Hebrew Highlights 68 - KIPPUR


Shalom.  This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.


LEV 23:27-32 "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord.  Neither shall you do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.  If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.  As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.  You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.  It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath."

Today on Yom Kippur in Israel, nobody goes to work, except a few policemen, firemen, ambulance drivers, and so forth.  In fact, no one goes anywhere, except for a walk to the nearest synagogue.  The streets are absolutely deserted.  Although there is no law forbidding driving, now one dares to venture out in their automobile for fear of getting stones thrown at them.

This is the one day of the year that all of Israel stops and reflects on their sins, praying for forgiveness.  In the days of the temple, the high priest would symbolically place the sins of the people on a goat and send him out of the camp.  (Hence the idiom, “scapegoat”.)

Today most of the people in Israel also fast from food and water for 24 hours.  This is not commanded in the scriptures, but humbling one’s soul is, and fasting seems to be a good way to do that.

The Hebrew word for “atonement” is “kapara”, hence the name “Yom Kippur”.  “Kapara” is of course mentioned in the New Testament, sometimes translated as “propitiation”.

HEB 2:17-18, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Some people have the mistaken idea that Yeshua was not able to sin.  In point of fact, He had to be made just as us, susceptible to temptation, in order to overcome sin, and defeat it by not giving in to that temptation.  He, like the scapegoat, took on the sins of all mankind, and took them out of the camp.

As we see in 1JO 2:2, although Yeshua was sent to the people of Israel, His victory over sin was for all mankind, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Most of us already know that we do not deserve God’s forgiveness, but our Heavenly Father provided for us a scapegoat out of His heart’s good motive, as we see in 1JO 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Today is a good day not only to reflect on our own sins, but to forgive others.  If you join the House of Israel in fasting today, may your fast be focused on God and His goodness.


Shalom, Shalom , from Jerusalem.