For Messiah has entered … into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Each year in the Fall Leviticus teaches about a day of fasting and repentance called: ‘Yom HaKippurim’ or, ‘The Day of Atonements’ (Leviticus 23:26-32).. This day is usually observed by the Jewish people but not by the Christians. On that day in Israel, the whole country stands still. It’s a day of fasting, rest and prayers. All shops are closed and the only traffic allowed is emergency vehicles. Fall in Israel has the most comfortable weather and it is common on the evening of Yom Kippur for people to stroll down for a walk with their children in the middle of the empty highways and streets.
The first ordinances of Yom Kippur are given us in chapter sixteen, within the context of ritual purity and on the heels of the incident with Nadab and Abihu. This tells us that Yom Kippur is about purity and atonement in order to approach the Almighty in the Tabernacle or later on, the Temple.
Since neither the Tabernacle nor the Temple is present today, one may legitimately ask, ‘What does this have to do with me today?’ Also, the fact that Yeshua is presented as our once for all atonement offering, we may feel that like this ceremony in at this time obsolete.
These are legitimate questions, but they may deserve a little more studying. First, the festivals of Leviticus twenty-three were never identified as the ‘Feasts of the Jews’ as is often done in the Gospels, but rather as the ‘Feasts of the Lord’ (Leviticus 23:2, 44). A Jew is technically a descendant of Judah the son of Jacob, so the term ‘Feast of the Jews’ only relates to the fact that these were celebrated in Jerusalem of Judea. All the inhabitants of Israel had to go or send representatives to Jerusalem for these Feasts, and they have been ordained as a perpetual ordinance for those who follow the God of Israel.
Ritual purity relates to the fact that we are human, so as long as we are in this physical biological state, we are still impure. The fact that Yeshua died to redeem us from that impurity and even to take our sins upon Him does not negate the fact that we are still today in this dimension of sin and impurity. While we are declared sinless and pure before God through the atonement/covering of Yeshua, our actual experience of reality is one marred with imperfection. To say otherwise is to be oblivious to reality. Also to question the remembrance of the facts that brought us back into relationship with the Father is like a husband asking, ‘If I married her, it seems obvious that I love her; why does she need to hear it again … and again?” Or “Why do we have to bother with anniversaries?”
Paul himself mentions about this Yom Kippur fast (Acts 27:9), and he was known for observing the Festivals (Acts 24:14). Again people may have to reconsider what they we have been taught about the relationship of Yeshua’s believers with the Hebrew Scriptures.