Tonight Sunday September 27 at sundown, begins Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It lasts til Monday night September 28 at sundown. This is the highest holy day on the Jewish calendar. These seasons and feast times are not just for Jews dear friends-they are for all of God’s holy people. (Zechariah 14:16-19 cjb)
It’s a day to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
In traditional Judaism, the day of Yom Kippur marks the climax of the ten day period of repentance called the "Days of Awe," or yamim nora'im (יָמִים נוֹרָאִים). According to the sages of Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah the destiny of the righteous, the tzaddikim, are written in the Book of Life (סֵפֶר הַחַיִּים), and the destiny of the wicked, the resha'im, are written in the Book of Death. However, most people will not be inscribed in either book, but have ten days -- until Yom Kippur -- to repent before sealing their fate. Hence the term Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (עֲשֶׂרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה) - the Ten Days of Repentance. On Yom Kippur, then, every soul's name will be sealed in one of the two books. For this reason Yom Kippur is really the climax of the 40 day "Season of Teshuvah." (Excerpt from hebrews4christians.com)
As you can guess it’s a very significant time on God’s calendar. It’s a time where if we return to the Lord our God in repentance, every negative judgment against us is dropped. In exchange we receive grace upon grace- healing, redemption, forgiveness of sins and restoration.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19 NIV
“Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hosea 14:1-2 NIV
“That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.” Joel 2:12-14 NLT
There is no redemption apart from repentance.
There is no cleansing from sin apart from the blood of Jesus. The Day of Atonement was the day the high priest would take the blood sacrifice and put it on the altar in the holy of holies to cover the sins of the people for another year. For us this is also a day that reveals the High Priestly work of Yeshua, after the order of Melchizedek-(Heb.5:10, 6:20)
Jewish rabbis teach that ￼Teshuvah (repentance, returning to God) has the power to perfect and transform us. It’s a day of deliverance and salvation much like we see in the book of Esther. Of course the greatest story of redemption is the one of Jesus Christ. The Torah states that Yom Kippur was the only time the high priest could enter the holy of holies and call upon God‘s name with the blood sacrifice for the sins of the people.
This life for a life principle is the foundation of the sacrificial system and reveals to us the intercession Jesus Christ made for us once and for all at the cross.
Repentance causes us to examine our ways.
“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40 NLT
The Jews have a saying- “a little repentance goes a long way.”
Teshuvah saves us from judgment. Repentance causes the verdict of judgment against us to be torn up. Our returning to the Lord God, tears up every guilty verdict written about us.
Repentance restores us to God’s presence and blessing; it leads us to experience Gods life and and healing in every way we need it. Instead of a death sentence we receive eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Repentance Turns it All Around
It transforms evil to good. Mistakes are turned into something holy when we repent.
The gates of repentance are never closed with God; we can come to him at any time and repent.
It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son.
In Luke 15:11-32 we see how repentance set about a great homecoming -where a father and son are reunited. This is such a beautiful ￼picture￼ of redemption and restoration.
Our Father God is always positioned with arms wide open- ready to receive us -as we return to him in repentance. ￼￼
NOT GUILTY, cleansing and purification are the results of repentance.
Repentance is not a dirty word but a powerful truth. It changes our hearts towards God, ourselves and others. It realigns our hearts vision and purpose. It sets the record straight and we get to begin again.
Yom Kippur is also the time when Moses came back down the mountain a second time, with the second set of stone tablets-the 10 commandments. This is to remind us that God is a God of second chances.
Those first set of broken tablets were placed in the Ark of the Covenant along with the second set. Every time they would move out in tribal formation, the ark moved, and so did those broken tablets. That first set of broken tablets made a rattling noise within the ark with each step and was a reminder to them of the sin of idolatry; but it was also a reminder that God is the God of second chances -who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and mercy. ￼
￼Let me encourage you to spend this evening or tomorrow in self reflection and repentance alone with the Lord. Let God wipe your slate clean as you confess your sins and faults to him. Let the power of repentance remove every judgment levied against you. ￼￼ Allow God to rip up every written verdict of judgment against you as you repent and return to him. ￼￼
A new beginning awaits you-and repentance is the first step to healing, wholeness and holiness.
What a freedom to know your sins are forgiven and you can move forward into a new year with a clean slate.
God is on the side of life and he is for you, not against you, as you repent and return to him today.
Much love and peace to you beloved,