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Yom Kippur – The Most Christian of God’s Moedim

A guest post by Kay Behrens

As I was sitting in my Living Room ten days ago, honoring one of God’s Moedim, or Set Apart Days, I came to the realization that Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the most “Christian” of God’s Holy Convocations. But, what do I mean by that?

Let’s look at God’s Set Apart Days, one by one. We can begin with Passover.

Passover ~ On Passover, God instructs us to do several things, besides our offerings. We are to cook the lamb, to remove leaven from our homes, to prepare the bitter herbs.

Unleavened Bread ~ Here we are to eat the meal, but most important of all, we are to tell our children the story of the Exodus. They are to be active participants of the evening.

First Fruits ~ Here we are to offer the first fruits of our harvest.

Shavuout ~ Fifty days after the early First Fruits, we are to have a Holy Convocation and to offer two loaves of leavened bread, a later first fruits.

Yom Teruah ~ The Day of Trumpets. On this day we are to blow the trumpets and shout for joy to the Lord.

Sukkot ~ Here we are to build and live in Booths for 7 days. We are to wave the four species. We are to remember our days in the desert.

But what of Yom Kippur? How are we to spend that day? Doing nothing.

And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among this people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath.
Leviticus 23:30-32. 

But why do I say that this is this a “Christian” moedim? Well, let’s look at the Christian understanding of salvation, or atonement. Christians teach that we are not saved by works, but by grace and grace alone. They are taught that “works salvation” as taught in the Old Testament no longer applies and that we cannot save ourselves by our works but only by resting on the completed work of Messiah.

Have you ever spent 24 hours where you can do no work? It truly concentrates the mind. Add to that a fast from food and water and you definitely start paying attention. Get up and take a shower? Nope. Make your bed (probably not a problem for most millennials, but it sure bothers me); fill or empty the dishwasher? Later. Check the internet? Your phone? Your tablet? Not today. Squash that fly? Dust off that spider’s web? Wipe down the counter? Nope, nope, and nope. Read a book, send a note to a friend, start that craft project?  Can’t do.

Your day is to be completely about resting in the Lord. He is your salvation, your atonement, even your bread of life if you are fasting.

Ah, but you say that “Messiah died once for all and He sat down at the right hand of God and for us to keep the Old Testament feasts is to put Him back on the cross to suffer once again”. To this I would say that, yes, Messiah sacrificed once and then sat at the right hand of the Father, but we are not called to remember this once and only once. We are to be reminded yearly of His sacrifice. I liken this to a married couple who keep their vows daily, but once a year takes the time to recognize the special bond that they have. If they don’t take this time to lovingly recall their commitment they might begin to take it for granted. Likewise, if we don’t take the time to recall the sacrifice of our Messiah, we will begin to take it for granted.

So how shall we remember His sacrifice? Certainly by keeping the Passover, or by the remembrance of Good Friday and First Fruits, but Yom Kippur forces us to really remember the totality of His gift to us. On Yom Kippur, we are to completely separate ourselves from the world; we are to completely rely on His provision. We do not work, we do not eat, we do not rely on anyone or anything but our Messiah.

We cannot make the day of Yom Kippur any more holy by doing anything beyond “afflicting your souls” and having “a holy convocation”.

So I invite my dear Christian friends to consider next year keeping Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Try spending a day completely without works. Spend a day in your Living Room without swatting that fly, without squashing that spider, without doing anything. Spend it with the Scriptures that attest to our Lord who gave His life so that we may live. Who is the Bread of Life and the True Vine.


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