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Yom Kippur And Our High Priest

Summary: Yom Kippur is a poignant moment in the Jewish calender for religious and secular Jews. We reflect on the core appeal of the day; forgiveness of sin and fulfilment through the perfect atoning lamb of God, Yeshua.



Yom Kippur is a solemn time of seeking atonement and God's favour. It is the most holy day in the Jewish calendar. Prior to this day, there is the celebration of the New Year beginning.

The Jewish New Year is celebrated at the beginning of the 7th month of Tishri. This heralds Rosh HaShanah which means 'head of the year', a time for celebration and thanksgiving, eating well and attending Synagogue. In scripture it is referred to as The Feast of Trumpets.

The Shofar is sounded to announce God's kingship and stir people from spiritual slumber. It also serves as a reminder of the ram God provided to replace the sacrifice Abraham prepared on Mt Moriah when he bound his son and placed him on the altar of sticks. At that moment God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac.

So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.""
Genesis 22:14

Yom Kippur occurs 10 days later following the 'Days Of Awe' and is the most holy day in the Jewish year and observed by both secular and observant Jews. Traditionally the day is spent fasting.

The days (of Awe) between the celebration of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) are solemn days of introspection in readiness for the judgement of God when according to Jewish tradition, He opens the book of Life and adds the names of those who will be judged as righteous and those who will not.

The forgiveness of sin and being right with God is sought on these days leading up to the Day of Atonement. It is necessary to make peace with anyone where it is needed and to put right any wrong.

Since the destruction of the temple, the annual sacrifice is no longer available. For those seeking forgiveness and atonement the acts of obedience and observance focused on during the Days of Awe are of great importance to the Jewish people.

The annual role of the High Priest to enter the holy of holies in the Temple was to offer sacrifice to atone for sin, that a right relationship with Almighty God be maintained and to seek His forgiveness and blessing.

We have another High Priest, Yeshua, who we call Jesus, who is living and actively interceding for us. He gave Himself as a sacrifice, not an annual sacrifice but once and for all time. Our High Priest is the atoning sacrifice for our wrongs.

Through Him, God has provided us with the means to be cleansed and therefore acceptable in His sight. God gave us His Son, Yeshua, who is perfect and with our blemish to be our sacrifice.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 14:14-16

This wonderful time of New Year, Rosh HaShanah and the following Days of Awe that lead up to Yom Kippur are a reminder for us to give thanks to God for His provision for our cleansing and forgiveness.

It is a time to be mindful of the Jewish people contemplating the coming Day Of Atonement and right standing before God, as they understand it. That they might look beyond their 'works' and sense a greater need of grace beyond their efforts.

It is a time to give thanks for all that we have been given. It is a time to remember with gratitude the Jewish roots of our faith and our Jewish brothers and sisters, blessing them and giving thanks for them.


About Nichola Yael Jupp

Nichola Yael Jupp is Director of Return To Zion. She brings her growing understanding of Israel's biblical mandate to her work and has a desire to see the wider Church embrace and fully understand God's purposes for Israel and the Jewish people in these challenging times.

She writes from her own journey of discovery into her unique role as a 'grafted in branch' of the olive tree of Israel. She imparts, through her writing and reviews, her perspective on biblical issues and wider material by others that she believes is of benefit for all in understanding contemporary events and an appropriate biblical response.

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