It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I blame the ADHD … I’m easily distracted!
I’ve often been asked why I, as a follower of Messianic Judaism and someone who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Messiah, fast on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the day upon which Jews across the globe fast for repentance in hopes that they will be inscribed in the Book of Life. It is actually the culmination of a ten day period known as the Days of Awe (beginning with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Teruah/The Feast of Trumpets) in which it is traditionally believed that God surveys all we’ve done throughout the year and decides what will happen to us in the next. “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” It is a time of reflection, repentance, and charity, as tradition teaches that this is the last opportunity to change God’s mind before His judgments are final.
It’s an interesting concept, though not entirely Biblical. God may be our Heavenly Father but He’s not like our earthly parents … He can’t be bribed and you won’t dazzle Him by being good for a few days. But it’s an interesting concept, nonetheless!
The B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) teaches that all who know Yeshua as their King and Messiah are already written in the Book of Life. So, why fast?
To a Messianic believer, Yom Kippur is a celebration of what Yeshua has done for us. He has fulfilled every sacrifice and requirement God has demanded of us because of our insolence. I fast to center myself, to spend a day focusing on Him, and as a sign of gratitude for what He has done for me. We used to have to go to the Temple, where only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies on one day each year to intercede for us before Yahweh, the Almighty Creator. Hands would be laid on a lamb to transfer our transgressions to it and it would be slaughtered as a sacrifice, as there is no forgiveness of our wrongdoing without the shedding of blood. Yeshua was both our High Priest and the slaughtered Lamb and through His resurrection, we can now approach God directly. No rabbis. No priests. No crystal balls, talismans, or hallucinogenic supplements required. I can bring both my praises and grievances to the Almighty Creator personally.
Finally, I fast and pray on behalf of Jews worldwide that He may hasten the day when we all “mourn for Him as one mourns for an only Son” (Zechariah 12:10) because it’s in this way that “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). This is the true goal of the Scriptures in their entirety. God has made a very specific promise to a very specific group of people and one day this will be fulfilled in its entirety. It will be fulfilled perfectly and in all perpetuity.
I normally like to hear myself talk but the writer of Hebrews sums it all up better than I ever could:
“Now the first covenant had both regulations for worship and a Holy Place here on earth. A tent was set up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place; in it were the menorah, the table and the Bread of the Presence. Behind the second veil was a tent called the Holiest Place, which had the golden altar for burning incense and the Ark of the Covenant, entirely covered with gold. In the Ark were the gold jar containing the manna, Aharon’s rod that sprouted and the stone Tablets of the Covenant; and above it were the cherubim representing the Glory of God, casting their shadow on the lid of the Ark — but now is not the time to discuss these things in detail.
“With things so arranged, the priests go into the outer tent all the time to discharge their duties; but only the High Priest enters the inner one; and he goes in only once a year, and he must always bring blood, which he offers both for himself and for the sins committed in ignorance by the people. By this arrangement, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) showed that so long as the first Tent had standing, the way into the Holiest Place was still closed. This symbolizes the present age and indicates that the conscience of the person performing the service cannot be brought to the goal by the gifts and sacrifices he offers. For they involve only food and drink and various ceremonial washings — regulations concerning the outward life, imposed until the time for God to reshape the whole structure.
“But when the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the good things that are happening already, then, through the greater and more perfect Tent which is not man-made (that is, it is not of this created world), He entered the Holiest Place once and for all.
“And He entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of His own blood, thus setting people free forever. For if sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer restores their outward purity; then how much more the blood of the Messiah, Who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself to God as a sacrifice without blemish, will purify our conscience from works that lead to death, so that we can serve the living God!
“… Further, he did not enter heaven to offer Himself over and over again, like the High Priest who enters the Holiest Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then He would have had to suffer death many times — from the founding of the universe on. But as it is, He has appeared once at the end of the ages in order to do away with sin through the sacrifice of Himself. Just as human beings have to die once, but after this comes judgment, so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to deliver those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”
I think missing a few meals as a sign of appreciation is a small thing to ask, no?