WARNING: This video is only for disciples of Yeshua who can handle strong meat. It is for those who are truly serious about their spiritual walk. If you want an easy-believism, happy, happy message, then don’t tune in. Go back to sleep in the stinky pew of lukewarm churchianity and maybe one of these days you’ll wake up to the reality and true nature of the higher walk of self-negation as exemplified by Yeshua the Messiah and his true followers.
This is a Yom Kippur message on afflicting the soul or dying to self in order to obtain the higher reward.
This is an unpopular subject with men, but a popular one with YHVH Elohim!
FOR SPIRITUALLY MATURE READERS ONLY WHO DON’T WANT THEIR EARS TICKLED AND ARE SERIOUS ABOUT FOLLOWING YESHUA!
Our souls need afflicting. This is a tough, unpopular message that few want to think about, much less discuss or preach about. Afflicting the soul or dying to self is what the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is all about. In fact, this is what our entire life is all about. It’s about dying to the world and the devil, but most importantly, dying to self. If we want to see Yeshua, we must talk about it, and then learn to do it!
Dying to self is the lifelong struggle that Paul, the mighty apostle of Yeshua and the writer of a good portion of the New Testament discusses in Romans chapter seven that each of us faces every day.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of Elohim according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7:14–24)
Why must our souls be afflicted? So they can be brought under the power of the Spirit of Elohim, and so that we think and act like Yeshua, and eventually be transformed into the people that he wants to spend eternity with. Becoming like Yeshua is ultimate purpose of life! When a person’s main goal in life is to make money, or to gain material possessions, to achieve fame, power, knowledge or even to become happily married and to raise a family, they are falling way short of their full and destiny as potential children of the Creator, Most High YHVH Elohim. That’s why Yeshua asks the question, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:26). That is why YHVH Elohim, our Father in heaven sent Yeshua his Son to this earth. It was not only redeem us from the death grip of sin, but to show us how to live—to show us the way to our Heavenly Father. For this to occur, we must overcome the world, the flesh and devil every day of our lives and live as Yeshua did. The Word of Elohim tells that without holiness, spiritual purity or sinlessness, no one will see Elohim (Heb 12:14). These are words to live by and to guide us in all that we do, say and think. This means becoming a living sacrifice for Yeshua or dying to self.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to Elohim, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of Elohim. (Rom 12:1–2)
Dying to self and being overcomers is necessary if we are to be the chaste bride ready to meet Yeshua our coming King and Bridegroom—a bride that will be one or echad with him for eternity. We must die to everything else that will get in they way of our love for him.
Who shall separate us from the love of the Messiah? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of Elohim which is in the Messiah Yeshua our Lord. (Rom 8:35–39)
One aspect of becoming like Yeshua by dying to self and overcoming this world and the flesh may well involve our rethinking or even changing our entire paradigmatic perspective concerning our current lifestyles. What do I mean by this? Let me explain.
Most of us have spent a lifetime constructing neat little nests all around us to shield ourselves from the harsh realities of life. Almost everything we do, everything we buy, everything we construct, the relationships we nurture, and the material possessions that we collect is about self preservation and comfort. To this end, we all have furnished the nests of our lives in a way to protect ourselves from the harsh reality of death. Then beyond this, we have embellished our nests to look good to the outside world, and to feel good about ourselves, and live comfortable and self-gratifying lifestyles, while forgetting that it could all be gone in an instant, or that we could die at anytime, and then what?
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mat 16:26)
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. ‘ But Elohim said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Elohim.” (Luke 12:16–21)
Sadly, many of us placed more of our time and energy attempting to fulfill our physical expectations instead following Yeshua’s instructions to his disciples to “seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” (Matt 6:33). As a result, in many cases, our expectations have become idols that, to one degree or another, are keeping us from walking out the Truth of YHVH, and the higher life of a disciple of Messiah by walking as he walked. In many respects, our affluent and free Western lifestyle has not helped us in achieving the higher spiritual walks that Yeshua requires of his disciples. This is because we have been blessed with civil liberties, freedoms and luxuries never before experienced by any previous human society, and this has not helped us to grow stronger spiritually. Instead, in many cases, and as a whole, we have grown spiritually weak, lukewarm and careless, anemic, somewhat apathetic toward our faith. For many of us our passion for Yeshua and the Truth of Elohim has waned if not all but evaporated. YHVH warned ancient Israel and the Laodicean church over these same issues.
For the YHVH’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so YHVH alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock; curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs; and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; and you drank wine, the blood of the grapes. But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese! Then he forsook Elohim who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to Elohim, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the Elohim who fathered you. (Deut 32:9–18)
For Jerusalem stumbled, And Judah is fallen, Because their tongue and their doings Are against YHVH, To provoke the eyes of His glory. The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.” YHVH stands up to plead, And stands to judge the people. YHVH will enter into judgment With the elders of His people And His princes: “For you have eaten up the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the faces of the poor?” Says the Lord GOD of hosts. Moreover YHVH says: “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with outstretched necks And wanton eyes, Walking and mincing as they go, Making a jingling with their feet. Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab The crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, And YHVH will uncover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the finery: The jingling anklets, the scarves, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the veils; the headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; The perfume boxes, the charms, and the rings; The nose jewels, the festal apparel, and the mantles; The outer garments, the purses, and the mirrors; the fine linen, the turbans, and the robes. And so it shall be: Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; Instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty. (Isa 3:8–24)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of Elohim: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 3:14–22)
What are some expectations that our Western lifestyle has automatically provided us such that we automatically expect them and if deprived of them, we would be scandalized, inconvenienced, shaken physically and spiritually? In America, for example, they include…
The American dream (a house, an automobile or two, vacations, a cushy retirement beginning at a young age, having a few toys, e.g. a boat, travel trailer, a second home, etc.)
Freedom of speech.
Freedom of religion and the right to practice it freely.
Freedom to peaceably assemble.
Freedom from government intrusion and tyranny.
Freedom to maintain personal privacy.
The right to travel freely and unmolested on our way whenever and wherever we want to go
A just judicial system that is impartial and not a respecter of persons where one is innocent until proven guilty.
No taxation without representation.
Freedom to defend oneself with firearms if necessary.
Freedom to live privately without government surveillance and intrusion.
The expectation that we can buy whatever we want whenever we want with no supply shortages including the basic necessities of life.
The knowledge that our national constitution guarantees and protects our basic civil rights.
The belief that our politicians represent us.
Freedom to raise our children how we want and that parents have ultimate authority over their minor children.
Freedom to live on our own land and to do what we want on it as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else or violate their freedoms.
The expectation to live a safe, secure, settle, undisturbed life free of worry and stress, discomfort, insecurity and privation of any kind.
Afflicting the soul is the path to spiritual greatness and many blessings and rewards!
The Bible teaches us that fasting or “afflicting the soul” is the key to intimacy with YHVH Elohim and to receiving spiritual power. This is something that YHVH commands his children to do at least once a year (on the high holy day of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement), and more often if one is serious about their spiritual walk.
But how is it possible that a simple activity such as going without food for a period of time could be so crucial to spiritual transcendence? In this brief study, we will find the surprising answer this important question.
As we study this issue, let’s keep in mind that the ways of YHVH are often contrary to the ways of man. Yeshua taught us that to live we must die to ourselves; to become rich we must be givers; that the way down is the way up, that to be a great leader, we must become a servant; and in the case of afflicting the soul, to feed our spirit man we must sometimes starve our flesh and soul (that is, our mind, will and emotions) man.
What Is Fasting?
The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is a day to afflict your souls (Lev 16:29 and 23:27) or literally “to humble ourselves.” The word afflict is the Hebrew word anah meaning “to oppress with the idea of humility or meekness in mind coupled with the idea of a suffering life rather than with one of worldly happiness and abundance” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 2, p. 682). TheJewish Publications Study Bible (or JPS) translates the phrase afflict yourselves as “you shall practice self denial.”Although this verse does not specifically mention fasting as a component of Yom Kippur, Jewish understanding on the term afflict your souls is firm that this refers to fasting (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Vayikra/Leviticus Commentary, p. 404). With this view in mind, the pre-eminent nineteenth-century Orthodox Jewish sage, Samson Raphael Hirch in his Torah commentary translates afflict your souls as “starve your vital spirits” (The Penteteuch-Leviticus, p. 678). However and more importantly, there is a scriptural proof that afflicting one’s soul as means fasting (i.e., abstaining from food). That link is found in Isaiah 58, which some Bible commentators believe is a reference to Yom Kippur. In verses three and eight, the terms afflict [one’s] soul and fast are used synonymously. The word for fast is the Hebrew word tsuwm meaning “to abstain from food.”We also see the connection between fasting and afflicting the soul in Psalm 35:13 where David states, “I humbled/afflicted my soul with fasting.”
Additionally, the Jewish sages teach that Leviticus 23:27 suggests five afflictions that one must endure on Yom Kippur: no eating and drinking, no washing oneself, no anointing oneself, no wearing leather shoes, and no cohabitation. It is suggested that these five afflictions correspond to the five times the term soul/nephesh are found in this passage (i.e., verses once each in 27 and 29, twice in 30, and once in 32; see Baal HaTurim’s commentary on Lev 23:27). Although these suggested “afflictons” are not biblical commands, they nevertheless provide us with insights into what if means to afflict ones soul.
Christian commentators Keil and Delitzsch begin to connect the dots for us as to why fasting is tied to atonement.
If the general atonement made on this day was not to pass into a dead formal service, the people must necessarily enter in spirit into the signification of the act of expiation [atonement], prepare their souls for it with penitential feelings, and manifest this penitential state by abstinence from the ordinary enjoyments of life. To afflict (bow, humble) the soul, by restraining the earthly appetites, which have their seat in the soul, is the early Mosaic expression for fasting (oum) … ‘By bowing his soul, the Israelite was to place himself in an inward relation to the sacrifice, whose soul was given for his soul; and by this state of mind, answering to the outward proceedings of the day, he was to appropriate the fruit of it to himself, namely, the reconciliation of his soul, which passed through the animal’s death’ (Baumgarten) (vol. 1, p. 591).
The Purpose of Fasting
The purpose of fasting is not to torture or punish oneself for the sins that one has committed during the past year. Rather, it is a time to deeply reflect on one’s need for atonement, and to appropriate to oneself through deep heart reflection on the sacrifice for one’s sins that YHVH has made for us through Yeshua the Messiah, to whom all the animal sacrifices of the ancient Levitical sacrificial system pointed.
Furthermore, in sublimating the soul (the carnal mind, will and emotions) within each of us by afflicting it causes the spirit of man within to rise up. To have a deep and vital relationship with YHVH Elohim, the degradation of the soul with its earthly and carnal passions is necessary, since it is one’s personal spirit that most suffers as a result of the dominance and sin-bent tendencies of one’s soul. When the soul is “pushed down,” one’s personal spirit can rise up and connect to or commune more efficaciously with YHVH. It is the spirit in man, as activated by the Spirit of Elohim, which is man’s spiritual connecting link to his Creator (Rom 8:16; Job 32:8; 1 Cor 2:10–14; 1 John 2:20,27; 4:2–3; Prov 20:27). In brief, fasting helps us to transcend our physical natures and to focus without distraction upon YHVH.
Of the Day of Atonement, Christian commentator, Matthew Henry says,
He that would do the work of [the] Day of Atonement in its day, as it should be done, had need lay aside the thoughts of everything else.… [T]hey must lay aside all their worldly business, that they might the more clearly and the more reverently hear that voice of joy and gladness.… They must mortify the body, and deny the appetites of it, in token of their sorrow for the sins they had committed, and mortifying of their indwelling corruptions. (Matthew Henry—A Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 539, World Bible Publishers)
More on Afflicting the Soul
The biblical holy day of the Day of Trumpet (Shofar Blowing or Yom Teruah, which occurs just ten days prior to Yom Kippur, is the day of the awakening blast signifying the time for the righteous to awake from spiritual lethargy and lukewarmness and to be ready for the coming of Yeshua, our Bridegroom.
When you were a young child you were no doubt curious about the world around you. There was so much to see and learn about. What was more exciting than exploring that world by going on trips to new places or even spending hours investigating and playing in a nearby a forest? Let’s become curious and teachable again like children we used to be and now explore Leviticus 23:27–32 where we find the command to observe the Day of Atonement (Heb. Yom Kippur) to see what surprising nuggets we can find here. In the simplicity of this text, we will discover outlined the entire gospel message of salvation prophetically foreshadowed some 1500 years before the birth and death of Yeshua the Messiah.
The text of Leviticus 23:27–32 is highlighted in bold with explanations following.
Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement [Heb. kippur]. (v. 27)
Yom Kippur is about atoning, reconciliation and purging, which is the meaning of kippur. Purging who of what? We’ll soon find out.
It shall be a holy convocation for you… (Lev 23:27)
Yom Kippur is a commanded assembly or a sacred convocation for YHVH’s people. It was made holy not by men, but by the Creator of the universe. Men can’t make anything holy, for men aren’t holy. Only the Holy (Heb. Kadosh) One of Israel can do this. The Day of Atonement is also a divine appointment (Heb. moed, Lev 23:2) as determined by the YHVH Elohim. It is a time when the Creator demands to meet with his people. Humans who miss it defy the Creator’s commands.
…you shall afflict your souls (Lev 23:27)
Afflict is the Hebrew word anah meaning “to oppress with the idea of humility or meekness in mind coupled with the idea of a suffering life rather than with one of worldly happiness and abundance” (The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 2, p. 682).
So what is this soul that we are commanded to afflict? Each human has a soul (1 Thess 5:23). Your soul is who you are. It is what makes you unique. It is your personality, your emotional makeup, your mental abilities and your willpower. Your soul determines what you say, do and think. Yeshua called it the heart of man (Matt 12:35; 15:19). It is attached to and in charge of the human body. It tells the body what to do, saw and think. The soul is the source of sin in each person; it is the soul that sins (Ezek 18:4).
Why does YHVH command his people to afflict their souls (i.e. to go one day without food and water) on Yom Kippur? The reason for this is that the soul must be put down, or sublimated and brought under the control of the Word and Spirit of Elohim if man is to have a spiritual relationship with the Creator, which can eventually result in man receiving eternal life and membership into his heavenly kingdom. Yeshua taught his disciples that “he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for [Yeshua’s] sake will find it” (Matt 10:39), and that “whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for [Yeshua’s] sake will find it” (Matt 16:25). The sinful soul (the mind, will and emotions) of men is what prevents man from coming into a spiritual relationship with the Creator. That is why the proud, self-righteous, rebellious, lawless and willful soul of man must be afflicted and humbled, so that it can be brought under the control, power and influence of the Word and Spirit of Elohim, so that man can experience the abundant life in this world and the next (John 10:10). This is why the carnal, sinful soul of man has to be starved. By learning to control our physical appetites through fasting, we can learn better how to control the sinful passions of our carnal natures. This is what the baptism for the remission of sins ritual is all about. It’s about death to the old sinful man and coming alive to one’s personal spirit or inner man through legal and spiritual identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua through the aid and influence of Elohim’s Set-Apart Spirit (Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 5:17). In Romans 6:3–11 we read,
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into the Messiah Yeshua were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as the Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with the Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that the Messiah, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to Elohim. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to Elohim in the Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
…and offer an offering made by fire to YHVH. (Lev 23:27)
This is referring to the animal sacrifices that were made on Yom Kippur where animals were slaughtered and laid on the altar in the Tabernacle of Moses as an offering to Elohim. This ritual teaches us two things. The first is that the innocent animal that was sacrificed on the altar was a prophetic symbol pointing to Yeshua’s death on the cross. His death atoned for or purged man of his past sins and redeemed man from the death penalty that comes upon him because of that sin. We read in Leviticus 16 that on Yom Kippur the high priest sacrificed animals on the altar in the tabernacle as a sin offering for himself and the children of Israel. He then sprinkled its blood before the mercy seat in the holy of holies, which pictured the throne of Elohim in heaven. This in every way points to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross for man’s sins, and Elohim’s acceptance of that death in payment or exchange for the penalty for man’s sins, which is man’s death.
The next thing that this offering by fire alludes to is that afflicting the soul is a picture of the saint dying to carnal, sinful nature. Each of us must be willing to lay his life on YHVH’s spiritual altar by “present[ing] your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to Elohim, which is your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1). What is it to be a living sacrifice for Elohim? It involves dying to oneself (i.e. one’s carnal and sinful passions) and not only accepting Yeshua as one’s Savior, but as the Lord or Master of one’s life as well. Many people want the Savior part of Yeshua, but not the Master part. It comes as a package; you can’t have one without the other. If Yeshua is not your Master, then he is not your Savior either. One can’t have the Savior without the Master. If Yeshua is truly one’s Savior, then he will also be one’s Master. This is because he bought and paid for each of us with his life, and he now has the legal right to tell us what to do. When you accepted him, this was a legal transaction. If you want salvation from the death penalty you brought on yourself by your sins, you must also accept heaven’s terms and conditions to free you from that death penalty. There is no other way. People lie to themselves if they think they can chart their own course of “spirituality” and make up their own rules to find a relationship with their Creator some other way. It doesn’t work that way! Every other way is a satanic counterfeit that leads to death and eternal separation from Elohim.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Set-Apart Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Elohim, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are Elohim’s. (1 Cor 6:19–20)
[K]nowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of the Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet 1:18–19)
And you shall do no work on that same day… (Lev 23:28)
Leviticus 16:1–34, Passover and the Day of Atonement compared. A cursory reading of the Scriptures seems to indicate that there exists overlapping similarities between some of the blood atonement ceremonies of Passover or Pesach and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. What are the differences between the sin atonement offerings of Pesach and Yom Kippur?
Perhaps realizing the fact that the Passover occurs during the spring feast day season and the Day of Atonement occurs during the fall feast day season may help to answer this question. This is because prophetically the spring feast days picture Messiah Yeshua’s first coming, while the fall feast days prophetically point to his second coming. How does this understanding shed light on the answer to this question?
Both Pesach and Yom Kippur picture redemption through the shed blood of Yeshua, that is, the saint being delivered from bondage to sin and the rudiments of this world. Passover symbolizes the first steps a new believer takes when coming out of spiritual Egypt and accepting Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, as one’s Savior and Master. Yom Kippur, on the other hand, pictures the blood of the Lamb covering over the saint’ sins after his initial salvation experience and the corporate sins of the nation of Israel.
If our understanding of the order of end time events is correct, Yom Kippur also prophetically points to the time when Yeshua will return to the earth to initiate the final regathering of the lost and scattered tribes of Israel, and to prepare to marry his bride, redeemed Israel or the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16), that is, the saints. Perhaps this latter understanding will help to answer why another Passover-like feast is needed. Yom Kippur does not focus so much on leaving Egypt, but rather on YHVH’s people preparing to enter the millennial kingdom under the Messiah. Those saints who will be the betrothed bride of Yeshua need to make themselves ready for Yeshua’s return by putting on spiritual robes of righteousness that are spotless and pure. Although the bride of Messiah saints are not sinners by definition, for the Bible calls them “the righteous” (1 Pet 4:18), they still sin (hopefully only occasionally; 1 John 1:8–9; Rom 7:13–25), and still need to have their sins washed away by the blood of Yeshua, even just before they meet Yeshua at his return. Yom Kippur pictures this final redemptive cleansing or preparation time of Yeshua’s bride.
Understanding the Yom Kippur Goat Rituals
Understanding and interpreting the rituals of Leviticus 16 can be perplexing and complicated task. This is because often encrypted in certain scriptural passages the deep and open-minded Bible student will find multiple levels of meaning and prophetic fulfillments. The serious biblical researcher understands this and is not put off by any seeming discrepancies between a surface or literal fulfillment of a scripture vis-à-vis its prophetic fulfillment. An example of this would be the virgin and child prophecy of Isaiah 7. There was both a historical or immediate fulfillment of this prophecy and a future one relating to the coming Messiah.
Moreover, we must keep something else in mind when dealing with biblical passages that are difficult to understand because they contain figurative language of a prophetic nature that often employ typologies (types and shadows). By definition, a type is a person or thing that represents someone or something else. When dealing with prophetic types in Scripture, the type never perfectly mirrors that to which it is prophetically pointing. The type is merely a shadow of what is to come (Col 2:17; Heb 10:1; 8:5), and therefore it is neither a perfect representation of the reality nor its there a perfect one-to-one correlation between the two. However, there are enough similarities to deduce a correlation between the two, even as a shadow is the shape and outline of the image it represents, but it doesn’t contain all the details of it.
How do humans come into the presence of YHVH Elohim? There is one proper way to do so, and many improper ways. The Torah’s discussion pertaining to the rituals associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) reveal to us what the proper protocol is and also alludes to the fact that there is an improper way to approach the Almighty Creator as well—something which brings disastrous results. We see an example of this in the case of Nadab and Abihu.
Now YHVH spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before YHVH, and died… (Lev 16:1)
Elohim killed Nadab and Abihu because they came into the holy of holies in the Tabernacle of Moses (a representation of Elohim’s heavenly throne room) in a careless and indifferent manner. Not only does the Torah indicate that they intoxicated with alcohol, but they failed to follow the proper ceremonial protocols outlined by YHVH Elohim to come into his presence. The next few verses lay out what those protocols are to come before the King of the universe. To not follow those protocols brings the death penalty on the person. Such a person is entering illegally as an unauthorized trespasser.
Before exploring how to enter the presence of Elohim properly, let’s bring this abstract concept down to a level we can understand. For example, who hasn’t seen signs on private property that say something like this: “Private Property, No Trespassing,” “Government Property, No Trespassing,” “Unauthorized Entrance Prohibited,” “Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law,” or “Violators Will Be Shot”? What happens to an uninvited intruder who climbs over the fence around the White House or over the walls of Buckingham Palace? Likely, they will be arrested if not shot on the spot. Similarly, there are penalties for coming into the throne room of the Almighty YHVH Elohim illegally.
…and YHVH said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. (Lev 16:2)
YHVH Elohim does not allow humans to casually saunter into his presence anytime and in any manner they want. Though Elohim is our loving Heavenly Father, he is holy (set-apart) and is the Creator of the Universe who is to be feared and respected (Heb 12:28), and he is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). He has the power of life and death; he gives life and can take it away (Matt 10:28). Humans (especially Christians) would do well to know their place before the Almighty, to treat him with the respect he is due and to follow his instructions in all areas of their relationship with him. Indeed, YHVH wants humans to come before him, but in the proper way.
It is utter foolishness and hubris on the part of humans to ignore the clear commands and instructions of Elohim. Nadab and Abihu found out the hard way; their folly cost them their lives. There are no theologies regardless of the respectability or age of the religious institution or denomination or the erudition of the biblical scholars that invented them that can circumvent the clear instructions of YHVH Elohim. Phrases one often hears mainstream church leaders quote with regard to the laws of the Almighty such as “It has been done away with,” “It has been nailed to the cross,” “We’re under grace now, not under the law,” “That was for the Jews,” “Jesus fulfilled that for me, so I’m not required to do that” and so on will not pass muster with Elohim. He makes the rules, his rules do not change, and humans would do well to remember that. For those who take the commands of Elohim casually more as suggestions, remember Nadab and Abihu! “That was under the old covenant, we’re under the dispensation of grace now,” one might say in objection. My reply? Well, then consider the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts whom Elohim struck down for lying to the apostles and the Set-Apart Spirit (Acts 5:1–11)!
So what is the first rule of protocol for coming into the presence of YHVH Elohim?
Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. (Lev 16:3)
Without humans acknowledging that they are sinners, they cannot come into the presence of Elohim. What’s more, they must bring the proper sin offering—a perfect bull or ram. Only by the shedding of blood can man’s sins be atoned for. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Until a person’s sins have been atoned for through the shedding of blood, one is not allowed into the presence of Elohim. Period! There are no religious rituals of man, no mantras, no amount of prayers, begging or pleading, no ascetic exercises, no formulas, no incantations, no drug induced altered states of consciousness, no conjured spells, no abracadabra mumbo jumbo words, no wishful thinking, no amount of good thoughts, no self-made or designer spiritual paths or anything else that can bring us into the presence of the Almighty. There is only one way to the Father in heaven and that is through the blood of Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim, who paid the price for each person’s sins (Acts 4:12; Matt 1:21; Mark 16:15–16; John 3:36; 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5–6; 1 John 5:11–12). The sacrificed animals in this chapter are prophetic foreshadows pointing to Yeshua’s death on the cross as a payment for each person’s sin penalty. As no one could come into the Tabernacle of Moses except by following the proper protocols involving sacrifices and the cleansing rituals associated therewith, even so, no one is allowed into the presence of Elohim except through the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah.