An overview of the Day of Atonement
8th of the 7th month 2013/2014
Shabbat Shalom family,
This Shabbat is the 8th of the 7th month, which means that at the end (sunset) of this coming 1st day, which is at the evening of the 9th day of the 7th month, we will keep the Sabbath of Sabbaths – Yom Kippur – the day in which we ‘afflict our beings’. Known also as the Day of Atonement or better put – the Day of the Covering!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:27-32 “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. 28 And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before יהוה your Elohim. 29 For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. 31 You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath.”
As we consider carefully these words, we are reminded to take special note of the following:
1 – It shall be a set-apart gathering for you!
We will be coming together at 15h00 on the 10th of the 7th month (this coming 2nd day) and have a SET-APART time of prayer, worship and fellowship – do not miss it!
A – Set-Apart:
Hebrew Word: קֹדֶש– qoḏesh/ko-desh – Strong’s H6944 – and it means ‘apartness/ consecrated/ dedicated/ that which is dedicated and separated unto יהוה’. The word is really self-explanatory and carries with it great weight in its identification of truly setting something or someone apart from another with a clear distinction of being marked as separate and apart from the rest.
B – Gatherings:
Hebrew word: מִקְרָא – miqra – Strong’s H4744, meaning: assembly/ group/ convocation/ a collective of people gathered for a purpose/a calling together, which comes from the root word קָרָא qara – Strong’s H7121 meaning, ‘proclaim, call, read, summons, invite, to be called out’.
2 – You shall afflict your beings! The Hebrew word used here for afflict is עָנָה ‘anah’ H6031 and means, ‘to be bowed down, afflicted, humbled’ and it can also carry the meaning ‘to be occupied or busy with’. Busy or occupied with what? Well the next word tells us – our beings! That is the word נֶפֶשׁ ‘nephesh’ H5315 which is ‘a soul, a living being, the inner being of a man’. So then, it is a day that we are to humble ourselves and be busy with our being – that is to be spending the time reflecting on our life; and that which needs to be dealt with must be dealt with. Typically this is translated as the day when we deny our flesh of food or drink and fast, with the sole focus on humbling ourselves in prayer before our Maker, and come together as His body united as One! This word ‘anah’ also carries the meaning of ‘giving an account or an answer’. This carries the picture of the one who humbles himself comes and gives an account of what he has done. This can give us the picture of ‘coming clean’, so to speak, and confessing our sin.
3 – Bring an offering made by fire to יהוה! We know that the offering made by fire is a whole burnt offering – that is that we come to surrender all and allow our lives to be presented as a living sacrifice. It is on this day when the work that we have done in Messiah will be tested through fire!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 3:11-15 “For no one is able to lay any other foundation except that which is laid, which is יהושע Messiah. 12 And if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work shall be revealed, for the day shall show it up, because it is revealed by fire. And the fire shall prove the work of each one, what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work remains, which he has built on, he shall receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire.”
4 – It is the Sabbath of Sabbaths! – This is the only day outside of the weekly Sabbath that is actually referred to as a Sabbath. It is a Sabbath of rest to you – שׁבת שׁבתון “Shabbat Shabbaton”.
Other feasts are referred to as ‘Shabbaton’ which is a ‘Sabbath like rest’, but this day specifically is referred to as a Sabbath, irrespective of what day it fall on – because this is the Day when יהוה finishes and completes His redemptive work for His ready Bride! This is the Sabbath of Sabbaths!!! Now this Sabbath is unlike the others in that this is the day when, as I mentioned, we ‘afflict our beings’; and the stern warning we have here is that anyone who does not afflict their being on this day or if anyone works on this day will be ‘cut off and destroyed from the midst of his people’!
So – I say this again – no excuses!
This day signifies so much for us, and it is much more than a day of ‘fasting’ as it is a culmination and bringing to completion the work of Messiah in us as His redeemed body!
This is the day when the Master is coming out of the Set-Apart Place to “complete His work on the 7th day”; and on that day we will be able to show Him what we have made with that which He gave us – the talents which He has given us (each one according to his ability). Now for many this may not be a very pleasing day as they have only viewed the Master from a viewpoint of being a ‘hard man’ and have not lovingly laboured for Him and have done nothing with what they had. But for us who labour daily in Him, working with what He has apportioned each one of us – this will be a wonderful day of hearing the words we all would like to hear… “Well done, good and trustworthy servant”. The Parable of the Talents is a reference to this very day when the Master comes back and the servants must give an account as their ‘offering made by fire’ – that is their works – are tested!
It is on this day, when He comes back, that we do not want to be found thinking about what we could have or should have done – for it will be too late. And so as we keep this Feast as a shadow picture of what is to come, we should all be aware that it is certainly time for us to take account of our walk in Messiah. Are you walking or running or simply standing still?
Yom Kippurim – יוֹם כִּפֻּרִים – ‘The Day of Coverings’ – ‘Kippurim’ is the plural of ‘Kippur’
Yom Kippur – this day symbolises the complete purification of the Bride of Messiah – the Day of Atonement.
One might ask why do we have this day separate from Pěsaḥ – isn’t that when we were redeemed? This is a good question, yet יהוה’s Appointed Times are perfect shadow pictures for us, and so in understanding these great shadow pictures, it could best be explained as Pěsaḥ symbolising for us personal redemption – it was on that day we were bought at a price and received atonement for our personal sins. Pěsaḥ symbolises for us the personal deliverance from bondage to slavery, as each household would put the Blood of the Lamb on their doorposts, so would they be saved. We each must accept, receive and apply the Blood of the Pěsaḥ Lamb personally in our lives. The Day of Atonement speaks of the national redemption of a nation.
Atonement means ‘to make ransom for or to cover over man’s sins’. The English word Atonement was derived when the translator wanted best to describe what ‘kippur’ meant, as there was not a definitive English word to describe or translate the meaning of this and so what he translated it to was – ‘At-One-Ment’ – therefore later being called ‘Atonement’. This was the best way he could express what this day carries for us – it is when we are made to be ‘one’ with יהוה – or be ‘at one with’ Him and finally be fully restored unto Him as a washed and purified body together as ‘one’! So this is also a day where we truly come and remember the ransom that was paid for us by the shed Blood of the Pěsaḥ Lamb – יהושע Messiah, once and for all and reflect on our lives as to how we are living out our covenant relationship with our Saviour, who is not only the Pěsaḥ Lamb, but is also the ‘ram’ that is provided for us, and the complete sin offering that covers us and cleanses us in His own Blood!
The Hebrew word for atonement is כִּפֻּר ‘kippur’ H3725 and comes from the root word כָּפַר ‘kaphar’ H3722 and means: ‘to cover over, pacify, make propitiation, atone’. As a noun it can also carry the meaning of ‘a ransom’, ‘gift’, or ‘to secure favour’. It literally means to ‘cover over’ or ‘smear with pitch’ as in the sealing of a ship. Therefore ‘kaphar’ or atonement means to cover that which is bare or naked or shamed, and also means to ‘smear the ship so that your ship will not sink and drown all those aboard’! Wow – we are ‘covered’ – that is – Atoned for by His Blood!!!
Noaḥ was commanded by יהוה to cover the ark inside and out with pitch – he was told to ‘Kaphar’ (cover) the ark with ‘Kopher’ – כֹּפֶר H3724 (a covering):
Berěshith/Genesis 6:14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with a covering.”
‘Kaphar’ also means to ransom – and so we know that יהושע has paid our ransom and atoned for us.
It also means to reconcile with someone who has the power of death over you, and to pacify the one who has the power to do you harm! We must realise that the punishment for sin is death, and no sin goes unpunished. Through the Atonement of יהושע for our sins we are reconciled to the One who has the power to put us to death!
In Wayyiqra/Leviticus, where the priestly service and sacrificial system is presented and discussed, the very word we have been looking at, ‘kaphar’ is used 16 times in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16 and 48 times in the entire book! 39 times, however, it is used in Wayyiqra/Leviticus in the specific description of the priestly service and sacrificial system where the other times are descriptive regulations in regards to the instructions for the Day – this alone is a wonderful representation for us – for it was the exact number of stripes that יהושע took across His back – and it is by His stripes that we are healed!!! By His Stripes and His sacrifice, we are covered, cleansed, redeemed and reconciled to Him!
Scripture clearly teaches us that atonement involves something which is ‘lacking’ (or leaking in respect to a boat not sealed), and is in danger of judgement (or sinking) – then having that ‘lack’ (which is caused by sin) ‘covered’ with something that will restore and keep it from sinking or being destroyed, just as the pitch applied to ancient boats would keep them from sinking! It is only by the favour and loving-kindness granted by יהוה, who has the power of life and death over us, that His liberal smearing or covering us inside and out, that is the covering of the soul of man with His favour and loving-kindness through the blood of יהושע, our High Priest, that man can be kept from sinking in a relationship with his Creator.
When sin occurs, a price must be paid.
Yom Kippur is the day when יהוה will be reconciled with His creation – a day set aside and appointed for Him to pardon, to cleanse and to forgive. It was only on this one day of the year that ‘one’ among the children of Yisra’ĕl were able to come ‘face to face’ so to speak with יהוה and live! – This occurred when only the high priest in office entered the Most Set-Apart place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
Let us turn to Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16, which gives us the entire ceremony that was instructed by יהוה, for the High Priest to perform, and so clearly shadow pictures the perfect cleansing and atoning work of Messiah, our High Priest forever in the order of Malkitseḏeq.
(READ Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16)
The high priest was required to bathe/wash – רָחַץ ‘raḥats’ H7364 meaning, ‘to wash, wash off, bathe, wash away’, himself a couple of times during the Day of Atonement ceremony and carries the wonderful picture of cleansing and how our High priest has too cleansed His Body (that is us His Bride) by the washing of His Blood! This day was also known as the day of redemption as this day foreshadows a time when Messiah would return and the day of redemption and reconciliation would be fully complete.
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know, as I also have been known.”
Sha’ul was saying here that we are not yet face to face with our Father, but the time will come as pictured by this day, where we will see Him face to face and then we will know Him fully as He knows us now!
For what we see of Him, dimly, we see in the ‘mirror’ of His Word, and Ya’aqoḇ/James encourages us to not forget what we look like when we look into the mirror of His Word – for we look into the perfect Torah – that of freedom and continue in it, being blessed in the doing of the Torah. We all have a choice when we look into the mirror of His Word – ‘Will we do what it says and remember to guard and do, or simply ignore?” – It is everyone’s individual choice – but that choice will certainly determine whether this Day will be a day of joy and gladness at the fullness of time as the works of our faith are proven to be genuine mirrored by the Truth of His Word through obedience in action, or simply a very sad and painful day when the consuming fire shows up your dead works!
As we see from the instructions given to Aharon as recorded in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16, we see great shadow picture of the work of יהושע:
1 – The work had to be done alone – Aharon had no help from the other priests – only He could perform the required duties on this day, except for the ‘fit man’ who would send the scapegoat into the wilderness by the hand and the one who would burn the skins and flesh of the sin offering outside the camp. This is a wonderful picture of יהושע, for only He alone could pay the price for our sin, once and for all – for He alone is worthy. There is only One that saves – יהושע, there is no other way!!!
2 – The high priest put off his normal clothes – Aharon had to wash himself and change his clothes and put on the set apart linen as a picture of being washed and clothed in righteousness. For these duties Aharon did not wear his usual High Priest garments (the ephod and breastplate) but wore set-apart linen. This is also a wonderful picture of יהושע who came to earth as a man and laid aside His deity. He laid aside His garments of esteem and took upon Himself the form of a servant. His sinless life allowed Him to enter into the Most Set-Apart Place and make atonement for us. In one sense, He set aside His deity as described in Philippians, yet being the King of Righteousness who knew no sin and clothed in Majesty, was able to enter into the Most Set-Apart place. The linen garments speaks of sinless humanity of the Messiah and His Righteousness, and we know that as we are clothed in Him, we have become the righteousness of Elohim in Messiah, and ‘the fine linen’ are ‘the righteousnesses of the set-apart ones’(Ḥazon/Revelation 19:8).
And so ‘in Him’ we have access to the Most Set-Apart place! We too must put off self and put on Messiah as we daily live our lives as a living sacrifice, clothed in righteousness – doing His will, obeying His commands!
3 – The high priest washed – As I said, Aharon had to wash before putting on the set apart linen and wash again before putting on His garments and offering the ascending offering in making atonement for the people. For the priest this meant getting rid of any defilement and setting themselves apart for service in the set apart place. יהושע tells us in Yoḥanan/John 17:19 that He set Himself apart that we may be set apart in truth. For us as believers this means we are to be washed by the Water of His Word as we approach Him. It is through the Word we are washed and we need to have the Word cleanse us from all impurity and sin!
4 – The high priest offered a sin offering for himself – Aharon did this so that he could be worthy to offer up the atoning sacrifice for the people. יהושע did not have to offer any sacrifices for Himself – for He was blameless, pure, set apart and exalted above the heavens.
5 – The high priest entered the Most Set-Apart Place – high priest entered once a year:
1 – First with the golden incense of burning coals and hands filled with sweet incense and put fire on the incense to cover the lid of the atonement.
2 – Next he took the blood from the sacrifice of the bull for himself and for his house and sprinkled it on the east side of the lid of atonement and in the front of the lid seven times
3 – He then took the blood of the goat – the sin offering for the people and did the same as with the blood of the bull
The censer represents for us the esteem of יהוה and it also represents the prayers of the set-apart ones, so Aharon typifies the ministry of mediator and intercessor. יהושע is our High Priest and Mediator and lives to make intercession for us.
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:12-13 “But He, having offered one slaughter offering for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of Elohim, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being set apart.”
We also take careful note of verse 17 which clearly states that while the High Priest goes into the Set-Apart Place to make Atonement, no man should be in the Tent of Appointment!!! This shows us why there can be no other sacrifices or slaughter offerings done and no Temple will be rebuilt until Messiah Himself comes to rebuild; as Messiah, our High Priest, is in the Most Set-Apart place, making it clear than no man can be in the Tabernacle – hence no Tabernacle can ever be rebuilt by man! The perfect work of our loving Husband and High Priest in setting us apart and cleansing us, is all of His Hands alone and not ours!
The Day of Atonement is all about Messiah, the loving Husband presenting to himself a spotless Bride:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Messiah also did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, 26 in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, 27 in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set-apart and blameless.”
Let us briefly take a look at the 2 goats and the ram:
The first goat is the goat for יהוה, which is commonly called the elevation offering and represents יהושע‘s righteousness being imputed to us as He makes payment for our sin with His Blood. The second goat is the goat for Azazel or ‘the scapegoat’. The sins of the people are placed upon it and it is sent into the wilderness, representing for us יהושע taking our sin upon Himself and taking it away. The two goats are a twofold picture that by the Blood of יהושע, יהוה forgives our sin and removes (forgets) our sin for He remembers our sin no more. The sacrificial goat provides the covering for our sin and the scapegoat provides the removal of our sin and the ram offering is the ascending atoning sacrifice for us all.
It is also a picture of sin being defeated and Satan being sent into the Wilderness and bound, unable to trouble the Bride anymore!
Now we know that we are “Covered” – by His Blood. But what this Day of Atonement also signifies for us is a time of restoration of the two houses – a reuniting of a Groom with His ready Bride – not half a Bride! And this day calls for us to afflict our beings, to kill the flesh so to speak and so too pray and intercede for the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl!!!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews clearly states that this Renewed Covenant will be concluded with the House of Yisra’ĕl and the House of Yehuḏah (It is not with the ‘church’)!
Covered and Reunited – that is the theme of Yom Kippur! Yom Kippur is a time of remembering what our High Priest has done for us and what He will fulfil in the future, where we are now covered forever in His Atoning Blood and will one day soon be with Him forever. This is certainly a time to reflect on where your walk is with Him.
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 37 is a clear chapter of the coming together of the two Houses and the complete atonement and cleansing that takes place by יהוה
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 37:23 “And they shall no longer defile themselves with their idols, nor with their disgusting matters, nor with any of their transgressions. And I shall save them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I shall cleanse them. And they shall be My people, and I be their Elohim”
יהוה says that He will save Yisra’ĕl from the dwelling places where they have sinned and He shall cleanse them and they will be His people and He will be their Elohim! This is speaking of this very Day of Yom Kippur. There is a cleansing and a restoring of a lost Bride!
This Hebrew word for cleanse is טָהֵר ‘taher’ H2891 and means the following: “to be clean; to cleanse; purify’ made clean”, “properly to be bright; to be pure – that is physically sound, clear, unadulterated, morally innocent”, “to be purged, purify, to declare something or someone clean.”
You get the picture; He makes us clean – really clean – by His Blood! This Word ‘taher’ is also used in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16:19 where the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sin offering on the horns of the altar and all around, seven times – 7 as we know signifies perfection and so there is a perfect cleansing, and our perfect reconciliation by the Blood of יהושע!
And so we can clearly see how the picture of Atonement is fully met by His sacrifice and with Him coming again to present to Himself a clean bride.
Iḇ‘rim/Hebrews 9:11-14 “But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?”
It is through the one time atoning sacrifice of Messiah that He will ‘taher’ His Bride.
There are a number of Scriptures that clearly speak of a gathering of the Bride – the Great Reunion which will be fulfilled through the feast of Yom Kippur. ‘Kaphar’ and ‘taher’ – we have been covered and cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb and we will soon be with Him forever. Yom Kippur is a time for us to reflect and remember what our High Priest has done for us and that we are to walk as His spotless Bride as He cleanses us through the washing of His Word. This is a day to afflict your beings – why? Well it is a day to realise and remember that we are to lay down our lives – to put to death the flesh and intercede for the rest of the lost Bride, as we embrace His work of salvation that will be made complete on this Day of Yom Kippur, and so as we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, may we not take lightly the importance of this Great Day that pictures for us the work of Messiah יהושע who took His Blood into a temple not made with human hands and offered His Blood on the altar perfecting for all time those who are set apart.
Therefore let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water and hold on to the hope we have for He who promised is trustworthy, amen!
Covered, Cleansed and the Great Reunion is what Yom Kippur is about – a Bride being made clean and reunited with her Groom forever – Be cleansed in Him as we wait for Him… Put off the flesh and clothe yourself with His righteousness – walking in obedience to His Torah as we eagerly await with great anticipation His return! So in obedient rehearsals of the good things to come let us certainly be obedient in keeping this day where we lay aside the flesh and humble ourselves before our Master ready to give and account and be washed in His presence by His Blood as He has imputed to us his Righteousness that we must clothe ourselves in daily!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face toward you and give you Shalom! Aměn!