Many will easily link the words YOM KIPPUR to one of the episodes of the Arab-Israeli Wars, others will also note that it’s the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
So holy is this day considered, that when corruption swept into ancient Jewish life necessitating the protection of the use and pronunciation of the name of the creator, it was on a day as Yom Kippur’s that the HIGH PRIEST having offered the necessary sacrifices to cleanse himself and the people, in the ambience the silence of the moment provided, mentioned the name ‘YAHWEH’, in the hearing of those present (it is not known how loudly he’d mention it, but one would suppose that not many, especially those located in the rear and far flung sides, would’ve heard it hence it’s become one of the reasons adduced for the loss, especially amongst the commoners of the name, YAHWEH for the commonly used HA’SHEM, meaning ‘The Name’, amongst Jews).
We are directed in the book of Leviticus Chapter 23 verse 26 – 32, to observe the 10th day of the Jewish Seventh month of Tishri (14th September this year starting from the evening of the 13th to evening of the 14th) as a DAY OF ATONEMENT, in which to ”…afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire unto YAHWEH”.
It is a day for which NO WORK is to be done, and as a Sabbath and Holy Convocation, requires the coming together of people in one place for the conduction of this service. It is a day ‘…of Atonement, to make an Atonement for you before YAHWEH your Elohim’.
We are further admonished and encouraged to observe this day as:
‘…whatsoever soul it be that shall not be AFFLICTED in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.’
We can glean therefore, from the above that two things are involved vis an ‘Affliction Of The Soul’ and a ‘Refraining From All Manner of Work’.
The Affliction Of The Soul goes beyond FASTING or merely abstaining from food and drink for 24 hours (from one evening to another), but rather includes abstaining from all manner of activities from which we derive one kind of pleasure or another, including sex. It’s in a sense a sort of a day to be sad (not necessarily unhappy), to reflect on the way we’ve lived our lives, and resolve to live better afterwards with uppermost in our minds to ‘…Love YAHWEH with all our Heart, our Soul and our Might, and to Love our Neighbours as ourselves’.
We may not however offer any sacrifice made by fire, as the sacrifice recommended by YAHWEH’s beloved is that of ‘…a broken spirit and a contrite heart’, which David assures us HE will ‘not despise’.
This day of Sober Reflections affords us an opportunity to reconcile with our maker as well as those around us, whom we may have hurt or have hurt us.
Many will be quick to point to the relevance of this day in our time, but let’s not forget the instruction in verse 31 of Leviticus Chapter 23, where we are told that ”…it shall be a statute FOREVER throughout your generations in all your dwellings”.
No time limit was set, neither is the observance of this day restricted to a geographical zone or place.
Christians who are averse to anything in the Old Testament as having ‘been nailed to the Cross’ should be reminded that years after the Saviour had been impaled and reason, reference was made to this day (Day Of Atonement) when the champion of the cause of Messianic Jews/Judaism (and what later became Christianity), Saul (or Paul) of Tarsus, along with some other prisoners were been herded to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.
It will also interest you to know that an act reminiscent of the Priest casting lots on one of two sacrificial lambs, of which one will be sacrificed and another (Azazel) exiled into the wilderness (after the sins of the people had been symbolically laid ‘pon it’s head) was rê-enacted with Pilate asking the multitude whom they wished he released to them (and by extension who should be sacrificed/killed/impaled).
Putting aside the propriety of commemorating this day, it is utmost that a day such as this be embraced by all and sundry, as it affords us the opportunity to get in the right with our maker (considering that we’ve all sinned and have fallen short of HIS glory), to humbly request and recieve assurance of a TABULA RASA, from HIM from whom we draw breath.
May YAHWEH have Mercy on us all, in YAHSHUA’s Name, Amin!