Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Erev Yom Kippur

In order to put the Day of Atonement in perspective, we need to look at the annual festivals God ordained for His people. The sacrifices spoke of the blood that saves and the feast spoke of the food that sustains. Both are of God.

(1) Leviticus 23:4-6 "These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread."

Passover is about redemption, commemorating God’s redemption of His people from bondage and slavery to Egypt. It took place every spring and celebrated the night when the Lord passed over the homes of the Israelites who put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. The angel of death did not kill the firstborn in that house. Each household was to eat the lamb for strength for the journey from Egypt, through the desert, to the Promised Land.

The Feast of Passover is fulfilled in the sacrifice of the Son of God, the Lamb Who takes away the sins of the world. Those who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are redeemed from the bondage and slavery to sin and death. Believers take in the life of Jesus first through salvation, then through Bible study and prayer, which gives us strength for our journey through life to the promise of heaven.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is about sanctification and justification. It commemorated the Israelites departure into the desert, not bringing the yeast of Egypt with them into their new lives. Sanctification is seen in the purging of yeast, symbolizing sin, from their lives.

The Feast Unleavened Bread is fulfilled in every believer who is made free, through repentance and cleansing, from the yeast, or sin, of the old life. This process of purging sin is called sanctification. This Feast was also fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was sinless, became sin for you and me, so that you and I could experience His righteousness in ourselves [2 Corinthians 5:21] This is justification, “Just as if” it were me who paid for my sin.

(2) Leviticus 23:9 -10 "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the people of Israel and say to them,(A) When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.'"

First Fruits is about resurrection. It was also held in the spring, and was the dedication of the entire crop that would come, to God – saying that all harvest, all bounty, comes from and belongs to the Lord.

The Feast of First Fruits is fulfilled in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is called the first fruits in the New Testament [1 Cor 15:20-22], because He was the first one to be raised from the dead. The risen Jesus is the guarantee of bodily resurrection and eternal life for all those who would come after Him.

(3) Leviticus 23:15-16 "You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD."

The Feast of Weeks is about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church. It took place in late spring, seven weeks after Passover, which is why it was also called Pentecost, which means “fifty days.” It commemorated the wheat harvest, the first harvest of the year, with thanksgiving to God. Oral tradition holds that this was also the time that God delivered His law to Moses.

Pentecost was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, which is when the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every person who is saved began. The Holy Spirit now writes God’s word into the hearts of every believer [Hebrews 10:16]

(4) Leviticus 23:23-24 "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In(A) the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.'"

The Feast of Trumpets, called Rosh Hashanah, happened in early autumn and was a day of rest, occurring half way through the Jewish year. Trumpets indicated the Lord’s judgement and will precede the second coming of Christ.

This feast has not yet been fulfilled

(5) Leviticus 23:26-27 "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD.'"

Ten days after the Feast of Trumpets came The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which was a time of self-examination and repentance and forgiveness. It was the only day of the year they were to fast, they were to deny themselves, and spend the day in worship.

It was a yearly reminder that God's presence among them was based on His grace, His mercy, His love for them, and not on their ability to earn favor with God. God loved His people and wanted them to be reconciled to Him. God wanted them to know forgiveness for their sins.

Erev Yom Kippur, the eve before Yom Kippur, begins at sundown tonight

The Day of Atonement was fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ brought His sacrifice of Himself to the real Holy of Holies in heaven. The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled in another way when Israel as a people will turn to their Messiah, repent and be reconciled to God through Christ [Zechariah 12-13]

A post on Yom Kippur will appear here on Friday, September 17

(6) Leviticus 23:33-34, 42-43 "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the LORD...You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43that(B) your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.'"

Five days after The Day of Atonement came The Feast of Booths, late in the fall after the final harvest. The Israelites would make homemade tents out of tree branches and live in them for a week to commemorate how God faithfully provided for them in the desert.

This was typically a very joyful time when all Jews came to Jerusalem to celebrate. The fulfillment of this feast will come in the future, when God establishes His kingdom on earth and the Lord Jesus Christ reigns as king.

Holy days help us remember what God has done for us, and what He will do

Holy days, and special days like anniversaries and birthdays, help you and me commemorate the important things in life that God has done for us. How do you see holidays? Is it a great time to shop the sales, or do you focus on what the Lord has done and is doing, and look forward to what the Lord is going to do? What can you do to bring the focus on God, and to celebrate with thanksgiving?

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