord.  Seeing Him in every aspect of Yom Kippur is easy; Yeshua is the High Priest and He is both sacrifices.

  • Yeshua was anointed and consecrated to minister in His father’s place to make atonement,
  • Yeshua was offered as a sin offering to be the propitiation for the sin of Israel and for the world,
  • Yeshua carried the sin of the world into an uninhabited place.

In every aspect, Yeshua Is better.  Let’s start from the beginning.


Aaron was not to come into God’s presence at “any” time and only with the blood of the sacrifice. (Leviticus 16:1). Before the priest could make atonement for the people, he had to make atonement for himself:

 Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.  And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. (Leviticus 15:3-6) For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins…For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Hebrews 5:13, 7:26-27)


On Yom Kippur there was a dual sacrifice for the sin of the people.

He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord atthe door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which theLord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.  But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:7-10) “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22)

Every year the same ritual had to be repeated because the blood of bulls and goats could only cover the sin of the people, it could not completely purge or atone.  Yeshua provided a better sacrifice. The Hebrew word used for “bear” is ‘nasa’ which connotes “lifting up and removing.”   This is exactly what Jesus did for us – lifted off our sins, sickness and sorrows and separating them from as as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103).  Yeshua’s sacrifice is efficacious for all time:

 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14)



On this Yom Kippur, remember who God is and what He has done for us through Yeshua.  The atonement has been made, not just for a year but forever; not just for Israel but for all who will believe.  We have been and will always be forgiven by God’s grace through faith.

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