The day in which the commandment for Yom Kippur was made was the day after Aaron's sons were put to death by HaShem. It seemed that the two sons did not know enough to separate between holy and common and when they went forth to give an offering of incense to the L-rd (one that was not requested by Y-HVH), they became consumed by the Presence of the L-rd. And in the same way, we also need to distinguish between the holy and common and follow the clear instructions of the L-rd, otherwise we also be consumed by fire at the close of the age-
"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev.20.12-15.
Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Ten days ago the Book of Life, the Book of the Wicked and the Book of Those In-Between opened. If your name was in the third one you have ten days to repent before the Book of Life will close for this year. Why is this feast so important to those in HaMoshiach?
There are several feasts that the people are called to observe (Lev. 23). In fact, the Word calls them 'appointed' feasts, for this is what they are. We have appointments before Y-HVH our G-d; some of them in the spring and three in the fall. These are crucial because they hold prophetic meanings as well. If you look closely to the spring appointments, you will see that Y'hoshua has fulfilled them in His first coming. Therefore it stands to reason that the remaining three will be fulfilled in His second coming.
"Again the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." Matt.13.47
We are the fish, and the angels will one day come and sort us as a fishermen on the beach separating what is trayf (unproper) from what's koshrut (proper), and throwing the bad fish away.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the L-rd henceforth.' 'Blessed indeed,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!
"Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the Temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, 'Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.' So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped."
"And another angel came out of the Temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then another angle came out from the altar, the angel who had the power over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had a sharp sickle, 'Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe." So the angle swung his sickle on the earth and gather the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of wrath of G-d; and the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for one thousand six hundred stradia (or two hundred miles)" Rev.14.13-20
Judgment day is one day we will all be present for.
Blessed is the servant, whom his Master when He comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, He will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My Master is delayed.' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him and put him in with hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." Matt.24.46-51
This passage also refers to those in the body. Most of the parables in Matthew 24 and 25 are about the Talmudine and two themes that permeate these days of judgment are:
2. many who believe they are righteous will fall because Y'hoshua will see things otherwise.
Yom Kippur means the Day of Atonement. It is a day of holy fasting, and a day of solemn prayer. This is what the Word says:
"And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and shall do no work, neither the native or the stranger who sojourns among you; for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before HaShem. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever." Lev.16.26-32, see also Num.29.7-11.
First, this is "a statute forever" that you shall "afflict yourselves". Another statute HaShem gave forever was that we were to keep the Sabbath of the land. There was a time that Israel did not keep the Sabbath. What did HaShem do? Just what He promised.
"Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest which it had not in your Sabbaths when you dwelt upon it." Lev.26.34-35.
"He sent into exile (in Babylon) those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Y-HVH by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lays desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years." 2Chon.36.20-21.
HaShem commanded them to rest the land one year in seven, but they refused to do this. As a result HaShem brought Babylon down upon them. Babylon, in turn took them into captivity and doing so provided the rest the land of Israel needed for all the years our ancestors neglected. So what does this history have to do with Yom Kippur?
"All Scripture is inspired by G-d and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness . . ." 2Tim.3.16.In this case, all the above scriptures are good for training in righteousness, but first we have to learn something. First, notice that the harvest in Rev.14.13-20 precedes the very wrath of Hashem. After all, the second group harvested was harvested for that wrath, "So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the wine press of the wrath of G-d."
So first came judgment then came wrath. But what is the wrath? By definition it is when HaShem afflicts all those who are unrighteous (sour grapes). In other words, those whose names that are not written in the Book of Life. Just as He rested the land that His children would not rest; He will afflict the arrogant who feel themselves above affliction. After all, so many of the parables that talk about the kingdom also say that many who think they are righteous will find out otherwise:
"Not everyone who says to Me 'L-rd, L-rd,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of the Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, 'L-rd, L-rd, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers." Matt.7.21-23This is why Yom Kippur is the second most holy day in the Hebrew calendar behind only the Sabbath. This makes sense if you think about it. We should stay focused on the wedding feast most of our time. Every week centers around the Sabbath bride and the Sabbath rest. For three days we dwell on it's fading joy and for three more, we work to bring it to fruition. This is because the Sabbath represents the Day-to-Come, the day Yeshua will come again to reign as King forever and ever.
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day HaShem finished His work which he has done, and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He has done." (Gen.2.1-2)Also we find, "For a thousand years in they sight are but as yesterday when it is past" (Psalm 90.4). These, among other passages, have taught the rabbis that there will be six thousand years of life. There will be two thousand of sin and void; two thousand of the Law and two thousand of the Messiah. So what happens after two thousand years after Yeshua came? He will come again to reign as King and give us Sabbath years Todah Rabah HaShem.
But remember, these two thousand years are based upon the calendar of HaShem, not the present Gregorian calendar. Also judgment comes before that glorious day when Yeshua will be reigning for the thousand years. And after this there will be one last temptation by hasten, which will fail, and then the final judgment of all those not in the Book of Life. Therefore Judgment day is the door through which we cross to see the eternal Sabbath, so once a year we remember that we will be judged and that we must set ourselves right with our G-d.
This is why the parable we include at the beginning is so important. The fish are not unbelievers but the Talmudine, the followers of the Word. But even these are judged - some will go to life eternal and some will be thrown into the fire. Where we sit among the sheep or the goats depends on our heart when Y'hoshua comes again, so doesn't it make sense to remember this coming event and make sure your heart is right with HaShem once every year? After all, which weeds are hardest to pull? Isn't it those that get a deep enough root system you can't dig them out no matter how hard you try. This is true for sins as well. Both Yom Kippur and Good Friday on the Catholic calendar give an opportunity once a year to wash the slate clean and seek His face once more. Both are also preceded by 40 days in which we work to make our lives fertile to such a change; both have a final week of intense preparation- in the Hebrew calendar it's ten days, while in Catholicism it's seven. Yet both require fasting and a call to a holy convocation with the brethren on the last holy day.
So why keep Yom Kippur if Catholic already do keep a form of this feast in Spirit? Actually, the Goyim (the nations or the Gentiles) among the Talmudine (followers of the Messiah) are called to abide in Peter's word, which means they are to keep Good Friday as their Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) yet isn't this unkosher? Actually according to the Noahite they are to not keep the law perfectly, which moving the day from the fall to the spring certainly does create imperfection thus making their keeping Kashrus. But even if this is what you do, studying the ancient holiday as it was in Torah and the root of this holiday can help enrich for your Good Friday observance. And NOWHERE does the Word does it say Israel can't keep Mitzvoth (the Law) if they want to (we plan to have a couple of sites on this topic in the near future) and as the ten tribes are "lost" among the Goyim, are you really a Goy or might you be numbered beneath the "Dry Bones"? How do know? Well if you cannot prove your heritage is Jewish yet you hunger for the traditions of Israel changes are you are numbered among those dry bones!
Still there are also benefits to understanding the holidays as HaShem intended whether you plan to keep them or just learn from them. For example, look again on how the appointed feasts were set up-each set holding to its prophetic meanings. So even if Catholics keep the feast in spirit, they loose the deeper dimension, that is the timing of our L-rd's return, which can be, correctly seen only from the timing HaShem originally planned through His appointed feast! This doesn't mean by any means that all are called to these ancient feasts, but certainly we only need to keep the spirit of the feast, yet this doesn't mean even those who don't keep them cannot learn from those of us who do.
We can also gain an additional insight from the conversion of Paul: On the way to Damascus, where Paul had letters to persecute and kill the leaders of the infant Church, Yeshua cast him off his horse and asked him why he was persecuting Him. After the vision, Paul lost his sight and had to be led into the town to stay with a man named Judas. For the next three days Paul prayed and fasted drinking no water and taking no food. At the same time Paul was praying, a member of the Talmudine, named Ananias, was also praying. It was during this prayer HaShem told Ananias to go to Paul and lay his hands on him to help Paul regain his sight. Fearful as Ananias was, for Paul was a well-known killer of the faith, he still abided in the L-rd and went to Paul. Paul, as we all know would go on to be one of the greatest movers and shakers within our faith.
So HaShem was able to reach Paul partially because Ananias was praying at the same time. This time of year both Jews and Messianic Jews are praying fervently to HaShem. Therefore, if nothing else, all our praying fervently at this time for unity within our faith may invoke HaShem to open the eyes of the blind, thus bringing forth great fruit. And if we ourselves are in blindness then this same prayer could be a blessing even unto us. So what is the harm if, by doing so, we might save our brothers and possible even heal ourselves? Surely no harm can come for setting aside another day of great prayer? With this in mind we'll explain the traditions of this fast and feast:
How do we afflict ourselves in according to G-d's commandments?
Long ago when a person was charged with a crime that was not punishable by death, they were given thirty-nine lashes with a leather strap. Because we are guilty of sins (or crimes) against G-d, some in the past have flogged themselves as they confessed their sins as a way to afflict themselves and earn G-d's forgiveness. This was also common in the Middle Ages by some monks and is still practiced by some today in the Moslem world.
Fasting and the prefast:
Another common way people afflicted themselves is by denying themselves both food and water. This is an acceptable method for healthy adults or children beyond the Bar and Bat Mitzvah age, but not pregnant or lactating women. Your last meal before the fast is traditionally a simple feast of soup, kreplach (little triangular sandwiches filled with meat or cheese), and challot. We are told to eat a meal high in protein and carbohydrates because these help sustain you longer when you're not eating and you want your mind on prayer and study, not how hungry you are feeling (though feeling hungry does enhance the effect of waiting for the blast of the Shofar to end the fast). We do not recite the Kiddush because the Sabbath has not yet come, but we do recite the other prayers. We begin this meal with the ritual hand washing:
Baruch Atah, HaShem Eloheinu, Melek Haolam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al netilat yadayim.
(Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and called us to wash our hands)
We then say Shir Hama'lot (Psalm 126) which expresses our wish to return to Zion which will happen when Y'hoshua returns again. Amen.
Then we follow with the Brikat hamotzon, or the blessing over the challot (which is also the blessing over the meal):
Baruch Atah, HaShem Eloheinu, Melek Haolam hamotzi lekhem min ha'aretzAs with Rosh Hashanah, we dip the bread in honey.
(Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe who brings forth bread from the earth)
Now the meal is quickly eaten and the prayer after the meal is said:
Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe who in your goodness, grace, loving kindness and mercy nourishes the whole world. You give food to all flesh for your loving kindness is everlasting. In your great goodness, we have never lacked for food; may we never lack for food for the sake of your great Name. For you nourished all and sustained all, you have done good to all. You have prepared food for all creatures that you have created. Blessed are you, HaShem who provides food for all.
Before we begin synagogue, we bless the candles and say the remaining blessing like we did during Rosh Hashanah. Some also place a white tablecloth over the table and place books on it for study to drive home the meaning of the coming day. We like this idea and delegate the children to a small table for all their meals. It gives a separation that can help them understand the significance of the day.
We light the candles as well as a 24 hour candle so we will have a lighted candle for Havdalah next evening. This is also the time many light a special memorial candle in honor of a loved one who died during the year. We light this memorial candle before the Sabbath candles because we are not to start any fires once the Sabbath starts. Also these candles are lit before sundown because at the normal time of kindling we will be praying to ushering in the holy day. The blessing over the holiday lights is:
Baruch Atah, Hashem Eloheinu, Melek Haolam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav vitzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Hakippurim.The Shehekheyanu follows:
(Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe who sanctified us with His commandments and called us to kindle the light of Yom Kippur)
Baruch Atah, HaShem Eloheinu, Melek Haolam shehkheyanu v'kiyamanu v'higgiyanu lazman hezehLast comes the blessing of the children. This is a beautiful blessing that asks G-d to make pure their hearts:
(Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this season)
May HaShem make you like (for boys) Ephraim and Mennaseh/ (for girls) like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. May HaShem bless you and safeguard you. May HaShem illuminate His countenance upon you and be gracious to you. May HaShem turn His countenance to you and establish peace for you. May it be the will of our Father in Heaven that He instill in your heart(s) His love and reverence. May the fear of HaShem be upon your face all your days in order that you not sin. May your craving be for the L-rd and all that He has commanded. May your eyes gaze toward truth; may your mouth speak wisdom; may your feet run to do the will of your Father in Heaven. May He grant you righteous sons and daughters who engage in the Torah and the commandments all their days. May the source of your posterity be blessed. May He arrange your livelihood for you in a permissible way, with the contentment and with relief, from beneath His generous hand, and not through the fists of flesh and blood; a livelihood that will free you to serve HaShem. And may you be inscribed and sealed for a good long life among all the righteous of Israel.
We end this meal and clean it up a full hour before the Sabbath begins. The tables is cleared the dishes washed and put away, and on the table is placed the books we use for prayers and our studies over the next twenty four hours. Before we came to this day all that is needed for the fast and the later feast were made and tacked away until the time of the appointed. This is so that nothing can distract us from this most important apoointed day with HShem and with His only Son Who is not only our king but also our Judge.