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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yom Kippur and Christ

So many people know that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament feast of the Passover with the last supper and his death on the Cross, but he was also fulfilling in a very large part the Feast Day of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur was the day to atone for the sins that you committed against God. On this day Israelites would "afflict themselves", meaning fasting, doing penance and they were forbidden to work.

Before I continue, I want to note that this feast is particularly complicated. For example, the high priest had to wash his entire body 5 times and wash his hands and feet 10 times.
Seeing its complexity I will point out the only main parts.

The High Priest would take a bull, confess his sins and the sins of his family over it, sacrifice it and then catch its blood in a bowl.

The High Priest would also take two goats.
One would be for God and the other would be for Azazel (who was possibly a demon?) sort of mysterious.
The one that was for God would be sacrificed and its blood would be collected in a bowl.
The other Goat for Azazel would have a red thread tied to its horns (while a similar red thread would be kept back in Jerusalem, which would turn white if the sacrifice was accepted) and then the High Priest would lay hands on its head confessing the sins of all of Israel, this goat got to escape out of town (where we get the escape goat), but in practice it was handed over to a gentile who would lead it out of town and then thrown it over a cliff.

Back at the temple the blood that was collected was then taken up into the temple with great amounts of incense. The blood would then be sprinkled in the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people.

Christ fulfill this feast in his own day in several ways:

Just as the High Priest in the OT wore a seamless Linen garment, so also St. John tells us in
Chapter 19: 23 that Jesus was wearing a seamless garment at the cross.

Something else that is significant here is that Leviticus 21:10 says that the high priest may never tear his own garment.

And if you recall when Jesus is on trial before Caiphas the high priest and Jesus says that he is the Christ Caiphas tears his own garments and charges Jesus with Blasphemy.
But they were dividing Jesus' clothes while he was on the Cross, John 19:24 tells us that his garment was not torn, but they drew lots for it. This action is confirming the high priesthood of Jesus.

Remember also how the high priest in the OT had to take the blood into the Holy of Holiest and sprinkle it on the Mercy seat. When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem he made each part higher then the next. So the Temple had three parts, one for the people, but then you would walk up some stairs to the Holy place and from their you would walk up some more stairs into the Holy of Holies.

Well on the day of atonement remember the priest had to have to ascend these stairs with a great amount of incense, almost like he was riding on a cloud up into the Holy of Holies.
This points to the Ascension of our Lord, and where is he ascending to? To the real Holy of Holiest in heaven where he is interceding for us...

Hebrews 9:11-12 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, 12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

One more beautiful tidbit is what happened to the thread that was left in Jerusalem:
"The Talmud bears an amazing witness to the work of [Jesus] in altering the system of atonement. The background is that on [Day of Atonement], when the [high priest] sacrificed a goat (Leviticus 16), a piece of scarlet cloth was tied between its horns. If it later turned white, it meant that God had forgiven Israel’s sin in accordance with Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow."
"Our Rabbis taught that throughout the forty years that [Simeon] the Righteous served,…the scarlet cloth would become white. From then on it would sometimes become white and sometimes not.... Throughout the last forty years before the Temple was destroyed... the scarlet cloth never turned white." (Yoma 39a-39b)" Jewish New Testament Commentary – By: David H. Stern (page 84) - I don't recommend this book, while sometimes it does have cool Jewish insights into the life of Christ, David Stern is a Protestant and misses much in his commentary.

I again point everyone to Brant Pitre's CD set on this topic. It will make so much come to life in your reading of Scripture.


Anonymous said...

Dan this material is really awesome. I heard you on the radio (SonRise Morning Show) and finally got around to visiting your blog.
The Bible never ceases to amaze me and of course the fulfillmant of all things - Our Lord Jesus Christ - really makes the following passage so true - God's ways are so far above our ways as the heavens are above the earth. You and Tim Staples have now become my favorite apologists. May God Bless you.

Mevashir said...

The Jewish Talmud reports that starting 40 years before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 AD, a series of evil omens started appearing in Jerusalem. One of them was the repudiation of an important part of the Yom Kippur Temple worship ritual.

Many Christians believe that these portents allude to Christ’s crucifixion, which also occurred 40 years before Jerusalem’s destruction. They imply that the old Jewish rituals would soon pass away to be replaced by a system of worshipping God in spirit and in truth, as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman by the well:

John 4:21-24 New International Version (NIV)
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Therefore it appears that Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN on Yom Kippur of 5773 (2012) is tragically appropriate and serves to remind both Israel and worldwide Jewry that they are still not right with their God.

Until they look upon the Lamb who was slain and confess that Jesus died for their sins and believe in their hearts that He rose from the dead, both they and the entire world will remain in travail.

With Prayers for the Conversion of Israel and All the World,
Menachem Mevashir