By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
[Editor’s Note: the following are excerpts from the transcript of Christine’s video, “Is Your Name in the Book?”]
Once again we’re passing through the prophetically significant fall High Holy Days….and at the time of this recording, it’s just before Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – the most solemn day of introspection — solemn because Yom Kippur is believed to be a rehearsal for Judgment Day.
I hope to tie a lot of thoughts together about salvation, including news of a recently discovered letter by former President Ronald Reagan, who expressed great concern about a dying family member. Reagan’s father in law was about to meet his Maker but he was a virtual atheist. Everybody should hear Reagan’s simple exhortation of faith and salvation.
The Jewish Day of Atonement is called Yom Kippur but any day that you may happen to watch this program can be a Day of atonement, a day of Salvation in the literal sense. No other nation that I know of engages in a total fast annually, humbling themselves before God in deep national and individual repentance. In Zechariah 12: 10, the Almighty has promised to pour out the spirit of grace and supplication upon Israel. The Torah calls Yom Kippur the “sabbath of sabbaths.” My secular Jewish and Israeli friends don’t consider themselves to be “religious;” nevertheless they honor Yom Kippur in some way, by abstaining from work, by fasting for 25 hours or attending synagogue services.
According to Leviticus Chapter 23, Yom Kippur is a day to “afflict the soul.” Ideally, the fast is a complete fast, without food or water, but exceptions are made for young children, the elderly, the sick and pregnant women. The Jewish people believe that on Yom Kippur God enters his verdict in books which are sealed. In Christianity when a person becomes born again, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, his name is inscribed in the Book of Life.
At the beginning of Yom Kippur in the synagogues the cantors sing the Kol Nidrei (meaning “All vows”), a fascinating disclaimer: “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 corporate prayer–holy activity that many evangelical churches need to incorporate when seeking God’s favour and forgiveness for our own national sins.
I describe myself as a Judeo-Christian because Judaism is the foundation of our faith and ethics. Without our Hebraic roots and beginnings, Christianity simply can’t be explained or understood.
Followers of Rabbi Jesus/Yeshua believe He died to make Atonement as God’s sacrificial Lamb upon the altar of the Cross. The Cross is history’s centrepiece. We choose to look by faith to the judgment of our sin on his Cross for all time and eternity. When we look at the Cross, as Moses lifted the brazen serpent in the wilderness, we live, and our sins are forgiven vicariously. Therefore any day for us is potentially the Day of Atonement because of 2 Corinthains 6: 2, which declares, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Before Messiah came, all religious privileges belonged to Israel. Through “times of ignorance,” the Gentiles walked in darkness. But when Messiah came, it was a time of deliverance, salvation and healing for all people. And when the Holy Spirit fell on both Jews and Gentiles as recorded in the Book of Acts, it was evident that a new age had come. We’re still living in the “acceptable year of the Lord,” and the dispensation of grace until the second coming of Jesus.
The Jewish people say hopefully to one another, “May your name be inscribed.” When we put our faith in the Saviour, the Bible promises that our names are inscribed and sealed in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Thank God, as long as the Gospel door of hope is open, our names can still be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life anytime that we repent and believe the Good News! Upon their return from successful preaching forays, in Luke 10:20 Jesus admonished his disciples, “don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
The concept of judgment books and the Book of Life is mentioned at least three times in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and I want to share these important verses with you at this time. In Revelation 3: 5, Jesus promises,
“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never blot out their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.”
Revelation 13: 8 speaks of the future period when the Anti-Christ, who is called the Beast, has his reign of terror. It says,
“And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slain.”
And Revelation 20: 12, St. John wrote,
“I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
What does all of these verses teach us? Each one of us has a record before God of all that we do here in our lifetime. Whether we realize it or not, we’re writing our own history in the books in heaven; even if we don’t write an autobiography on earth, our deeds write a biography in heaven, our memoirs will not go unrecorded. The issue is…..Have we lived a true life, an honest time, have we been a true believer, or a fake believer?
Once we’ve died, there can be no revised edition of our book in heaven.
The books will be opened. We are to be judged out of the book which we ourselves have written. But if we’ve put our faith and trust in the Savior we’re promised that our names will be inscribed in the Lamb’sBook of Life. When God’s children are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, He also gives new names. For example, Abram became Abraham, the Father of the faithful and Friend of God. Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, Prince with God. Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle.
We honor our Jewish brethren on Yom Kippur because we know they’re seeking God fervently. They believe Messiah is yet to come; we believe He has come but that He’s coming again to save all of Israel!
Now I find this infinitely fascinating: In the synagogue services as Yom Kippur ends, there is a long shofar blast. Ten days ago was the Feast of Trumpets, called Yom Teruah in the Bible, meaning the “day of alarm/shouting,” but the word trumpet (literally shofar) is not mentioned in the Bible concerning Yom Teruah, the so-called Feast of Trumpets. But now think about this: the Book of Leviticus in the Torah actually stipulates that a shofar is to sound on Yom Kippur! Leviticus 25: 9 is very specific about trumpets associated with Yom Kippur. It says, “Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement, sound the trumpet throughout your land.” So it’s definitely awesome to me that in Judaism Yom Kippur is the day of the last call to repent before a big trumpet blast! That concept is definitely a New Testament concept, my friends: “Today IS the day of salvation.” Today IS the day of the last call. Why? God never promises us tomorrow. Hebrews 3: 15 in the New Testament declares, “Today, [not tomorrow] Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
Yom Kippur can therefore possibly be a foreshadowing of the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 teaches that the trumpet shall sound, the dead in Messiah shall be raised and those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up with the resurrected dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the atmosphere.
Furthermore, and this is incredibly rich–the service at the end of Yom Kippur is frequently called THE CLOSING OF THE GATES!
This really preaches…… because soon the gates of mercy will close, just as God Himself closed the door on Noah’s ark, and only those who were shut inside the ark, Noah’s family, were saved. Jesus is our ark of eternal security. We’re living in an extended period of grace. All who call upon the Lord SHALL be saved! For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first, First Thessalonians chapter 4 teaches, and then after that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Corinthains 15: 52 also teaches that the Rapture will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
Evangelicals often associate the Feast of Trumpets with the Rapture, but have we considered that the Feast of Trumpets could be like a wakeup call announcing that the Lord is coming– and the Ten Days of Awe between the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur could be the equivalent of the missing ten days that Jesus left unfulfilled when he broke the omer in the previous spring Levitical Festival, Shavuot meaning Weeks, in Hebrew (and in Christianity it’s called “Pentecost”). If you recall, there are 50 days between Passover and Pentecost–Shavuot (or seven weeks) –but after Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God, was raised from the dead, he broke the days of counting the omer (the grain offering) between Passover and Shavuot—he broke the count on the 40th day when he ascended and thus He left ten days prophetically unreckoned.
All we believers know for sure is that a lot of prophetic events are converging. The question is, are we ready for the coming of the Lord? The Jews set an example by dedicating a whole day without food and water to seek God. In the meantime, believers in Yeshua know that Atonement was made for us at the Cross and that his Atonement is still effacious today nearly 2,000 years later according to the Scriptures!
If the Lord delays his coming, we can rejoice that we still have a little more time to bring in the remaining Gentile harvest, which will soon be full according to Romans 11: 12 and 25.
The concluding service of Yom Kippur is unique to the day. As I said, the service is sometimes referred to as the closing of the gates. The service ends with a very long blast of the shofar. It’s also interesting to note that the prophet Jonah is read in synagogues on the afternoon of Yom Kippur. Perhaps the most important reason is that the book specifically points towards God’s love for the nations, and the need of repentance for sins, atonement, and forgiveness, which extends not only to Israel, but to all the Children of Adam and Eve. After all, a part of Israel’s special call is to be a “Light to the nations”, and that through Israel and her Messiah “all families of the world will be blessed.” As with Jonah, it is God’s charge to Israel today to share the Good News of God’s provision of the Lamb—of atonement for sin–outside her own borders, even to her enemies! As a prophet, Jonah tried to escape his mission to tell the people of Nineveh that their judgment time was near, that they had committed so many sins that the Almighty had decided to destroy them. But Jonah didn’t love Nineveh, and so he tried to escape from his calling. He jumped on a ship going far away but he was thrown overboard and was swallowed by a giant fish for 3 days and nights and was finally vomited up on the shore—a type of the resurrection of Jesus.
God made Jonah realize that the Lord has mercy and pity for everyone, and God desires that all will come to repentance, and the Ninevites did! They repented at Jonah’s preaching.
The Good News of the Gospel is that today is the day of salvation, it’s still the day of grace, the door of salvation is still open, there’s still room at the cross to be washed of sins, the fountain that was opened in Emmanuel’s veins is available to all at any time. But in order for your name to be inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life, the free gift of salvation must be received. It can also be rejected.
The choice is ours. That’s why today I was so amazed on the eve of Yom Kippur to read that a columnist in the Washington Post has uncovered a powerful hand-written letter by former President Ronald Reagan sent to his father-in-law just days before his father in law’s death. Reagan was worried because the dying man, Dr. Loyal Davis, who was a pioneering neurosurgeon, wasn’t a believer in the divinity of Jesus Christ. He didn’t believe in the virgin birth. He didn’t believe in the resurrection, he didn’t believe that heaven and hell as real places where the dead will go. President Reagan, on the other hand, believed the Bible that says everyone will face a day of judgment, and this solemn fact was pressing upon the president’s mind… that his beloved wife’s father’s judgment day was near and he was headed for hell. So, the Washington Post columnist wrote, the most powerful man in the world momentarily put aside everything else at the White House, and took pen in hand to try to rescue one soul. Ronald Regan wrote four pages of evangelical testimony on his White House stationery. The year was 1982 and the letter was dated Aug. 7, which was 12 days before the death of Dr. Davis. This letter is not part of the presidential records publicly available at the Reagan Library. But the letter was discovered earlier this year by the Washington Post columnist in a cardboard box of Nancy Reagan’s personal effects. The Reagan library gave the columnist access to Nancy Reagan’s personal effects as part of research on a biography of the late first lady. The letter was quoted in the Washington Post and its reproduction in full is freely available on the Internet with the permission of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. The discovery of this intimate testimony, as I said four pages of White House stationery randomly tucked in a file, is riveting. As the article stated, You don’t have to believe that Ronald Reagan’s policies were perfectly aligned with Christian teachings — to appreciate that this private letter reveals volumes about the former president and his faith. The whole thing reads like a Gospel tract. In fact, the president could have used some portions of a Gospel article or tract as a template to help him write this very sensitive and loving letter. But first Reagan began by giving a personal testimony of his own physical healing—how God had healed and delivered him from a painful ulcer. Reagan wrote that he had lived with constant pain that ranged from discomfort to extremely sharp attacks, but he testified that it was through the power of prayer that he was totally healed, and his doctor could find no trace of past illness from ulcers.
The reporter who discovered the Reagan letter observed how carefully the president had collected his thoughts. Not a word of his small, round script was crossed out. Near the end there are three watery smudges. Speculations are: Spilled coffee? The President’s tears? Someone’s later tears? In his letter to his father in law, Reagan who was often nicknamed the Great Communicator shared the heart of the Gospel. He wrote to his father in law, I know of your feeling — your doubt but could I just impose on you a little longer? Some 700 years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah. They said he would be born in a lowly place, would proclaim himself the Son of God and would be put to death for saying that. All in all, Reagan added, there were a total of 123 specific prophecies about the life of Jesus, all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown when the prophecies were written in the Hebrew Scriptures, yet, Regan wrote, it was foretold that Jesus would be nailed to a cross. And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin, the president added. He also wrote, “Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a doctor to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle. But, Loyal, I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either Jesus was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar and faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying? The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back and he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal. But for two thousand years he has … had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.”
Then the president also wrote out John 3: 16, which is the Gospel in a nutshell,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
Very tactfully the son in law continued to entreat his dying father in law with these words, “We’ve been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we’ve done all we can — when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help. We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.” I was astonished and blessed by this letter today. It’s an intimate, humble profession of faith. The president added, “We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater glory awaits us.” He ended his letter by asking his father-in-law in Jesus’ name to put himself into the hands of God. Well, I think the letter shows immense character because we must be concerned about the eternal destiny of all mankind but especially our loved ones—isn’t that right? And so Reagan didn’t let the opportunity pass, and the question remains: did the letter produce its desired result? Nancy Reagan, who saved Reagan’s heartfelt letter, was with her father when he died, and she would later claim that her father did turn to God at the end of his life. Two days before his death, Dr. Loyal Davis sought out a hospital chaplain, and prayed with him. Nancy Reagan said in a speech that she was comforted because after that prayer she had noticed that her father was calm and at peace and not as frightened as before. And what about you, my friend? I’m sometimes so shocked by the brevity of life when somebody suddenly dies, or is killed and is forever taken away. So I want to take the time to invite you to choose life today, choose the Savior while there’s yet time. Soon the last trump will sound. If we give our lives into the hands of the Savior, he will inscrib e our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Heavenly father, I ask by the power of your Holy Spirit to touch somebody watching or listening to this broadcast now and give him, give her, revelation that Jesus is the savior, that Jesus was declared to be Lord through the resurrection from the dead. Amen! If you’d like to share your thoughts with me, feel free to contact me through the social media or at our website at exploits.tv where you can sign up to receive our free color magazine Exploits and learn about our prayer convocations and tours in Israel. Our Jerusalem Channel App is also available free to download from your app store. And so until next time, I’m Christine Darg, always contending for the faith. Shalom and Maranatha!