This evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. In tabernacle/temple days, it was the only day of the year in which the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to perform the priestly duty of sprinkling sacrificial blood on the mercy seat in order to facilitate God’s forgiveness of sin of the people.
However, the days leading up to Yom Kippur were very important. Hebrew4Christians explains:
In traditional Judaism, the day of Yom Kippur marks the climax of the 10-day period of repentance called the Days of Awe, or yamim nora’im. According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah, the destiny of the righteous, the tzaddikim, are written in the Book of Life, and the destiny of the wicked, the resha’im, are written in the Book of Death. However, most people will not yet be inscribed in either book, but have 10 days – until Yom Kippur – to repent before sealing their fate. [Hence, 10 Days of Awe or Days of Repentance] On Yom Kippur, then, every soul’s name will be sealed in one of the two books.
Christian friends, aren’t you glad that Jesus, our High Priest, offered up Himself as our sacrifice, sealing our fate (salvation) once and for all! (Hebrews 7:27) Then, our High Priest took His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens (Hebrews 8:1) because His work was done! For us, no need of 10-day efforts to become “good enough” to have our names inscribed in the Book of Life. He did that for us once and for all! (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 10:10)
Praise God for our Jewish friends who provided us salvation through the Messiah. Let’s pray that, on this Yom Kippur, Jews everywhere will receive forgiveness of sin once and for all through, not through ritual, but through Yeshua (Jesus)!
Now, two final tidbits:
First, in Jewish custom, Yom Kippur is the last day of appeal to have sins forgiven before the Book of Life and the Book of Death are sealed. Observant Jews spend time in synagogue, where 7 services are conducted. The last, Ne’ilah, comes from the word “closing” or “locking.” Everyone wants their name sealed and locked in the Book of Life! This service concludes with recitation of the shema and other passages, then with the blowing of the “great” shofar that reminds us of the Year of Jubilee and freedom throughout the land.
Hear is what it sounds like:
Secondly, before leaving, worshippers proclaim, “L’Shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim”… “Next year in Jerusalem!”
Oh, to be home in the New Jerusalem! That is the hope we have as Christians. Our High Priest, indeed, adequately fulfills all the Jewish feasts. Stay tuned, because the last of 7 annual Jewish feasts is to come, and it is the most joyful! We’ll talk about that next week!
Shabbat Shalom….and L’Shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim!