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Celebrate the Fast of Atonement
Yom Kippur - The Way into the Holy Place
Jesus Cleansing His Bride

by Robert Somerville

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, . . . (Lev 23:4,27)

Notice, he did not say these were the feasts of the Jews or the feasts of the Christians, but the feasts of the Lord. They are to be celebrated in honor of our Lord!

Contrasted with the Feast of Passover that is associated with a sacrificed lamb for personal redemption, while the feast of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was associated with a sacrificed goat (Lev. 16:5-11) providing corporate cleansing for Israel. In other words, Passover teaches us about salvation and Atonement teaches us about sanctification, church maturity, and spiritual purity. Passover teaches us the absolution of unbelievers, while atonement celebrates the cleansing of soiled saints. The nature of Atonement is inherent in the word itself - at-one-ment - the process by which we come into harmony or oneness with the righteousness of God.

"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." (Rom 5:11)

Notice that the feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates purity of doctrine and Atonement celebrates the process by which the church reaches that perfection and maturity in doctrinal faith.

PERFECTING OF SAINTS

"And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:19-21)

The apostle Paul brings affirmation to this process of corporate perfection through "word washing" in his letter to the Ephesus church;

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing but tat it should be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25-27)

ANNUAL DAY OF FASTING

The day of Atonement is the corporate or national day of fasting. This is what is implied by the phrase "afflict your souls". This day should serve as an annual reminder to the body of Christ of the great value God places on the sacrament of fasting. It was also a tradition in Israel for white to be worn by the people to symbolize purity that He seeks.

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa 1: 17-18)

TWO GOATS

One of the more significant ceremonies accompanying this festival, was two identical goats separated from the flock, one given the identity of an Atonement goat and the other the identity of a Scapegoat. It is from the second goat which was released into the wilderness with the sins of the people, that the common term "scapegoat" is derived. It describes an innocent person upon whom the blame is placed for the transgressions of another. That is exactly what Jesus the Messiah became for us. He takes upon himself our sins. Jesus became for us both an atonement and a substitute.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor 5:21-6:1)

This was the only festival where the High Priest could enter in through the veil and appear before God in the Holiest of Holies. It is considered the holiest day of the entire biblical year. It was at this time that God would speak audibly to the High Priest for atonement and instructions to the nation. This was a foreshadow of Christ our High Priest who entered in through the veil into the heavenly Holy of Holies for us all. By His blood our conscience is cleansed to serve the loving God. By this we are at-one-ment with God. through His matchless grace (He 9:24)

ISRAEL'S RENEWAL

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zech 12:10)

The Day of Atonement is Israel's prophetic national day of salvation. The famous bone yard described in Ezekiel chapter thirty seven , outlines the progressive steps to this event. First the Jewish people are restored to their land and there they are spiritually awakened and resurrected. when they accept Yeshua (Jesus) as their messiah.

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

This high profile, end time prophetic event, testifies to the faithfulness of God to His eternal word!

A Cause for Celebration!

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