Yom Kippur (or the Day of Atonement) begins at sunset tonight and continues to nightfall tomorrow. It was the day in Jewish tradition that was a day of repentance and sacrafice before Israel’s God (for more go here). Of course, there is no established temple or priesthood since Jerusalem fell to Rome in 70 CE, so the holy day has been adapted over time, but the “meaning” of the day remains in that the people submit in repentance before God.
For Christians it has been a long time since this day maintained the same significance that it has for Jews. Early in Christian history (even with the temple standing and the priesthood active) Jesus’ death was interpreted as a fulfillment of what Yom Kippur previewed. In Jesus’ death the curtain that separated the people from God’s presence was “torn” (either figuratively or literally) according to Matthew 27.51 (and this is one of the most Judaism friendly books of the New Testament). The author of the Book of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as the final sacrifice and the great High Priest in heaven.
So this is my question: Does Yom Kippur have significance for Christians? If so, do you do anything to observe it?
“…so the holy day has been adapted over time, but the “meaning” of the day remains in that the people submit in repentance before God.”
While Jesus has forever made a way of approach to God without the need of continual blood sacrifice, He hasn’t made repentance null and void so Yom Kippur wouldn’t necessarily be fulfilled at the cross. When we partake of communion remembering our state of sinfulness and offer repentant hearts to God in light of Christ’s atonement we are, I think, following the meaning of Yom Kippur. The specific day is not the important part…a repentant heart being offered in thanksgiving to our Hight Priest (Christ) is and I think if we want to honor the meaning of Yom Kippur communion would be the way.
@Nancy: That is an interesting observation: Communion as a frequent Yom Kippur of sorts. I like it!
When I as a Christian honor and commemorate Yom Kippur, I think of two of the greatest gifts God gave me: Mercy and Grace. Mercy in that He DIDN’T GIVE ME WHAT I DESERVE – the wages of sin (spiritual death in hell). Grace in that He GAVE ME WHAT I DON’T DESERVE – forgiveness, His favor, and eternal life.
Days of remembrance have always been important in my life. Cultures set aside days to reflect, honor and remember important events…and to begin anew. I find it interesting that our souls’ need for these days seems inherent among all cultures, and that God has designated these appointed times for our good. September 2013
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