Yom Kippur, the Book of Life and the Windows of Heaven
Today marks one of the holiest days in the Jewish new year -Yom Kippur. In Jewish belief, it marks the end of ten days of repentance for sinful thoughts, actions and feelings over the previous twelve months.
Is there anything that Christians can appropriate from this most holy of days? The old testament contains many shadows of the coming messiah. For example, Yehsua was crucified on the exact day and time as the Passover lamb and the Holy spirit was given fifty days after Passover. It is clear that Yeshua fulfilled the law and that these events are no coincidence.
Yom Kippor or the day of atonement is also the day when the sins of the people were confessed before God and two sacrifices were brought to the door of the temple. On lamb was chosen and brought into the temple, placed on the altar and slain. At this point, the sins of the people were remitted. The priest would then wash in the baptismal pool or mikvah as a symbol of cleansing. The priest also sprinkles the blood seven times in the holy of holies. Yom kippor is the only day when the high priest goes into the holy of holies to offer an atonement. The other sacrifice, the scapegoat, was sent into the wilderness to be plunged over the cliff carrying the sins of the nation (Lev. 16:8-10).
It is unsurprising that the portion of scripture about Abraham leading Isaac to sacrifice is read on this year. Yeshua, like the scapegoat, was chosen by lot and stood before the people ready to give himself an atonement for all. This is also the time when the book of life is thought to be opened and God reviews one’s actions over the year. It is a good time to reflect on our behavior and attitudes over the past year. Finally, this is the time when the ‘windows of heaven’ are opened and the devourer is rebuked (Mal. 3:10). It is a time to start anew, to change course, to make things right with your fellow man and God; a time to be blessed again.