Also the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy [called] assembly, and you shall afflict yourselves [by fasting in penitence and humility] and present an offering made by fire to the Lord.
In keeping with last week's commentary on the Lord's Feasts, this week I want to continue with the holy days that are upon us. These Fall Feasts began just a few days ago, at sundown on Thursday, which began the Feast of Trumpets. As I mentioned, these holy festivals are "dress rehearsals" for God's appointed times in His plan of redemption for mankind.
The Spring Feasts mirror His death, burial and resurrection, along with the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Fall Feasts will mirror His Second Coming. Last week's Feast of Trumpets is a dress rehearsal for His return and the rapture of the Church. The ancient Israelites celebrated this day as the beginning of their new year, and they gathered together to praise God for His renewal.
The Feast of Trumpets also began 10 days of celebration as the people prepared themselves with fasting and prayer to hear their verdict on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This ritual trial reaches its conclusion. . . . The people finally drop all their defenses and excuses and throw themselves on the mercy of the heavenly court, yet the same people never lose the conviction that they will be pardoned. This atonement is by divine grace; it is above and beyond the individual effort or merit. The Day of Atonement was a gracious day each year when all the Israelites could experience a new beginning by being cleansed from their sins and restored to fellowship with their Maker.
The Old Testament significance of this Feast Day is understood by remembering that the Israelites performed daily sacrifices in which the blood that was brought into the Holy Place for sprinkling against the veil and upon the horns of the altar of incense. This served to symbolically transfer into the sanctuary the sins which had been atoned for. There the sins remained until the Day of Atonement, when the sanctuary was cleansed of the accumulated sins of the people.
The blood of the sacrificial animals served as a substitute for the Sinner who offended God. But this blood offered for repenting sinners defiled the sanctuary, because it was used to symbolically carry their sins into the sanctuary where they were kept until the Day of Atonement. God’s Sanctuary needed to be CLEANSED on the Day of Atonement. Imagine the smell of all that blood upon the altar for a full year!
If we believe these Feasts are dress rehearsals for Christ’s Second Coming, then some future Day of Atonement will be the Day of Judgment (Bema Seat), when after being raptured we are standing in God's presence and hear an accounting of how we lived our lives for Him and His Son.
The significance of this day (Day of Atonement) for us New Testament believers is that God loves us SO much that He has even given us the day we should fast, pray and seek His face before we have to stand in front of Him, face-to-face. Yet, like the ancient Israelites, if we belong to Him, we can rest in the knowledge that Christ is the Sacrificial Lamb that paid the price for our sins, and we will be pardoned.
This year, the Day of Atonement begins at sundown on October 4th, and ends at sundown on October 5th. We can come together with other believers (Holy Convocation) for a day of complete fasting (examine our souls). What better time to do this than on the one day each year that our Heavenly Father has instructed His people to do so?
It’s also a good time to intercede and appeal for mercy on behalf of ourselves, our family and friends, and our Nation/Community. We see this in the story of Jonah –Jonah was sent by God to Ninevah, a wicked murderous nation to warn them of impending judgment. We see that they humbled themselves(fasted) and turned from their wicked ways and because of that, God spared them. He is so good to provide a warning before judgment!
If you are reading this post, then it is obvious that the Feast of Trumpets 2014 was not the appointed day of Christ's return. But now that we are seeing the Biblical meaning of these holy days, celebrating them should feed our souls. We can still celebrate the Day of Atonement and the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles, which mirrors Christ's coming to earth to dwell among us in His 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom. More on that next week!
Note: Because I see the significance of the Lord's Feasts, I also celebrate the Sabbath. But I choose to post these essays on Worship on the Church's traditional Sunday, in hopes that more people will see them and be prompted to begin their own research and study on what God's Word says.