“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV
In case you are just now joining me on this eye-opening journey through the feasts of Israel, I want you to know that this is one in a series of studies on the Jewish holidays. The other feasts that proceed this one are: (Passover & Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost and Trumpets). And then following this feast is the feast of Tabernacles.
Studying the feasts is a great way for us to gain greater insight into God’s master plan for His creation, and has opened a window of fresh air for me to God’s kingdom in heaven. These feasts are not just for Jewish observance, but are an opportunity for each of us to get to know God and His plan for all of us.
The “Days of Awe”
I think it is appropriate that we begin the study of the Atonement with the Days of Awe.
This ten-day tradition is observed in the fall of the year, after the last summer harvests (grapes). The Jewish days of awe commence immediately following the Feast of Trumpets (the celebration of the Jewish agricultural New Year), and are an annual time of repentance, reverence, and fear of God. They conclude at Yom Kippur (the Atonement) where another trumpet blasts.
According to several websites that I visited, devout Jews will spend the days of awe rising while it is still dark in the morning and going to synagogue to pray, in sincere penitence (prayer, fasting, worship, and asking God’s forgiveness for every single sin in their lives committed through the year). They will also go and make things right with their fellow-man, settle legal matters, and right anything they know someone has against them, making restitution.
The Lamb’s Book of Life
At the end of the Days of Awe, at sunset on the beginning of Yom Kippur, the custom of the Jews is to present themselves to the priest. The books are opened to see what disputes and legal matters are there, and what accusations have been brought (by two or three witnesses) against them during the past year. All secret sins are also to be confessed. Only the sins confessed are atoned for.
Then, having righted all the wrongs with one’s neighbors, brothers, sisters, family, friends, and God himself, having cleared their conscience of everything against themselves to the best of their ability, the priest then makes an atonement sacrifice for the people’s sins, blots out all their sins from the books, and writes their names in the Book of Life.
All the sins confessed and atoned for from the previous year are forgiven, never to be remembered again, as if they had never happened. When every single Jewish family has presented themselves before the priest, as the sun is setting on Yom Kippur, A HORN IS BLOWN, signaling that the ceremonies are completed. The slate (record of wrongs) is wiped clean…..until next year in Jerusalem!
Unfortunately, anyone who fails to appear before a priest out of laziness or rebellion, when that trumpet sounds, their sins remain. Anyone who refused to participate in the observance, their names are written in the book of death.
If the reader is a student of the Bible it is easy to see the parable or likeness this observance is for God’s kingdom in heaven. As with all the other feasts, Jesus is the fulfillment, and each will come full circle as a copy and shadow of things to come.
The Bible says, God has set before us, life and death, with the free will to choose for ourselves. Think how amazing that is. He even warns of of the consequences of our poor choices. Just like in the garden of Eden where there were fruitful trees for life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which if Adam and Eve ate of would cause them to die. Why, oh why, when we have LIFE all around us are we so tempted by death? There is freedom in life and only slavery in death. How is it that the devil can make death soooo appealing … soooooo tempting? Snake oil salesman!!!!
Amazingly, even when we’ve chosen death, God still makes a way for us to be reconciled to Him. Jesus is the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8 and 21:27). John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Our Passover Lamb has made the atonement sacrifice Himself for each and every one of our sins. The blood He shed on the cross is sprinkled on the mercy seat in God’s Holy of Holies by Jesus, our High Priest, to atone for our sins and make these bodies, these frail and cracked vessels of clay, inhabitable by His Holy Spirit.
“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. “ Revelation 1:5
Only the sins we’ve personally confessed to Him, and only the relationships we have reconciled, are under the blood (what we bind on earth is bound in heaven and what we loose on earth is loosed in heaven). Why not give them ALL to Him, hold nothing back? When we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. All the other books (containing offenses) are wiped clean.
“For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
When that trumpet sounds at the fulfillment of Yom Kippur, the door to heaven shall be closed forever, just as the doors to the ark of the covenant are closed until the next observance of the feast.
“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15
The Great White Throne of Judgment is a judgment for unbelievers. No one at that judgment has his name in the Book of Life; their punishment is sure.
(Read more at: GotQuestions.org)
This coming Yom Kippur could very well be the last to be celebrated on earth. Possibly the last chance for people to make things right with God before that door of grace closes forever. Will you be a wise virgin who makes it inside for the banquet, or a foolish virgin who is shut out forever? (Read about the Wise and Foolish Virgins)
Behold I stand at the door and knock… Choose you this day whom you will serve!
I don’t think it is a coincidence that there are TEN DAYS of AWE and TEN COMMANDMENTS! I also don’t think we have to be hemmed in by a particular season to be repentant of our sins. Any time is a good time to get right with God.
Do you have any unconfessed sin? Do you know someone who has something against you that you need to make right? The Lord could be coming at any time. Are you ready? No man knows the day or the hour. Therefore, now is the time to take care of those things that would disqualify you for the prize. Be reconciled to God!
I invite you to spend the next ten days with me taking a sober look at our lives and getting serious to make things right with God? Let us choose life and not death!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to all the gods I have besides You. What do I spend my money on? What do I spend my time doing? Forgive me Father for having other gods before You! I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the “graven images” I have made for myself – lucky rabbit’s feet, lucky horse shoes, lucky charms, horoscopes, seeking mediums, believing in fables and old wives tales, superstitions, and the false doctrines of the Nicolaitans, self-worship, or putting my faith in anything other than You, God? Forgive me Father for trusting in empty, inanimate objects and chance, or reducing You to the same. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the many times I misuse Your name in a day? Forgive me Father for using Your name inappropriately, as a curse word, as a sware, as a lucky charm, and not in actual conversation with You. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the holiness of the Sabbath day as a day of rest, not only for myself, but for all of those around me, and reverence to God. Do I keep Sunday holy? Teach me how to keep it holy. Forgive me Father for being flippant and selfish and irreverent with Your Sabbath. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to all the ways I dishonor my parents. Do I talk badly about them? Have I dishonored them by thinking of them only as a burden, or the inheritance they might leave to me? Do I love them? Do I do things for them and care for their needs? Do I spend time with them? Father forgive me for not giving my parents the honor due them. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the ways I have taken life away from another. What about abortion? Oh Father God in heaven, forgive me! I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the death this sin has brought to me, my family, my nation. Premarital sex, extramarital sex, promiscuity, cheating, porn, and even looking upon another with lust in my heart. Forgive me Father that I have been a seeker of pleasure rather than of a seeker of You, and help me to overcome by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the things I have inadvertently or on purpose taken and not returned. Whether it was an object, or someone’s character, or even someone’s identity. Father God, reveal to me my sins, and help me to put each one under the blood. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the false witnesses I have committed. If I lose my integrity how do I ever get it back? It is so easy to lie when I am backed into a corner and trying to avoid trouble. Sometimes a story seems more interesting when it is embellished with a little exaggeration. Sometimes I want to fit in with others and find myself sucked into gossip. Father God, help me to be a person of integrity. Help me to always tell the truth. I choose life!
Help me Lord to spend today opening my eyes to the things I want. Am I greedy for another person’s looks, or money, or fame? Do I want what someone else has, a nicer house, or job, a sexy spouse, new clothes, or a new car? Father God, make me sensitive today to all my little jealousies, and forgive me of them. Wash my sins away in the precious blood of Jesus. I choose life!
* * *
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; and you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:6-9
How big of a debt has God forgiven me of over these last ten days, and over my lifetime, really? I pray that God would sober my heart for how great His mercy has been towards me, and in turn give me mercy for others that I have had a hard time forgiving.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Matthew 18:21-35 (NKJV)
No man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. The Lord may come tomorrow, next week, later this month or a thousand years from now.
Are we looking for a sign? Let us remember what Jesus said to the Jewish leaders of His day in Matthew 12:39, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
I find it terribly interesting that the Book of Jonah (Old Testament) is traditionally read at the haftarah on Yom Kippur (the Feast of Atonement), the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when they contemplate God’s judgment and repent.
Jonah couldn’t believe that God would send him to preach repentance to the gentiles/heathens of that day, and was bothered even further when they accepted the gospel that he reluctantly preached. I believe God intended the experience to provoke His Jewish children to jealousy, so they would to turn their hearts back to Him as His favored ones, which is exactly why we who are not Jews have been welcomed into God’s kingdom (Romans 11:11) for a time.
I believe Jesus perfected the ministry of Jonah. As Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the whale (death), Jesus was in the grave. Through a miracle Jesus lived again, arose, and ascended to His throne where the Holy Spirit was released to inhabit every person who believes on the Son, because of the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in heaven by our High Priest – Jesus, and the Christian church was born – Nineveh believed!!!!
Read Jonah 2 in your Bible!
If we are looking for a sign, there are plenty to consider: Earthquakes, floods, famines, hurricanes forrest fires, volcanoes, signs in the sun (solar eclipses), the moon (blood moons), and the stars (star of Bethlehem). There are wars and rumors of wars. Our earth appears to be in the throes of birth pains continuously and exponentially. In the last days the Jewish people were to be gathered back to their homeland. Not only have they been given their homeland back in this generation’s lifetime, but their capital city of Jerusalem has recently also been restored and recognized.
Amazingly God has protected His word (the Bible) throughout all of time, so that it should not perish for all these centuries, even though many hostile generations have tried, until every tiny jot and tittle is accomplished. That in itself is a miracle.
God’s people, the Jews still exist, through all these millennia, despite every attempt of every other race on the planet to try to cleanse the planet of their existence. Another miracle.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Could it be YOU that He has been waiting for, for all this time? Could it be us, and this generation, that He has waited for?
I know that I am probably coming on pretty strong – like a mother who is sending her children out into the dangerous world and just wants them to know the dangers and come back home safe. But I want to soften my tone for just a minute and ask, what are you afraid of? Are you afraid to love Jesus? Has something or someone (in the church or this world) hurt you and you are afraid to love?
Made you scared of love, too scared to love
He didn’t deserve you
‘Cause you’re precious heart is a precious heart
He didn’t know what he had and I thank God, oh, oh, oh
And it’s gonna take just a little time
But you’re gonna see that I was born to love you
What if I cry (I’ll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I’ll hold you tighter)
When they’re try’na get to you baby I’ll be the fighter
What if I cry (I promise I’ll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I’ll hold you tighter)
When they’re try’na get to you baby I’ll be the fighter
You’re beautiful, so beautiful
I’m here to remind you
You’re my only one, let me be the one to heal…
I love this song. Can we sing it again with the one who hurt us being Satan, and the Fighter being Jesus?!!!!!! I love it even more when I think of it this way!!!!!!!!! Give Jesus a chance. Let Him heal you. Let Him love you the way you were meant to be loved. Let Him search your heart and cleanse it of all the wicked ways that you’ve been drug through. He won’t let you fall!!!!! He’ll wipe all the tears from your eyes!!!!! And when you get scared He’ll hold you tighter than anyone ever has in your whole life. ❤
Making Prayer a daily part of our lives
- Seek Him in the morning (pray and read the scriptures)
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” – Psalms 5:3
Visit this website for 12 Helpful Morning Prayers and verses
- Seek Him during the day (pray and read the scriptures)
“We know that all creation groans and is in agony even until now. Not only that, but we ourselves, although we have the Spirit as first fruits, groan inwardly while we await the redemption of our bodies.” – Romans 8:22-23
Visit this website for some beautiful daytime prayers and scripture readings iBreviary
- Seek Him at meal times (pray and read the scriptures)
“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts…”
Visit this website for some terrific mealtime scripture prayers Intoxicated on Life
- Seek Him in the evening (pray and read the scriptures)
“At evening withhold not your hand.” – Ecclesiastes 11:6
Visit this website for a great set of evening reflections Morning&Evening.org
- Seek Him upon your bed (pray and read the scriptures)
“At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” – Isaiah 26:9
Visit this website for cross references related to the above scripture BibleHub.com
- Put on the whole armor of God, and pray continually with all kinds of prayers
- Be watchful (pray and read the scriptures)
- Keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking (pray and read the scriptures)
- Seek peace and pursue it (pray and read the scriptures)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Jesus
(Mathew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5)
Before you go, may we have a prayer together?
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters, my spouse, my parents, my children, my friends, my family, and for myself, that You, O Lord will forgive us our sins, all of our sins, sweep our houses (body, soul, & spirit) clean and put our houses in order. I pray Your blood will cover ALL our transgressions and that You will write our names in the Lamb’s book of life forever. I pray that You will fill us with Your Holy Spirit, as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. I pray that You will tune our ears to hear what the Spirit tells us, and help us to remember everything You have told us in Your word. I pray that we will each grow stronger in Spirit every day. I pray that You will suit us up in the Spiritual Armor this day and every day, wash our feet of the heathen dust of the earth, and be attentive to our prayers. If the enemy asks to sift us as wheat I pray that you will tell him NO. I pray that You will bind our enemy, cast him as far from us as the east is from the west; cast out every fear, pull down every stronghold, and cast down every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I pray that You will put a hedge of protection around us, place us under Your feathers and in Your shadow, surrounded by Your holy guardian angels who will intimidate and chase away every enemy, real or imagined. Set for us safe boundaries that the enemy cannot penetrate. I pray that You will put in us a desire to seek peace and pursue it with every person in our lives including You. When we are weak You are strong. I pray that You will give us clear minds, to this end, that we will forever worship You in Your kingdom, and forever be with You. We love and honor You. We worship You, O precious merciful LORD. We magnify Your name in all the earth. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
“In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”
Proverbs 16:6 NKJV
“And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11
Next year in “New” Jerusalem!
(*Le-shanah ha-ba’ah bi-Yerushalayim)
* Closing toast for every Passover and every Yom Kippur observance, every year. Note that both feasts are about the blood, the Passover blood of the Lamb of God that takes away our sins, and the Atoning blood of our merciful High Priest that cleanses away our sins.
Please visit this website (Hebrew4Christians) for a more in-depth study of Yom Kippur, the fall feasts and High Holy Days, from a messianic Jewish perspective.