CGOM, Israel, and Atonement

Chinese Dragon
A Chinese Depiction of a Dragon
(The Bible in Revelation 20:2 Calls Satan Both a Serpent and Dragon)


The Day of Atonement, most commonly called Yom Kippur by the Jews (or the Fast in the New Testament), starts tonight, October 8th, at sunset this year.

CGOM’s (Church of God Outreach Ministries) James McBride wrote:

A Day To Reflect
2008 Thursday October  9th
“on the tenth of this seventh month shall be a day of atonement; there shall be a holy gathering, and you shall humble your souls and shall bring a fire offering to Jehovah. And you shall do no work in this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to atone for you before Jehovah your God. For any person who is not humbled in this same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work in this same day, I shall even destroy that person from the midst of his people. You shall do no work; it is a never ending statute throughout your generations, in all your dwellings. It is a sabbath of rest to you, and you shall humble your souls in the ninth of the month at evening; from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath” (Leviticus 23: 27-32)

For Israelites the Day of Atonement was the most solemn day of their year. Even now, an estimated 70% of Israelis will attend synagogue on that day.  The intricate rituals associated with Atonement have significance for Christians, the corporate Church of God, and for all of mankind.

  • Atonement (yom kippur) is a one-day observance held annually in early autumn – on the Hebrew calendar it is the 10th of the seventh month, Tishri. The day is observed from sundown on the 9th (Leviticus 23:32), and is a day of complete cessation of work, fasting and is set aside for contemplation and worship. The Day was one of the seven annual observances appointed by the LORD (Leviticus 23:4) and is ‘…a never ending statute throughout your generations’
  • For the Israelites, the Day marks the high point of a period of introspection, reconciliation and personal renewal which began ten days before on the Day of Trumpets. A person’s sins may have been confessed and sacrifice made during the year. At Atonement the national sin is covered – so the nation as a whole can begin the year with a ‘clean sheet’
  • Atonement is the one day of the year when the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. His purpose was to offer sacrifices to  ‘cover’ his own sin and the sins of the nation, and for the purification of the Tabernacle – which was ‘contaminated’ by the sins of the people throughout the previous year
  • The year-by-year repetition of the rituals emphasised their temporary nature: ‘ But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins’ (Hebrews 10:3-4)
  • Every aspect of the complex ritual (Leviticus 16) of this ‘Day of Days’ foreshadows the person and work of Jesus Christ: ‘…but Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us’ (Hebrews 9:11-12). Chapters nine and ten of Hebrews focuses on the Day of Atonement. Especially, Paul – in the context of explaining this Day – enjoins the faithful to observe the Day of Atonement: ‘… let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching ‘ (ch 10:24-25, and see Isaiah 58:13)
  • The High Priest, on Atonement, sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on the ‘mercy-seat’. The word derives from ‘a covering’ – the same root as atonement; it was the lid of the Ark of the Covenant where the LORD interacted with man, where He dwelled: ‘…there I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony’ (Exodus 25:22). Jesus, in anti-type fulfills this role: ‘…Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us’  (Hebrews 9:24). As did the High Priest in Israel, Jesus intercedes for his brethren (ch 7:25). The year of Jubile begins on that Day – the year of release and restoration (Leviticus 25:8-17)
  • The rituals of the Day of Atonement concern the symbolic ‘covering’ of sin – the two goats, for example. For Christians our intimate personal relationship with God and with Jesus is marked by the Spring festival – the Lord’s Supper and the Unleavened Bread festival. In them we annually renew our Covenant with God and focus on our personal spiritual ‘leaven’. Perhaps for Christians Atonement – also a time of repentance – references the Body of Christ, the Church of God – spiritual Israel as a whole…
  • The Festivals follow a time-line, and have prophetic significance. The position of Atonement in the prophetic year places it just after the end-time events which culminate in the return of Christ – the ‘seven trumpets’ of Revelation. At that time Satan is ‘bound’, his influence on mankind removed throughout the ensuing millennial period (Revelation 20:1-3). Rightly, we fast on Atonement in compassion for a world deceived by this evil being

Notice a few comments on the observance of the date in the nation of Israel:

Israeli Big Brother shuts down for Yom Kippur

International Herald Tribune – Oct 6, 2008

In Israel, even Big Brother has to take a break for Yom Kippur.

When Israel marks the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, the country comes to a complete standstill.

Traffic stops, stores and offices shutter and people spend the day praying and fasting.

With Yom Kippur coming this week, this is forcing the producers of the cult reality show Big Brother to deviate from the format that has made the show a guilty pleasure for people in some 70 countries. They are halting their broadcasts of participants’ every move, and they’ve built a makeshift synagogue for a religious contestant.

This year, Yom Kippur begins on Wednesday evening and ends after nightfall Thursday. As part of the atmosphere of solemnity, Israeli law requires all radio and TV stations to go off the air.

Big Brother will also shut down its broadcasts on television and the Internet, an unheard-of disruption in the 24/7 coverage of the housemates’ yawns, scratches, feuds and inane conversations. Those addicted to the show will have to do without their fix for a full day, and those inside the house will enjoy relative privacy, although — in keeping with the show’s rules mandating total isolation from the world outside — they won’t know it.

While television shows are not particularly relevant related to the Day of Atonement, it is nice that the nation Israel at least makes some attempt at observing the biblical Holy Day.

But of course, this Holy Day has meaning for true Christians.

Satan the Dragon is to bound for the entire 1000 years of the millennial reign of Christ.  And that is just part of the significance of the Day of Atonement for Christians.  A day that early Christians, like the Apostle Paul (cf. Acts 27:9), kept (the Fast was so widely observed in the 4th century that it was condemned by John Chrysostom (see Fall Holy Days Approach).

The Day of Atonement, unlike the world’s false pagan holidays, does have much significance for Christians today.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus? Did Paul? Should you?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement”. Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians?
LCG 2008 Feast of Tabernacles’ Information Here is information on many Feast of Tabernacles locations for this year.
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.

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