Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is the second of the Autumn Feasts given by the LORD to the Jewish people in Leviticus 23 verses 26-32.
The first of the Autumn Feasts is the Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hashanah, which means "Head of the Year"). On the Feast of Trumpets it is believed the LORD examines our "books" (accounts) to see if our repentance is complete. If it is, our name is written in the Book of Life (Sefer HaChayim). This sounds just like Revelation 20.15 in the New Testament. Yet this is an orthodox Jewish belief. If repentance is not present in our lives, the Jewish faith holds that one's name is written in the Book of Death.
However, the Jewish people believe most of humanity falls undecisively into neither category, and so a further period of testing is needed. This further period is called The Days of Awe and are the ten days following the Feast of Trumpets up until Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement.
So, it is believed that on the Day of the Blowing of the Trumpet, some will have lived in complete repentance and these people will have their names safely written in the Book of Life. But those people that don't will have to endure a short, but deeply painful, period of testing until their repentance is complete. What does that sound like? "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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." (1 Corinthians 15.51-52)
The Jewish Days of Awe sound to me like the Tribulation described in the New Testament, when the bride who has kept her wedding garments clean, through daily repentance and humility before the LORD, hating even a spot or a blemish, has been raptured. (Jude 20-25)
And so, in the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), at the end of these Ten Days of Awe, is believed to be the final day of appeal. The key to this appeal is a Jewish word called Teshuvah (repentance) or, more accurately, "turning." It is a 180 degree turn kind of word - turn around, stop sinning and run full-force in the opposite direction back into the arms of the One True God of Israel. "Repent" or "Teshuvah" was the first public word out of both John the Baptist's and Yeshua's mouth. (Matthew/Mattityahu 3.2 and 4.17)
So, in order to understand more of the beautiful, holy character of the One True God, what does the word Kippur mean in Hebrew? Like all Hebrew words, it shares its root with other Hebrew words, which tells us more of God's hidden heart, like finding beautiful gemstones. To explain this in a way that makes sense, without having a keyboard that types Hebrew letters (!) I need to explain that the Hebrew letter for 'p' in Kippur can be the same as the English letter 'f' as well as 'p'. In Hebrew this letter is called "pey/fey". To interchange the two letters in Hebrew you just add or take away a tiny dot in the middle of the letter. The dot is a vowel, not a consonant. So the root Hebrew word would be the same in two words like 'Kippur' and 'Kafar' - as the root consonants of k, p/f and r remain the same in each, only the vowels change.
So "Kippur" means atonement and it shares it root with all of the following words in Hebrew:
"Kafar" which means: to cover, pardon, release, appease, forgive, to allow for atonement, covering over and forgetting sins, make reconciliation. This is a perfect picture of the LORD Yeshua on the cross, making reconciliation for my sins, so that the One True God of Israel can release me from my sentence for sin.
"Kofer" which means: the "pitch" used to cover and seal the Ark, or henna blossom (Song of Songs 4) and ransom. What a beautiful description of the Atonement of the Messiah. He is the covering that keeps us safe in His Ark from the coming judgement of the world. If you have ever worried whether He will keep your soul safe in coming troubles, He will, if we live in daily repentance and if we try to be true followers of Yeshua's Word. He is the Ark from the storm - watertight - just like Noah's. He is also my henna blossom of Ein Gedi. I have walked under the trees of Ein Gedi several times; it is beautiful and the kind of place you fall in love with Israel and the Land of the Messiah. He is the King to His bride in Song of Songs.
"Kapporet" which means: atonement cover, mercy seat, the golden cover on the Ark of the Covenant. I see some in the church who call on the Name of Jesus as their Saviour, without also living as if He is the Golden Cover of the Ark of the Covenant (Commandments). He literally envelops the Law of the God of Israel. His Atonement for our sins means the same thing in Hebrew as the very cover over the Ark of the Law given on Mount Sinai! This is not a cheap grace but a grace that exists from within the awesome Holy Cloud that descended on Mount Sinai.
This makes me fall in awe and repentance before such a kind, and yet untouchably Holy LORD. Now, if I stumble and touch the Ark of the God of Israel - if I stumble and touch His Laws in the wrong way, if I sin - my LORD Yeshua protects my very being from the Holiness of God by being the covering in-between me, a human, and the God of the Universe. Yeshua is the One Mediator between God and man. Yeshua my Atonement is, in the Hebrew language, the same as the Golden Covering on the Ark given to my distant ancestors.
All these meanings of the Messiah (Mashiach) are hidden in the second Leviticus Feast of Yom Kippur, because they all share their root word with the Hebrew for Atonement.
Here are some more prophetic jewels hidden in the Jewish traditions of this Feast, which my Jewish and Messianic brothers and sisters mark with fasting and repentance every year until the coming (return) of Mashiach:
After Yom Kippur, in Jewish tradition, it is a time of love, romancing and courtship. I believe this is a prophecy of the following: after the time of repentance of the Jewish people, through the times of Jacob's trouble, there will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb described in Revelation 9 verses 9-10 for all who believe in Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah of the world: "Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Yeshua. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Yeshua.”
So next time it is Yom Kippur, I pray you are blessed to fully see Who is hidden within it: our Mercy-Seat Atonement, the King Who is the golden covering over the Ark, the Jewish Messiah Who came to atone for the world, the eternal High Priest (Cohen Gadol), the One in Whom we give up our life (die) in order to be washed white as snow and live in Him.
Fellow brides, let's encourage each other to keep our bridal garments clean, ready for the return of our Bridegroom. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. We have the greatest help we could ever hope for...
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 20-26)
* The Midrash "is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. (In the Bible, the root d-r-sh is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical text. Midrash falls into two categories.When the subject is law and religious practice (halakhah), it is called midrash halakhah. Midrash aggadah, on the other hand, interprets biblical narrative, exploring questions of ethics or theology, or creating homilies and parables based on the text. (Aggadah means "telling”; any midrash which is not halakhic falls into this category.)" Credit to My Jewish Learning for this brief definition of the Midrash.
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