Thoughts on Yom Kippur

(Image from Biblical Holidays website)

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh
month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you
shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And
you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his
people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout
your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn
rest, and you shall afflict your souls
; on the ninth day of the month at
evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” – Leviticus
23:26-32 (emphasis added by me)

What was a law pointing Israel to their need for atonement is, to those circumcised in heart ( believers in Jesus as Savior and Lord), a law of spiritual life in Christ.

To one it is a law like the law of a land… do’s, don’ts, etc. to show them/us that we are in need of atonement (“…the Bible’s central message is atonement, that is, that God has provided a way for humankind to come back into harmonious relation with him…”). To the other (the believer) it is a law of spiritual life. It is not something we do so that we are accepted, it is a truth of the rhythm of life we have in Christ. Just as it is true of who we are as earth dwellers that gravity holds us to the ground it is true of Spirit-walkers (those who live by the Spirit through Jesus’ atoning work) that what happens during Yom Kippur is part of our spiritual lives.

Because Jesus is our atonement, we live out Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) as a season of life in the Spirit personally and prophetically Yom Kippur will be lived out (fulfilled) in season of it’s divine appointment nationally (I believe for each nation) and world-wide. I have a lot of contemplations and discussions and mostly listening and storing in my heart to ponder over how the season of Yom Kippur will play out in time for America as a nation and for the world with Israel’s appointed time. I ponder these things and pray about them as God moves in me to see how He moves a “day” or time of atonement in my own life personally. I do believe what the Spirit does in our lives effect the whole body and the whole body lives out nationally and globally what the Spirit is doing in us individually.

Anyway, as I was thinking today and praying and really listening to God’s heart about what Yom Kippur means for me, as a Gentile, saved by faith in Christ, I began to realize that what the scripture says is to happen on Yom Kippur was already happening in me, in my heart, and it has been that way for a season of about a month or so. It’s been a time where it seems like my sin is continually before me and I’m hating my own life ( in a good way ) which is in turn growing my love for Christ and what it cost Him to save me and bring me to Him again. I realized Yom Kippur is really a season of spiritual life in Christ. Pictured in the Old Testament, and lived out by faith in our lives now, there are still daily sacrifices: dying to self, confessing sin, acknowledging need for forgiveness and rejoicing that it is found in Jesus, (Luke 9:23), but there is also found this side of heaven seasons of being grieved over our own sin: seeing our sin, confessing it, being freed from it, being healed and matured in Christ.

It’s a law, like gravity, at work in my life in Jesus. It’s not a law I obey so I don’t get in trouble… no! It’s a law at work in me! A law of doing what David did in Psalm 32:

When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the
drought of summer. Selah I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have
not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You
forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah For this cause everyone who is godly (those who know they are sinners and who confess their sins) shall pray to You In a time when You may be found… Psalm 32:3-6a (Parentheses by me)

It’s a law I find at work in me when once a time (a season) I, “…acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me.” (Psalm 51:3) It’s not that I don’t acknowledge my sins daily, for the most part I do… as the Psalm says, they’re always before me. But there also comes seasons when my transgressions seem to be staring me in the face daily and I feel that heavy hand of God upon me. Sometimes in Spirit-life in Jesus it’s Yom Kippur. My sin is just always in front of me and my soul is afflicted because I know how much it cost to be atoned for.

It’s a law I find at work in me which ultimately makes me love the Lord more, and love other people’s souls with Christ’s love more too. Because, like Jesus said:

“Therefore I say to you, her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved
much. But whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke

It’s the law of the Spirit exposing sin in me, rebuking and chastising me… His hand “heavy upon me,” so that I am afflicted in soul and confess my sin. I say the same thing God says about what I’ve done and my condition (which is what it means to confess). Specifically, openly. Though it stinks.

As I was listening to a teaching from Searchlight today about confession, one of the things Jon Courson said which struck me was something to the effect of, confession is not asking God for forgiveness… you already have forgiveness in Jesus. Confession is saying what God says about what you’ve done and your condition… calling it sin, just like He does and then giving thanks for the forgiveness you have in Christ. He went on to talk about how confession is like what happened when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11:1-27. He could have commanded the stone to roll away and then called Lazarus to life, but instead He commanded people to roll away the stone. There has to be a rolling away of the stone, though it’s hard and what comes out is gonna stink, for a person to experience resurrection life in that particular area of their lives. That’s what sin looks like in a picture: the rolling away of a stone and letting the stink be exposed so that Jesus can show Himself powerful to atone for us in bringing us new life and in freeing us from those sins that have bound us and kept us in death.

Yom Kippur is really a law of spiritual life like Paul described in Romans 7:14-23 which brought him to the glorious declaration, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

This morning I sat down with my boys and confessed a sin that has been before me constantly lately, the sin of being angry. I said with my mouth what God says about it, that if you’re angry with your brother for no just reason then your as a murderer in His eyes (Matthew 5:21-26). I said, “Lord I’ve been angry with Connor and Ryland for no good reason, and I’ve murdered something in them Lord, something has died…”

Just saying that out loud was so hard! It was like rolling away a heavy stone and then it stunk. My flesh wanted to say, “But I’m not a murderer. Getting angry isn’t the same thing as murder.” But when I said what God said about my sin and agreed with Him though it stunk I was able to embrace His forgiveness knowing that it cost Him His life to atone for that sin. And I look with anticipation for the resurrection life He is replacing that old, dead sin of anger in me with. I wept. And then I rejoiced because Jesus is the Lamb who died for me and the Lamb who ever lives to make intercession for me during this day of atonement season of my life.

  • When’s the last time you openly, specifically, with your mouth said what God said about your condition?
  • How about you? Do you experience seasons of your sin always being before you? If so, embrace it! It’s Yom Kippur for you! Confess them openly and let the resurrection life of Jesus resurrect you!

*** For more about Yom Kippur head over to Biblical Holidays***

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