This evening begins the Holiest day on the Jewish calendar and in the life of the Jewish people. However, this important day isn’t just for the Jews. Once the sun goes down this evening, for the twenty-five hours, Yom Kippur will be observed and remembered. God mapped this whole thing out for His people back in Leviticus.

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.
Lev. 25:9)

Let me give you some background. The people will refrain from work, fast, and attend synagogue services tonight and tomorrow. “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and it is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year.

Many religious Jews believe that in Heaven the books recording all the deeds of mankind are opened on Rosh Hashanah beginning an annual review of man’s behavior.

Those whose behavior has been exemplary in every respect are given another year of life, those who have demonstrated no redeeming qualities are scheduled for death, and those who fit neither category are given 10 days until Yom Kippur to right all the wrongs committed during the year just past.

These 10 days are called the Days of Awe because each man’s destiny hangs in the balance as he goes about asking forgiveness for sins committed against Him (violations of His Law) and from friends and neighbors for wrongs done to them. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed and the books are closed for another year. So this day is, essentially, their last appeal, their last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate their repentance and make amends.

Yom Kippur is a Holy Sabbath; no work can be performed. Jews refrain from eating and drinking even water. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on this evening and ending after nightfall tomorrow.

In bible times through the life and times of Jesus, until the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, Yom Kippur was the only day of the year when it was permissible to speak the unspoken, sacred Name of God. During a great and solemn ceremony at the Temple two goats were brought before the High Priest. One was a goat “for the Lord” to be presented as a sin offering as commanded inLev. 16:7-10. The other was called “the scapegoat” because all the sins of the nation were symbolically placed upon its head, and it was led outside the city. The goat for the sin offering had done nothing to deserve this, but was killed to remind the people that only the shedding of innocent blood could atone for their sins. The death of the two goats symbolically set aside the sins of the nation, made their offering acceptable and gave them another year of peace with their Creator.

A bull was selected and slaughtered, its blood captured in a temple vessel and the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat. This would atone for those priests who served throughout the year who were not pure.

Following that process, two goats were brought before the High Priest, their respective roles in the ceremony were determined by lot. Two golden lots were placed in a golden bowl and as he placed his hand upon the head of each goat, the High Priest reached into the bowl and pulled out one of the lots. One of the goats would be the scape goat, and the other would be the sacrificial goat. Before the cross the goat that was to be presented to the Lord as a sin offering was alwayson the right hand of the High Priest. Tradition says that after the cross it never was.

While the High Priest was confessing every conceivable sin to God, and everyone in ear shot was offended by the confession, a scarlet ribbon was tied to the scape goat. According to tradition, a priest would walk that goat out into the wilderness.  While this is taking place, the sacrificial goat would be slaughtered, its blood caught and then the High Priest would take that blood, once again into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat.  As the sin offering was made, and the blood applied, a miracle would take place out in the wilderness. The moment when God accepted the sin offering and confession of the people, the ribbon on the scape goat would turn from crimson to white, fulfilling the passage from Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” After the cross this never happened again.

The Feasts and Festivals of Leviticus are Only A Shadow ... A Picture of Yeshua

It’s easy to see the Lord in the role of our sin offering, whose shed blood purchased our pardon forever (Hebrews 10:1-4). And at His trial before Pontius Pilate, wasn’t He chosen to bear our sins while Bar Abbas was released? But He was also our peace offering. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20). He is our peace, who has broken down every wall (Ephesians 2:14).

So why was the goat chosen for the Lord never on the right hand again? And why did the ribbon no longer turn white at the death of the scapegoat? The One Who had fulfilled the role that the two goats only symbolized had come. It is He Who sits at the right hand of the Father and it is He Who has forever taken away the sins of all who would accept Him. Where the reality has come the shadow is no longer effective.

The prophetic fulfillment of Yom Kippur will come at the end of the Millennium at the Great White Throne judgment, when all the unsaved dead are brought back to life to be judged according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-15). The books will be opened for the last time and those from all ages who have refused the pardon purchased for them at the cross will bear the full responsibility for their sins against God and man, destined to spend eternity in shame and torment. But those who have accepted the Lord’s pardon are at peace with God, and will spend eternity with Him and shine like the brightness of the Sun. Do we not serve the most amazing God?  To have given His Son for our sin, what a God, what a Jesus, what a miracle.

I am wishing each of you a blessed and meaningful Yom Kippur.  Why not take some time during the next 25 hours and consider carefully what the Savior has done for you?  Perhaps there’s a person that you need to forgive, or maybe even someone you need to seek forgiveness from.

I can’t wait to see you this Sunday for another outstanding Lord’s Day at Deer Flat!

Loving You and Him,
Pastor D                   

BTW – Jer would love to have any of you ladies who can to join her this Saturday morning in the lobby of the church for some coffee and a chat!