We had the opportunity to celebrate Yom Kippur, otherwise known as the Day of Atonement, for the first time this last shabbat. It is the only time of the year that we are commanded to fast. Leviticus 23 outlines all the feast days and appointed times of the Most High.
26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 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.”
The rules for Yom Kippur are pretty simple. Do no work and fast. Doing no work not only means your normal job but it also means other forms of work such as: mowing the lawn, painting the house, cleaning the house, cutting wood, weeding your garden, etc. Basically you don’t eat anything and spend all day focusing on the Lord. I personally spent quite a bit of time in prayer, the word, and watched some Know Your Enemy episodes. It’s also a great day to sleep in, just ask my wife :-)
I decided to go with no food or drink (even water) for the 24 hour period. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday I neither ate nor drank anything. This was the first time I’ve done a fast like that and it was something else. I think YHWH (God) blessed me this time and took some of the pain and difficulty from me. Normally my stomach hurts if I don’t go for 5 hours without food but I had very little stomach pain all day. The most difficult thing was going with no water. That left me with a slight but not unbearable headache all day long.
Leviticus 16 goes into great detail about the Day of Atonement and the sacrifices that the High Priest had to make. I’m not going to get into all of it with this post but I encourage you to read it and look for the similarities between it and our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).
29 “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. 32 And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; 33 then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.
Notice Leviticus 23:31 says, “it shall be a statute forever throughout all your generations in all your dwellings.” Leviticus 16:31 reads, “It is a statute forever.” Leviticus 16 goes on to say in verse 34, “This shall be an everlasting statute for you.” I’m not the smartest man in the world but I think forever and all your generations is still going on. It’s clear that YHWH really wants us to keep this feast.
I know that many reading this might be thinking, “This sacrifice and feast was to make atonement for the children of Israel but we now have Jesus to make atonement for us.” And you are absolutely right! Yeshua did and does continuously make atonement for us but we don’t keep this feast because we think it will wash away our sins. Yeshua has already accomplished that, praise Yah! We keep this feast as a memorial and because the Most High commanded us to. We are merely worshipping our God the way he wants.