Leviticus 16:29-31 “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: 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. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.”
I am a Gentile. I was born into a Gentile family. I followed the culture and traditions that all American-born families do. We celebrated Christmas as the birth of Jesus and Easter as the resurrection. These were high days for us.
Jewish people were different. Some were very religious, others in name only. I saw them as steeped in an ancient culture; much of which I never took the time to understand.
When I became born-again, much of what was tradition then has now changed. So has my views about those of the Jewish faith.
Through the years, I have read through my Bible many times. Quite frankly, the Old Testament was a collection of historical facts gathered to tell the story of God’s people, the Jews.
I became more intrigued by a friend who has recently taken a church in Jerusalem. He used to, and continues to conduct tours through the Holy land of Israel for born-again, saved folk. His study of the culture of the times, the meanings, and mannerisms of the Jewish people began to bring light and depth to portions of scripture that often, we gloss over.
The significance of names and their meanings. The actions of Jesus during certain times of His ministry. All of these and so much more brought such richness to my understanding, I wanted to know more.
Just last night, my wife and I were invited by a friend to attend Yom Kippur at a Messianic Jewish church. The rabbi told us that this night, above any other night, is the high holy day of the year for both the Christian and the Jew.
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, was celebrated once a year when the high priest would hear the sins confessed of the people and then make the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. He would take the blood of the sacrifice and enter into the Holy of Holies. There, he would place the blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant.
The two days of Rosh Hashanah, usher in the ten days of repentance (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah). Yom Kippur is the culmination of this feast. It was a fascinating night of ritual, music, confession, and repentance.
The Messianic Jew is complete. As a saved Gentile, I am the one who is grafted in and bear the root of Jewish heritage through Yeshua Hamashiach. But those born Jewish and receiving Yeshua as their Messiah, are now complete in what God intended them to be.
During the service, I closed my eyes as the rabbi read from the Torah. I thought how my Savior heard these same words read in His time. He spoke the same words in Hebrew to all who would hear. It was as if the gap of time was bridged for me to see and experience something in which my Lord and Savior took part.
My devotional reading today took me to the final chapters in the Book of Numbers. As I read, I began to think of the names of those who led their families into the Promised Land given to them by God for an inheritance.
All the end-time prophecies are nearly fulfilled and prepped for Christ’s imminent return. Indeed, nothing is needing to be fulfilled for Him to come back today.
As a saved, born-again, child of God, shouldn’t we have our own Yom Kippur; Day of Atonement, in preparation for His coming?