Day of Atonement
One of the Most Holy of All Days
Many modern-day churchgoers have convinced themselves that they are meeting the basic requirements for everlasting life through weekly attendance at the church of their choice. Others think that by saying, "I believe," that they are naturally saved because Yahshua had paid the ultimate price for salvation.
If mere belief or faith is all that is required, then why do the Scriptures say "...be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises"? Hebrews 6:12. If faith is all that is needed why do we read in James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." And what about charity (love)? "...and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, it profits me nothing," 1 Corinthians 13:2.
If we wish to enter into Yahweh's Rest, we must also expect trials and tribulations. The disciples also faced trials: "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of Yahweh" Acts 14:22. See also 1 Thessalonians 3:4,7 and 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.
Trials and tribulations are not only for the perfecting of the saints (Colossians 3:4 and Hebrews 6:1), but if we endure them and overcome them we also shall receive the crown of life: "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Messiah has promised to them that love Him," James 1:12, Revelation 2:10.
Trials Prove and Strengthen Us
A crown is for a ruler or king. As we overcome one problem or trial we are strengthened to face up to and overcome the next. Exercise makes us stronger. To prepare for the heavy weight class we continue to lift progressively heavier weights and thereby become stronger. Similarly, we grow stronger as Yahweh empowers us to conquer progressively more difficult obstacles and trials. In so doing we become strengthened in those abilities needed to be a seasoned follower of the Savior.
Our main goal in this life is to have our name written in the Book of Life. To do this, we must strive for perfection: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," Matthew 5:48.
Because of our human frailties we know that we must be tried, as gold is tried and purified to make it perfect, before we can become one of Yahweh's elect. "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, 'It is My people:' and they shall say, 'Yahweh is my Elohim,'" Zechariah 13:9.
As the end time approaches and the degenerating influences of our society intensify, suffering will become a way of life. Have you ever told a friend or acquaintance who was going through some bad times, "I know how you feel" or "I can sympathize with you," when you really couldn't because you had never experienced such an ordeal? Can we even comprehend the feeling that Yahshua had knowing He would innocently be put to death and yet still maintaining the deep faith He had that He would be raised up? No, we really cannot.
Do you believe that faith can grow from the size of a mustard seed to such great heights? Yahshua's parable (Matthew 13:31-32) shows that such is indeed the case. We should be aware that Yahweh can implant in us the smallest seed of needed faith and increase our faith day by day.
Yahweh's People Are Overcomers
The Scriptures are full of biographical sketches of the suffering endured by Yahweh's chosen. At such times of suffering one cannot realize the purpose behind it. Why would Yahweh permit His people to suffer? The answer is that Yahweh seeks only the best--the cream of the crop. We must strive toward perfection. Those who overcome trials prove their faithfulness by their tenacity and become stronger as they persevere in the fact of all opposition. We must accept suffering as a means of receiving enrichment and blessings in the end.
Perhaps one of the most noted historical figures in the Scriptures who endured much pain and suffering was Job. In all of his suffering Job did not put the blame on Yahweh: "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged Elohim foolishly," Job 1:22. The reason he did not sin is found in Job 2:10: "...What? shall we receive good at the hand of Elohim, and shall we not receive evil?" Job did endure his suffering and was blessed in the end with twice as much as he originally had. See Job 42:10. We also must endure to the end to receive the blessings promises to us, namely everlasting life.
Suffering in one form or another should be expected. Otherwise, how can we prove our faith if it is not test? We must strive toward perfection, knowing full well that because of our human nature we are at variance with Yahweh. Perfection comes only through ridding ourselves of evil with the help of Yahweh's Spirit, strengthening our desire to be faultless before the throne through a daily overcoming of sin in life's experiences.
Paul tells us of this in Romans 7, where he acknowledges that what we should do, we don't, and what we should not do, that we do. In our striving towards perfection, we must follow after Yahshua. To do this we must gladly agree and fully submit to all He tells us to do. "For even hereunto were you called; because the Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps," 1 Peter 2:21.
Feasts Help Us to Achieve and Grow in Truth
To be able to rightly follow in His steps we must with the help of Yahweh's Holy Spirit eliminate sin from our lives. Yahweh showed us the right path to follow to gain everlasting life through the waymark illustrated in the Scriptures--the annual feasts. Important past events in Yahweh's calendar have occurred on each of these special days. More will yet occur. When Yahshua returns to claim His own, then the elect will be in full agreement with Him.
The annual Feast that best depicts the elimination of the wide gulf that now exists between mankind and his Creator is to be observed on the tenth day of the seventh scriptural month and is called the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement is unique in Scripture because it shows us a discipline we ourselves must exercise, and points to the ultimate blessing promised us in the Bible. We must first humble ourselves so that we will more eagerly conform to the pattern image Yahweh has designed for us. Let us now take a close look at this special day known in Hebrew as Yom Kippur, "the day of covering."
Many churches teach that a great controversy exists between Yahshua and Satan--Yahshua is trying desperately to save the world, and Satan is thwarting Him at every turn. There are more "unsaved" people today than ever in history, and it appears that Satan is stronger than Yahshua! But Yahshua will soon return to set up His Kingdom. At that time Satan will be bound so he cannot deceive the nations. This is demonstrated by the Day of Atonement.
The Bible teaches that not every one is called now. In His wisdom, Yahweh knows that not everyone who could be given the knowledge of the plan of salvation would remain faithful and follow His way of life to the end. Revelation shows that those with Him are called, chosen and faithful, Revelation 17:14. Furthermore, we are told we must keep His works until the end, Revelation 2:26, Matthew 24:13.
That there is a group who will be given understanding now is confirmed by the Savior Himself. When He was talking with His disciples, He told them their eyes were blessed for they see, and their ears for they hear, Matthew 13:16. The parables were chosen by Yahshua to reveal deeper spiritual truth only to those who had ears to hear and eyes to see, verse 17.
He went on to say that many prophets and righteous men yearned to see the things the disciples saw and they did not see these things, and desire to hear what the disciples heard but they did not hear them. In other words, Yahshua was explaining the deeper truths of the Bible to only a selected circle of men that He Himself had chosen.
In the parable of the workers in the vineyard Yahshua summed up the lesson by adding that many are called, but few chosen. Notice He did not say all are called, Matthew 20:16. In chapter 22 of Matthew and verse 14 we learn, "Many are called, but few chosen."
In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Yahshua summed up the lesson by adding that many are called, but few chosen. Notice He did not say all are called, Matthew 20:16. In chapter 22 of Matthew and verse 14 we learn, "Many are called, but few chosen."
Furthermore, in John 6:70 Yahshua stated, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" It is true even today that Yahweh has allowed Yahshua to choose His followers from those that Yahweh has called. The brother of Yahshua reveals that it is the poor of the world that He chooses, James 2:5. It is not the proud and the haughty, or those rich in material goods or famous or worldly dignitaries. It is those who are teachable and willing to follow in the footsteps of the Savior.
The fact that you are studying this lesson shows that Yahweh's Spirit is working with you, drawing you into a deeper understanding of His will for your life. You should apply all the Biblical principles possible to mold your life in the pattern of Yahshua's.
The Day of Atonement reveals deeper insight into Yahweh's plan for mankind and helps us see some of the promised blessings yet to come. It is the most Holy of all Yahweh's Sabbaths and is to be observed with more strictness than any other holy day.
The Day of Atonement points out that the "Day of Yahweh" will be a blessing for Yahweh's people and a day of wrath for the disobedient. We are promised protection and guidance when we are in accord with His will. But destruction comes to those who rebel and follow their own pernicious ways, Psalm 1.
First we have some lessons to learn and some overcoming of our carnal nature to accomplish so that we will be fit vessels for the glory that will yet be ours when Yahshua returns.
The ceremony the priest performed on the Day of Atonement is given in considerable detail. It foreshadowed something to come and still has great significance for believers today. The ceremony portrays Yahshua's atoning work for believers and also His atonement for sins of all Israel.
THE TABERNACLE LAYOUT
2. Altar of Burnt Offering
4. Holy Place
5. Table of Shewbread
7. Alter of Incense
8. Veil or Curtain
9. Most Holy Place
10. Ark of the Covenant
According to scriptural accounts, the tabernacle Israel built to Yahweh's specifications looked like the above. The High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. All through the year, sins of the nation of Israel were placed at the Tabernacle. On the Day of Atonement, once a year, this huge load of guilt was removed from Israel through the Holy of Holies. This symbolized Yahshua taking our sins, which He did once for all for those who believe in Him and repent.
Yahweh Proves His People Through Affliction
- What three things are to be done on this Day of Atonement? Leviticus 23:27.
NOTE: "Holy convocation" means a special day set apart to gather together with others of like faith.
- What does it mean to afflict one's soul? Psalm 35:13; Isaiah 58:3.
NOTE: The Hebrew word translated afflict is translated humble in Psalm 35:13.
- Did not Yahweh humble Israel by having them wander through the wilderness for 40 years? Deuteronomy 8:2. For what reason were they humbled? Same verse.
NOTE: The word "prove" means to try or test. Were the Israelites not made to feel hunger during their wandering? Same verse. As we observe the Day of Atonement we must, therefore, afflict our souls through fasting.
- Does Ezra also affirm the fact that we are to afflict our souls through fasting? Ezra 8:21.
NOTE: The priests were about to embark on a journey, taking the precious things of the temple back to Jerusalem and sincerely seeking Yahweh's guidance. So we should also seek Yahweh's guidance along the way as we journey to that heavenly goal. Read also Ezra 8:22-23.
- Is it good to afflict our souls through fasting? Psalm 119:71. For what reason? Same verse and Psalm 119:67.
NOTE: Fasting should be done periodically if only for the physical benefits. Animals live longer and have fewer physical problems when forced to fast from time to time. However, for a believer the spiritual aspects are a growing closer to Yahweh as we realize we are but human and need physical food for energy and life itself.
- Since animal sacrifices are currently held in abeyance today and no longer applicable to us (Hebrews 9-10), how can we satisfy the offering made by fire as Leviticus 23:27 says? 1 Corinthian 3:13-15.
NOTE: We are taught spiritual values through physical lessons. Truth is revealed to us as we contemplate Yahweh's program designed for our spiritual growth through His Feasts.
- What are we NOT TO DO on the Day of Atonement? Leviticus 23:28.
NOTE: In Judaism this is the holiest day of the year.
- Must one be a physical Israelite or a Jew before this requirement is necessary? Leviticus 16:29. Was this statute only for the Jews or Israel? Same verse.
- At what time of the day are we to begin fasting? Leviticus 23:32.
NOTE: The words "even" in Leviticus 23:5 and "even" in Leviticus 23:32 are not the same in the literal Hebrew. The first is the Hebrew ben ha-arbayim (correctly translated twilight or dusk). Verse 32 is the Hebrew ereb (translated even).
Ancient Israel's Observance of the Day of Atonement
Even though there are many aspects of ancient Israel's observance of the Day of Atonement, those dealing with animal sacrifices are not required of us today. The physical sacrifices foreshadow a work Yahshua does for us. From these we discern the spiritual lessons that depict some aspect of Yahshua's sacrifice of Himself. As we examine Leviticus 16 a clearer picture emerges of events that took place many years later when our Savior died.
Known as "Yom Kippur," the Day of Atonement in Hebrew means the "day of covering over," and is observed on the tenth day of the seventh scriptural moth. The day was to remind Israel of their sinfulness and the holiness of Yahweh. Fifteen sacrifices were offered on this day (16 if the Azazel goat is included). Counting the lamb of Numbers 28:8, there were also 13 burnt offerings and 4 sin offerings. It was a purification ceremony as well as a general fast.
A Deeper Understanding of Atonement
- In preparing for the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was to bathe and clean up before putting on the plain linen garments. He was not to wear woolen garments as they might make him sweat, Leviticus 16:4 and 23. He did not wear the golden and highly adorned garments, nor did he have on the ephod with the Urim and Thumim, not dressed in the servant garment of linen. What do the white linen garments signify? Revelation 19:8
NOTE: A cleansing is needed when appearing before Yahweh. The sanctuary itself had to be cleansed because it was considered defiled by the transfer of Israel's sins to the tabernacle and the fixtures thereof. Only after the High Priest bathed and cleansed himself was he accounted righteous. So we also must cleanse our lives daily of sin through repentance if we wish to appear in the presence of Yahweh. Especially do we follow through with a grand cleansing on the Day of Atonement.
- Who was to appear on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies" Leviticus 16:2.
NOTE: Clouds are symbolic of glory or majesty, and also helped shield the High Priest from the brightness of Yahweh's presence.
- Did the High Priest have to offer a sin offering for Himself? Leviticus 16:6, 11, 14.
NOTE: It is important that we understand that the priest had to make three special offerings. The first was a bullock for himself and his household so that he would be cleansed for his duties for Israel.
- In addition to changing into the special linen garments, the priest was to take along beaten incense to put on the fire before Yahweh so the mercy seat would be covered by the cloud of smoke, Levities 16:12-13. What did the incense symbolize? Revelation 8:3-4.
NOTE: The cloud of incense shielded the High Priest from the bright, blinding light of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh's presence between the cherubim. Sweet incense reflects our humble attitude before Yahweh, showing that we are not bitter or angry. Our prayers are not to be selfish, but are to offer praise and thanks to Yahweh, along with our petitions for others and ourselves. It is our prayerful attitude that allows us to stand in the presence of Yahweh.
- When the High Priest went into the holy place, he stood before the mercy seat. Within the Ark of the Covenant were the two stone tablets of the covenant upon which Yahweh had inscribed the Ten Commandments with His own finger, Hebrews 9:4. It was the breaking of the Covenant laws represented by these two tablets that required that a sin offering be made. What else was the priest to do while he was within the holy place? Leviticus 16:14.
NOTE: The sprinkling of blood over the mercy seat was in type an expiation or covering of the broken covenant of Israel, represented by the Ten Commandments, which all mankind has broken.
The High Priest first had to make atonement for his sins and those of his household by sprinkling blood upon the mercy seat. Yahshua also had to ascend to the heavens and offer Himself to the Father as we see in Hebrews 9:12. Because His sacrifice was accepted, we now must put our trust in Him to serve the living Yahweh, verse 14. Are sincere believers looking for the return of the Messiah just as Israel looked for the High Priest to return from within the Holy of Holies? Hebrews 9:28
NOTE: We look for Yahshua's return as the glorified Savior. At that time, both living and dead believers shall be changed, in an instant to immortality, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
Azazel and the Sacrificial Goat
The Two Goats and Their Meaning
- Even though Aaron as the High Priest had much to do on the Day of Atonement, perhaps his biggest role dealt with the two goats. This was done even before the sin offerings mentioned above were accomplished. What was Aaron to do with the two goats? Leviticus 16:7-10.
NOTE: The account of what Aaron did with the two goats has a parallel record during the life of our Savior, Yahshua. As recorded for us in Luke 23:13-25, Pilate, acting the part of the High Priest, presented to the people Yahshua and Barabbas, symbolizing the two goats presented to Yahweh. One was to be set free, the guilty one, and one was to die, the guiltless one. Barabbas, whose name means son of father, was set free. Yahshua, the guiltless one, was to die for the sins of all mankind, just as the goat, which was without blemish, was to be sacrificed for the sins of all of Yahweh's people by Aaron the High Priest.
- Picture the High Priest bringing the goat before the altar of burnt offering. Leaning with his two hands on the head of the animal, Aaron confessed all the iniquity of the Israelites as well as their transgressions, symbolically placing them on the head of the goat, Leviticus 16:21-22. The live goat was then taken away, removed to the wilderness, symbolizing that all sin was taken out of the land. This is a type of the cleansing of the land during the time of Yahshua's rule. What happens to Satan when Yahshua begins His rule? Revelation 20:1-3.
- Tradition has it that a rope was tied about the High Priest's ankle before he went into the Holy of Holies. In the event that he did not come out of the Holy of Holies, and was struck down dead, his body could be removed with the rope. This would mean the offering was not accepted by Yahweh. While Aaron was making atonement in the holy place, could any person be inside the tabernacle? Leviticus 16:17.
NOTE: This is one of the most pertinent aspects of the Day of Atonement overlooked by so many. The people stood outside the tabernacle as Aaron busied himself with the Atonement offering. They waited with baited breath as it neared the time for him to finish his work and come out of the Holy of Holies and thence out of the tabernacle. If he did not return, they knew their sins were not forgiven and they would die in their sins.
When he came out, all Israel shouted for joy as he appeared, for they knew their sins had been covered and life was theirs for another year. This is the true picture of Atonement. We await the return of our High Priest, knowing that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him and we shall meet Him in the air, being changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye from mortal to immortal.
- Somewhat puzzling in the study of Atonement is the role played by the two goats. The first one is killed and thus cannot represent the RISEN Savior. The High Priest acts out that position just as Yahshua is now our High Priest. What has He been doing for some 2,000 years? Hebrews 4:14-16 and 7:25.
NOTE: As our mediator, Yahshua now pleads our case with the Heavenly Father and is our Advocate or Representative presenting our position.
- The Azazel (meaning removal) goat sent away into the wilderness has been looked upon by most scholars as a representation of Satan. All the sins of Israel were symbolically placed upon the head of the goat before it was sent away. Because Satan introduced sin into the world, whose sins actually are they? Leviticus 16:21.
NOTE: Some see this goat as a type of the Messiah who bore the sins of the world and took them away at His death. While there may be grounds for this interpretation, it best appears Satan is the goat who has all the sins of Israel upon him and then is turned loose only when far removed from the habitations of men, verses 21-22. It later became an Israelite custom to push the goat over a precipice so it died.
- After placing his hands on the goat and praying for the transfer of Israel's sins to it, did the High Priest have to wash again before coming before the people? Leviticus 16:24. And did the man who led the Azazel goat into the wilderness have to wash his clothes and bathe as well before returning to the camp? verse 26.
NOTE: Water is often used as a symbol of cleansing and ridding oneself of filth and dirt, which often represents sin in the Bible. This is clearly seen in Ephesians 5:26.
Necessity For Observing the Day of Atonement
The marriage supper account given by Yahshua is better understood after we comprehend the ceremony given to ancient Israel for the Day of Atonement. Read Matthew 22:1-14 In this parable the marriage supper of the Lamb is depicted.
Many were invited to the Feast but refused to honor the King and therefore were not worthy, verse 8. This parable reveals that many are called now to understand the deeper things of the Word. But most allow the cares of the world to crowd out their devotion to Yahweh and His Word. Next we learn that all types of people are invited to the Feast (Gentiles are now called to salvation), verses 9-10.
A man is present who does not have on the wedding garment, verses 11-12. Notice that because he does not have on the wedding garment (the righteousness of saints, the garment of white linen), he is rejected, verse 13. What does the linen garment signify? Revelation 16:15.
NOTE: Even as far back as the Book of Leviticus we learn that the linen garments symbolize the robe of righteousness, the garment of salvation! We observe the Day of Trumpets, which we studied in our previous lesson. Ten days later we have the Day of Atonement to remind us that our sins are fully covered by the blood of the Savior who died for us and arose that we might have life and sit with Him in His Kingdom, Matthew 19:28.
Some believe that we should not observe Atonement day, because they contend it is like killing the Messiah all over again. But the lesson to be learned is that we keep looking for His return. The trumpet blast signifying the Sabbatical year (Leviticus 25:9) could well be the same trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The true reason for keeping the Day of Atonement can be seen in Hebrews 9:28, for it is represented in the Israelites' looking for the return of the High Priest.
It is Passover that enacts the killing of the lamb and by extension the perfect Passover Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. We are to keep Passover once a year. We are told to keep Passover "in remembrance of Him," 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. But Passover is only the beginning of Yahweh's days, and should be kept along with all the Feasts, including Atonement, for a fuller, clearer spiritual picture.
Yahshua, our Atonement Sacrifice
- Do we have a High Priest today? Hebrews 5:5; 8:1-2. Where is He symbolically seated? Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:10.
NOTE: In addition to a better ministry, Hebrews 8:6 says He is the mediator of an even better covenant, built upon better promises!
- Is Yahshua our sinless High Priest? Hebrews 6:20 and 7:26.
NOTE: Accordingly, we have that sure word of promise that He will return in keeping with our Father's schedule. Unlike the High Priest of ancient Israel, who was human and sinful, Yahshua never knew sin, 1 Peter 2:21-22. Because He is sinless and the perfect sacrifice, we know He will not be struck down in the Holy of Holies. His return is assured!
- Was the observance by ancient Israelites of the Day of Atonement to serve as an example and shadow of heavenly things? Hebrews 8:4-5.
NOTE: This is a picture of Yahweh's way of dealing with us spiritually, for Moses saw the spiritual pattern that is to be our guide.
- Did Yahshua enter behind the veil to the very throne of Yahweh? Hebrews 6:19-20. Is Yahshua's term as the High Priest a limited appointment? Psalm 110:4.
NOTE: In His glorious state, Yahshua will be charged with many duties and responsibilities. He will wear many crowns of authority, Revelation 19:12, being King of Kings, and Sovereign of Sovereigns.
- After Yahshua arose from the dead, where did He tell Miriam He was going? John 20:17. Was it His own blood that He presented as an offering for sin? Hebrews 9:12.
NOTE: Just as Aaron had to present the blood of the sacrificial goat before Yahweh in the Holy of Holies, Yahshua had to present His sacrifice before Yahweh.
- Was His sacrifice accepted? John 20:27.
NOTE: Now He could be touched for He had now been accepted by the Heavenly Father. Had He been touched by human hands, He would have become contaminated.
- Israel's High Priests had to make those animal sacrifices on an annual basis. Knowing that Yahshua's shed blood covers our sins, what must we be careful of? Hebrews 10:26-27; 2 Peter 2:20-21.
NOTE: If we do not go to Yahweh in full repentance, acknowledging our sins, we have no more hope. After we have come to understand what is required of us, we humbly admit our sin and cease from doing it. Read Hebrews 6:4-6, Yahshua is not going to die again.
- Where is Yahshua now? Hebrews 9:24. What is He doing there for us? Hebrews 9:15.
NOTE: Just as the people waited for the High Priest to come out of the Holy of Holies place to signify the acceptance of the sacrifice, we, too, should diligently look forward to Yahshua's return.
Preparing Ourselves for Yahshua's Return
There are some who say that because Yahshua died for our sins that we no longer are required to keep the Day of Atonement. However, if we believe that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh," 2 Timothy 3:16, we cannot deny that this day must be kept along with the other holy days.
- Did the New Testament assemblies keep the Day of Atonement? Acts 27:9.
NOTE: Bible scholars indicate that "the fast" means the Day of Atonement. Certainly, if the writes of the Scriptures kept this Fast after the death and resurrection of Yahshua, then we must also keep it. If we were not required to keep it, then this Fast would not be called to our attention or even be mentioned.
- What did Peter indicate would happen when Yahshua returns to the earth? Acts 3:19-21.
NOTE: Restoration means reestablishment from the state of ruin. What needs to be reestablished? Yahweh's way of life. There is no better way to prepare ourselves for Yahshua's return than to fast, to clear our mind and body of this world's ills. By fasting, we humble ourselves before Yahweh, acknowledging that His way is the right way. What will happen to those who do not properly prepare themselves for His return by fasting? "For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day [of atonement], he shall be cut off from among his people," Leviticus 23:29.
- To afflict oneself we have learned means to humble ourselves through fasting. Does Yahshua tell us that he who humbles himself shall be exalted? Luke 14:11 and 18:14.
NOTE: Atonement teaches us that we are to be a humble, teachable people. Just as meekness was an attribute of Moses, Numbers 12:3, so we are to become in our daily lives.
- Can fasting be done for the wrong reason? Luke 18:11-14.
NOTE: Attitude is all-important in our spiritual growth.
- Does fasting mean to go without food and water? Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:8-9, 18; Esther 4:16; Jonah 3:7-9; and Acts 9:9.
NOTE: Abstaining from food and water for one day will certainly make one feel faint and weary because our physical body requires such for sustenance. Fasting for two or three days will usually not harm a healthy person. However, those with a physical condition like diabetes should consult proper medical advice.
- What does Yahweh promise if we follow His ways? Isaiah 40:28-31.
NOTE: A result of fasting often is bad breath as the body rids itself of impurities. A headache is not uncommon for some, but usually a short nap will rid one of a fasting headache. Generally, strenuous activity should be avoided.
Atonement Is a Time of Release
Man had been given 6,000 years to do his thing. Do present-day world conditions indicate he is doing his job well? Hardly. Man is continually messing up this world because he is doing what he thinks is best. The United States is now a debtor nation, owing more than it is taking in. The national debt is heading beyond the trillion-dollar mark. Americans are up to their necks in debt themselves, to the tune of billions of dollars. The only relief in sight is the return of Yahshua the Messiah to set u a glorious Kingdom in which integrity and righteousness will have full sway.
The Day of Atonement also pictures a time of release, the day in which Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin. A time when all debts are cancelled and man regains his possessions.
Atonement pictures the time when Satan is bound and cannot deceive the nations any more. However, man will still have his sinful nature to overcome, and not all will be perfected on earth at once. Man still must overcome his own sinful nature and grow in Yahshua's nature. This special fast day shows that humans made immortal will no longer have to depend upon physical food for energy, but will have self-inherent life just like our Savior, John 5:26. The Day of Atonement must not be taken lightly.
It is on the Day of Atonement that Yahweh's plan of redemption is shown us more clearly. Leviticus 25:1-7 gives us good insight into the plan Yahweh has in store for His people. Each Sabbath day was a type of the coming rest for creation after its present 6,000 years of woe. Each seventh year also emphasized the coming redemption through Yahshua the Messiah. How many sabbaths of years were to be counted before the trumpet was blown for the Sabbatical/Jubilee cycle? Leviticus 25:8-10.
NOTE: On the Day of Atonement, the trumpet was blown and liberty is to be proclaimed throughout the land.
- Notice that on the day the following occurred: All debts were forgiven. All Hebrew slaves were set at liberty. Every man returned to his own possession given by Yahweh to his ancestors. Crops were not planted, but that which grew of itself became available to all. No produce was harvested or stored. That which grew of itself could be eaten by anyone. According to Yahshua, who are the rightful inheritors of the earth? Matthew 5:5.
NOTE: Does this mean that those who are meek and teachable will inherit all things that Yahshua has? See Revelation 21:7.
- The land was not to be sold forever, but to remain within a family. This is clear from Leviticus 25:13-14. Again, we see that Yahweh is in charge of His creation and He allows certain ones to have custody or be stewards of parcels of this earth. Does He even say that the animals a farmer has on this earth are Yahweh's? Psalm 50:10.
- Did Yahshua look forward to the Sabbatical year? Luke 4:17-21. Notice that He mentions captives, blind, liberty and the acceptable or Sabbatical cycle. Did He astound His listeners? Same verse.
NOTE: The words translated "Sabbath day" are "Day of Weeks" in the Greek, and refer to Pentecost or Feast of Weeks. The Sabbatical cycle began in the fall of the year on Atonement and ended the next year at Atonement.
- The portion that Yahshua read was from Isaiah 61:1-2. But He stopped in the middle of the second verse! The year of vengeance is the year that He returns to this earth, as we see in Revelation 11:18. Read Isaiah 61:1-9. Does this not picture the reconstruction that will be undertaken by those who will survive the coming vengeance upon this earth?
NOTE: Atonement pictures a separation of those who obey Yahweh and those who destroy the earth. Yahweh will bless those who follow His ways and will become indeed a blessing to others, verse 9.
How Should the People of Yahweh Observe Atonement
Because the present Roman calendar begins on January 1, in the middle of winter, we cannot set the Feast Days of Yahweh by that calendar. You also can see that the "months" of the present calendar used in society in commerce and business have nothing at all to do with the phases of the moon. Therefore, it is necessary that we follow the Bible way of counting months.
Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah publishes a calendar each year showing the new moons, which mark the start of each month. Yahshua followed a calendar in which the new moons were spotted by people. They informed the Sanhedrin who then proclaimed the new moons. The Bible year begins in the spring when the earth again springs to life. Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread fall within that first month, and the first of the seventh month is the Feast of Trumpets. On the tenth day is the Day of Atonement, a day on which no work of any kind is to be done, being a sacred rest day.
The Day of Atonement begins after sunset on the 9th (Leviticus 23:27-32) and ends at the setting of the sun on the 10th day. We are to go without food and water for this 24-hour period and "afflict our souls" (lives). This portrays Israel's future repentance. This fast also emphasizes that the time is coming when we will be made immortal and will not have to eat, for spirit has life within itself and does not need outside sources for energy.
This day is to be observed through a holy convocation with others of like precious faith. It is observed much like a Sabbath, but has stricter rules of observance.
Fasting is something we voluntarily enter into and is not forced upon others who are not spiritually matured to observe this day properly. Young children will usually want to follow their parents in keeping this day. They can exercise their resolve and endurance by going without food or water for as long as possible. The aged or ill may not be able to fulfill the fast completely.
After sunset following the tenth day, normal eating and drinking can be resumed. We come to a better understanding of Yahweh's plan for His people as we realize that this day pictures the covering of Israel's sins and the removing of their land's defilement. By observing Yahweh's holy days, He will help you come to a better understanding of what these days foreshadow.
Just as a man and woman are to become one flesh when they marry, when Yahshua returns to claim His bride all must be ready so that we can all rejoice at the wedding supper. We must be in full agreement to His way of life--we must be AT-ONE with Him. If we are not, then we shall lose our crown of life and not have our name written in the Book of Life.
In keeping the Day of Atonement we show that we are willingly submissive to all Yahweh's commandments. Someday we can talk to the Apostle Paul in the Kingdom, telling him we read of his being shipwrecked after the Day of Atonement had passed, Acts 27:9. Paul will likely tell us, "Glad to learn you also kept the Day of Atonement! You followed the example I gave to the Corinthians to be followers of me as I am of Messiah," 1 Corinthians 1:1. "Yahweh's law stands forever."
By submitting to Yahweh's way of life now, we condition our minds to think like Him, act like Him, eat like Him, and eventually will attain higher moral ethics approaching His. By keeping His Day of Atonement through fasting, and meeting with others of like precious faith if possible, we will be prepared to join with others at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Matthew 22:11-13.
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May Yahweh bless you and help you in all your learning endeavors!