Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur // Celebrating the Messiah

There is a difference between necessary and significant, something I've easily forgotten in respect to days like today.

Sundown marked the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is the holiest of days during which (in Bible times) the children of Israel made atonement for their sins by a blood sacrifice. God ordained the day as a sabbath for solemn rest. (Leviticus 16; Numbers 29) Today the people set aside work, humble themselves through fasting and prayer, focus on repentance, and give to charity.

One who believes in Jesus as the Messiah may read over these passages of scripture and understand that the ritual sacrifices in Moses' time are no longer necessary.

But it would be unfortunate to also believe that this day is insignificant.

I believe everything in the Bible is significant and applicable to the believer in one way or another. And I marvel at the significance of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur reminds us that salvation is necessary. As humans we are flawed by our sinful nature, which condemns us to death (physical and spiritual).

But Yom Kippur also reminds us that God has always provided a way for us to be made right with Him and live.

Only lifeblood can atone sin, since sin leads to death. The high priest would make atonement using the blood from bulls and goats that symbolically covered the sin of the people. The people could be made righteous and honor God through their humble repentance. But this atonement would have to take place every year.

Thankfully, this process of atonement was also a foreshadowing. God had a better plan coming - the ultimate sacrifice of the Messiah.

God's Son Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled the prophecy of the Messiah and became the High Priest for all people (He is the only mediator we need). He gave His own life as the final payment for humanity's sin. But His payment was not atoning (a covering for our sins), it was redemptive (buying us out of the slavery of sin and into complete freedom). With the salvation of our Messiah there is no need for a covering. We are totally free from sin - always. Praise God!

Freedom from sin does not mean immunity to temptation and screw ups. It means we have God in us to overcome, if we let Him. It means we can break bad habits, cut off generational curses, be physically and emotionally healed. We can have victory when we are facing failure, love beyond ourselves, and become vessels for God's miraculous works. Freedom is doing what God says we can do regardless of the circumstance because sin no longer dictates our outcomes. Most importantly, freedom from sin is means we have a constant, personal, communion with God.

This means Yom Kippur is the perfect opportunity to remember God's provision through the ages. AND it's the perfect opportunity to remember His ultimate provision of His own life so we can be free once and for all! On this day, we can (and should) humble ourselves in repentance, but also celebrate our Messiah. Many Messianics also take the opportunity to pray and fast for ethnic Israel's salvation at Yeshua's Second Coming.Yes, we have more to look forward to!

I am thankful for yet another holy day that serves as a reminder of how great and loving my God is. Thank you God, Yeshua, my Messiah!

(For more information about a Messianic view of Yom Kippur, check out: Hebrew4Christians.com)