Yom Kippur and Jesus’ sacrifice
A Jewish man blows a shofar at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on September 16, 2017, prior to the upcoming Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 'Selichot" the prayer for forgiveness, is a prayer usually recited before dawn in the lead-up to the Rosh Hashana (New Years) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) high holidays. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Some have wondered why, if Jesus’ life was a perfect sacrifice, Jesus didn’t die on Yom Kippur instead of Passover. During the first decades after the resurrection, when the early Christian community was primarily Jewish, believers continued to participate in Yom Kippur and the rest of the yearly festival cycle, though their understanding of those rituals took on new meaning as they reveled in the fulfillment of Jesus’ sacrifice for them. Many of the church’s early leaders taught about Jesus as simultaneously high priest, scapegoat and perfect sacrifice. The source material for this teaching tended to be the events of Holy Week.
But while early church leaders continued to teach Jesus’ fulfillment of Yom Kippur’s purpose, there was a movement among Gentile believers away from adapting Yom Kippur as a holy day for the church. Scholar Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra wrote, “Yom Kippur was for Gentile Christians not so much a custom to be continued as a festival to be newly adopted—a process possible only where the new custom could be supported by a Christian rationale. Since Christ died in Nisan (during Passover) and not in Tishri (during Yom Kippur), the main meaningful events of earliest Christianity were connected to a different month.”
In any case, while Yom Kippur is a central event in the Jewish calendar, the exodus is the essential narrative of the Jewish people. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice at Passover fulfilled the once-a-year reckoning of sin at Yom Kippur and the everyday reality of sin at work in each one of our lives.
Does Yom Kippur have meaning for those seeking to follow Jesus today? Yes. Yom Kippur allows us to reflect on the immeasurable grace of God found in our Messiah Jesus. Instead of apprehension about whether we’ll be inscribed in the Book of Life from year to year, Jesus’ followers can embrace his fulfillment of this day with deep gratitude.
Many Messianic Jews choose to fast on Yom Kippur as a way to both stand in solidarity with and intercede in prayer for their not-yet-believing Jewish friends and family. Followers of Jesus understand that fasting is not a transaction that demonstrates how serious a person is about repenting from sin; fasting is a spiritual discipline that allows us to focus our desires on God.
If you’d like to consider the meaning of Yom Kippur more fully, consider prayerfully reflecting on the words of Isaiah 58. How did Jesus’ life and ministry reflect this kind of fast? What kind of fast might God be calling you to do?
You may wish to seek out some hymns or worship songs that focus on the atonement. “There Is a Redeemer” (Melody Green), “And Can It Be?” (Wesley/Campbell), and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” (Bernard of Clairvaux) can get you started.
If you gather with others on Yom Kippur, thank God together for the once-and-for-all salvation he’s given you in Jesus the Messiah. He has inscribed your name on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16) and written it in his Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).
 Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity: The Day of Atonement from the Second Temple to the Fifth Century, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 163 (Tubingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2003), 331.
This article adapted from Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith (NavPress, 2015) originally appeared on Caspari Center, September 25, 2017, and reposted with permission. For more information about the book, visit MomentsAndDays.org
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One aspect of alignment is identification. A change of identity is occurring in the international Church and in the Messianic remnant. The change is a switch from “them” to “us.” This change of identity is to some degree a redefinition of the Ecclesia (or returning to its original definition). It is the Church and Israel identifying one with another. The Church was always meant to see itself as a spiritual extension of the people of Israel. The Messianic remnant was meant to see the international Ecclesia as its “offspring” or “progeny.”
At the 822 Homecoming Gathering in Jerusalem in 2014, the International Convention Center was filled to capacity. Some of the Arab and Jewish brothers came on to the main platform together. I led a time of repentance on behalf of the Messianic community toward the Arab Christian community. We honored them as our brothers. We confessed that we were “married” together by covenant faith in Yeshua.
Then David Demian called the Arab brothers to respond. He led them in a faith declaration according to the book of Ruth: “Your people will be my people, and Your God will be my God.” A covenantal bond was formed. A profound repositioning was taking place. Until that moment, I thought that the “Ruth” calling was a unique and unusual calling for those few Christians whom God had led to be connected to the people of Israel. To see all these Arab leaders making that commitment changed my viewpoint. If Arab Christians can do this, why can’t all Christians do it?
I realized that the Ruth example was supposed to be the normative one. Ruth is a model for the entire Ecclesia community. Ruth is not to be the exception but the rule. If Yeshua is both head of the Church and King of Israel, then we are to be joined as one people by faith.
In November 2016, at the Global Gathering in Jerusalem Arena, David Demian asked me if I would let the Samoan brothers lift me up on their shoulders on the stage to symbolically offer a crown to Yeshua. I ran around looking for someone else to do it. David insisted that I do it as one of the Messianic fathers in the Land. My dear (and strong) Samoan brothers Sika and Vea lifted me up. I was given a model of a golden crown. I felt extremely awkward and embarrassed, but I lifted the crown as an offering to Yeshua as the whole stadium began to declare “Barukh Haba” from Matthew 23:39. My arms grew heavy. Suddenly the Arab brothers saw I was getting tired, and they rushed up to hold my arms. Some of them from Muslim countries risked their lives even to be on stage with us. They said, “This is our role: to support our Messianic brothers in inviting Yeshua back on behalf of the Body of Christ at large.” There was an amazing alignment of Christians from all over the world.
These all fit together in a perfect picture puzzle. On that evening in the Jerusalem Arena representatives of this alignment were in place. The pieces were beginning to be connected. We could feel the presence of God in the stadium. Together we lifted up the crown of Yeshua to invite Him to be our king.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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To whom will He say, ‘I never knew you’?
I’m gonna make a lot of people very angry with this blog, but here goes.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’re a young man in love with a young woman who you’re looking forward to marrying someday.
Now imagine someone who would call themselves a friend of yours walks up to her one day and sees her wearing a pair of earrings that they think you wouldn’t like (even though you’ve told all your friends that although they’re not your favorite thing, you’ve moved past it and it’s not a problem anymore because being in a relationship with her is more important than her earrings) so they scream at her abusively, telling her that she’s treating you wrong by wearing them. Then, they even rip them out of her ears, tearing her flesh, making her bleed, making her cry and perhaps causing her permanent disfigurement.
Now imagine that this individual comes to your wedding with a gift under their arm and a smile on their face expecting to be welcomed into the celebration.
What might you say to that individual?
Keep this in mind, it’s important for what comes later.
One of the most difficult (and most abused) passages in the entire Bible is Matthew 7:22-24, which says;
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (NASB)
That’s pretty heavy stuff isn’t it?
According to this passage, there’s a great many people who think they’re doing the work of the Kingdom of God who are going to stand before the Throne someday expecting to receive a reward for what they did in this life but instead they’re going to get cast into Hell.
I get this verse thrown at me a lot because I tell people that there’s no problem if followers of Jesus Christ have Christmas trees and Easter egg hunts and eat bacon and attend church on Sunday and all kinds of other stuff that the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Jewish movement recoils in horror at.
It doesn’t bother me when people throw that verse at me for this stuff, but it does sadden me, for their sake.
Let me tell you why.
For starters, if we want Jesus to “know” us, we should do our utmost to “know” Him.
The way to get to know Jesus is the same way we get to know any other person, we have to spend time with Him, and the way to do that is to read the Bible (which is how we hear from Him) and pray (which is how He hears from us.)
The more time you spend with Him, the better you’ll know Him. The more you’ll know His heart.
You’ll start to love the things He loves. You’ll start to hate the things He hates. You’ll start to lose interest in the things which don’t interest Him and instead become more interested in the things which DO interest Him.
At the risk of sounding judgmental, in my experience you’ll also start to be able to spot people who say they know Him but don’t, because they’ll love things He doesn’t love, they’ll hate things He doesn’t hate, and very often they’ll be utterly OBSESSED by things which the Bible specifically says are not important at all.
Now, although I haven’t spent as much time with Him as I should have in my life and so I don’t know Him as well as I’d like to, there’s a couple of things I know for sure.
I know that Jesus LOVES his brothers and sisters among the Nation of Israel (Revelation 5:5) and He loves His Bride, which is the Church (Ephesians 5:25)
Anyone who says they “know” Jesus Christ yet harms Israel and/or the Church, ESPECIALLY if they do so saying that they’re doing it because they want to please Him, is very much mistaken.
They are like the man who tears the earrings out of a young bride-to-be’s ears thinking he’s doing the bridegroom a favor.
My dear brothers and sisters, please hear me.
Jesus doesn’t hate it when His followers attend a congregation that meets on Sunday instead of Saturday. We know this because it specifically says so in Colossians 2:16-17.
What He DOES hate is when His followers stop meeting with other Believers because of petty disputes over nothing. We know this because it says so in multiple passages of the New Testament, including Hebrews 10:24-25 and Titus 3:9.
There are many more examples I could go through, but since this “dispute” over whether God wants and expects us to come together to fellowship with Him and each other on Saturday or Sunday is one of the great points of friction in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Jewish movement, and something which is actually causing large segments of this movement to be alienated from other Believers, it’s enough to make the point.
This is what I think.
I think that if you tell someone who is faithfully attending a Sunday church meeting every week, growing in their faith and drawing closer to the Lord, serving others in their church and otherwise preparing to be part of the Bride of Christ, that they are SINNING and that their only hope is to FORSAKE that church unless it starts meeting on Saturday instead of Sunday, than it is YOU to whom Jesus will say, “depart from me, I never knew you.”
It is precisely this sort of person that is described in 1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NASB);
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
Again brothers and sisters, please hear me.
Jesus loves His Bride.
He DOES NOT love it when people try to do Him a favor by tearing into her with “controversial questions and disputes about words” and rhetorical questions for which the New Testament gives specific and final answers which contain absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever.
I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movement is massively infiltrated by false teachers who endlessly pound home a false Gospel and a false Jesus, precisely as the Apostle Paul spoke about in 2 Corinthians 11:4. Some of these false teachers have large followings, and some of the people reading this right now are among those followers.
If you’re unsure whether the leaders you’re following are among these false teachers, it’s easy to find out. Spend time getting to “know” Jesus, and see if what they’re saying lines up with what He says. See if what they say is important is important to the Man from Galilee described in the New Testament.
We will all stand before the throne someday and give an account for our lives (Revelation 20:12) and the relationships we had with this or that teacher, pastor, evangelist, etc won’t matter. The only thing that will matter will be whether we were in a right relationship with the Lord.
If we want to be allowed into the wedding feast (Revelation 19:6-9) we have to be among those who the Bridegroom “knows” and although it might not be enough, I believe a minimum requirement for Him to “know” us is for us to make an effort to get to “know” Him.
You definitely don’t want to be told that He “never knew you” because you didn’t love what He loved, you didn’t hate what He hated, and you treated His Bride with contempt over things which He specifically said were not a problem because some false teacher insisted it was a matter of paramount importance.
So, I say again, SPEND TIME WITH THE LORD!
Spend time in His Word, spend time in prayer, spend time in fellowship with others who do the same. In this way we will get to know Him, and he will get to know us, and we can avoid a terrifying surprise when we see Him face to face.
Aaron is a member of Jerusalem Assembly, House of Redemption.
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The Jewish New Year
In Israel, we are now entering the season of the Fall Festivals. This is a collection of holidays that emphasize a time of repentance and reflection. The festivals are given to us as a shadow and signs so that we know how to “identify the season” we are in.
Rosh Hashanah is ten days before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. This was the only day of the year where the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people. The preparation prior to this was a 40 day period where the people prayed and repented for their sins. If you think of it like a trial, the 40 days were the trail proceedings, and Yom Kippur was the day when judgment was pronounced. So the 10 days prior to the final day of Judgement are the “closing arguments” part of the trial. This is the season of “drawing near.”
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa 55:6-7)
In Jewish tradition, the fate of every person was determined for the next year during the 10 “Days of Awe” between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. One’s name was written in either the “Book of Life” or the “Book of Death.” Yom Kippur was the final day when everyone’s name was written in one of the two books, and the quality of repentance during this time was what determined where your name was written. That is why this period is called “Aseret Yemei Teshuva” or “the Ten Days of Repentance.”
As members of the Body of the Messiah:
“We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” (Heb 8:1-2) “Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Heb 9:11-15)
So our hope is secured not through our own righteousness, but through Him we have already been written in the Book of Life. Now may God use our lives to make known the path of true repentance leading to eternal life. We long for the day in Israel when:
“I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” (Zech 12:10-11)
This is a promised season of true repentance that is to come through a pouring out of a Spirit of Grace and Supplication on “the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem” that we long to see released. Please pray with us for this outpouring.
This article originally appeared on CBN Israel, September 22, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Since its establishment in March 2012 CBN Israel has helped thousands of people through its various operations. As the foundation of Project Light Shine, CBN Israel gives help to the community through three avenues; Humanitarian aid, education and economic development. CBN Israel serves with a spirit of humility and love. Their mission is to prepare the Land and the people of Israel for the coming of Messiah Yeshua and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The vision of their work is to see the hungry fed, the needs of the needy met, businesses established and to improve the spiritual, physical and financial situation of the local body.
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Sold his soul for price of a killed slave
In the passage just before ours here, Mary (John 12:3) is remembered for pouring very expensive oil on the head and feet of Jesus. The value of the oil was a year’s wage of a common laborer. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, was very bothered by this expensive waste (destruction) – in his estimation — saying that the oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor. But John tells us in his gospel account that Judas did not care about the poor, but that he was a thief who stole from offerings given to Jesus and those with Him. (John 12:6) Today we are going to remember Judas, for our learning and admonition.
Mary loved Yeshua, and she did not count the cost to express her love. She sat at His feet to listen to Him, even though her sister was busy preparing a meal for them. (Luke 10:38-42) Mary wanted to be with Yeshua for who He is: the lover of her soul. Judas did not love Yeshua, but rather the privileges of being one of the Messiah’s specially chosen disciples, and of the power and influence that it gave him to be with the promised King of Israel, son of David. Judas had a serious character flaw, and we see that, despite knowing and being with the Lord and hearing His teachings and doing all the wonderful things that the other apostles also performed for those 3 ½ years, he never really submitted to the Lord’s sovereignty and His holy and righteous character, and to the truth that Yeshua really knew the hearts of every man. (John 2:23-25; Acts 1:24; Heb. 4:13)
Judas went sometime before the last Passover supper to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. He was willing to betray the Lord for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave accidentally killed by an ox. (Matt. 26:14-16; Exod. 21:32) The value today of those 30 shekels is between $90 – $3000!
( https://aleteia.org/2017/04/12/how-much-might-judas-30-pieces-of-silver-be-worth-today/ )
The oil of Mary was worth more than Jesus to Judas. Like Esau, Judas was willing to give up all – to sell his soul — for a moment’s foolish reasoning. (Gen. 25:29-34; Heb. 12:14-17) But the seed of this foolishness began to take root long before the decision of destiny.
How much is Jesus worth to you? How much are you worth to Him?
In ch. 13, Yeshua taught His disciples that in the last days many false messiahs and false prophets would come to deceive the elect, if possible. The devil is a master deceiver. Judas was with, and knew, the true Messiah, and the true Prophet, but allowed himself to be deceived because, I believe, he wanted to ‘make Jesus’ act now — Kingdom now! – by force, if necessary, to establish His kingdom, and Judas would play a key role. He would be the hero! Our hearts are deceitfully wicked! Our flesh is still battling the Spirit of God within us. (Gal. 5:17)
The devil deceived Judas into thinking he was doing a good thing in betraying Jesus to the Jewish rulers. When Jesus, at the Passover supper, told Judas to go out and do it quickly (John 13:27). None of the other apostles knew where he went or what he was about to do. Judas apparently thought that Jesus was sending him to do his ‘deceit’, and so accomplish a good thing. How else to explain that when the time came, Judas gave the sign to those sent to arrest Jesus that he would kiss Jesus so that they would know which man to arrest?! (Mark 14:43-44) Judas was completely deceived by the devil, and it even says that Satan entered into him. (Luke 22:3; John 13:27) When things did not work out as he had planned, he went back to the religious leaders to give them back the money, and confessed that he betrayed an innocent man. They, and the devil, did not care about Judas. Neither did Judas go back to Jesus and confess his sin and receive forgiveness. Instead he went and killed himself. Judas fulfilled a number of prophecies in the Old Testament (Tanach) by his betrayal of the Son of God (which you can look up, and pay attention to as you read the Bible).
Yeshua knew that one of the twelve that the Father had Him choose to become His apostles was a devil. (John 6:70-71) Does that mean that Judas never had a chance, that God had predestined him to destruction? Judas is called by the same name as the Antichrist: the son of perdition/destruction (ben-ha-abbadon). (John 17:12; 2 Thes. 2:3) At the last supper, when Jesus revealed which one of the apostles would be His betrayer (because no one knew! Each one even thought it might be himself, and they were sorrowful! That’s how much Jesus related to Judas in the same manner as with the rest!), Jesus said to all of them that it would happen just as it is written that it must, but “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:17-21) Yeshua, the righteous Judge of the dead and living, could never have said that if Judas had no free will, at least up until the time that he sold himself to the devil. God foreknows all things; God is sovereign; but as being created in His image and likeness, each of us has our own free will: to either choose to obey the Lord or to disobey Him; to either choose good or evil; to either choose life or death; to either choose to be with Jesus, or to be against Him. It was not at all a good deed that Judas thought to do, and did.
The context of the texts reveal that though Judas had “received his portion” in the Lord’s ministry (Acts 1:16-17), he “fell ”, and went to his “own place” (perdition/destruction/abaddon). (Acts 1:25) A believer – even an apostle — can fall from the truth and lose all that he had. (1 Tim. 4:1) Jesus tells us that he who endures [in the faith] until the end will be saved. The fear of the LORD is essential for our spiritual health. We can have confidence in our salvation, yet we are never to take it – or God — for granted. It/He is not cheap: we are very expensive! God came in the flesh to die for us; we are bought with the precious blood of Yeshua. We are called to love and to remain faithful to the Father and to His Son, and He has given us His Holy Spirit to make that possible for every believer.
Let us learn from the tragic case of Judas Iscariot to examine and judge our own hearts in our relationship with Jesus, and of our standing in the faith. (1 Cor. 11:26-32; 2 Cor. 13:5-6) As we remember in a special way this week the atonement for all our sins which God provided for us by the crucifixion and shed blood of the Messiah, Yeshua, let us be eternally grateful, and let Him accomplish His plan His way in His time, and help bring in others to know Him and love Him above all, too.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, September 22, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.