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Yom Kippur: Joy in Judgement

September 12, 2013
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Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.  Sometimes it is called the Sabbath of Sabbaths or the Day of Judgment.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community. “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses. Leviticus 16

Yom Kippur, just days after The Feast of Trumpets, is a beautiful day, full of symbolism.  It points to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world.  It’s not a feast day, not a big party.  It’s not like Passover or Rosh Hashanah.  Instead, it’s a quiet day.  A day of rest, repentance and remembering our wretchedness compared to God’s incomparable goodness.

Prayer and fasting

Prayer and fasting

In the Old Testament, we read how the priest would make a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  Then he would place his hands on the head of a goat, confess the sins of the people, placing the blood on the animal and then setting it free in the wilderness.  And yet….

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.  It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Hebrews 10:1-4

The shadow….of the good things to come.  Jesus and redemption.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:5-10

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting.  One is to read the Scriptures, repent for sin and resolve to walk in the new-life of forgiveness.

Simple ways you can observe this Holy Day: (If you are new to observing these Biblical holidays, don’t feel like you have to do all of these things!  These are ideas to get you started.  Choose those that work for your family.)

  • The evening before Yom Kippur share a honey cake with your family, to symbolize the sweetness of forgiveness and the clean-slate of the year to come.
  • Walk through water.  Jews call this a mikvah and is usually a natural body of water.  This symbolizes being cleansed.  Last year, after a time of prayer and repentance, we all walked through the sprinklers!
  • Take pieces of bread, symbolizing your regrets, sins, mistakes and shortcomings of the past year, and toss them into a stream.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

  • Give money to charity or do extra acts of mercy such as feeding the poor or donating items to a worthy cause.
  • Speak blessings over your children at a pre-fast meal.

Yom Kippur

  • Remember those special family members who have passed away.  Tell their stories and look at their pictures.  This is also a good time to remember those who have died in tragedies, such as the Holocaust, wars, natural disasters and famines.
  • Special clothes.  Wear white to symbolize forgiveness.  And don’t wear leather shoes.  In fact, if you can, go barefoot!  This reminds us of the holiness of the day.  Remember that Moses was asked by the Lord to remove his shoes when he was on holy ground.
  • Those who are old enough fast.  Jews fast for 25 hours.  (Girls under 12 and boys under 13 are exempt from fasting.  But, they can be encouraged to give us sweets, TV or something else as they prepare their hearts.)
  • Read the book of Jonah.
  • At the end of the fast, there is a dance of joy!  We are free from sin!  Now that’s something to celebrate!
Breaking the fast with JOY!

Breaking the fast with JOY!

Jewish tradition teaches that on Yom Kippur the gates of heaven are open for mercy as God judges the earth.  At the end of the day, the gates close.  But we know that Jesus died on the cross and then the veil to the Holy of Holies and the mercy seat was torn!  We can freely receive His mercy!

Gemar Hatimah Tovah!

(May you be sealed for good in the Book of Life!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Georgina permalink
    September 12, 2013 10:44 am

    I have learned more about Jewish culture in the last year from The Provision Room than in all my years combined! Thank you Daja and Kristina for sharing your hearts and knowledge. By the way, who are those adorable children in the pics? 😉 Gemar Hatimah Tovah!

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