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Month 7:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5937:188 AM
YOM KIPPUR SHABBAT, Yammim Nora'im #10 & Final Teshuvah
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 14 October 2013
Yom haKippurim 2013
Applying the Five Atonements in Earnest

      "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 qodesh (holy, set-apart) convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls (fast), 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 (God). 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; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath'...you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land" (Lev.23:26-32; 25:8-9, NKJV)

    A. MORNING SERVICE

    Introduction

    Chag Sameach Yom Kippur, Shabbat Shalom, and welcome to this morning service marking the tenth and last day of Yammim Nora'im or Days of Awe leading to Yom Kippur and the final day of Teshuvah (Repentance). It is also known as "the Fast" (Acts 27:9)

    An Unusual Moed

    As you heard in the two passages we began our assembly with today, Yom Kippur is a single 24 hour moed (appointment) like Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits) and Shavu'ot (Weeks/'Pentecost') and yet is different from these two which occupy only one calendar day and not two. Though the main day of Yom Kippur is the 10th of the 7th month, it also begins the day before at sunset on the 9th day.

    A Single Day of Atonements

    This has caused great confusion over the last two millennia because if a regular day begins at sunset, how come Yom Kippur spans two calendar days (the 9th and 10th) and not just one (on the 10th)? To solve this 'problem' (as though there is actually a 'problem' with Scripture) the Rabbis have declared - on their own authority - that Yom Kippur be observed over two days. They claim this authority partly on the ground that Yom Kippur is actually written Yom haKippurim, literally, 'Day of Atonements'. However, it is still a singular 'day' or yom and not 'days' or yammim (as with Yammim Nora'im or the 'Days of Awe' we have been observing for the last 10 calendar days). Irrespective of whether 'atonement' is singular or plural - kippur or kippurim - it's still one yom or day, not two. The fact remains that this festival is the DAY of Atonement(s) and it spans part of two calendar days - the 9th and 10th days. As such, then this 'Yom' is like any other 'yom' in the Scriptures, containing two half days from two different days of the calendar week.

    The Only Sunset-to-Sunset Moed of Israel

    The symbolic explanation of this interesting arrangement I gave in lat year's sermon, Repentance and War in Messianic Israel. For those of you unfamiliar with this theological terrain or who may have forgotten, the regular biblical day, along with the regular sabbath day begins at sunrise. But because Yom Kippur - which is also a sabbath - begins at sunset and not sunrise, its 'day' or yom, along with its special sabbath, exceptionally begins at sunset on the 9th day and ends at sunset on the 10th day. Nevertheless, the 10th day does not itself end before the following sunrise.

    An Exceptional Yom

    Whenever Jews and Messianics try to justify the regular and Sabbath day beginning and ending at sunset, they always cite Leviticus 23:32 as their prooftext, failing to note that it is talking only about the exceptional yom of Yom Kippur. But this is not a prooftext for sunset-to-sunset 'days'. It's an exclusive mitzvot (commandment) concerning the proper observance of Yom Kippur:

      "From evening to evening, you shall celebrate your [special Yom [ha]Kippur[im] High] Sabbath" (Lev.23:32, NKJV).

    Man-Made Solutions

    Only by application of the biblical Creation Calendar are the apparent anomalies and contradictions ironed out. Doubling the number of days of this moed is simply an unkosher man-made device to justify a false Talmudic calendar system.

    Why Yom haKippurim?

    Which brings me to another man-made tradition that we need to iron out, and that is of calling the sixth annual moed (appointment) Yom Kippur when strictly it should be called Yom haKippurim or Day of Atonements. Now there are doubtless those who think it is quibbling to call it by its biblical name and it perhaps would be were it not for the fact that a theological error can easily attach itself to the more commonly used name of Yom Kippur. For this day has nothing to do with the atonement of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) for our personal sins as our substitute offering - we have already celebrated that at Pesach (Passover) when He, as Cohen Gadol (High Priest) became the "the Lamb of Elohim (God) who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29, NKJV), making atonement for us individually. You see, Yom haKippurim is not THE Day of Atonement but the Day of Atonements. Yes, Yom haKippurim is very much connected with the work of the Messiah but not in a way you may have supposed.

    Yom Kippur is Only Concerned With Corporate Atonement

    Yom haKippurim, like the summer festival of Shavu'ot (Weeks) and the other autumn (fall) festivals of Yom Teruah (Trumpets) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), is distinguished from the spring festivals of Pesach (Passover), Chag haMatazah and Yom haBikkurim because it is a communal or corporate moed. Only the spring festivals are about individual persons. Therefore Yom haKippurim has nothing to do with personal atonement or salvation - that is to be had a Pesach (Passover). It, like the summer and autumn (fall) festivals, only concerns the collective or corporate House of Israel.

    Understanding the Korbanot

    The error commonly made that Yom Kippur has something to do with atonement for personal sins is easily avoided by making a study of korbanot or offerings that are described in great detail in the Torah. What many who read the Bible pass off as 'boring' or 'irrelevent' to the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) lifestyle actually tells us a great deal, which is why we are to carefully study the Torah even if the animal and other sacrifices have been fulfilled and therefore suspended. There is no way you can fully understand the atoning work of Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) without knowing the basics of Old Covenant Torah. Indeed, as you read the Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses) you soon discover that none of the korbanot (offerings) are about permanent, personal atonement.

    The Right Way to Worship

    What, then, were these korbanot (offerings) and how is their meaning relevant to us in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) where these korbanot are no longer required? The answer is, the korbanot (offerings) are all to do with WORSHIP, and specifically worshipping in Yah's presence. They were concerned anciently with receiving atonement while worshipping in the Tabernacle so that you wouldn't burn up to a crisp while worshipping in Yahweh's presence! You will discover, upon studying the korbanot (offerings), that very few were concerned with 'sin' or 'guilt' offerings.

    The Two Offerings

    The importance and revelation of Yom haKippurim is that it shows us how to worship in the presence of Elohim (God). So important was worshipping correctly that there were two separate worship offerings that the devotee had to bring to the Tabernacle so as not to be consumed. One was called the korban olah or burned offering and the other was called the korban shalom or peace offering. So, yes, some of the korbanot (offerings) were for atonement but never for individuals - their function was corporate, for kol beit Yisra'el - the whole assembly or house of Israel.

    'Ye' not 'Thou'

    If you check your Hebrew scriptures carefully you will see that these statutes apply to the plural "you" and not to the singular. It's here that older English versions of the Bible like the KJV (King James Version) are more useful than modern ones because they render "you" (in the subjective - the objective doesn't distinguish) in the plural as "ye" and the singular as "thou". Modern English does not, unfortunately, make a distinction between singular and plural. Knowing this is important so you don't misinterpret Scripture. Let's carefully look at the Scriptures in question:

      "'This shall be a statute forever for you (pl): In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you (pl) shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the cohen (priest) shall make atonement for you (pl), to cleanse you (pl), that you (pl) may be clean from all your (pl) sins before Yahweh. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you (pl), and you shall afflict your (pl) souls. It is a statute forever. And the cohen (priest), who is anointed and consecrated to minister as cohen (priest) in his father's place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Qodesh (Holy, Set-Apart) Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the cohenim (priests) and for all the people of the assembly (collectively). This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel (collectively), for all their sins, once a year.' And he did as Yahweh commanded Moses" (Lev.6:29-34, NKJV).

    The Five Atonements of Yom Kippur

    As we dissect this passage we see that atonement was made at Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) for five things:

    • 1. For the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) and the Cohenim (Priests);
    • 2. For the Qodesh (Holy, Set-apart) Sanctuary;
    • 3. For the Tabernacle;
    • 4. For the Altar; and
    • 5. For the assembly of people or House of Israel.

    The Simultaneous Action of Chag haMatzah and Yom Kippur

    Do you see why Yom haKippurim is in the plural and not singular? There are five atonements being applied here and none of them are for personal or individual sins. That doesn't mean to say, of course, that personal repentance and forgiveness are excluded at this time because as we know Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) is an ongoing process representing the getting of sin out of our lives for the whole of our lives. So that is going on 'in the background' of Yom Kippur, as it were. And though Yom Kippur is not principally about getting your sins forgiven for the past year, we are still operating in Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) on a more basic level. There is therefore both the ongoing personal repentance of Chag haMatzah and the understanding that we need to continuously repent because we have all sinned against Yah personally. However, with Yom Kippur comes the recongition that our individual sinning affects the whole messianic community.

    The Example of Achan

    We see this in the example of Achan's sin in robbing the consecrated items of Jericho, and how that led to Israel being military defeated at an insignificant village called Ai after the spectacular victory at Jericho - Achan's action affected the whole community as a single, collective 'person', as it were. Not until the communal covenant was put right was Israel able to resume the successful conquest of Canaan.

    The Sins That Must Be Extirpated Immediately

    For Achan there was no repentance as there is now under Messiah. Today our choice is to repent or be excluded. Back then it was to be destroyed. The communal covenant is no less important today but the death penalty for violation of it has now been paid for by our eternal Cohen Gadol (High Priest), Yah'shua (Jesus), on the cross. If we don't deal with violators in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) manner and fail to exclude them from the messianic community if they fail to repent, we destroy the corporate covenant entered into at Shavu'ot (Weeks) and must renew it the following year again. We do it anyway, of course, because we are sinners. Any violation of Torah meriting the death penalty under the Old Covenant that is not dealt with by Yom Kippur brings spiritual 'death' to the messianic community. That is why we need to know our Torah so well. Let me remind you of these 25 sins that carried the death penalty back then:

    • 1. Sacrificing to gods other than Yahweh (Ex.22:20; Lev.27:29);
    • 2. Child sacrifice to Molech - including abortion (Lev.20:1-5);
    • 3. Worshipping Baal Peor (Chemosh) - licentiousness (Num.25:1-9);
    • 4. False prophecy in Yahweh's Name (Dt.13:1-10; 17:2-7; 18:20-22);
    • 5. Necromancy - conjuring up the dead for information (Lev.20:27);
    • 6. Practicing witchcraft (Ex.22:17-18);
    • 7. Blasphemy (Lev.24:10-16);
    • 8. Sabbath-breaking (Ex.31:14; 35:2; Num.15:32-36);
    • 9. Countryside rape of a betrothed woman by a man (Dt.22:25-27);
    • 10. Urban consentual sex with a betrothed woman removing her virginity (Dt.23:23-24);
    • 11. Loss of virginity by a woman prior to marriage to someone other than her husband (Dt.22:13-21);
    • 12. Adultery (by a single or married man) with a married woman (Lev.20:10);
    • 13. Marrying your wife's mother (Lev.20:14);
    • 14. Incest, and specifically with your father's plural wife or daughter-in-law (Lev.20:11-12);
    • 15. Prostitution by the daughter of a priest (Lev.21:9);
    • 16. Homosexual activity between men (Lev.20:13; 18:22);
    • 17. Bestiality - sex with animals (Ex.22:19; Lev.20:15-16);
    • 18. Murder (Gen.9:6; Ex.21:12-14; Lev.24:17-23; Num.35:9-34);
    • 19. Striking a parent (Ex.21:15);
    • 20. Cursing a parent (Ex.21:17; Lev.20:9);
    • 21. Persistent stubbornness and rebellion by a son (Dt.21:18-21);
    • 22. Kidnapping (Ex.21:16; Dt.24:7);
    • 23. Negligent homicide (Ex.21:28-32);
    • 24. Contempt of an authorised court of Yahweh (Dt.17:8-13);
    • 25. False witness to a capital crime (Dt.19:15-21). [1]

    Other Sins are Not Unimportant Either

    This is not to say that other sins (like theft, for instance) are unimportant on a congregational level but it is to say that if these are not dealt with swiftly, by excommunicating those who refuse to repent of these immediately, that the communal or corporate covenant is seriously violated and the Bridegroom seriously wronged. Obviously 'lesser' sins must not be neglected either but these 25 are rated by Yahweh as the most serious otherwise a death penalty would not have been attached to them under the Old Covenant.

    Putting Flesh on the Bones of the Covenant

    If we have failed to spiritually come up to Sukkot (Tabernacles), we must try once more. You see, Evangelical Christianity (for example) fails to acknowledge this aspect of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) because it refuses to acknowledge that salvation is both personal and communal - Evangelical Christianity, when living up to its professed credo, can only at best take you through the spring festivals. When we come before Yahweh at Yom haKippurim for judgment it is as a covenant community. We either pass or we fail - we either repent for not keeping the Bride or community pure, or we don't. That changes the whole dimension of 'atonement', doesn't it? It means we are responsible for admonishing all professed believers from other groups and severing any Shavu'ot (Weeks/'Pentecost') covenants with them if they will not align with Torah. This does not, of course, mean will will have nothing to do with them altogether since we are united with all believers who walk in the Ruach (Spirit) of the spring festivals: we simply do not fellowship with them in the summer and autumn (fall) festivals.

    Sanctification of the Sanctuary, Tabernacle and Altar

    Now three of the atonements made at Yom haKippurim don't even have anything to do with people - they concern the Qodesh (Holy, Set-apart) Sanctuary, the Tabernacle and the Altar. No one, I assume, is about to suggest that these sinned and were in need of forgiveness! Yom haKippurim is about keeping the dwelling place of Yahweh on earth qodesh or holy, set-apart, enabling Him to manifest His awesome presence in our time and space. Why is this necessary? Because, as it says in Scripture, "our Elohim (God) is a consuming fire" (Heb.12:29, NKJV; also Dt.4:24; 9:3; Ex.24:17). And you will recall what happened to the sons of Aaron when they approached Yahweh in the wrong way.

    Entering Yah's Presence in the Proper Way

    We have got to get away from the watered-down theology of certain Protestant groups which view Yahweh's presence as something we can just step into willy-nilly. We are talking about the amazing Power (Elohim) who created this entire Cosmos! Either you enter His presence properly prepared or you are roasted to a cinder - or you deceived yourself into entering it when you never actually did. When Moses entered it, His face glowed so brightly for days afterwards that he had to wear a veil so the people looking at him wouldn't be blinded! The Tabernacle of Moses - and later the Temple of Solomon - were not about providing a summer house for some human to pop into on a visit but about the Almighty Power and Person of El Elyon dwelling in our fallen dimension of time and space.

    Preparing a Place for Yahweh

    So what is Yom Kippurim about each year? It is about cleansing the Temple or dwelling place of Yahweh-Elohim and for that to happen it had to be sanctified annually. If it wasn't, He wouldn't be able to dwell there because He cannot dwell in unclean space or material. And whilst this was certainly a temporal effect, the mitzvah (commandment) is eternal. More importantly to us, then, is how does this apply to us in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant)? To help answer that we must go to the B'rit Chadashah Scriptures (New Testament):

      "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Ruach (Spirit) offered Himself without spot to Elohim (God), cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim (God)?" (Heb.9:13-14, NKJV)

    Purifying the Temple of Your Body

    Notice that the purification of the "flesh" is important for the indwelling of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)? What is the flesh? Your physical body. And what is the New Covenant Temple? On one level, it is your physical body, but on another is is a mystical, invisible body which defines the corporate Body of Messiah which is Messianic Israel. You can't see the 'body' of this congregation or the 'body' of all true believers but it exists and Yom haKippurim points to the importance of its purification.

    How the Bride is Prepared for Sukkot

    Pesach (Passover) makes sure that the inside of you is made clean through personal trusting, personal repentance, and personally receiving Messiah and the cleansing of the New Birth. But Yom haKippurim makes sure that the outside of you is cleansed too. Why? Well, consider what festival follows Yom haKippurim - it is Sukkot or Tabernacles, when the Bride is prepared for the Bridegroom. Does any bride prepare for her nuptuals without getting washed and prepared first? Of course not! The Bride - which is the Uniplural Wife of Messiah, the Mystical Corporate Community of all redeemed and sanctified believers - has to be cleansed outwardly too before she can consummate the Betrothal she entered into at Shavu'ot when she took her first communal or corporate covenants, the men receiving tzitzit and the women headcoverings in token thereof.

    Weighing and Cleansing

    What, then, does Yom haKippurim mean practically? Why are we assembled here? We are here assembled to make sure that we have been purified outwardly so that we can be fully wed to the Bridegroom. We are here to fix things. The Priesthood will have been weighed during the Teshuvah season to ensure they have been faithful to their stewardship and can approach Yom haKippurim with clean hearts and hands so as not to break the covenant. We are to corporately be cleansed as families, as local congregations, as clans and as tribes and finally as the whole House of Messianic Israel - that is the order in which it takes place. It's about the cleansing of saved families, groups of families, tribes of families and the Whole Family of Elohim (God).

    The New Jerusalem Temple

    Now it is true that one day there will be a physical Temple in Jerusalem again but that cannot come until the spiritual temple, which is Messianic Israel as a whole, is cleansed and is properly echad. You have to remember that the Marriage of the Lamb is about one Wife who is also many. And one day we will annually celebrate Yom haKippurim corporately in the New Jerusalem - not the old one - and at that time there will be a sanctified Priesthood. In the meantime, the Priesthood serves in the local assemblies which is the Temple on a lower level, just as husbands and fathers serve as cohanim (priests) in their own House or Temples. That is why in this ministry we have special rooms made qodesh or set-apart in our homes for special communion with Yahweh. That is why the other day my wife went into ours when she was very ill and found great shalom (peace) within it.

    Why We are Here Today

    Brethren and sisters, we are not observing Yom haKippurim today to obtain personal forgiveness of sins even though we are seeking that within the context of the ongoing requiements of Chag haMatzah (Unleavenewd Bread). We are observing it to rededicate out temples - our bodies, the specially set-apart rooms in our homes, our homes as a whole, our assembly places, our ministers (whether husbands, pastors, evangelists, apostles and so on), and the altars of our hearts! This is the fivefold business of the sixth annual festival of Messianic Israel. We repent and we fast for these five purposes, and for no other. And we will be judged as to whether we have done this correctly or not - with sincere or with insincere hearts. We consider ourselves as standing before El Elyon, the Most High, the Judge of Heaven and of Earth, and we forgive others who have wronged us and seek out those whom we have wronged. We consider those scriptures that concern themselves with the mercy of our Elohim (God) toward those who respond in humility and who make teshuvah, as the ancient Ninevites did after hearing Jonah. We are here to collectively re-align ourselves to Yahweh through Yah'shua our Messiah (Jesus Christ) so that we can partake with simcha (joy) the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).

    Conclusion

    Let us devote the remainder of the day to these things until we reassemble at sunset to conclude the festival. May Yahweh bless you as you soberly dwell on these things. Amen.

    Concluding Neilah Service


    B. AFTERNOON SERVICE

    Introduction

    Welcome back to the concluding service of Yom haKippurim. I think you'll agree that this year the sixth annual festival of Messianic Israel has held many surprises. There are certainly many more deep, sacred truths to be unearthed in it. This cannot be done by a mere intellectual exercise - it must be accomplished by experiencing it with every aspect of the soul.

    The Moedim as Perpetual Motion

    A couple of days ago on Shabbat Shuvah I talked about the festivals as a system of movement - of "approaching, arriving, partaking, and then looking forward" to the next one [2] because chayim or life is all about movement. Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is part of this movement. And though for many it holds a sense of finality because of its identification with the Final Judgment, in truth this only applies to those for whom the journey does end here without going onwards to the consummation of Sukkot (Tabernacles). For the saved and faithful in Yah'shua (Jesus) it is that important transition from six to seven. For such is not a Day of Judgment at all: it is that day of long anticipated rewards. And that, sure, cannot be the basis of any sort of fear or foreboding. Fear at this time belongs only to those who have not repented.

    The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations

    This will be a very busy time indeed when Yah'shua (Jesus) returns. His judgment begins with the nations - corporate tribal entities - to determine whether they will be worthy to continue as countries during the Millennium. Many will be dissolved - they will cease to exist, as has happened in the past, because they chose wickedness rather than righteousness. We read in Matthew 25:

      "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the qodesh malakim (holy angels) with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

      "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

      "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his malakim (angels): for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

      "Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt.25:31-46)

    National Judgment at Yom Kippur

    Please notice that is it the nations, goy or peoples being separated into sheep and goats, not individuals. Typically these are heathen or non-believing nations as opposed to Israel. Now I am not saying that as individuals we will not be similarly judged, because as part of the 'peoples' we obviously will, but here the emphasis is on communal or corporate entities, which is the business of Yom haKippurim. We know from Scripture that nations or countries continue into the Millennium, but not all. And countries are simply tribes or groups of families. The family unit in large and small scales is regarded as qodesh (holy, set-apart) and is treated so in the judgment. The fact that the secular state no longer does is immaterial.

    The Individual and Community are Equally Important to Elohim

    One thing I hope you will especially take away with you this Yom haKippurim is the importance of community. We are individuals or persons before Yahweh, yes, but we are to regard ourselves as being much more. If you add up the days spent observing the spring festivals - which are about the individual (9-10) - and then add up the number of days spent observing the summer and autumn (fall) ones (10), you will find that it's about 50 per cent or half for each. Community is equally as important as the individual with the emphasis being placed on community at Yom Kippur, beginning with the nuclear family and expanding through clans, tribes and nations.

    Belonging to Two Countries

    We are in the interesting position of belonging to two nations during our earthly sojourn because we are in diaspora or dispersion - one heavenly and one earthly. Some of us will lose our earthly countries when the Final Judgment takes place but by then we will have become physically gathered into our new country, Messianic Israel with the New Jerusalem as its capital, together located in the Holy Land. And though we in this assembly are Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Irish, Ghanans, South Africans, Kenyans, British, American and many others, we also acknowledge that we are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb 11:13, NKJV), because the goy nations in which we were born were not our real or everlasting homes. And though many, if not most, of these nations will be around during the Millennium, there will be a time after it when they all, presumably, cease to exist.

    'Nations' in the Eternities?

    Now we know there will be divisions or groupings of people in the eternities but we are not told what they will be called, only that in terms of their spiritual glory they will be like the sun, moon and stars. And as each of these heavenly bodies has a name, so presumably will the several kingdoms in the eternities - one for the sun, one for the moon, and hundreds for the stars. For now, depending on our calling and locations, especially with all the mixing going on in the European Union and elsewhere, we must witness to friends, family, tribes, and nations.

    Yom Kippur is Not About Punishment for True Believers

    Many messianics fear Yom Kippur because to them judgment implies punishment. What they don't necessarily realise is that what their hearts most need is emet (truth). I am speaking now to those who struggle with all kinds of fears and if you are one of them, I want to admonish you to rather keep your eyes on what Yahweh says is true. As Paul said:

      "Therefore, having been justified (made right with Elohim/God) by emunah (faith), we have shalom (peace) with Elohim (God) through our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), through whom also we have access by emunah (faith) into this grace (undeserved loving kindness) in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of Elohim (God)" (Rom.5:1-2, NKJV).

    Approaching Yahweh Without Fear Through Yah'shua

    In other words, we have shalom (peace) with Yahweh because of what He did for us in Yah'shua (Jesus). For our Cohen Gadol (High Priest), Yah'shua (Jesus), entered the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled His own blood for us that He might be our atonement and covering (Heb.9:21). It is because He did this that we can approach the throne of grace without the terror of those Old Covenant Israelites at Yom Kippur. Likewise, it is because of Him that we have hope on the final Day of Judgment, just as we do today for the past year, because He has fulfilled all the righteous, just requirements on our behalf, so that we do not need to take the punishment for our failings on ourselves - the punishment which we deserve. That is why the Yom Kippur of the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) is different from the Yom Kippur of the Old Covenant: and that difference is the new chayim or life that we have in Yah'shua (Jesus), turning this day from one of fear into one of hope. For in Him, through trusting, are we not only saved from our sins and delivered out of just punishment, but in His empowerment we are transformed within so that we can truly walk in obedience in His ways.

    Don't Go to Judaism for Inspiration

    I want you therefore to be very careful when you go to Judaism for inspiration about Yom haKippurim. For though we can learn much about the former technicaliies of this day from them, we cannot possibly learn of its B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant) application and relevance to us who have, and know, Messiah, for they do not know Him. They walk in an entirely different and ungodly ruach (spirit). I can't underline enough how careful we must be of this, lest we be led astray by the false spirits of a dead religion. For you see, Yom Kippur to us is not only about avoiding punishment, it's about looking forward to - and enjoying now, to come extent - the rewards of the faithful. We walk in chesed - in His mercy and unmerited favour - right now. So long as Yah'shua (Jesus) is IN us, and so long as we repent when we stumble, and keeping our eyes on Him, moving toward Him, we need have no spirit of fear of the judgment that leads to punishment - ever. As the apostle John said:

      "There is no fear in ahavah (love); but perfect ahavah (love) casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in ahavah (love)" (1 John 4:18, NKJV).

    Don't Confuse the Two Yom Kippur's

    Our real fear ought to be in losing this blessed fellowship, because it is in this fellowship that we are enabled to obey the mitzvot (commandments) free of guilt and fear, enjoying simcha (joy) and ahavah (love)! So don't confuse the Yom Kippur's of the two covenants - this festival has been utterly transformed in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), transformed beyond recognition because of the glory of the resurrection. Today is the Day of the Rewards of the Faithful. Today we can pass through Yom Kippur in shalom (peace) so long as we have repentant hearts and want to know the emet (truth).

    How We Repent at Yom Kippur: The Talents

    Another mistake sometimes made at Yom Kippur is that people believe they have to run through a detailed checklist of annual sinning. Remember what I said earlier about the difference between the Hebrew and Western mindsets - the Hebrew is about action, the Western about checklists and balances. Let's return to Matthew 25 where we read from earlier, and back up to the 14th verse:

      "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents [3], to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money. After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.' Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (Mt.25:14-30, NKJV).

    That You Multiply is What is Important

    The whole point of this parable is that how much the servants started with (which was a very large sum indeed) isn't nearly as important as the fact that they had multiplied what they had received on trust. The first servant had received the equivalent of about $350,000 and turned it into about $1,750,000 whereas the last one still had his original $350,000. What you start with and how much you end with, as a Westerner might be impressed to judge, doesn't matter. What matters is what we do with what we have been given, however much or little it is.

    Uniform Joy in Multiplication

    You see, the servants who were given five and two talents, respectively, doubled what they have been entrusted with and had the same joy! The one with 5 who made 10 wasn't more joyful that the one who was given 2 and made 4, was he? To both, the master said: "Enter into the simcha (joy) of your master" - not "You who have 10, enjoy 10 portions of joy; and you who have 4, enjoy 4 portions of joy" but the same, complete joy of the master. The simcha (joy) comes in mutliplying 'x' and making it '2x', if I can talk algebra for a second, whatever the value of 'x' might be is not important. Our rewards are based on multiplying what we have been given and not on not sinning. Not sinning is its own reward because not sinning means walking in shalom (peace) and simcha (joy) with a clear conscience and in the presence of the Master.

    The Final Yom Kippur of the Age

    In this parable of the talents Yah'shua (Jesus) was describing the final Yom Kippur of this age. The sheep and goats are both believers, since both animals are kosher or clean. The message of Yom haKippurim to the faithful is one of hope and to respond to His call by entering into His simcha (joy) today - afflicting the flesh does not equate with misery and terror. Yah'shua (Jesus) has, through His work on the cross in overcoming death, transformed something that otherwise would be a day of terror for us, by turning it into a day of hope and of rejoicing. What would have been an end for us, leading to despair and hopelessness - the power of death - has been changed forever so long as we simply trust Him, and in trusting receive that simcha (joy) and shalom (peace), and in those obey the mitzvot (commandments) cheerfully and gratefully.

    Yahweh Does Not Forget His Promises

    As believers we live by, and derive our hope from, the promises made to us. Yom Kippur is not some inevitable day of misery represented solely in having a growling belly and feeling weak physically because of fasting. Yes, we have things to endure, but we don't have to be miserable in them. We know, that in spite of our sufferings, they are temporary and that a reward for the faithful awaits us. He won't forget us!

    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 mitzvot (commandments) 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, sanctify the altar of our heart, bless and sanctify the quodesh (holy, set-apart) places in our homes and assemblies, sanctify your leaders in Messianic Israel, both the husband-fathers and the cohenim (priests), 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."'

    We repent 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 as your people Israel. Amen.

    Shofar haGadol

    (Final blowing of the ram's horn)

    I hereby declare Yom Kippur at an end, in Yah'shua's Name. Amen!

    Endnotes

    [1] Raised Valleys & Flattened Mountains: The 25 Death Penalties
    [2] Shabbat Shuvah 2013: To be Threshed or Not to Be Threshed
    [3] A very large sum of money indeed. Some believe a talent was worth about $360,000 USD while others state that the talent is worth as little as $150,000 USD in today's market. Either way, it was not a pittance and the servants were being entrusted with a huge financial responsibility

    Acknowledgments

    [1] Rick Spurlock, Yom HaKippurim

    Comments from Readers

    [1] "Thank you...Outstanding, anointed..." (JT, USA, 15 October 2013)

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