Yom Kippur

The inset picture depicts a Jewish Shofar, which is blown at the very end of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur begins this evening at sundown. This is a traditional Jewish holiday, but many Christians celebrate it as well. Our church uses it as an occasion for confession of sin. This is completely noncompulsory. Details about this holiday may be found in Leviticus 16 and 23.

My church isn't Messianic, but we do worship the Messiah! That's Jesus, of course. You might wonder why we would celebrate a holiday from the Old Testament. That's a very good question, and one I have a ready answer for.

Of the three major feasts described in the Old Testament, only the first two have been fulfilled: Passover (fulfilled with the death and resurrection of Jesus) and Pentecost (fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit). The Feast of Tabernacles, of which Yom Kippur is a part, hasn't been fulfilled.

For Christians, the Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes spending eternity with our Lord. It is made up of three separate holidays: The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (referred to both as the set of three holidays and as a separate holiday at the end of the three). There is a fourth component called the Great Day of the Feast, which is the setting for John 7 in the New Testament.

You  may argue that Yom Kippur was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross because of the sacrifices that were offered on that day. There is some truth to that, since he was the perfect sacrifice. But there is more to Yom Kippur than this. Passover, which Jesus fulfilled with his death and resurrection, speaks of Jesus' work on the cross. Yom Kippur speaks of an additional cleansing for God's people that occurs when Jesus comes back and we are changed into his image.

This is important, because even though Jesus died for our sins and cleansed us, none of us is perfect, and throughout life there is an awareness of sin. This will not always be so. Jesus is coming back and will one day make sin a dim memory. Yom Kippur looks forward to this future cleansing, which my church celebrates by confessing our sins.

However you look at it, it's all about Jesus. So enjoy Him as you ponder this day and look forward to the return of our Lord.

B.L. Jenkins


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