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Yom KippurRead / Listen to Portion
Although Judaism considers it the holiest day of the year, most people outside Judaism have never heard of Yom Kippur. It was a day of solemn sacrificial rituals for purification and atonement. It was the only day of the year when the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple.
Remembering that we do not see God clearly should help keep us humble. It should make us reluctant to criticize other people. They may have perceived an aspect of the Almighty that we have not, or visa versa. Neither of us is to be blamed for not seeing the whole picture. In this world, the whole picture is not available.
The suffering and the death of the righteous Messiah also accomplished atonement—not in the Sanctuary on earth but in the heavenly Sanctuary. Yeshua serves as “a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the LORD pitched, not man” (Hebrews 8:2).
The high holidays of the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur foreshadow the last days and the final judgment. Yom Kippur comes just ten days after Rosh HaShanah, the day on which the Torah commands the blowing of the shofar. The blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah warns the congregation to repent because the days of judgment have begun. The fanfare of Rosh HaShanah sets the scene for the Day of Judgment in the heavenly courtroom.
Our sin is as filth before the Almighty. Shame and disgrace ought to cover us every time we open our Bibles. We have sullied the very parchment of Torah with our sins and trodden on the shed blood of Messiah. Our worthy deeds are utterly eclipsed by our transgressions and sins. Yom Kippur reminds us that this is a real problem. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that “in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year” (Hebrews 10:3).
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. Holy means “set apart for the divine.” All of God’s appointed times are set apart to the LORD, but the Day of Atonement is the holiest of all. It is set apart even from the other holy days. The sanctity of the other festival days prohibit work but permit food preparation.