The Meaning of Yom Kippur

On Tuesday night, the Jewish people in Israel and around the world commemorate the Biblical day called Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:27-32).

The Hebrew words Yom Kippur are usually translated as the Day of Atonement.

Yom does mean Day, but Kippur comes from the Hebrew word Kapparah which more accurately means “covering”.

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day of the Biblical calendar.

It is a day when the vast majority of the Jewish community in Israel stops everything, including eating and drinking, reflect on their behaviour over the last year, and ask God to forgive them for their sins.

In the days of the Temple, the High Priest would prepare two goats as a sacrifice for the collective sin of the Jewish people.

One goat was killed and the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat to make atonement for the sin of the nation. The second goat was called the Azazel, which means Hell, and this goat was sent out into wilderness with a red cloth tied around its neck. Jewish custom says that the goat would return after 3 days and the cloth around its neck was now white, signifying that GOD had forgiven the sin.

Today there is no Temple and no place to sacrifice animals on Yom Kippur. In Judaism there is no blood and Hebrews tells us without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

However there is still a Lamb today – Yeshua the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world (John1:29).

The Good News of the Gospel is that Messianic Jews and all non-Jews who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and Lord and have been grafted i into the Olive Tree (Israel) have Yom Kippur every day.

Even 7 times a day or more we can come into the Holy of Holies and ask for the blood of Yeshua to cover our sins and keep us in right standing with the FATHER.

Therefore let us thank YHVH for His mercy and His grace towards us and for sending His Son to be our Kaparah.

And please pray that the God of Israel will extend His mercy and grace towards the Jewish people this Yom Kippur and that He will continue to remove the veil that He placed on His chosen people, so that they can see who Yeshua really is and accept Him as their sacrificial Lamb.

This article originally appeared on Out of Zion Ministries, October 11, 2016, and reposted with permission.