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The Day of Atonement

Published by Rob Skiba September 23, 2015 at 3:07 AM

The Day of Atonement:

Leviticus 23:

26 The LORD spoke to Moses, 27 “However, on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It’s a sacred assembly for you. Humble {afflict} yourselves and bring an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 You are not to do any work that same day. It’s the Day of Atonement, because your atonement is made in the presence of the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who doesn’t humble {afflict} himself that same day is to be eliminated from contact with his people. 30 I’ll eliminate anyone who does work that day from among his people. 31 You are not to do any work. This is to be an eternal ordinance throughout your generations, wherever you live. 32 It’s a Sabbath of rest for you on which you are to humble yourselves starting the evening of the ninth day of the month. You are to observe your Sabbath from evening to evening.”

So, how do we keep this “moed” on this side of the cross? Well, I am certainly no expert in any of this, so don’t look to me as any example. But for the purpose of answering some of the frequent questions I get on this subject, I would say we keep the day as it was always meant to be kept – by doing what YHWH said through Moses…

  • Stop working. It is what some would call a “High Sabbath” (an appointed Sabbath other than the weekly Sabbath)
  • Gather together in fellowship with other Believers (a sacred assembly).
  • Bring an offering before YHWH. What is that? Animal sacrifices? Although that is certainly what was done before Christ came (Numbers 29:7-11), I would say we no longer need to do that based on Yeshua having been the final sacrifice, who paid the price (atoned) for our sins on the cross. Also, Hebrews 4-8 describes the change in the priesthood from a Levitical (sacrificial system in the stone temple) to the Order of Melchizedek, wherein He is the High Priest of our fleshly temple. Thus, I believe we offer ourselves as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12). One of the ways to do this is through prayer and fasting, humbling ourselves before Him, seeking only His will instead of our own.
  • Humble/afflict ourself before YHWH. This does not mean abuse yourself. It simply means to humble yourself, through submission. Many do this by fasting.

When it comes to fasting on Yom Kippur, some say, there is nothing in the above Scriptures concerning any need to do that. This is technically true. Nowhere are we specifically told to fast. However, “afflicting one’s self” through fasting is a Biblically supported concept as described by King David:

Psalm 35:13 But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.

While fasting is a form of “affliction,” affliction is not necessarily fasting… though there is precedence for it as we see in David’s example. While certainly not perfect, there was a reason David was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” Reading his 119th Psalm, it is clear he loved YHWH and understood His ways… even if he didn’t always walk in them perfectly (no one ever has except Yeshua).

Finally, I know some contend that the Hebrew day does not begin at sunset, however, I would say the Scriptures differ with that in many instances – perhaps most notably with regard to the keeping of Yom Kippur. Indeed, verse 32 seems to be a very strong and crystal clear indication as to how the day is to be reckoned: from the evening of the 9th to the evening of the 10th day of Tishri (which for us this year is September 23-24).

NOTE: Leviticus 23:31 says celebration of the Day of Atonement is to be an ETERNAL ordinance (KJV says “it shall be a statute FOR EVER”) so… I guess that means it was not “done away with at the cross” as some would have us believe.

Bottom line: It is to be a time of humbling one’s self before YHWH. So what better way to do so than through obedience – taking a day off of work, resting and presenting ourselves as a “living sacrifice” by spending time with others in worship of our Heavenly Father… which is generally enhanced through prayer and fasting?

Search these things out for yourself and see if they be true. I am not your priest, nor leader, nor anyone worthy of being followed. This is just how I understand and intend to walk in it.

Shalom,

– Rob Skiba




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