JEWISH NEW YEAR and Final DAY OF ATONEMENT
Dr S.W. Theron, September 2020, Anno Domini
Yom Kippur 2020
Together with Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year, is still meticulously remembered by religious Jews for more than 3000 years.
Yet it has some shortcomings: For 2000 years there has been
- No temple to house the Ark (ARON),
- No original Ark, Holy of Holies, nor other aspects of the Temple
- No original tablets with the Divinely written TORAH (Ten Words of Instruction)
- No atoning sacrifices.
- They still are Messianic as depicted by the Star of David but do not recognise Him.
Religious Jews, however, for 2000 years,meticulously follow their officially altered rituals:
- Outward and literal respect of the unaltered TenNaK Scriptures as dedicated Christians do
- Meticulous preparation for the Day of Atonement:
- A special bath that assists in sin-cleansing
- Special prayers with a special prayer book that must be prayed exactly at specific times
- The ten days of repentance, confession of misdeeds and restitution, prayer, good deeded and attitude renewal for a better life and success in the coming year
- The Ark curtain is change to white as symbol of forgiveness and many wear robes at this time
Christians, especially more nominal church goers may take a lesson from these dedicated and meticulous Jewish friends:
- Jewish transcribers have given us a meticulously copied Old Testament with the New now added in which there is absolutely NO modification, additions or omissions allowed, but many Bible-owners do not read of know the content of their neglected Bibles. Others have superficial explanations why they conveniently ignore some or many of the aspects of Divine Revelation.
Against the whole attitude of believers since Moses, the Divine text may not be altered. Many Christians and preachers, however, have softened the aspect of God’s judgment of sin and His Wrath but Jews seem to take full account thereof: They think God has three books that are made up each Yom Kippur: one for the perfectly righteous, one for the perfectly evil, and one for partially righteousness that need to find grace in the Day of Judgment and Atonement, Yom Kippur!
As many superficial Christians , however, they have not adhered to the dire warning of Moses as repeated in the New Testament writings.
The New Testament recognises this annual aspect of Judaism but contrasts it with the finality of salvation in Jesus, the final Messiah of the Final Day on Calvary, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The neglected Epistle to the Hebrews has this contrast well set out: ch 10:28 – 31 warns of the terrible Judgment of rejecting God’s saving grace; the parallel Biblical aspects of religious duties are however both recognised but re-assessed in Hebrews: The religion that Jesus rejected of sinners being able to earn God’s blessing and forgiveness, is replaced by God’s redeeming grace that does not merit, but leads to, and graciously assists repentance, restitution, prayer, charitable and other good works ….
Both the reverence and protection of the WORD of God in the Ark, the procession of opening the Ark and even kissing the Bookroll for that day’s reading put some less dedicated Christians and even church services to shame! A Biblical church service should centre around the WORD from the beginning to the benediction! The nearer a “service” tries to imitate a worldly concert, the more it loses the reality of “Divine Worship!”
Throughout this festive period religious Jews seek to confess and to right wrongs done to others in the previous year, forgive any personally experienced wrong doings and purpose to have better attitudes and deeds in the year ahead. These ten days of contrition are expected to earn the forgiveness of sins against God for the past year and find blessings for the coming year, that only find atonement on the Day of Atonement.
In the New Testament all sin is heinous and under Divine Judgment (see Romans 2: 12 to 3:36).
The parallel of a whitened curtain and whites festive robes reminds one of the “festive gathering” of Hebrews 12 and Rev. 4 and 5.
Many Protestant churches, however, have lost aspects of awesome respect and of the “festive gathering” of both Judaism and heather festivals. In old UK they had an expression “dressed in their Sunday best” – when we the “liberated moderns”, emulate convicts and labourers with expensive replica-attire as though one was going to a sports stadium or picnic, or meet on the LORD’s Day for informal chats as we wait for the “performance” to commence, many have lost the sense of being reverently called before and approaching the Great White Throne.
COMPARING the FESTIVAL GATHERING IN HEBREWS 10
After explaining the Final WORD of God in and by the All-transcending SON Himself, as both Judgment and Grace, the final salvific work and service of our Sacrificial High Priest and His Sacrifice is worked out against the background of the OT Scriptures. But interlaced with the “teaching” for his students, the author applies exhortation and moral sobriety in a very decisive way: we are not to glide away from the Teachings of Jesus Himself (ch2), resist the hardening of our hearts (ch 3), missing the promised rest, but rather come boldly to our High Priest at the Throne of Grace and Mercy (ch 4), in stead of apostatising, growing in grace ch 5-6); after his grand piece of explaining the perfect New Covenant High Priest and Holy of Holies, St Paul; admonishes 10: 19ff):
“Therefore, brothers, having the liberty and confidence of entering the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus by a new and living path that He has opened for us through the curtain, that means through His sacrificed Body, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
“Let us firmly hold, without wavering, the confession of our faith, because He who promised this is faithful. And let us consider how to urge each other to love and good works. Let us not forsake our meeting together, as is the custom of some, but let us admonish one another, especially as you see the DAY approaching.
“For if we purposely continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no longer sacrifice for sins remains, but rather a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the enemies.
Anyone who despised Moses’ law died without mercy in the presence of two or three witnesses. How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him who said, “Retribution is Mine,” says the LORD, “I will repay.”And again He says, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Be reminded that St Paul has from the beginning emphasised the awesome Judge in ch 4:12: “For the WORD of God is living, working, and sharper than any two-edged sword – it cuts deeply even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, yes, judging the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
To summarise in comparing Yom Kippur as honoured in Judaism to the Christian experience of Judgment and Atonement:
In this whole respect, one should bring into perceptive the High Festive Days of old Israel as respected by present-day Judaism: The Day of Atonement and the Day of Judgment:
Serious present-day sons of the Covenant (B’NI B’RIhT) seriously regard the awesome judgment of God regarding the breaking of that Covenant, that is the awesome evil of sin and the need for repentance, restitution, change of innermost attitudes in forgiving and living positively which includes doing well to all others.
Various aspects of the repeated Yom Kippur differ from the Christian experiencing the perfect peace of a lasting atonement:
- According to the New Testament the Day of Atonement and terrible Judgement occurred on Calvary, the Sinless, Passover Lamb that was slaughters and rejected by all as a total and final answer to the guilt of humans, yes, the final and awesome retribution by a loving God that wants crooked, evil hearts “reborn” to a totally dedicated and loving existence that experiences His Peace and loving outlook under all circumstances.
The recurring day on the Old Covenant calendar and repeating of ten days of repentance before the Day underscores the temporary effect of their yearly repentance in the hope of a better year.
In contrast, especially St John and St Paul taught and experienced the Scriptures as lived and taught by Jesus Christ as God’s final WORD for the FINAL DAY and final solution!
- YOM KIPPUR has various aspects that do seek attention one a year at Easter but need experiencing continually throughout every day.
For a Christian believer the Day of Atonement’s decisive day, once and for all, was on Calvary 2,000 years ago, but it has a repetitive “day of atonement” when a repentant sinner stands before that Cross realising the depth of his evil heart and doings (judgement) but also realises the peace that passes all logical thinking, of not only having it totally forgiven, but of the Holy Spirit changing His life to serve the Living Covenant LORD according to Living WORD.
“He who is sitting on the Throne is speaking, “Pay attention! I make all things new” (see Rev 21:5).
God in Christ, our Messiah at the right hand of the Almighty, has appointed, delegated, and sent His Plenipotentiaries (Apostles), that still confront all from the Living WORD, especially “Children of the Final Covenant, B’NIh B’RIhT:
“Therefore, if any are in Christ, they are new creations: old things have passed away. Pay attention -behold, all things have become new.
“All things are from God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given us this official task regarding reconciliation.
“This means that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the WORD of reconciliation.”
So, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, Be reconciled to God!”
 The WORD quotations have been abbreviated and elucidated by the author for this essay.
 ARK Picture modified from Wikipedia, Open Domain. Moses – copyright firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you personally reconciled to God?
As a Child of God’s Covenant, can it be seen in your whole life?