Month 7:9, Week 2:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year 5935:180 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 6 October 2011
The Day Before
Have You Prepared for Yom Kippur?
The day before an important event like a job interview, wedding, or going to college, can be a bit nerve-racking for some people. I know I was very anxious the day before my interview as a potential candidate to attend Oxford University. This was before I knew Yah'shua (Jesus) so I was relying on the arm-of-flesh to a large extent. With so many people competing for each place I knew that my presentation had to be good, particularly as I knew there would be candidates who had got better grades in some subjects than I had. I had worked extremely hard and even taken a job in my gap year in order, in part, to do some research work to demonstrate that I was up to the task of being a good Biochemist. I was, by the grace of Elohim (God), accepted and my life took a new course. If I had been rejected, I might not be where I am today. My life would have taken a very different course because it was in Oxford, through a unique set of circumstances, that I found Yah'shua (Jesus)...or rather He found me.
Yom Kippur, which we observe at sunset this evening, is a yearly examination we must pass, but it is rather more serious than trying to get into Oxford University. At this interview the decision is made as to whether we are yet candidates for the First Resurrection or another one. It decides whether our robes are spotless enough for us to become part of the Mystical Bride of Messiah. And the very last Yom Kippur that we attend will determine what our status is le olam va'ed - forever and beyond - Eternity. Rather an important interview, don't you think?
I prepared for my Oxford Entrance interview years in advance but I wonder how much time we spend for that far greater examination at Yom Kippur? This moed or appointment isn't just something we do in time - fast and congregate - and then continue as though nothing had happened. If I had attended my Oxford Interview with that attitude I would have been swept off the board by far more worthy candidates who took their education seriously. Because of the seriousness and importance of Yom Kippur, the rabbis invented one of their few truly good traditions, Teshuvah - the 40 day-long period of repentatance, though some content themselves with a shorter 10 day-long Teshuvah beginning at Yom Teruah. The length of the season is not so important as the motive or intent - and though we should be repenting every day of the year in order to keep our salvation on track, Yahweh has ordained this particular time of the year to give this vital principle of the Besorah (Gospel) special focus. Our attitude to Yom Kippur therefore in many way spells out our attitude to Yahweh's moedim and ordinances in general, revealing our laxity, or our dedication, towards His Torah. We discover whether we have the same lev (heart) as Yahweh's friend, King David, who proclaimed with much simcha (joy) more than once:
To have the lev (heart) of David is to have his passion for Yahweh's Torah. He loved it! It was his daily meditation, His delight, because it was what kept Him on the true Way. So do not believe those who tell you that Yah'shua (Jesus) has done away with such things, for He has not; for not only was He the author of them, but He incarnated in order to make the Torah the visible standard that everyone could live by leaning on, imitating and trusting, Him. Yom Kippur is therefore a reminder to eschew - flee from - all lawless tendencies. If we are serious about being a part of the Mystical Bride, then we had better start taking our Torah seriously and applying it rigorously to our lives! So important is this festival that Yahweh declared that those who refused to observe it were to be cast out of the Congregation of Israel.
"Oh, how I love Your Torah (Law)! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments" (Ps.119:97-106, NKJV).
Yom Kippur was the one day in the whole year that the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) could see Yahweh face-to-face. We too will meet Him face-to-face at the Great and Final Judgment but in the meantime we are given this moed once a year so that we can approach Him even as our Great and Eternal Cohen Gadol (High Priest), Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), approached the Throne of Grace and applied His blood to it on behalf of all true Messianic Israel who would accept Him as their King and as their Pesach sacrifice.
Please treat Yom Kippur as though you were going to meet Yahweh face-to-face, for that is what He desires. And if you don't know how to do that, now is the time to fall on your face and ask Him to show you what He wants you to do.