Month 7:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year 5935:181 AM|
YOM KIPPUR SHABBAT, Teshuvah 40/40
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 6 - Friday 7 October 2011
Yom Kippur 2011
A New and Living Way
A. Evening Service
Chag sameach Yom Kippur kol beit Yisra'el! I am very glad that you could assemble here this evening to celebrate the Day of Atonement together with me or to be with us in spirit through reading what is published online. We especially treasure all our brethren, sisters and friends in Messiah who seek to honour Yahweh on this day and desire to be echad (one) with them. I am still languishing under the burden of 'flu, reminding me of 2003 when I was similarly ill, though abroad in England, so I hope you wuill continue to bear with me if I am a bit slow still!
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest (Holy of Holies, Beit haMikdash) by the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus), by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a Cohen Gadol (High Priest) over the Beit Elohim (House of God), let us draw near with a true lev (heart) in full assurance of emunah (faith), having our levim (hearts) sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure mayim (water). Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up ahavah (love) and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb.10:19-25, NKJV).
The title for this Yom Kippur, this evening and tomorrow morning, is A New and Living Way to remind us that Yom Kippur in the New Covenant, though similar to the festival observed anciently, is also radically different in many ways. There is no Temple or Tabernacle today, no human Cohen Gadol or High Priest, no Levitical Priesthood, and no animal sacrifices. And yet New Covenant Yom Kippur is very much relevent and still a commandment of Yahweh.
We are here over the next 24 hours chiefly to do two things.
First, to recognise that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is our Eternal Cohen Gadol (High Priest), that His sacrifice of Himself makes that sacrifice eternal and that therefore no more animal sacrifices are needed. Whereas consecrated animal blood provided an atonement or covering for the Nation of Israel in the past for one year, today the Blood of Atonement provided by the Son of Elohim (God) now provides covering forever for those who surrender to Yah'shua (Jesus) and agree to observe His Torah (Law).
Second, we are here to be judged collectively as a People of Messiah for this year as a prefigurement of that Last Judgment to determine our final status in the world to come. Our attendance is not some legalistic ritual. Yes, Yahweh expects us to cease work, to fast and to gather together - outward things that we 'do - but we are also supposed to have been making teshuvah or repenting over the past 40 days in order to get right with our Maker. We may not see or experience things in the visible but I can promise you that things are going on in the invisible, even now. There is great spiritual mobilisation going on in Heaven. But even though that is invisible, there are ways to discern what is going on. More about that tomorrow, I hope.
The things that were accomplished 2,000 years ago on the Cross we are to hold in remembrance both today at Yom Kippur as well as in the other festivals of Yahweh because they all point to that great Cosmic Event.
What Yah'shua (Jesus) did was not for Himself - but for us - that a way out from eternal death might be found. We remember that today. Without the work of the Cross there would be no hope and we would still be offering animals year after year. More importantly, we would not today be enjoying that "new and living way" - we would not be enjoying that New Life provided for us by the resurrection.
"For even Messiah (Christ) did not please Himself; but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.' For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the Elohim (God) of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus), that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the Elohim (God) and Father of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ)" (Rom.15:3-6, NKJV).
Under the Old Covenant, Yom Kippur differed from all the other moedim in that this was the only day in the whole year that the Cohen Gadol (Hight Priest) was allowed into the Beit haMikdash - the Holy of Holies, the Throne Room of Yahweh on earth where His Shekinah or Glory dwelt. That Throne was the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments on Tablets of Stone, the Golden Pot of Manna and Aaron's Rod. The Cohen Gadol (High Priest) was performing a Celestrial Drama of sorts, enacting in symbols what the Son of Man would do at the Meridian of Time.
For 364 days in the year that Sacred Room, perfectly cuboid, without any sort of natural light, save the Celestial Light that emanated from the Ark, remained sealed off from the rest of the Temple and from the rest of the world by a thick, heavy curtain or veil. At Yom Kippur the veil was parted for the High Priest to perform the mandated ritual. When Yah'shua (Jesus) died on the Cross, that huge veil was sueprnaturally ripped from top to bottom, signifying now that all men might now enter that Sacred Place - the Presence of Yahweh - through trusting in and surrendering to His Son, and obeying His Torah, their Intercessor and Intermediary. We too can pass into that Sacred Space if we want to, to commune face-to-face with El Elyon - the Most High.
Tomorrow morning we will look into this more closely and then in the late afternoon we will congregate one last time to close the moed. May this be a time of deep soul-searching, a last opportunity to get right with Yahweh for one more year, so that we can move on to greater things in the next! May Yahweh-Elohim bless you to that end, is my prayer, until we meet again in the morning, in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. Amen.
B. Morning Service
The Least of These Commandments
Shabbat shalom and welcome back for our morning Yom Kippur service. Do I have a message for you today! After yesterday evening's short service I retired to my office to prepare today's sermon but was so exhausted because of the 'flu that I fell asleep in my chair for two hours. I thought: 'Oh, it's too late, I had better go to bed, and hope I can get somethinbg in the morning. But the Ruach (Spirit) emphatically said 'No'. I sat down, and the fire came! Hallelu-Yah!
"And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying: 'Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). It shall be a set-apart (holy) convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), to make atonement for you before Yahweh your Elohim. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls..." (Lev 23:26-32, NKJV).
I have been so blessed so far this Yom Kippur even though today I have practically no voice and sound like a frog! But before I get into the main theme of today's sermon I thought I would share some interesting truths about this festival which you might not know and which I never knew before we yielded to the biblical witness and started obeying the Creation Calendar. So this is new to me too.
First, you may have noticed that Yom Kippur always falls on the second day of the week in the Lunar-Solar system - on Yom Shanee. As the number 2 represents separation and contrast, as light with dark, hot with cold, life with death, and so on, so there is a connection with Yah'shua (Jesus) talking about the separation of the sheep from the goats (Mt.25:32-33), and the wheat from the tares (Mt.13:24-30) as indeed happens at the final Yom Kippur. This numerical significance is lost on those who follow other calendars. Additionally, Yom Shanee is the day that we weekly recapitulate Chag haMatzah or the Feast of Unleavened Bread in our minds, and Chag haMatzah, you will recall, is all about getting the leaven of sin out of our souls. Well, Yom Kippur is the day Yahweh determines whether we have successfully done so or not. And when the Final Yom Kippur rolls along, there will be mo further possibility of Chag haMatazah activity - life's probation and test will be over.
Second, for those who have come under the latest messianic fad which says the day begins at sunrise, for we see unambiguously from our passage today that Yom Kippur, as a High Sabbath, begins "at evening, from evening to evening", as all other sabbaths and days do. There is also a fringe messianic group which says the day ends at midnight, teaching the same as the Romans. For those struggling with all these teachings I hope that Yom Teruah will clearly witness to you from Scripture that this is not so. We need to keep it plain and simple.
And third, some of you may have heard of Yom Kippur in its plural form, Yom Kipporim. Recall that the word kippur comes from the root word kafar, the same word as kapporeth, meaning 'covering', so Yom Kippur is probably better translated into English as 'Day of Covering' or Yom Kippurim, the 'Day of Coverings'. I want to mention this in connection with the Mercy Seat which we will be discussing shortly, for it is at the Mercy Seat of the Ark that our sins are 'covered'. But more of that in a moment.
The customary days of Repentance (Teshuvah) and Days of Awe (Yammim Nora'im) leading up to this day are now complete. We have had our opportunity to fix things up with Yahweh and with man, to right wrongs, seek forgiveness and make restitution wherever possible. And what we learn each year in this period of time ought to be a part of the habit-forming behaviour of our character.
I think that Western people converting to Messiah and accepting Yom Kippur have huge difficulties making this festival real. Our religion so easily degenerates into mere ritual, and we tend confuse the symbols with what they are supposed to represent. This fleshy disposition is something we have to be on the alert for. Messianics are not the only onces celebrating Yom Kippur - millions of Jews around the world do so too, and they have added lots of rituals and traditions, including the totally unbiblical practice of slaughtering chickens and sprinking their blood to make atonement, and the abominable practice of negating all promises made so that they don't have to be accountable for their actions at all! But then our forefathers in Israel and Judah did much the same thing, and worse, being condemned for their empty ritualism and hypocrisy. Only when the people were genuinely humble and obedient with all their levim (hearts) did they ever come anywhere near to 'getting it'. And those who were truly connected to the spiritual source of this festival, unlike those for whom this was just an empty ceremony done for performance's sake, the sense that people had on this day every year was one of impending judgment.
Now I don't know if any of you have been taken to court before and have awaited trial. I don't know if any of you have ever been before a judge or a jury and awaited a judgment. But if you have, and you have awaited a verdict that could potentially change your life drastically for the worse, then you will know the fear that mounts in such a circumstance. Years ago I went through a child custody case and that was an anxious time indeed, waiting for the judgment. I won the court case but before I did there was a moment when there was a very real fear that things might go horribly wrong and I might lose my children. If we don't feel that way when we come before Yahweh at Yom Kippur then we are truly missing something. For, you see, our forefathers had this sense of impending judgment at Yom Kippur - they felt it so keenly because they knew, from their careful study of Torah, that unless every requirement of Yahweh was met, judgment would be guaranteed and be swift to follow. Only latterly, after multiple apostacies, exile and slavery, and one last return before being scattered across the face of the earth for good, did they have to be reminded of this again by Yah'shua (Jesus) when He said in this passage often quoted by messianics:
The full impact of this passage misses most 21st centuries believers. How many of you take such great care as the Pharisees did in studying Torah? We often criticise these people for their many sins, and yet Yah'shua (Jesus) makes sure to admonish His disciples to exceed the good things these religious men did whilst elsewhere warning them to avoid their hypocrisy. He illustrates this necessity by reminding them that to break what are considered the least important mitzvot (commandments), and to teach others to do the same, is such a serious matter to Yahweh that He will not hesitate to place such a person in the least degree of glory for believers when the Final Judgment comes. Those who think they can play around with the mitzvot (commandments), therefore, are playing with fire and will burn themselves.
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah (Law) or the Nevi'im (Prophets). I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (complete). For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah (Law) till all is fulfilled (completed). Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (commandments), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:17-20, NKJV).
Those of you brought up in the Protestant tradition, where huge swathes of Yahweh's commandments are casually dismissed as no longer being 'relevent', perhaps do not yet fully realise what Yah'shua (Jesus) is saying here. Let me repeat it for you: He is saying that if you are not as careful as the Pharisees were in studying their Torah so that you know all the mitzvot (commandments), and unless you highly value and prize what unspiritual men consider to be the least important of these, you are risking inheriting the least important place in the Kingdom at the Resurrection. And please don't put on an air of spiritual superiority and think that Yahweh will simply judge you by your lev's (heart's) intent because intention is never enough - 'the road to hell', as the saying goes, 'is paved with good intentions'. What you 'plan' to do 'sometime' in the future means nothing - it is what you have done, and what you are doing now, that reveals just what kind of emunah (faith) you have really been exercising and living. And if you take such a casual view toward the mitzvot (commandments) then you are - especially today of all days - saying that Yahweh can't really be serious when He said such won't receive the highest rewards, or that those who have entered Shavu'ot covenants will be destroyed if they work on this High Sabbath or that such as refuse to "afflict [their] souls" by humbling themselves on this day will be excommunicated from the people of Israel no matter their lineage! Seriously, we're talking here - practically - about the difference between those of the first resurrection and the second, those who are in Yah'shua's (Jesus') presence and those who are to spend eternity with the 60'ers and 30'ers, and if you still don't believe me, then you haven't believed a word I have said so far, or what Yah'shua (Jesus) said, and what Yahweh said either.
People who claim that 'it's not really like that' are a product of the universal disease called sin. And because they are in denial about it, they try to minimise its consequences. Let me repeat: Yah'shua (Jesus) says that those who think the least important Torah mitzvah (commandment) is of no importance, and tell others the same, aren't going to be in the First Resurrection - they are not of the 144,000, they are not of the Firstborn, they are not part of the Bride of Messiah! How can they be? Because to take their position they must call the Saviour a liar...or they will twist the scripture to mean something else, or pit another scripture against it.
This kind of talk is not popular in today's pulpits and that is precisely why there is such a vast multitude of believers who inherit the least in the Kingdom - the Second Resurrection. They pride themselves in what they have refused to do, claiming Yah'shua (Jesus) has done it all for them. Well I have news for these people: Yah'shua (Jesus) cannot live the mitzvot (commandments) for you. He can supernaturally enable you to live them, He can forgive you when you break them when you make authentic teshuvah (repentance), and He can cancell the debt note of sin against the Father, but more than that He cannot - and will not - do. And if you still don't believe me, then I have to categorically state you have not come up to Yom Kippur with a clean lev (heart) - you have come to Yom Kippur judging Yahweh, judging His mitzvot (commandments), and judging His Son who died for you to blott your sins out upon making true teshuvah (repentance).
And yet what I find utterly amazing and unbelievable is that these same people who mock the Torah claim to possess "everlasting life" (1 Tim.1:16)! How can you possess everlasting life when you rebel against the One who gives it? They have not understood "the new and living way" (Heb.10:19) but have tried to shrink it down to their own size.
It has been said that my generation were the first 'casual' generation. And if not mine, then certainly this one. This is a generation of casualness, indifference, disrespect, insubordination, rudeness and contempt. Indeed, that is how we have been programmed by the powers that be in the schools, in the media and elsewhere. Satan wants us to be indifferent not only to the Emet (Truth), not only to divine Tavnith (Pattern) but specifically to the details of Emet and Tavnith. For all their faults - and they are many - we have to give the Pharisees credit for giving attention to detail. Does detail matter? Ask someone who is designing a spaceship rocket. Yah'shua (Jesus) said it did, otherwise He wouldn't have said that those who break the least commandment, encouraging others to do the same, would be least in the Kingdom of Heaven, would He?
Now I did not come to Yom Kippur to seek a casual fellowship. I do not care for it. I seek and love those zealous for every jot and tittle that Yah'shua (Jesus) mentioned. This does not mean, as the critics of this will quickly leap to accuse, that I do not care for the big picture or "the weightier matters" (Mt.23:23) of the Torah such as justice and mercy, for I view both as important, as clearly Yah'shua (Jesus) did too. He rebuked the Pharisees for their neglect of the latter but at the same time reminded His talmidim (disciples) that they needed to get off their lazy backsides and exceed the Pharisees in their own recognised and commendable strengths: He wanted them better students of Scripture than their own religious leaders were.
Years ago in Denmark - one or two of you may remember from the earliest days of this ministry - we had been speaking with a Lutheran minister in Jutland when we were in that country, and I remarked that I expected the kind of theological care shown by that minister of the least zealous and informed of our own members! I still believe that. We cannot rest on our laurels thinking that because we have emphasised the weighter matters of Torah such as ahavah (love) and justice that this somehow absolves us of the responsibility to care for the least (so-called) of Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments), for if we do, we are playing with the fire of Judgment.
Indeed I would go so far as to say that the "least" are rather like children, and the "greater" ones are a bit like adults. The difference is merely in size, remembering that childre grow up into adults and are therefore very important too. Indeed, Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
and speaking of the least important brethren in the Kingdom (as adjudged by human nature), He said:
"Let the children be filled first" (Mark 7:27, NKJV).
Is this not precisely the same attituide Yah'shua (Jesus) had for the 'little' mitzvot (commandments)? You see, small thing grow into big things, and as my mother always reminded me when I was growing up: 'Take care of the pennies (cents) and the pounds (dollars) will take care of themselves'. The 'big' mitzvot (commandments) are, in any case, merely summaries of collections of little ones, are they not? Yes, the Ten Commandments are summaries of all the 'least' important mitzvot (commandments) in the same way as loving Yahweh and loving your neighbour are a summary of the Ten Commandments. A body organ is the sum of all its constituent cells, but put one cancerous cell in its midst and you are spelling trouble for the whole organ. So it is with the least of the mitzvot (commandments) because they all combine to make up Yah's perfect tavnith (pattern) of conduct and chayim (life).
"I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt 25:40, NKJV).
I have heard some people say that Yom Kippur is their least favourite festival. 'There's no feasting and it's all about dwelling on negative things like sin!' they say. But then you have to realise also that there is no Sukkot without Yom Kippur either. There is no spotless Bride, there is no Wedding Feast of the Lamb without it! So those who think the little mitzvot (commandments) are not important have really missed the point of Yom Kippur altogether. They all matter, and the "least" more that you can begin to imagine. Why? Because they are all part of the essential ingredients that make up the menu for a character transformed into that of our perfect Messiah, the character which, at the last day, will either identify us as His or someone else's. If you still don't agree with me, then you don't agree with what Yah'shua (Jesus) said, and you believe in another, incomplete and imperfect Besorah (Gospel) which cannot ultimately save you for the most cherished glory of all - living in the presence of Messiah.
The children of Israel under the Old Covenant could not approach Yahweh directly. They had to do so through the Cohen Gadol, the High Priest of the day. That man, by divine appointment, held the power of life and death over them, which is why he had to be carefully selected by revelation.
Today Yah'shua (Jesus) is our Cohen Gadol (High Priest) and we can't approach the Father and get our full deliverance and pardon unless we agree with everything Yah'shua (Jesus) says - not just those things we like and understand, but the things we may not like or understand either. And if we have any of the latter then it should be of the utmost priority for us to seek the light of emet (truth) about them so that we can both understand them and come to spontaneously love them - and to love them passionately, if for no other reason than they originated in the Great Lev (Heart) of our Heavenly Father, who is Ahavah (Love).
"No man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by Elohim (God), just as Aaron was" (Heb.5:4, NKJV).
I know - because I have done it myself more often than I care to admit - that every one of you has issues with atheism. So long as we doubt, struggle and fail to overcome we will have issues with unbelief. Even when we worry we are yielding to atheism. Some have yielded to it and been swallowed up back into the darkness of the world. Overcoming that atheism is a serious part of our teshuvah (repentance) because no true believer wants any part of him- or herself being dragged down to hell by atheism. (I do have to add here, in case atheists reading me are grinning, that there is a bit of the believer in every atheist too...which is why many of them repent and come home!)
This is getting quite serious, isn't it? Good! That is what we are supposed to be getting today!
On this day, before the coming of Yah'shua (Jesus), the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) took off his priestly robes and wore only plain white linen, because his was a messy job - he got covered in blood. He first had to repent for himself and his household (wife, children, servants, etc.) before he could make atonement on behalf of the rest of Israel who were genuinely repenting. This is why the Saviour's Atonement for us is properly described as repenting for us....oh the shame for us! We should be ashamed! It should bring us into deep contrition. And do you see the divine tavnith (pattern) here, of the man owning his family and being responsible for it? Why else would the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) make atonement for his family too before moving on to the rest of the nation? Oh you men, if only you knew what was required of you - and you wives, what a blessing it is to be under your husbands' covering! You see, this, too, is divine tavnith (pattern) and when we reject it we are rejecting more than the least of the mitzvot (commandments) but some of the really big ones too!
So the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) repents for himself first, then his family - just as every family priest (the head of the household) must - and then He repents for the whole nation, acting as Yahweh's symbolic proxy (Lev.16). Then the lots were cast on the two goats - the one being set-apart for sacrifice and the other as the scapegoat or Azazel, the 'goat of removal', the goat that bore the nation's sins into the wilderness. The blood of the first goat was spinkled on the Mercy Seat in the Beit haMikdash - the Holy of Holies, that cuboidal room in the Temple I spoke about last night. Then the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) took the other goat, laid hands on it, confessed the sins of the people, and that Azazel goat became the sin-bearer for the nation, laden with guilt not its own, and finally sent away into the wilderness.
That is what our sins did, and do, to Yah'shua (Jesus). He has entered into the Beit haMikdash (Holy of Holies) in the Heavenly Temple, has taken His own blood - His own chayim (life) - to the Mercy Seat of the Father, and prevailed for all those who had ever sinned and would ever sin in the future, reaching back into time, into the present, and into the future.
"I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15, NKJV).
For those who "know" Yah'shua (Jesus) - and you can only know Him by being born again - sin has not only been covered, but carried away into the wilderness of forgetfulness, like that scapegoat in the Old Covenant. And just as we don't need to worry any more about that goat, so then we need not worry anymore about forgiven sins.
"For to this end (for this reason) we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living Elohim (God), who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who have emunah (believe)" (1 Tim 4:10, NKJV). [Please note this in connection with Universal Graded Salvation].
"For such a Cohen Gadol (High Priest) was fitting for us, who is set-apart (holy), harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those cohanim gedalim (high priests), to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Torah (Law) appoints as cohanim gedalim (high priests) who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the Torah (Law), appoints the Son who has been perfected forever" (Heb.7:26-28, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) did all this on the Cross for me and you. It isn't something we can ever treat lightly, is it, any more than we can treat one single of the so-called 'least' important mitzvot (commandments) lightly? Today Yah'shua (Jesus) is in the Heavens interceeding for you and me as our Cohen Gadol (High Priest). He is following a tavnith (pattern) and so must we. Then we may, if we are found faithful, join Him with the set-apart ones (saints) in the First Resurrection:
And what does the glory of the sun symbolise? The First Resurrection! The 100'ers! And what are these people doing? - note this well, all evangelicals - for this is what the Apostle John saw and testified of:
"Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt.13:43, NKJV).
However you view this - whether as two separate songs (Moses and Messiah), or one single song (Moses-Messiah), this is a Double Declaration that tells us that the song of the elect - the 144,000, the Firstborn, the 100'ers, the children of the First Resurection - consists of Yah'shua (Jesus) the Lamb and Torah (Moses)! Does this remotely sound to you as though Yah'shua (Jesus) has done away with the Torah?? Yah forbid! Rather, they are inseparable:
"And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of Elohim (God). They sing the song of Moses, the servant of Elohim (God), and the song of the Lamb" (Rev.15:2-3, NKJV).
The Torah and Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) are echad (one), since Yah'shua (Jesus) authored it. And anyone who tries to rend asunder what Elohim (God) has joined together is an adulterer. Therefore the elect sing both songs, which is one song - the Song of Yah'shua - our living Torah. They trust in Him for their salvation and they obey all the mitzvot (commandments) and anyone who rejects this is also rejecting Yom Kippur and is refusing to be a part of the Sukkot Bride of Messiah. These are the facts and anyone who denies them while claiming to be a believer has already demoted himself to the least place in the Kingdom, a servant rather than a friend of the Master:
"Here is the patience of the set-apart ones (saints); here are those who keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and the emunah (faith) of Yah'shua (Jesus)" (Rev.14:12, NKJV; also Rev.12:17; 22:14).
Let us not, moreover, comfort ourselves with any false sense of humility and piety by twisting scripture which says that the least will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven when that is not even what we are talking about. It is not a humble thing to do to deliberately exclude yourself from Yahweh's presence when He, more than anything else, wants you to be there with Him. That's like the prodigal son saying that to show his humility and contrition he will remain with the pigs and not go back home to Dad, when Dad absolutely and overwhelmingly wants him home! That false humility is just another kind of pride, and Yahweh hates it.
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15, NKJV).
Now I could go on but as this is the core of the message that Yahweh wanted me to share with you today, I will end here. Don't ever get the idea that you can become the Sukkot Bride by cherry-picking the mitzvot (commandments)! Rather, seek them all! Find out which Yah'shua (Jesus) fulfulled in His death and resurrection - the animal sacrifices, the Levitical Priesthood and all its ordinances, and obey the rest, down to the very least, for that - Yah'shua (Jesus) says - is what He expects of you if you want to be with Him. Have the weightier matters of the Torah in the forefont, yes, but never dismiss the other mitzvot (commandments) - ever! So get acquainted with them, ask for the light of emet (truth) to be shone on them, do them, and come to love them. Crave the Word of Elohim (God) every day. Don't start your day without it and don't end your day without it either. Feed hungrily! Let's all go home together, never disdaining the least mitzvah (commandment) but exalting it as the greatest along with all the rest.
May you dwell on these things this afternoon and then return with me for the concluding Neilah service later. Yahweh bless you and fill you with a passion for all these things! Amen.
 Noah Russel, The Significance of the Hebrew Festivals: The Day of Atonement
C. Afternoon Service
Concluding Neilah Service
Shabbat shalom and welcome back for the concluding session of our Yom Kippur services. We have had a lot to digest. My desire in particular is that we can leave the old man of sin behind today and go on to new heights at Sukkot in five days' time. We have many visitors coming this year both locally and from far away, and we want to welcome them with true levim (hearts) emptied of all pretense and hypocrisy so that what they see is what is both real as well as being authentic Ruach (Spirit). There is no place for any actors in the Kingdom - strictly what you see is what you get.
The days ahead will reveal whether we have changed or not or whether it is just 'more of the same'. Every Yom Kippur should be a kind of rebirth, like Pesach and Yom haBikkurim. Every festival, when observed properly in the Ruach (Spirit), ought to be a stepping stone into higher emet (truth), higher light, and higher ahavah (love). If we are the same old miserable sods we were before we stepped into Yom Kippur yesterday evening then nothing worthwhile has been done and all we have done is put on a useless ritual performance, all the whole looking pious outwardly. May none of the woes ascribed to the Pharisees by the Master ever be directed at us lest we, like them, receive the "condemnation of hell"! (Mt.23:14-33)
This is the day of the sixth Ruach (Spirit), the Ruach haSheshi. Each sister in particular will have a Ruach which predominates in her nature. Those who possess the Ruach haSheshi in special abundance have a challenging task ahead of them, for they are called to be judges without being judgmental. Those who pervert this gift end up as highly arrogant and deceitful, I'm afraid. All of us - brethren and sisters alike - have much to learn from this Heavenly Mother who is not as stern as you might be tempted to think. Yom Kippur is, after all, a sifting process, to make sure no false and stained brides enter the Bridal Chamber, which is the Beit haMikdash, the Holy of Holies, where the Marriage Feast of the Lamb takes place. But before the feast comes the fast, to silence the flesh once and for all...or to return the next year to silence a bit more.
We will end today with the traditional Neilah prayers which I hope will not simply be some dead liturgical performance, and that we may say them with real sincerity of lev (heart) and so end this fast and this observation with purified ruachim (spirits). The day of simcha (joy) is but a few days' away but first there must be proper teshuvah (repentance) and hopefully an appreciation that Yom Kippur truly is a blessed time to look forward to each year! Let us now pray:
The Concluding Neilah Prayers
O Yahweh, Elohim of our fathers! Let our prayers come before You, through Yah'shua our Deliverer, and do not hide Yourself from our supplication. What shall we say to You who dwell on High? You know all things, both hidden and revealed. You search our hearts and thoughts. Nothing is hidden from Your sight. We are not so arrogant nor hardened to say, 'We are righteous and have not sinned.' For truly we have sinned. We have turned away from the good commandments (mitzvot) You have given us. You are righteous and true in all Your ways, but we have done evil in Your sight. Thank You, our Heavenly Father, and Elohim of our fathers, that You forgive all our sins, pardon all our iniquities, and grant atonement for all our transgressions through the blood of Yah'shua the Messiah.
For it is written: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". 'Return O Israel to Yahweh-Elohim, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to Yahweh. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips."'
For the sin we committed in Your sight by:
- sinning wilfully, and for the sin we committed in ignorance.
- slander, and for the sin of lashon hara or gossip.
- neglecting our responsibilities, and for the sin of selfishness.
- indulging evil thoughts, and for the sin of lust.
- being lukewarm, and for the sin of not loving You with all our hearts and souls.
- not hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and for the sin of not being poor in spirit.
- not being merciful, and for the sin of withholding when we could have given.
- speaking foolish words, and for the sin of not controlling our tongues.
- not loving our neighbours, and for the sin of not blessing our enemies.
- not turning the other cheek, and for the sin of practising our righteousness before men.
- being proud, and for the sin of lack of zeal.
For the sin we committed in Your sight knowingly, and for the sin we committed unknowingly. For all these, O Elohim of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement in Yah'shua the Messiah.
For the sin we committed in Your sight by:
- not walking as Yah'shua walked, and for the sin of not being filled with Your Ruach.
- loving the world, and for the sin of loving the things in the world.
- putting other things before You, and for the sin of idolatry.
- not praying at all times, and for the sin of not being thankful.
- not being quick to forgive, and for the sin of holding resentments.
- not going the second mile, and for the sin of impatience.
- not doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, and for the sin of greed.
- being anxious about the things of this life, and for the sin of not trusting You to provide for all of our needs.
- setting our minds on the things below, and for the sin of not setting our minds on things above.
For all these, O Elohim of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement in Yah'shua the Messiah. Amen.
(Final blowing of the ram's horn).
I hereby declare Yom Kippur at an end, in Yah'shua's Name. Amen!