Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and New Years
The Day of Atonement and the pagan, secular New Year both share the theme of repentance, change and turning over a new leaf. During Yom Kippur this is done by prayer and fasting and in the New Year’s celebration it is done by making resolutions. Seeing as I have already explained the paganism behind the secular New Year I will just show you what this Feast of the LORD called Yom Kippur is all about.
Biblical Month: Tishri
Secular Month: Sept/Oct
“Yom,” means, “Day,” and “Kippur,” means, “Atonement(s), covering(s).”
29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.
31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. - Lev. 16:29-31
Leviticus 16 tells us all about the most mysterious and most crucial, annual 24 hour period in Hebraic History; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonements, the day of national atonement for Israel. Yom Kippur translates to, “Day of Atonements or Coverings.” It is also called, “The Sabbaths of Sabbaths,” because it is the most important High Holy Day on the Hebrew Calendar. For every High Holy Day is regarded as a weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23). It is also simply called, “The Day” and we see this referenced idiomatically in a passage in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) that has always been taken out of context to mean weekly Sunday worship.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. - Hebrews 10:25
Ironically the English word Atonement when broken down describes Yom Kippur very well: “At-One-ment,” meaning, at one with God. This Day is also synonymous with the prophetic apocalyptic Day of Judgment; that the final Judgment will take place on Yom Kippur.
Seeing as there is no Standing Temple in Jerusalem or a trained and working Levitical priesthood, the sacrifices on this Day has been shelved, put on hold, until the Temple is rebuilt and Messiah returns. But the command to afflict ones soul remains. This is considered a time of sacrifice, because the affliction of one’s soul is accomplished by fasting and when one fasts their blood and fat is diminished. These are the very elements offered up in a Temple animal sacrifice; we are to become a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2).
Traditionally, there are 5 ways to afflict ones soul on Yom Kippur, called, “the Five Mortifications,” they are:
1) No Eating and Drinking - From sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur until nightfall the next day it is forbidden to eat or drink. (24-26 hour period)
However, there is a principle in Judaism called, “Life over Law.” This means if anyone has a medical condition which fasting would cause harm; the Rabbi’s tell us that it is sin if that person does NOT eat. And so, to save a life the Talmud says that one may even eat something unclean! Girls below the age of 12 and boys below the age of 13 are not required to fast.
Scientifically Fasting has shown a 24 hour fast once a year decreases the risk of contracting certain diseases such as cancer.
2) No Washing - During the fast, one may not wash for pleasure.
· If one is dirty, one is permitted to wash away the dirt.
· Upon rising in the morning and after using the bathroom.
· One may wash one's hands when preparing food.
3) No Anointing - It is forbidden to anoint oneself with oil, thus the use of perfumes, make-up, suntan lotion, and other such items is prohibited.
4) No Wearing Leather Shoes - During the fast it is forbidden to wear leather shoes; because leather was seen as a comfort and luxury in ancient times. Some people wear only socks, but others wear shoes of canvas or other non-leather materials.
The point of all of this being, no pampering yourself or display of wealth. This is a way of outwardly making everyone equal, so there is no outward distinction of classes within the community. Everyone is the same, and so as to remove all distractive creature comforts so one can focus on dealing with the condition of one’s soul.
Matt. 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
If everyone participates, it is not to show off. Seeing as it is Yom Kippur it is well known that everyone is fasting. So the stipulations in this verse are not in context and therefore do not apply.
5) No Marital Relations - It is forbidden to have marital relations during Yom Kippur
We are to be intimate with ADONAI at this time and not our spouse, for our spouse also needs to focus on their intimacy with ADONAI.
On Yom Teruah it is believed that the books in heaven are opened (Rev. 20:12), its accounting time in heaven due to the New Year. And it is believed that within 10 days the books will be closed and the fate of the coming year for every individual will be set. These 10 days we have the opportunity to settle our accounts. There are 10 days between Yom Teruah/Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur. These are known as the 10 Days of Awe. If one will notice that the 10 Commandments seem to be split in two. The first half (Exd. 20:1-12), Commandments 1-5, deals with man’s relationship with God. The second half (Exd. 20:12-17), Commandments 5-10, deal with man’s relationship with man. The first 5 of the 10 Days of Awe we focus on our relationship with our fellow man. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with one another. We begin with our fellow man because how can God forgive us, unless we first forgive others first (Matt. 5:23-24)? The last 5 of the 10 days one focuses on their relationship and standing with God; repenting of past sin throughout the year, seeking God’s will for one’s life. The individual is to repent and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with God and their fellow man.
Lev. 16:31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever.
Notice there is no clause in this verse, such as, “…a statute forever until Messiah comes.” No, it says forever. Do not be mistaken, we are not seeking forgiveness on a works merited basis, this is not the meaning or purpose of Yom Kippur. For we know Yeshua took all our sins away by His bloody death on the cross. Fasting and repenting is simply God’s prescribed way to meet with us on this Day and to draw closer to Him on His Timetable. Yom Kippur has nothing to do with our salvation but with our intimacy and right standing with God.
I know for the past 20 years or so have observed the Fast of Yom Kippur and have been greatly blessed by it and have drawn closer to the Father because of it. There is much more that I can get into regarding this High Holy Day but such goes beyond the intended scope of this work I highly recommend the books suggested in the “Further Reading” section of this volume.