For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven
with a loud cry of summons,
with the shout of an archangel,
and with the blast of the trumpet of God.
And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first.
Last week I gave you a comparison of the Old Testament and New Testament significance of this Holy Day, the Day of Atonement. While this is new to me, the Holy Spirit is showing a small, but growing group of us Christians why these Feast Days are important to the Lord.
Today, in an effort to show God's plan of unity between his natural olive tree and the wild olive shoot, I would like to share with you the testimony of a group of Jewish Believers, who are celebrating this day in Jerusalem. It is my hope that you will see a picture not only of our Lord's mercy in forgiving us our trespasses, but a future picture of His return.
Asher Intrater is the Director of Revive Israel, a ministry for the Messianic remnant in Israel. As a Jew, he is able to provide a link between his faith and ours, showing us the unity of the Body of Christ. Here is his explanation of the Day of Atonement from his unique perspective:
Yom Kippur is the most holy day of the Jewish calendar. It was the one time during the year when the high priest could enter the holy of holies, passing through the woven veil to come before the seat of God's presence on earth. He came to offer the blood of atonement, symbolizing the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. Yom Kippur has rich layers of prophetic meaning integrating holiness, repentance, atonement, spiritual warfare, the judgment day, resurrection and the second coming of Messiah.
Every year our vision for celebrating Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) as a united community grows stronger. This year five local Israeli congregations are participating, and we will join together for a day and a half of prayer and fasting. Our time will open with a reading from the book of Jonah and its themes of calling for prayer, repentance and mission to the nations.
In the morning we will include traditional prayers, and then the team will lead worship during the main assembly. The theme for this day is the blood of Yeshua, atonement and the cross. The pastors will lead in intercessory prayer. In the afternoon, we have a public reading of the entire book of Hebrews (in Hebrew). In the past two years, a precious anointing and spontaneous burst of joy accompanied the reading.
Our closing assembly is dedicated to the end-times prophecies and the "great and terrible day of YHVH" (Joel 1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 2:31, 3:14). The blowing of the shofar at the end of the Day of Atonement is a prophetic proclamation of the Second Coming of Yeshua, the rapture and the resurrection of the dead (Leviticus 25:9, Isaiah 27:13, Matthew 24:31, I Corinthians 15:52, I Thessalonians 4:16). As the ministry leader, I will give the end-times message leading up to the blowing of the shofar - reflecting our exciting and fearful sense of the approaching end-times, the culmination of the spiritual warfare, the battle of Armageddon, the worldwide outpouring of the Spirit and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom on earth.
We conclude with the unity of the congregations and participate in the Lord's Supper. There is a large shared meal before the beginning of the fast and light refreshments at the end to break the fast. Seeing the fellowship of different leaders and congregations is itself a miracle, and a sign from the Lord. Ultimately, the vision of our celebration is one of combining traditional Jewish worship elements with the modern spontaneous Messianic elements. This brings a tremendous sense of awe, covenant, history, prophecy and the presence of the Lord.
As we Christians come to understand that the roots of our faith are shared with our Jewish Brethren, it is my hope that we will come to grasp the significance of Feast Days like the Day of Atonement, and that we will see our Lord and Savior in the history and the prophecies. And most of all, it is my prayer that we will also share the sense of awe and the presence of the Lord. What a glorious God we serve!