“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2)
By Christine Darg
From sundown tonight 11 October, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is the most solemn holiday of the Jewish year. It is the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri.
Intercessors, be sure to pray for the peace of Jerusalem while Israel is vulnerable, fasting and praying. Never forget that the 1973 Yom Kippur War began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. In anticipation of thousands of visitors from around the world visiting the Western Wall, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said nearly 4,000 officers will be on hand to closely monitor all activity.
Yom Kippur is a rehearsal for Judgment Day. It’s the last call . . . .
Many of my secular Jewish and Israeli friends who do not observe any other Jewish custom honor this day in some way, by abstaining from work, fasting for 25 hours or attending synagogue services.
Yom Kippur is a day to “afflict the soul.” (Leviticus 23: 27) The fast is a complete fast, without food or water.
The Jewish people believe that on this day God enters his verdict in books which are sealed. This day is, essentially, according to “Judaism 101,” your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and to make amends.
At the beginning of Yom Kippur in the synagogues the cantors sing the Kol Nidrei ( “All vows”), a fascinating disclaimer, with its touching melodic phrases:
“All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. . . . Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.”
The leader and the congregation then say together three times, “May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault.” This is indeed corporate prayer–a type of prayer that the Church desperately needs to engage in to seek God’s favour and forgiveness for our national sins according to the principles found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed today. (Indeed, the Torah dubs Yom Kippur, “Shabbat Shabbaton” — the “Shabbat of Shabbats,” implying that it takes precedence over Shabbat whenever it falls on the weekly sabbath.)
Followers of Rabbi Jesus/Yeshua believe He died to make Atonement as God’s sacrificial lamb upon the altar of the Cross. Disciples of Jesus choose to look by faith to the judgment of our sin on the cross for all time and eternity. And when we look by faith to the Cross, as Moses lifted the brazen serpent in the wilderness, we live; our sins are forgiven vicariously.
For this day the Jewish people have a saying, hoping that all is well, “May your name be inscribed.” We are eternally grateful to our Jewish Saviour that because of the merit of his finished work on the Cross, our names are inscribed and sealed in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Nevertheless, we honor our Jewish brethren today because we know they are seeking God fervently according to the ancient revelation they have and it is through them, as guardians of God’s Word, that we have learned about true repentance.
Judaism is the foundation of our ethics. That is why I describe myself as a Judeo-Christian. Without my Hebraic roots, Christianity cannot be explained or understood.
It is interesting that the Jewish people believe that on this day only sins against God are dealt with, not sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, the rabbis teach that you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed, and if possible, this must be done before Yom Kippur.
In the Old City of Jerusalem in Christian and Muslim quarters, it is business as usual. But in the Jewish areas and out in the highways of the nation, it is reverentially, almost eerily, quiet. The highways are empty. To drive out on one of the highways today, you would feel like a big sinner. There is a stillness in the streets of Israel unlike any other nation experiences.
In fact, I know of no other nation that engages in a total national fast annually, humbling themselves before God. Those who truly know God understand that he has an eternal covenant with Israel, and the Almighty will honour their national humility and He will pour out the spirit of grace and supplication as promised. (Zechariah 12:10) Amen!
Israelis say to one another during these Days of Awe, “g’mar hatima tova,” meaning may your name be inscribed favorably in the Book of Life, because the Jewish people believe on Rosh Hashanah (The Feast of Trumpets) a person’s name is written into the Book of Life, and on Yom Kippur the books are sealed.
Thank God, as long as the Gospel door of hope is open, there is opportunity for our names to be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life anytime that we repent and believe the Good News!
Soon in the synagague services as Yom Kippur ends, there will be a long shofar blast. Ten days ago was Yom Teruah/Feast of Trumpets, the “day of alarm/shouting,” but the word trumpet (shofar) is not mentioned in the Bible concerning Yom Teruah. Now think about this: Leviticus actually stipulates that today a shofar is to sound on Yom Kippur!
So it is awesome to me that in Judaism this is the day of the last call to repent and a big trumpet blast! That concept is definitely a Christian concept, my friends: “Today IS the day of salvation.” Today IS the day of the last call. Why? God never promises us tomorrow.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”(Hebrews 3: 15)
According to Jewish writings, on the Day of Atonement, a crimson strip of wool was tied on to the horns of the scapegoat. The scapegoat was then led into the wilderness.
As a sign that the sacrifice was accepted by God, the crimson wool would miraculously turn white, fulfilling Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”
However, for 40 years, from the time of Yeshua’s death and the destruction of the Temple, the red strip of wool never turned white! This is confirmed by Jewish writings. (Jewish Babylonian Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 31b, Yoma 39b).
Furthermore, and this is also incredibly rich–the service at the end of Yom Kippur is often called THE CLOSING OF THE GATES!
Soon the gates of mercy will close, my friend, just as God Himself closed the door of Noah’s ark, and only those who were shut inside were saved. Jesus is our ark. We are living in an extended period of grace. All who call upon the Lord SHALL be saved! May your name be inscribed forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
“Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty–but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21: 27