Hebrew priest blowing the Shofar hornThe Feast of Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur is the second of Yah’s fall festivals. It is ten days after Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting, or Trumpets). The festivals picture the end of man’s reign on earth. For nearly six centuries, men have rebelled and sinned against Yah. This period of YAHUAH’s grace toward evil behavior will soon end with judgment upon the wicked. As man’s era ends, Yah will spare those who hear His call to repent of sinful activities and pagan practices, i.e., Babylonian religious rituals), provided they accept the Way of Elohim (Torah). Yahshuah will accomplish this through the example and instructions of His priests and saints. The  wicked and godless rebels on earth who ignore or fight Yah’s people will face Elohim’s wrath.

The 10-day period of Yom Teruah through Yom Kippur pictures a time of great tribulation. Prior to Yahshuah’s return to earth as a conquering King to bind and cast Satan into a pit, He will seek to save the last souls of His harvest. These latter-day saints will also reign on earth with Him as His bride (along with the righteous ones who came before them) for 1000 years. The next seven-day fall festival of “Sukkoth” (“Tabernacles”) pictures this important aspect of the Millennial Kingdom.

Yom Teruah pictures the start of a repentance period that ends with Yom Kippur, which is a picture of wholehearted repentance and covering for sins through Yahshuah’s blood. Together, the two holy days and the eight days between them are known as the “Ten Days of Awe.” The Days of Awe symbolize a reconciled Israelite nation, grafted into one olive tree, one body in Yahshuah (Romans 11:13–27; Ezekiel 37:1–28; Ephesians 2:1–22).

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write these things, says the first and the last, which was dead and is alive, ‘I know your works, tribulation and poverty (but you are rich). I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Yahudim and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things, which you shall suffer. Behold, the demon shall cast some of you into prison that you may be tried. You shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.’ He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Revelation 2:8-11)

Yahshuah knew His church in Smyrna suffered “tribulation and poverty.” Yet in His eyes, they were “rich” because they endured blasphemous accusations. He told them not to fear suffering. His words remind BYA against loving our life on this earth. Even if it means “death,” we are to wait for Yahshuah and stand with YAHUAH.

Our hope is that Yahshuah will come for BYA. Yom Kippur pictures the reconciliation and reunification of His saints. The autumnal feasts symbolize Yah’s Plan for our Salvation, Betrothal and Marriage, which are the shadows of events to come with Yahshuah. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17). Indeed, as Yah’s set-apart ones (priests and saints), BYA will obediently gather to meet with YAHUAH for Yom Kippur. We will pray, meditate, repent, cleanse, accept Yah’s forgiveness and reconcile with YAHUAH through Yahshuah’s sacrifice.

Let’s delve deeper into the meaning of that sacrifice. YAHUAH set Yom Kippur as a meeting date for Israel (Leviticus 23:26-32). On that day, all of Israel prayed, fasted, confessed their sins, sacrificed animals and received forgiveness. “If anyone of the common people sin through ignorance, while he does somewhat against any of the commandments of YAHUAH concerning things which ought not to be done and be guilty; or if his sin, which he has sinned, come to his knowledge, then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish for his sin which he has sinned.” (Leviticus 4:27-28)

Note well: “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Yet also note how Yah’s mercy comes forth when an animal sacrifice is offered. “If a soul sin and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of YAHUAH though he wist it not, yet is he guilty and shall bear his iniquity. He shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering to the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Leviticus 5:17-18)

Torah gives many examples of animal sacrifices being offered as a covering (atonement) for sins. The book of Leviticus explains that these animal sacrifices were offered as YAHUAH commanded. Why? Because Yah said so, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

Yom Kippur is an important feast. YAHUAH gives very specific instructions on how His priests are to observe it (Leviticus 16). It is an annual holyday, observed forever. “This shall be a statute forever unto you that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you. For on that day shall the priest make atonement for you to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before YAHUAH. It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you and you shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever.” (Leviticus 16:29-31)

BYA gathers on this day instead of working, playing, shopping or anything else that replaces Yah as our priority. We “afflict” ourselves with a fast of no food or water. However, what about the “atonement” part? Do we truly keep the feast perpetually as Yah commands?

When Romans destroyed Jerusalem’s temple in 70 A.D. the practice of animal sacrifices ended. For nearly two centuries, there were no animal oblations offered. If Yah does not change and demands a blood sacrifice, then why do we no longer offer animal sacrifices? It is not because there is no longer a temple for the ceremony.

It is because YAHUAH sent His Son, Yahshuah, to die as our sacrificial lamb without blemish (sin). The next day John saw Yahshuah coming to him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) His sacrifice is so perfect we cannot replicate it. It is impossible. “For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

YAHUAH’s standards never change. He commands the offer of an animal sacrifice for sin. Yahshuah became that sacrifice for sin, for all time. “By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Yahshuah ha’Messiach once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)

Yahshuah atoned for the world’s sin through His blood sacrifice. Elohim’s lamb (a perfect human YAHUAH’s Son) was the sacrifice instead of a “perfect” (unblemished) animal. “For even hereunto were you called because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. When He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21-25)

Yahshuah comes before YAHUAH in place of the High Priest, who annually entered the Holy of Holies through a veil on behalf of Israel. He became our mediator. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, who is passed into the heavens, Yahshuah, the Son of Elohim, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Yahshuah’s sacrifice opened that temple door to our Father. “Yahshuah, when He cried again with a loud voice, expired. And behold, the temple veil was rent in two from top to the bottom. The earth shook. The rocks rent.” (Matthew 27:50-51).

On Yom Kippur BYA will not reenact animal sacrifices because the perfect sacrifice is accomplished. Over! Complete! Fulfilled! Unnecessary! Done! Finished! “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:7 – 8). Torah teaches us that we need a Savior. Only Yah follows Torah perfectly. If we try to do it, we are without hope. Knowing our hopeless cause, we can be relieved to know what Yahshuah did for us. (Luke 23:33-49)

The Ten Days of Awe are an opportunity to make peace with Elohim and with our family, friends, work associates and any adversaries we may have. The autumnal festivals are a blessing to practice our reunion with Abba, our Heavenly Father at the wedding feast He will host for Yahshuah. It is time to rehearse for that wedding.

We can begin by asking Elohim to forgive us and by forgiving those who offended us. By turning toward Yah and repent of the times we hurt our relationship with Yah or with others the remorse we feel can transform into joy as we become reconciled with Yah and others.

On Yom Kippur, BYA will reconcile with Yah, collectively. That process, however, can start during the days leading up to the feast. To do that, the reconciliation can begin on an individual basis. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)

Here are a few ideas on how to prepare for Yom Kippur during the Days of Awe. On each day, consider reading one of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). After reading one, meditate upon the physical and spiritual meanings of that command. Check your heart (motives) and your head (actions) toward YAHUAH and your neighbor. This is the time to account for your behavior, confess shortcomings, reconcile for offense and offer restitution. If you offended Yah, your debt is paid through Yahshuah’s sacrifice. If you offended a person, you may need to settle matters with them first. Perhaps you should call or meet them before bringing your offering on Yom Kippur. Since Yahshuah lives in you, you do not need to wonder what He wants of you. Just ask Him. Ask Yah to teach you the Truth. If Yahshuah tells you to behave a certain way, ask Him to help you do so. Talk to Yah at all times about everything. That is what prayer is all about.

During your daily morning sacrifice (prayer time) reflect on sins of ignorance (especially those of our youth when we were ignorant of Yah’s Torah). Confess and repent of these. Through acceptance of Yahshuah as our Lord and Savior, our slate is clean with Yah. For intentional (selfish) sins, confess any deliberate, willful rebellion of YAHUAH’s Way. Ask Yahshuah to help in overcoming any temptations to repeat these sins.

Consider saying a prayer like this at the end of your morning sacrifice. “I believe Yahshuah, my Messiah, is the promised Son of YAHUAH, the Messiah of Israel. He was crucified for my sins, was buried and arose the third day according to the scriptures.I believe He is ascended up into the heavens and all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him. I believe in His promise to return and that all who believe in Him are immersed into His Name, receive remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and rest in His promised land of inheritance. I receive and confess this day Yahshuah is my personal Lord and Savior.

I ask the Adonai of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob now to forgive my disobedience, iniquities and transgressions. I ask Yah to forgive my ancestors for turning their backs on Torah, Yah’s teaching. I forgive all those who hurt me physically, spiritually and emotionally. I ask that all evil influences be bound and not permitted to operate in my life and that the Holy Spirit be loosed to operate in my life according to Torah. May Yahshuah rule and reign in my life. Yah, help me walk in Your Will. I ask this in the name of my Adonai, Yahshuah ha’Messiach, Hallelu Yah! Amen!”

At your evening sacrifice (prayer time) on each Day of Awe, consider praying like Ezra (9:6-15) did. “O my Elohim, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you for my iniquities weigh heavy on my head. My trespass reaches up to heaven. Since the days of my ancestors, I have been in a great trespass even unto this day. For our iniquities, my leaders and priests are under the sword, in captivity, taken as spoil and confused of face.”

Now for a little time grace has come from YAHUAH. My Elohim has permitted a remnant to escape and given me a holy place to gather so that Yah may lighten my eyes and give me a little reviving in my bondage. I am under this world’s bondage, yet my Elohim does not forsake me in my bondage. Yah extends mercy to me, revives me, and sets me up in Elohim’s house to mend its desolation and to build a protective wall around His people.

O Elohim, what shall I say after this? For I have forsaken the commandments that you gave your servants, the prophets. All that comes upon me for my evil deeds and for my great trespass I deserve. Yet I know that You, my Elohim, have punished me less than my iniquity deserves and has granted me deliverance.

As you confess and repent during the Days of Awe you may weep with deep gratitude over what Yahshuah did for you. You may feel an overwhelming urge to bow your head deeply, hands and arms covering your head as you lay prostrate on the ground. Being humble, repentant, reverent is a way to afflict your body and to acknowledge total dependence upon Yah, to grow and to change.

The Ten Days of Awe end on Yom Kippur when all our sins with Yah are cleansed. He forgives us! It is actually already done! There is no need for restitution with Him. What could we possibly give Him? Yah has it already in abundance. Yet He does wants our love in the same proportion He loves us. He wants a personal relationship with us. He wants our offerings of praise and thanksgiving as we gather with BYA at the feasts. Ah, but what about our sisters and brothers in the Body of Yahshuah? Will it all be cleansed with family, friends, associates and enemies? Only Yah knows how successful we will be in that endeavor.

Consider ending your evening sacrifice with this prayer. “I hereby forgive all who hurt me, all who wronged me, whether deliberately or inadvertently, whether by word or by deed. Yah, may no one be punished on my account. As I forgive and pardon those who wronged me, Yah, may those I harmed forgive me, whether I acted deliberately or inadvertently, whether by word or by deed.”

On Yom Kippur we collectively celebrate Yah’s forgiveness. BYA gathers to embrace Yah’s saints as we praise, glorify, honor and thank our Father, YAHUAH Elohim, for His Word and for His Plan of Salvation. Please join us in His rest for a day of shofars, prayers, songs, repentance, forgiveness and fellowship in Yah’s presence. YAHUAH beckons BYA at Yom Kippur. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.” (Psalm 50:3-6)

Halleluyah! May Yah be with you and His grace with all! Elder Curt