Yom Kippur

October 6, 2011

It feels like fall today, you guys. There’s a breeze, and leaves are swirling around, and most importantly, new episodes of my favorite shows are back on TV! I cried at Parenthood this week. Yeah, I cry at fictional characters interacting in fictional situations. Jealous?

Here is how God celebrates fall.

So, we’ve got another biblical holiday this week! Although, that exclamation point is probably a bit much because it’s the one somber holiday that God commanded. Yom Kippur (or the Day of Atonement) starts this Friday at sundown. It is the holiest day of the whole year for the people of God. In Leviticus 23, God commanded the Israelites to abstain from work and to deny themselves (fast) for a whole day. People examine themselves and their sins, asking God for his forgiveness.

Yom Kippur is the day, each year, when the people of Israel must atone for their sins. There are very detailed instructions in Leviticus 16 — the high priest must sacrifice to atone for himself, and sacrifice to atone the altar and the Most Holy Place. God dwelt there, among sinful people, and it needed to be made holy. Then the priest would bring two goats — one to sacrifice as a sin offering for the people, and one to be a scapegoat. The priest would symbolically place all of the sins of the people for the past year on the scapegoat. A man would then lead the goat, heavy with the burden of Israel’s sin, into the desert and let it go — the scapegoat would carry away, upon its head, the wickedness of their hearts.

It’s a fascinating story. Please, please take a second to read Leviticus 16. I hadn’t read it in awhile, and it’s amazing to look at the process required to atone for our sins.

First Fruits of Zion wrote a newsletter about Yom Kippur, reminding us that Hebrews 9 parallels this process by showing us that Jesus, the Messiah, has become our high priest. He is the one who made  atonement for us, not through sacrificing a bull or a goat or a ram, but through sacrificing his body — broken, burdened, crushed under the weight of, not only the sins of Israel, but the sins of all humanity throughout all time.

The Bible is cool, you guys. There are so many parallels, so many stories that get retold and fulfilled and given new meaning. It’s like a much, much cooler Lost. Or maybe Lost is like a much less cooler Bible. Or maybe … OK, the analogy isn’t working. Let’s move on.

You are not supposed to work during Yom Kippur, and you are supposed to fast. I plan to do a fast, and I’ll talk about my reasoning more tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know so that if you want to consider doing it,  you could start praying about it today.

OK, I’ve gots to go, folks. Have a good day, friends, in grateful remembrance of Jesus who atoned for us.

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One Response to “Yom Kippur”

  1. […] Yom Kippur starts at sundown tonight and ends at sundown tomorrow. Like we talked about yesterday, it is a time of atonement — a time when Israel was to make sacrifices and send away a […]

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