Yom Kippur for Christians: 5 Simple Steps to Reconciliation & Atonement

yom kippur 2021

Yom Kippur–or the Day of Atonement–is approaching quickly and there are so many rich lessons we as believers can gain from the practices and symbolism of this Jewish Festival. Let’s take a look–

In The Torah

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening, you shall keep your sabbath.”

(Leviticus 23:26-32)

Each year Jewish people observe Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) as the holiest day of the year, by reviewing their lives before God. Although Yom Kippur is an opportunity for individual restoration to God, in the portion above, the Hebrew verbs and pronouns are in the plural form (“you shall humble your souls”). Each year, the Day of Atonement was the day for the nation of Israel as a whole to be restored as a holy people to the Lord.

Today, because of national unbelief, Israel has been sidetracked from the fullness of its service. Nevertheless, the time will come for Israel to be gathered back to God as a nation. During the Tribulation, Israel will be brought back to the forefront of service. At the end of that Tribulation period, a nation shall be born in a day, and “thus all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

Finding Jesus in Yom Kippur

The Holy of Holies, in the temple, was separated from the congregation by a veil from floor to ceiling. It was entered once a year on Yom Kippur, when the high priest offered the blood sacrifice of atonement on behalf of the people. When Jesus died on the cross, the thick veil was ripped from top to bottom (Luke 23:44-46). Christ came as high priest and entered the Holy of Holies (heaven itself) once and for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:11-28).

yom kippur 2021

5 Simple Steps to Reconciliation & Atonement

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Here are five simple steps to reconciliation now, and forever.

  1. Confession: Recognition of our sins–As we have seen, sin breaks a relationship when we care for ourselves rather than for others. Recognize and identify with the offense you caused. Do not blame others or look at others perceived shortcomings, but take responsibility for your own actions and attitudes. Admit wrongdoing; confess it as a wrong, not just a mistake. Negligence and unawareness for others is indifference, self-preoccupation and a lack of love. Admit your wrongs in all humility and honesty.
  2. Contrition: Remorse over our sins–Realize the offense you caused and identify with that offense, as if it happened to you. That will produce remorse and empathy with the offended party. Do not minimize the offense to others simply because you are insensitive or unconcerned about those same offenses. Breaking your wife’s high heel because you used it to swat a fly may not break your heart, but imagine if someone broke your electric power saw doing the same thing.
    For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:3-4)
  3. Conversion: Repentance from our sins–Humility does not mock repentance. To repent is to turn away from an improper attitude or action. For example, if you blow up at your spouse, do not attempt to justify your offense by saying, “Oh, I’m just an angry sort of person.” This justifies nothing. We must deal with sin as sin. Unconfessed sin hurts you by both undermining your integrity, and hardening your heart to the people around you. As David learned, many are “sin-sick” from unconfessed, unrepented sin.
    When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)
  4. Compensation: Repayment for our sins–Because it would take all eternity, we could never pay for our own sins. Therefore, Messiah chose to die as payment for our sins. This, however, does not negate our responsibility to pay our debts to our fellow man. True humility repays when possible. Like Zacchaeus in the New Covenant, this demonstrates sincerity of faith with a humble attitude of trust in Messiah.
    And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. (Luke 19:8-9)
    When my friend Stewart came to faith in Messiah, he then went and repaid each person he stole from before he accepted Yeshua. Why? God’s grace is not an excuse for irresponsibility. God’s grace provides the opportunity and the enablement to honor Yeshua in all our ways.
  5. Consecration: Dedication beyond our sins–True humility is seen in making lifestyle changes that reflect true love, and a love for the truth. The standard by which we are called to live is given to us by Messiah Himself, “love the lord your God with all your heart and soul and might” and “love your neighbor as your self” (Mark 12:29-31). In Ephesians 4:24-28 we learn that if we depend upon God’s grace, His Spirit will enable us:
    1. To change: “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
    2. To be honest: “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth every one with his neighbor for we are members of one another.”
    3. To exercise self-control: “Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
    4. To obtain victory over our adversary: “And do not give the devil an opportunity.”
    5. To live a honorable, productive life: “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”

6 Reasons Why The Jewish Feasts Are Still Relevant Today

Why Study the Feasts of the Bible? The feasts are still relevant for our lives today because they:

  1. Show how Jesus is the fulfillment of the feasts and holidays
  2. Illustrate the Jewish roots of Christianity that are key to understanding the Bible
  3. Explain history and symbolism in the Old Testament
  4. Open your eyes to the Lord’s provision, love, and care for you.
  5. Inspire you to worship God by deepening your understanding of who he is.
  6. Point to your glorious future with Messiah.

Rose Guide to the Feasts, Festivals and Fasts of the Bible

yom kippure

Packed with dozens of charts, maps, and timelines, over 150 illustrations and photographs, and easy-to-understand summaries, this full-color, reproducible book on the feasts and celebrations of the Bible will help you understand key information at a glance! 

Passover. Yom Kippur. Feast of Tabernacles. Rosh Hashanah. With all the ceremonies, festivals, and observances in the Bible, it’s hard to keep track of them all and remember why they’re important to our faith! But what if you could distill all this key information across dozens of chapters of the Bible into one solid, easy-to-read handbook with images, charts, and diagrams? It’s never been easier to get an expert look at the traditions, fasts, and feasts of the Bible: with this guide, 5 leading authorities on biblical celebrations and disciplines will help condense their research and historical knowledge into key takeaways that you can learn quickly and easily:

  • Solid overviews of the feasts, celebrations, and rituals kept in ancient Israel and the Old Testament
  • Historical background of the feasts and holy days in the centuries leading up to the New Testament
  • Summary of modern-day traditions kept by Jews today
  • Key takeaways of how messianic communities observe biblical feasts and holidays today
  • Presentation of how non-messianic Christian congregations have adopted the feasts into liturgies, theologies, etc.

These unique and sacred holidays from the Bible shape our understanding of God’s care for the world and help us see his perfect plan of redemption—and our place in it. This brand new Rose Guide will help you get a better grasp on these important holidays. Read more about this resource here!

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