The Days of Awe
Stand in awe, and sin not:
commune with your own heart
upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Let all the earth fear the LORD:
let all the inhabitants of the world
stand in awe of him.
... my heart stands In awe of thy word.
those who did not attain to being entered into the Book of
Life on the first day of judgment, Rosh HaShanah,
a second period of time is given for repentance. This time period
is somewhat more severe. It is known as Yamin Noraim,
(Yah-meen Nora-heem) the awesome days or the
days of trouble. This might be considered ones
last chance for repentance.
There is some disagreement about what constitutes the length of time for the Yamin Noraim (Days of Awe). Most commentators consider the entire ten day period, beginning with Rosh HaShanah and ending with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), to be the Yamin Noraim. Others consider them to be only seven days long. This would be the number of days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur if you were to subtract the two Holydays plus the second day of Rosh HaShanah. If one wishes to interpret these days in a prophetic sense, the seven day period fits very nicely into certain other time frames for end time events. However, it is important that one not try to force their own opinion or desires onto the plan of God. He will work it out in His own way and time. Every modern interpreter of prophecy will probably be surprised by the actual final sequence of events that lead up to the return of the Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom. The best we can do is to:
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
On the other hand, for those who were not found ...worthy to escape... the gates of heaven are still open. Remember, the gates of the Temple (which symbolize the gates of the Heavenly Tabernacle) are opened on Rosh HaShanah and are not closed until the very end of Yom Kippur. The book of Hebrews makes it very clear that the earthly Tabernacle (and Temple) were considered to be a shadow of the Heavenly Tabernacle and that everything in the earthly Tabernacle was patterned after those things found in the Heavenly.
... there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: (Torah) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
As long as the gates of heaven are open, access to God is available to those who wish to have their names moved from the Book of the Intermediates to the Book of Life. One thing is sure, after the complete and final fulfillment of Yom Kippur takes place (and this will not be until after the one thousand year millennial reign of the Messiah), no one will have their name written in the Book of the Intermediates, everyone will be in either the Book of Life or the Book of Death. As Believers, we know that it is only through the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua that our names can be entered into the Book of Life. But it is also imperative that each Believer has come to true repentance for their sins. The Days of Awe are symbolic of the final days during which repentance is possible.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
The first fall Festival is Rosh HaShanah, commonly known among Christians as the Feast of Trumpets. It falls on the first day of the seventh Hebrew month, Tishri (Tish-ree). Since the months of the Hebrew calendar always begin on a new moon, Rosh HaShanah becomes the only Festival to be held during the dark portion of the moon, when it is new. All of the other Festivals and Holidays occur no earlier than the 6th day of a month, and no later than the 22nd day of a month. Thus, all other festivals are held during the light portion of the moon.
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this is a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
(Psalm 8 1:3-4)
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
(Lev. 23 :24-25)
And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.
question needs to by asked at this point. If this is a day of
blowing of trumpets, why is it referred to as a solemn
feast day in Psalm 81? Does not the blowing of trumpets
seem to imply a happy, joyous, festive occasion? The answer is;
Well, yes and no! Rosh HaShanah is a very
complex Festival. The fact of the matter is, it will be a wildly
joyous day for some, and a deeply solemn day for others. Let us
examine this Festival in detail, and then explore the traditional
manner in which to prepare for it.
The term Rosh HaShanah is never used in scripture in direct reference to this particular day. There is only one place in the Bible in which this term is used. It is found in Chapter 40 of Ezekiel which begins the description of the Great Temple that is to be built by the Messiah after His return. (See Zech. 6:11-13).
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, (Rosh HaShanah) in the tenth day of the month, ... the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.
Hebrew calendar actually has four different new years days,
so it is impossible to say definitively which one is meant in
this passage. The four new years days are:
Nisan 1 (also called Aviv), which is the new year for kings (the date which determined a kings rule) and for festivals (the calendar is calculated beginning with the month Nisan).
(See Ex. 12:2).
Elul 1, which is the new year for the tithing of animals. (Elul is the sixth month.)
Tishri 1, which is the new year for reckoning years, (Sept. 14th will begin the Hebrew calendar year of 5757) for Sabbatical years, and for Jubilees. It is also considered to be the time of year when God created the world, and was the day on which the kings of ancient Israel and Judah were crowned. (Tishri is the seventh month.)
Finally, there is Shevat 15 (one ancient rabbinic school says it falls on Shevat 1) which is the new year for planting trees and for vegetables. (Shevat is the eleventh month.)
A possible reason that the Jews have considered the Ezek. 40 passage to indicate Tishri 1 rather than any of the other new years days, is because it also mentions the 10th day of the month. If the month mentioned here is Tishri, the 10th day would be the Day of Atonement. It is a general Biblical principle, that when specific dates are mentioned in the scriptures they are, more often than not, Festival days rather than common days. In addition, this passage pertains specifically to the Millennial Temple. According to tradition, the Messiah will come on a Jubilee Year. Since the Jubilee Year is always announced on the 10th day of Tishri, (see Lev. 25:9) and the Temple being described is the one the Messiah will administer, it could be logical to assume that Ezekiels vision was given to him on the Day of Atonement. If this is true, the term Rosh HaShanah, in Ezekiel 40:1, is then directly connected to Tishri 1 rather than any of the other three new years days.
The Many Faces of Rosh HaShanah
There are several names by which Rosh HaShanah is known. Each name signifies a special aspect of the day and adds to our understanding of it.
The most commonly known name is Yom Teruah (Yohm Teh-roo-ah) from which we get the English translation Feast of Trumpets.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
The Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament) translates it this way: ... a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts. (Lev. 23:24)
of the Hebrew words which are translated trumpets in
English (Strongs #2689 chatzotzerah and #7782 shofar)
are used in this passage. The reason the word
trumpets is placed here, is because of the Hebrew
word Teruah. It is Strongs #8643 and is defined
as: clamor, i.e. acclamation of joy or a battle-cry;
espec. clangor of trumpets, as an alarm:--blow
(-ing) (of, the) (trumpets), joy, jubile, loud noise, rejoicing,
shout (-ing), (high, joyful) sound (-ing). Notice, the
preferred definitions are the words given in italics. In other
words, a more precise translation might be Feast of
Clamor or Feast of Acclamation or, as the Jews
sometimes call it, the Day of Blowing.
Since there is no direct reference to either a silver trumpet (chatzoterah) or a shofar (show-far = rams horn) in the above passages, it is not clear, from scripture, which is to be used for the blowing. Both had significant use in the Tabernacle service. However, the ancient tradition always prescribed a shofar. The reason for its use over the silver trumpet is because of Genesis 22, the offering of Yitzchak (Yeets-hahk = Isaac). As you may recall, just as Avraham (Avh-rah-hahm = Abraham) was about to draw the knife across Yitzchaks throat, an angel appeared and stayed his hand. A ram was caught in a thicket and it became the substitutionary sacrifice in Yitzchaks place. Thus, the shofar has become the traditional instrument that is sounded on Yom Teruah.
Why is this day commemorated with loud blasts?
Two reasons. First of all, tradition holds this Festival to be the day on which the Messiah will be crowned King over all the earth. The word Teruah is used in connection with kingship in the good prophecy, which God required Balaam speak concerning Israel.
He (God) hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout (teruah) of a king is among them.
The second reason is because the day is also known as the Day of the Awakening Blast. This reference in turn has two meanings as well: First, it refers to the people of the earth hearing the sound of the shofar and repenting of their sins.
But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is, since anything revealed is a light. This is why it says,
Get up, sleeper! Arise from the dead,
and the Messiah will shine on you!
Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life -- live wisely, not unwisely. Use your time well, for these are evil days. So dont be foolish, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is.
(Eph. 5:13-17) JNT
The second meaning of the Awakening Blast points to the resurrection of the dead.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
(I Cor. 15:52)
The dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
The Tanakh (Jewish Old Testament) renders this passage in even more graphic fashion:
Oh, let Your dead revive!
Let corpses arise!
Awake and shout for joy,
You who dwell in the dust!-
For Your dew is like the dew on fresh growth;
You make the land of the shades come to life.
The passage continues with an auxiliary theme that also ties in with this special day:
Go, my people, enter your chambers,
And lock your doors behind you.
Hide but a little moment,
Until the indignation passes.
The LORD shall come forth from His place
To punish the dwellers of the earth
For their iniquity,
And the earth shall disclose its bloodshed
And shall no longer conceal its slain.
Seek Ye the LORD
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
On Rosh HaShanah the whole world stands in judgment before God and deserves to be found guilty. Only those whose sins have been forgiven, through their previous acceptance of the sacrificial blood of Yeshua HaMashiach, are worthy to be found not guilty. This acquittal is not rendered because of their own righteousness or works, but because the righteousness of Yeshua has been applied to them.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...
...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow
While we, in our natural state, are totally unrighteous, Gods righteousness is eternal.
Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me. O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
My righteousness is near; my salvation (yeshah = liberty, deliverance, prosperity) is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation (yeshuah = something saved, deliverance, aid, prosperity) shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
For Christ (Messiah) is the end (telas = the point aimed at as a limit; conclusion, result, purpose) of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
to S.Y Agnon in his Nobel prize winning book, Days of Awe,
The ten days between Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur were set aside for prayer and supplication, because all earthly life is judged on Rosh haShanah, and he who returns to God is forgiven on Yom Kippur...
(A Midrash is a story or teaching that teaches a profound truth. It may or may not be literally true. However, the moral principle that it teaches is always true.)
There is a very interesting story told in I Samuel that relates to this season. It is the story of Nabal. (Heb = Na-val the b should be sounded as a v).
And Samuel died ... And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, ... and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife was Abigail; and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
(I Sam. 25:1-3)
word Naval (Nabal) in Hebrew means: stupid;
wicked (espec. impious): - fool, vile
person. God calls them as He sees them.
David and his men are on the run from King Shaul. They are in need of support from the people of the land who know that he has been anointed to be king over Israel. So David sends his men to Naval and asks for food:
...Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. ... Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
(I Sam. 25:6,8)
And Nabal answered Davids servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
(I Sam. 25:10-1 1)
When David heard what had happened he took four hundred of his men and went to attack Naval.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabals wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them. But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields: They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.
(I Sam. 25: 14-17)
was a man who had received protection from having Davids
men in the vicinity of where they were working. When David needed
a favour in return there was none forthcoming. Naval refused to
acknowledge the blessings that he was receiving by having the
anointed king of Israel near to him. It must be remembered that
David was a type of Messiah. He was to be the conquering king of
Israel, and in that respect, was a shadow of the coming King
Messiah who will conquer all the earth.
The fools wife, however, was full of wisdom. She took steps to save her household.
Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal. and it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
(I Sam. 25:18-20)
Abigail pleads with David to accept her petition and to spare her household and to remember her. Abigails supplication is a beautiful example of prayer on behalf of another, even one who does not deserve it. David, as a type of Messiah, hears her supplication and answers her with blessings:
And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, (notice who David blesses first) which sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. ... So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.
(I Sam. 25:32--33,35)
Now we come to a most remarkable part of the story. Naval holds a feast in his house. It is said to be like the feast of a king. This gives us a hint as to the day it is being held, none other than Rosh HaShanah, the day of the crowning of kings.
And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabals heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.
But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.
(I Sam. 25:36-38)
was a man, a fool, who was given an opportunity to be a part of
the coming kingdom of Israel under David; a type of the Kingdom
of God under Yeshua. He refuses to acknowledge the
mercy, kindness and protection that he received from that yet
future kingdom. In other words, he refuses to repent, to turn, to
do Teshuvah. Then he throws himself a big Rosh
HaShanah feast as though he were already inscribed in the
Book of Life. When Abigail tells him that she has
made amends; rather than admitting his error and repenting
(during the Days of Awe) Naval hardens his heart
instead. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, when the final
judgment is made and the gates of heaven are closed, Naval
finds himself on the outside looking in, and he dies.
This story reminds us of those people in the end time who see the destruction of the Day of the Lord, but refuse to turn from their sin and seek God.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
is a principle of scripture that every person is given a free
will. Therefore, each one of us is able to choose the path we
wish to take. Naval choose not to repent even after he
realized that his wife, Abigail, had saved his life. He made a
decision and it was the wrong one.
When the children of Israel were finally permitted to go into the land that God was giving them, Moses gave them an admonition. It is recorded in the Book of Dueteronomy. In chapter 28 God lays out for them the blessings they will receive if they obey the marriage covenant that He has made with them, and the curses they will experience if they rebel. This passage is concluded with an appeal to choose life.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
all need to learn how to exercise right choices. The Yamin
Noraim (Days of Awe) are the perfect time to meditate
on the choices we have made in the past and the choices that we
are making right now, today. Free will is a wonderful thing, but
with it comes great responsibility. We must learn to make our
daily decisions based on the Scriptures; following the
instructions and guidelines they give us.
Customs of the Days of Awe
occurs when a sinner forsakes his sin, asks God to remove it
through the blood of Yeshua and decides in his heart not
to do it again.
However, not only must one seek forgiveness for sins that involve an act; such as theft, adultery, gossip, etc., but one must also repent and seek forgiveness for sins of the mind; such as anger, lust, jealousy and covetousness. Yeshua was emphatic about this in the Sermon on the Mount, when he said we must not only refrain from adultery and murder but from lust and hatred as well. (Matt. 5:21-22,27-28).
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD ...
According to Jewish tradition it is a great sin to remind a person who has done Teshuvah about his past sins. We must learn to forget the sins of others as well as to forgive them. The person who can do this, truly has the mind of God.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
A common blessing people offer one another during this period is: May your judgment in the Book of Life be completed and sealed for your good.
It is also a custom to do good deeds and acts of charity during the Days of Awe. This is considered to be active Teshuvah.
The Sabbath of Return
The Sabbath between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur is known as the Sabbath of Return. The scripture reading for this day includes:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
For you have fallen because of your sin.
Take words with you
And return to the LORD.
According to the Mishnah, (Oral Torah): The sign of complete Teshuvah is when the same transgression comes to the hand of the transgressor in the same place where he first committed it, and he avoids it. (Yoma 86b).
would be a terrible thing if one went through complete Teshuvah
only to discover that all of their repenting and turning from sin
did not take away their sins, and one was still cut off from God.
It is for this reason that the forty day period of Teshuvah,
Rosh HaShanah, and Yamin Nora'im are not fully
complete without Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Just what is atonement? It is another of the many 'religious' words that is often used but not always understood. The best definition we can find is the one used in the scriptures themselves. The English word 'atonement' is found many times in the Old Testament, but only once in the New Testament. It is derived from two Hebrew words; kaphar and kippur, from which comes Yom (day) Kippur (atonement).
The root word kaphar (kah-far') means; "to cover (spec. with bitumen); fig. to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: -- appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation)." (Strong's #3722).
The second word translated atonement is kippur and it means; "expiation or atonement." (Strong's #3725).
Another related word is kapporeth (kap-poh-reht'). This word literally means "a lid," and is always translated as "mercy seat." This was the covering of pure gold with two cherubim on it, which formed the lid for the Ark of the Covenant. Strong's #3727).
'Atonement' is the preferred translation of the first two Hebrew words. However, The there are other translations in use in the scriptures and they include: merciful, purge, reconcile(d), pacified, pardon, forgive(n), cleansed, and ransom.
Again we have a day with many meanings. But the main theme is always the same. Yom Kippur is the day in which God will be reconciled with His creation. It is a day for Him to be merciful, to pardon, to cleanse and to forgive.
Yom Kippur was the only day of the year that anyone among the children of Israel was able to come "face to face" with God and live. This occurred when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (at least until it disappeared). It could only be done with great preparation and care. The entire ceremony is laid out in Leviticus, the 16th chapter. The High Priest was required to immerse himself completely in water (baptize) five times during the Day of atonement ceremony. The term "...wash his flesh in water..." (Lev. 16:4,24,) means to be immersed.
Once the High Priest successfully made it into the Holy of Holies he was required to sprinkle blood before the mercy seat' (kappareth) of God. This was considered to be where God dwelt. It was through this ceremony that atonement was granted for the coming year. For this reason, this day was also known as Yom HaPeduth (Yohm Hah Peh-doot'), the Day of Redemption.
Even though the Leviticus Atonement service was efficacious for only the coming year, it also looked forward to a time when Messiah would return and the Day of Redemption and Reconciliation would be fully complete.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
(I Cor 13:12)
According to Paul, we are not yet 'face to face' with our Father, but the time will come (as pictured by this day) when that will occur. Then we will know God fully, just as He knows us fully right now.
"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of the seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. ... This is the first resurrection.
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, hut they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.''
Yom Kippur is the end of the forty day period of Teshuvah. Since forty is considered to be the scriptural number of trial and testing, this day concludes man's period of trial and testing as well. Thus, the Day of Atonement has great prophetic significance for the end time. Much of this has been covered in the preceding discourse. The important thing to remember is that even though the resurrection of the righteous dead are pictured by Rosh HaShanah, there is still time in the prophetic timetable for others to come to repentance. However, those who wait until the Days of Awe to do Teshuvah (and this will be the vast majority of people) will have to undergo great trauma. Some prophetic teachers believe the Days of Awe correspond to the Great Tribulation.
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Customs of Yom Kippur
Afflicting One's Soul
According to tradition, on Yom Kippur it is forbidden to eat, to drink, to wash, to anoint oneself, to put on shoes and to have sexual intercourse. These are all considered to be ways in which one is to "afflict your souls" (Lev. 23:27). However, the scriptures indicate that only abstaining from food and drink is required, the other rules being derived from tradition.
"... I humbled (margin = afflicted) my soul with fasting; ..."
The Return of Moses
This is the day on which Moses descended with the second set of tablets and the children of Israel were forgiven for worshipping the golden calf
"And he (Moses) said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go amoung us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
"And he said, Behold, I make a covenant; before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee."
"And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
"And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him."
Thus the children of Israel were restored to favor in the eyes of God.
Caring for the Sick
It is tradition that if a person is sick they are not to fast on the Day of Atonement. If the sick person wants to fast and the doctor says they must eat, then the person must eat. If the sick person says they need to eat, then they must eat. One is not required to endanger their health by fasting. The health of the individual comes before the instruction of the day.
The Reading of Scriptures
It is the custom of many to read all of the Psalms on the night of Yom Kippur.
The traditional Torah readings include the following:
Isaiah 57:14 - 58:14
Jonah 1:1- 4:11
The book of Hebrews is also an excellent study for this day.
Preparing the High Priest
During the time of Yeshua, the office of the High Priest was very corrupt. Instead of the High Priest being appointed for life, the position was sold by the Romans to the highest bidder among those Levites who qualified as sons of Aaron. Because of the enormous amount of money that was collected through the Temple tax, the High Priest was able to pay the Roman governor who appointed him and still make a tidy profit. The Romans would keep the garments of the High Priest and only allow him to wear them on the Day of Atonement. It is for this reason that Paul did not know the person he insulted was the High Priest, because he was not wearing the Priestly garments.
"And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
"Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
"And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?
"Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."
though the High Priest was corrupt, Paul made amends for his
offense once he became aware of the man's office. (Maybe we could
learn a lesson from this example and not speak evil of our
leaders even when they are corrupt.)
Because the office of High Priest was purchased, many of the men who held the position were really not qualified. Some were even illiterate. Therefore the sages of that time had an especially difficult task as the Day of Atonement approached. They were required to prepare the High Priest so that he would be able to conduct the service without error, lest God be angry and atonement not be granted for that year.
They would cloister the High Priest in the Chamber of the Counselors for seven days before Yom Kippur. During this time he would sprinkle the blood of the daily sacrifices, burn the incense, trim the lamps and sacrifice the head and hind legs of the sacrificial animal.
The night of Yom Kippur he was kept awake all night going over the service for the next day. If he began to get drowsy they would make him stand barefoot on the cold stone floor, or they would snap their fingers to awaken him.
If he was tired in the morning from lack of sleep he was soon wide awake after immersing himself in a mikvah (meek-vah' = immersion pool) of rather chilly water. He immersed himself a total of five different times during the atonement service.
Ten times the High Priest would speak the name of God (YHVH). The name could only be spoken on this day, and the people would prostrate themselves face down on the ground when they heard it.
When the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies everyone held their breath. If he failed to perform his duties properly he would be struck dead. In that event a backup High Priest would take over to finish the service. It has been said that they tied a rope around the High Priest's waist so that if he fell dead in the Holy of Holies they could pull him out. This is not true. There were rules that allowed other priests to go in to retrieve him if that happened.
the Azazel goat was let go in the wilderness, it was led away
through a special passageway. This was so the Babylonians could
not pull its hair and cry: "Take our sins and begone,"
which was their custom.
The goat was not released in the wilderness the way the scriptures instruct, but rather it was backed off the edge of a high cliff and died in the fall. Tradition has it that a red string tied both to the horns of the Azazel goat and to the door of the Temple would miraculously turn white when the goat perished in its fall. For forty years before the destruction of the Temple this failed to happen It was considered to be an ill omen.
Three other ill omens also occurred for forty years before the destruction of the Temple:
The first involved the casting of lots to determine which atonement goat was for the LORD and which was the Azazel goat. For forty years the lot for the LORD always turned up in the left hand of the High Priest.
The second involved the doors of the Temple. Because of their great size and weight, it took a great number of men to open and close the doors each morning and evening. For forty years the doors would mysteriously open by themselves during the night.
The westernmost light of the Temple menorah (seven branched candlestick) would go out of its own accord during these forty years. It was the only one to be constantly lit, and was the light from which the others were lit each day. This light represented the Messiah.
If you count back forty years from 70 C.E. (common era or A.D.) you arrive at 30 C.E. which is very close to the year that Yeshua was crucified.
The Closing of the Gates
last act of Yom Kippur was the closing of the gates of
the Temple. Since the Temple was an earthly shadow of the
Heavenly Tabernacle, this signified the closing of the gates of
heaven, thereby denying access to the throne of God. This was
done just before sunset.
The closing of the gates was accompanied by a blast on the shofar. It was known as the 'Great Shofar.' On the fiftieth year this blast would also announce the Jubilee Year.
"Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family."
Again the symbolism is great. God established the Jubilee year so that the children of Israel would never lose their inheritance. Every fifty years they could return to the land of their fathers and take possession again. We too will return to the land of our Father and take possession once again, the possession that our ancestor Adam lost. We will be given our inheritance, just as God promised through the Jubilee year concept.
Some Final Thoughts
While the Temple stood, the Jews were able to celebrate the Day of Atonement each year by the sacrifice of the two goats. Atonement was made and their sins were covered for another year. Once the Temple was destroyed this method of atonement or reconciliation was closed to them. In its place they developed a system of repentance. But atonement and reconciliation can only be achieved through the person of Yeshua HaMashiach.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
The Day of Atonement is a very special day. But it is not just fasting and afflicting our souls that God wants, rather He wants us to do real Teshuvah and completely change our lives. We must learn to live our lives as though Yeshua were in our shoes, actually living our lives. That truly is Messiah living in us.
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
"Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: ..."
This does not say that Yom Kippur is not to be observed. Rather, it is expressly saying that afflicting ones soul without adequate Teshuvah is not what God wants. He is looking for people to turn away from their inwardness and to become concerned about the people around them. This is not a time to be a religious hobbyist, it is a time to live one s religion. Yeshua made this very same point:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
"And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
"Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. and these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
This passage should give all of us cause to stop and take stock of the way we are conducting our lives. Are we really putting our faith into practice? Are we really clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick as we should be? When we do these things it is as though we were doing them to Yeshua HaMashiach Himself We must get our priorities straight.
Repentance, Judgment, Awe and Reconciliation. The four aspects of this most incredible season that is know as the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. The Festivals of the LORD are so full of meaning that one could study them from now until Yeshua returns and still only have a small amount of the true understanding pictured by them. Let us give thanks to our Father in heaven that He has seen fit to reveal His wonderful plan for mankind through the Festivals. Let us all resolve to learn more about them. But most important of all, let us learn to live them the way God wants us to live them.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for all eternity.
Agnon, S.Y., Days of Awe,
Schocken Books, New York, 1975.
Glaser, Mitch & Zhava, The Fall Feasts of Israel, Moody Press, Chicago, 1987.
Good, Joseph, Rosh HaShanah, and the Messianic Kingdom to Come, Hatikva Ministries, Port Arthur, TX, 1989.
Goodman, Philip, The Rosh HaShanah Anthology, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1973.
Holy Bible, The, King James Version, Oxford, University Press, London.
The Jewish Encyclopedia, 12 vols., Funk & Wagnalls Co., New York & London, 1901.
Kasden, Barney, God's Appointed Times, Lederer Messianic Publications, Baltimore, 1993.
Neusner, Jacob, The Mishnah, A New Translation, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1988.
Strassfeld, Michael, The Jewish Holidays, A Guide & Commentary, Harper & Roe, New York, 1985.
Strong, James, S.T.D., L.L.D., Strong's New Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, World Bible Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, 1986.
Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphial New York, 1988.
Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux, LL.D., Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1979.
Trepp, Leo, The Complete Book of Jewish Observance, Behrman HouselSummitBooks, New York, 1980.
Wigram, George V., The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1980.
Zimmerman, Martha, Celebrate the Feasts, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, 1981.
The Stone of
(from the Lancaster, Pa. Intelligencer Journal)
(AP) 7-4-1996 -- "The Stone of Scone, a symbol of
power at the coronation of English and British kings for
700 years, is returning to Scotland....
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget they children."
"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it."