The Gospel Proclaimed in Leviticus 23:27–32
By Ya’acov Natan Lawrence
Hoshana Rabbah Biblical Discipleship Resources
Let’s 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.
27 Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement [Heb. kippur].
This day 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;
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,
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).
First, what is your soul? It 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 the human (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 Continue reading