Happy Yom Kippur? I Don’t Think So!
I was going to wish everyone a Happy Yom Kippur out of habit, however, I think Yom Kippur (AKA – Day of Atonement) is something different all together.
What Does Yom Kippur Mean?
Nehemiah Gordon states the following on is blog post about Yom Kippur,
“On this holiday the Torah commands us to “afflict our souls (‘INuI NeFeSH)” as we read:
“And this shall be a statute forever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you… It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever.” (Leviticus 16:29, 31)
How Do We Afflict Our Souls?
“In Biblical Hebrew the expression “to afflict your souls” means “to fast” (Tzom). The Hebrew phrase ‘INuI NeFeSH translated as “afflicting the soul”, also appears in a number of Biblical passages, from which it is clear that this expression signifies fasting:
- “…I afflicted (KJV: “humbled”) my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” -Psalms 35:13
- “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” -Ezra 8:21
- “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and you see not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and you take no notice?…” -Isaiah 58:3; see also verses 5 & 10 (Nehemiah’s Wall – Read More)
This is such a serious and somber day that in the land of Israel today, people go to the synagogues and actually weep and cry for forgiveness for their sins. The whole country closes down and the streets are empty because no one drives. The Orthodox will actually stone cars that they see driving on the road because they are supposed to be repenting.
What does Yom Kippur mean for us believers?
For those of us who are followers and believers in Yeshua, this day takes on a whole new meaning. Now that we are back in covenant with Yehovah through a relationship and the sacrifice of Yeshua our Messiah, the repentance goes a lot deeper. Yeshua commanded us to not just focus on our actions but also on our thoughts. To take our thoughts captive and to be led by the spirit and not the flesh. In Matthew 5:28, Yeshua says, “[w]hosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Hebrews 10:29 states, “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted (trampled on) the Spirit of grace?”
Does it mean we have to throw stones at cars for not repenting on the Day of Atonement? Of course not! Does it mean that we need to repent for America, to repent for a wicked and broken world that has rejected the ways of Yehovah, to repent for our own intentional sin and for those times when we trampled on and insulted the spirit of grace? Yes, yes, and YES! It means that we die to our flesh and afflict our soul by fasting from the things that feed our flesh and keep us from walking in the spirit.
So as we prepare our hearts for this most important 24 hours of repentance and fasting, rather than say “Happy Yom Kippur!”
I wish you all a powerful, holy spirit filled, and life changing Day of Atonement!
Matthew R. Hall | Director of Aviv Fellowships