Celebrating Yom Kippur

Yesterday marked Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) for Jews. Late September and early October are times of festivals in Israel. I saw a picture from Jerusalem yesterday. Amazingly, there were no cars on the streets. Jerusalem now has more than a million residents (and this in a very small area). When we were in Jerusalem in May, the traffic looked like Los Angeles.

Israelis celebrated Rosh Hashana (new year) last week and Yom Kippur today.

For Yom Kippur, the country closed its airspace, shut down its buses and trains, and locked down its border crossings. Even Israeli television and radio stations went silent. It is a day of reflection, fasting, and worship. Since Israel has not had a temple or sacrifice since the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, many ultra-orthodox Israelis swing live chickens over their heads while reciting a blessing and then slaughter the birds as a symbolic ritual that transfers their sins to the animal. Leviticus 16 gives Moses’ commands for Yom Kippur concerning the ritual sacrifice.

When I think of the Day of Atonement, I think of two areas.

First, Christians do not have a day of sacrifice or sacrifices because Jesus is our once for all time sacrifice. His work for us is sufficient for all our sins. The writer of Hebrews reminded us that the yearly ritual showed that the sacrifice was insufficient. But what Jesus did is sufficient for all time (Hebrews 10). By a single offering Jesus perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). What a blessed thought!

Second, I highly recommend days and times to pray, think, and reflect. Christians would do well to take time to reflect, examine, and generally look at our lives. The Lord’s Day, Sunday, would be a wonderful time to slow down and do so. We need to ask serious questions of ourselves. Is God pleased with my attitudes and actions? Does my life reflect His glory or my wants? Do I have a Sunday hobby or an everyday king?

To follow Christ means that everyday is the Lord’s Day. We really don’t have holy days because everyday is holy unto the Lord. May our lives please Him. May we live in devotion to the King of all Kings who died for us and became our once for all sacrifice for all sin.

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One Comment


  1. Ed Matthew
    Sep 27, 2012

    What a wonderful introduction you have given to introduce our “Reasonable Service.” May we be reminded that as He has become His Bride’s once and for all time sacrifice. It is our part (The Bride’s part) of the covenant relationship to present our (Her) bodies (Body) as His Living Sacrifice, set apart as He designed, acceptable unto the Father in Whom there is no darkness or shadow of variation. AMEN.

    Can’t do it alone. We weren’t built that way by His Design. Thanks!!!

    Blessings.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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