Tag Archives: fasting

Listening to God and being heard by God – Hineni – “Here I am”

In the Old Testament Scriptures as well as in the New Testament writings, we see God calling people by name. In many of these cases the people who are called, respond with the Hebrew word “Hineni” which means “Here I am”. Not only are many of these people called by name, God calls them in a very peculiar manner where their name is uttered twice in succession many a time.

Gen 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
Gen 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Gen 46:2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

Exo 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

1Sa 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
1Sa 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Luk 22:31-33 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

Act 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

In all of these cases, by saying “Hineni” the person called out responds to God “Here I am”. “I am Absolutely focused on you”. “I am ready”. “I am here, and there is no place where I would rather be”. This is the sentiment expressed.

It is no small feat that the Creator of the universe calls a speck of dust like us by name. But He has promised in His Word, to call His People by Name. This was confirmed once more by Yeshua, when He spoke of the Shepherd and His Sheep. Calling us by our name shows the relationship He has with us. It shows us that He really knows us. That we are not specks of dust, but important vessels in His eyes.

Isa 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

Joh 10:3-5To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

So the relationship of calling us by name can only have one appropriate response. One of readiness. When we say “Hineni” – Here I am, we are expressively saying “I am ready! I am willing! Tell me what to do… where to go. But what if God was to tell us “Hineni”. How great is a God that says “I am here for you” when we call Him? This is exactly what we see in His word.

Isa 58:9a Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.

God promises in the above verse that He will be there for us, ready and fully focused. The remainder of Isaiah 58 lets us know how we are to receive such a response from God. What should we do to come to a relationship with God, so that He says “Hineni”. How we should live and fashion our life to receive undevoted attention from YHVH God. Traditionally read on Yom Kippur, Isaiah 58 shows us the true fast, the true piety, the true holiness God requires from us.

Isa 58:6-9a Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.

Isa 58:9b-14 If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

God Highlights these characteristics:
1. Removing iniquity from our lives
2. Undo burdens we have laid on others
3. To release any we have oppressed
4. Being charitable to the less fortunate
5. To help your own brother who is in need
6. Not Despising or disrespecting others
7. Not speaking or plotting evil
8. Keeping the Sabbath day holy

The above are what God requires from us. The true fast in His eyes. The true obedience and worship He looks for. The true piety and holiness we can show Him. He goes further on just in the next verse, to show why we are not being heard by Him. Our Iniquities separate us from Him.

Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Let us put away the things that He abhors from our lives so that the lines of communication maybe reopened between us and our Creator. Let us be ready and willing to say “Hineni – Here I am” when He calls us, and do what He says so that He may say to us “Hineni – Here I AM”.

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Christ – The Atonement Sacrifice – Allusions in Luke 4

It is a little known fact that Luke’s record of our Messiah’s ministry starts with an allusion to the Atonement Sacrifice. Luke alone gives an account of the timing of this event, and also shows how the people themselves unwittingly declared how Yeshua would take the sin of the nation upon Himself.

Knowing about the Day of Atonement is paramount to understand the story behind the story that Luke gives witness to. Considered the most important of the Appointed Days in God’s Calendar, The Day of Atonement is the only day of the year with a command for Fasting. In fact, since the Day of Atonement is intricately connected to Judgement, most Jews engage in a partial fast for a full 40 days before the Day of Atonement. The 40 Days start with the 6th month of God’s Calendar (known as Elul) and end with the Day of Atonement, which is the 10th day of the 7th Month, equalling to a full 40 days of Repentance. It is a time for Repentance and preparation of one’s life to stand before God. While it is not clear whether this tradition of Fasting existed back in 1st Century times, is it not wonderous that Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) fasted 40 days in the same season of Elul and The Day of Atonement?

How do we know that His Ministry started in the time of the Day of Atonement? There are several hints given to us by Luke. Let us review his account in Chapters 3 & 4.

1.John preaches repentance –
Not only does John preach Repentance, a key aspect of meditation as it dawns toward The Day of Atonement, he also speaks of the coming Judgement as seen below.

Luk 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Luk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luk 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

2.Yeshua’s 40 day Fast –
Yeshua is baptized by John(Luk 3:22,23) and proceeds directly into the Wilderness of Judea(Luk 4:1) and remains there fasting for forty days(Luk 4:2). After being tempted of the Devil, He teaches in Galilee, and then comes to Nazareth – His hometown and steps into the Synagogue.

3.The Reading in the Synagogue –
Traditionally on the Sabbath, people meet in the Synagogue and read a Portion of the Torah (5 Books of Moses) & the Prophets which is done in a planned manner. Isaiah is read in close proximity to The Day of Atonement, and it just so happened that Yeshua was delivered the scroll of Isaiah on this particular Sabbath Day.

Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

4. Isaiah 61, Judgement & the Jubilee
Yeshua reads the following passage, stopping abruptly without reading everything proceeding “The Day of Vengeance”. “Proclamation of Liberty” is intricately connected to the “Year of Jubilee” which is announced on The Day of Atonement. The Day of Vengeance or His Second Coming, was yet to come. So it makes sense that He stopped before this part, but reading the full verse, we see that He consoles everyone who repents and is in Ashes, mourning & heaviness – which are central themes of The Day of Atonement.

Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Lev 25:9,10 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

5. The Sacrificial Goat which took all the Sin of the Nation upon itself –
On The Day of Atonement, the High Priest enacted a sacrifice to atone the sins of the nation. This twin sacrifice had two goats, one of which was taken before the High Priest, who then proclaimed all of the Sins of the nation on its head, and was then led away to the wilderness.

Lev 16:8-10  And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Lev 16:21,22  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

It is traditionally known that this goat was pushed off a cliff by the person who led it away signifying the complete erasure of the sins of the people.

The Rabbis, interpreting “Azazel” as “Azaz” (rugged), and “el” (strong), refer it to the rugged and rough mountain cliff from which the goat was cast down (Yoma 67b; Sifra, Aḥare, ii. 2; Targ. Yer. Lev. xiv. 10, and most medieval commentators)  Jewish Encyclopedia

The Sages taught: The word Azazel indicates that the cliff the goat is pushed from should be rough and hard. I might have thought that it may be located in a settled area. Therefore, the verse states: “In the wilderness.” And from where does one derive that the goat is pushed from a cliff? The verse states “gezeira,” indicating an area that is sharp, like a cliff. Yoma 67b – Talmud

Now read what happens after Yeshua reads the Scripture in Isaiah and has a dispute with the people in the Synagogue. The crowd unwittingly proclaims that Yeshua will be the sacrifice which takes away the sin of the nation, by trying to take Him to a hill and thrusting Him down from it.

Luk 4:28,29 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

6. The High Priest & the Atonement Sacrifice –
As the author of Hebrews make mention, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies only once a year – on the Day of Atonement(Exo 30:10), and he would also take the blood of the second goat which was applied inside. Hebrews clearly connects the Blood of the Atonement Sacrifice to Yeshua’s blood. He would be the High Priest of the Nation and the Sacrifice for the Sins of the Nation.

Heb 9:6,7  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

Heb 9:11,12 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Conclusion
It is very likely that Luke knew of the Atonement Sacrifice and the connection of Messiah to the redemption of the Nation as seen in the Scriptures. When Luke heard this account from witnesses before he wrote his gospel(Luk 1:2), he would have immediately connected the dots of the Goat which was led to the cliff with Yeshua who was almost thrust down in the same way, in the days of Repentance – The Day of Atonement. I am in no way saying that Christ was almost thrust down the cliff exactly on the Day of Atonement, but it was definitely close in proximity to this all important day, and the event itself definitely alluded to Him being the Atonement Sacrifice for all of us. As we repent for our own sins through fasting, let us remember the sacrifice that was made for our iniquities, transgressions and sins – our Saviour and Lord – Yeshua Ha Maschiach (Jesus the Messiah).

Food Laws or Fasting? Misunderstandings regarding Romans 14

When I was confronted with the idea that “Christians must keep God’s Food Laws” for the first time, my immediate knee-jerk reaction was to quote Paul. Why… didn’t Paul say that we could eat anything as long as we don’t make anyone else stumble?

A few years later, I read the same verses from the Apostle Paul’s letters, and think to myself – how did I misunderstand his words? and why did I misuse them so carelessly? It was for this very reason Peter was quick to warn the congregations about Paul’s writings.

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”2Pet 3:15,16

I was an unlearned person, as Peter says, perverting Paul’s words to suit my needs, doctrines and agendas. The “Misunderstood Apostle”, as I call him – Paul kept and obeyed the Law (Acts 21:24). To argue or teach that Paul taught against God’s Law in his epistles, is to corrupt his teachings and even the memory of all he did for the faith.

Putting Romans 14 under the microscope
Even though mainline Christianity uses Romans 14 as a means to argue that Paul taught against the food laws and showed a more tolerant way, closer study will reveal that Romans 14 has nothing to do with the clean/unclean food laws established by God.  So let us start from the beginning of the Chapter where he starts to advise on a particular topic, and walk down to see what his words really speak of.

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
It is clear that there has been some sort of dispute happening in the congregation of Rome, to which Paul is trying to provide his advise. Paul’s writing in Romans Chapter 14 revolve completely around a “dispute which is doubtful” – this is the context! We must remember that there is no doubt or dispute when it comes to God’s Word. We know that not even one jot or tittle will in anyway pass from the Law till heaven and earth last. God’s eternal Word cannot be called a “doubtful disputation”. If God’s Food Laws was the main subject matter, this would make God’s Law and Word (which was kept by Paul) a “doubtful disputation”. In Paul’s own words “God Forbid”!

Rom 14:2-6 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Now to deconstruct this debatable “dispute”. Paul Speaks of 2 categories of people. One eats all things, while the other only eats vegetables. One regards a certain day, while the other does not. One eats, while the other doesn’t. The dispute is hence, regarding eating or not on woman-with-empty-platespecific days. “Fasting” in other words! As we know, eating vegetables or a basic diet that did not include any meat, wine or anything pleasant was constituted by Daniel when he fasted (Dan 10:2,3 & Dan 1:12,16). It is a known fact that fasting was practiced heavily in the 1st century (Mat 6:16; 9:14,15, Mar 2:18-20, Luk 5:33-35). And historical documents reveal that Monday and Thursday were considered fast days in the second temple period (Ta’an. 2:4) The pharisee who prayed in Luke 18:12 about fasting twice a week, would have been keeping these fast days.

It is important to note that these fast days were traditions, and did not have root in Scripture. The “dispute” of Romans 14 is surely whether or not to fast on these days. Some believers were fasting on these days, and some were not. Paul’s advise was, not to judge one another and be thankful whether you eat or fast – or keep the traditional fast days or not – as these were doubtful disputes as they did not have Scriptural backing. It was not wrong to fast. It was not wrong to eat either. It was not wrong to fast on specific days. It was not wrong to fast on other days either. Be fully persuaded in your own mind, of what you do – was Paul’s advise to the congregation.

Rom 14:7-13 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Paul reiterates that no one should judge or become a stumbling block to his brother on this issue.

Rom 14:14  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 
This verse is sometimes used to point out that this issue is none other than “clean”/”unclean” foods, as Paul seems to be saying that he is persuaded that there is nothing unclean.

It is worth mentioning the word “unclean” in Rom14:14 in our English versions of the Bible comes from the Greek word “koinos” (G2839 – κοινός – koinos) meaning “common”. The word “unclean” is actually a different Greek word “Akathartos” (G169 – ἀκάθαρτος – akathartos). Both these words can be read in Act 10:14  “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common(koinos) or unclean(akathartos)”. In fact this is the only place where “koinos” is translated as “unclean” in the whole of the New Testament.

While unclean(akathartos) was used to denote something unclean like “unclean foods”, common(koinos) was used to indicate something “ritually impure”, such as in the case of eating with unwashed hands. “Ritual impurity” was not part of God’s Law, but was connected to Tradition. (Read this study for a in depth look at the difference of God’s Law & Tradition). Basically, unclean(akathartos) was part of God’s Law, while common(koinos) was part of tradition.

So with the above information, let’s try to understand the point Paul is trying to make. In the context of the issue of fasting, he must be reiterating the fact that there is no “common”/”ritually impure”/”wrong way” of fasting. That he believes there is no wrong way of practicing fasting – but if a person concludes he/she should not fast in a particular way, for him/her, the act of fasting in that particular way becomes “common”/wrong way”. In other words, if we fast, we must do it in the way we are led to do it, rather than adhering something that you do not fully agree with.

Rom 14:15  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
One of the reasons that people believe the earlier verse speaks of “unclean food” is the fact that this verse contains the word “meat”. Yet again, we must dig into the original words of the Greek Manuscripts, to find the truth for ourselves.

The word translated as “meat” in many of our English translations of the Bible, originates from the Greek word “Bromah”(G1033 – βρῶμα – brōma) which means “food”. The Greek word “Kreas”(G2907 – κρέας – kreas) is the word which means “meat” and is used in verse 21, further down in the chapter. “Bromah” is extensively used in the Septuagint for general food, while “kreas” is the word used for meat. It is a grave error in translations that lead to this erroneous teaching of “don’t eat unclean meats if you become a stumbling block to your fellow brother” – leading all to believe that Paul is giving leeway for believers to eat unclean meats as long as others don’t take issue with it.

Paul’s whole discussion which revolves around fasting is yet again what he is addressing in this verse. Basically what he is saying is “you are not walking in love, if your brother takes issue in the fact you eat, while they fast. Don’t allow food to be a factor which can destroy their faith.

Rom 14:16-19 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Paul continues his advise, asking them to not allow anyone to defame them because of this issue – whether you fast or not, whether you fast on a particular day, or not. He explains that the kingdom of God stands on “righteousness”, “peace” and “joy” in the Holy Spirit, and not on disputed issues of “food and drink”. He asks to serve Christ in whatever personal decisions they take on the issue at hand, as this is the only criterion to be acceptable to God. He advises that we must all strive to edify each other, and take a path of peace rather than engage in disputes/arguments on the matter of fasting.

Rom 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Paul goes onto finish his advise on the matter of fasting by explaining that “food”(Bromah) should not cause the destruction of the work of God – meaning it should not hinder the work of salvation. All manners of Fasting, whether on a specific day or not, is pure. But it is evil if someone eats and becomes a stumbling block to others through doubtful disputes.

Rom 14:21  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak
The fact that he is speaking of fasting, is cemented by this verse as he speaks of refraining from meats(kreas), wine and any other thing that makes others stumble, brings them displeasure or make them weak in the faith. The parallels between Paul’s words here and Dan 10:2,3 where Daniel refrains from meat, wine and delightful bread should be noted.

Rom 14:22,23 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Paul’s final words on the matter, is to instruct them to not cause disputes because of personal faith. Whatever a person believes, must be kept to himself in front of God, in such a situation according to Paul. He exhorts not to fall into condemnation by what each person sees fit to do. And to not doubt yourself if you decide on eating rather than fasting, as your decision must be made in faith without doubts.

Conclusion
Romans chapter 14 is commonly used as an argument to say that Paul endorsed the eating of unclean foods – as long as we don’t make anyone else stumble. Reading the chapter from the beginning provides much needed context and clarity to this misunderstanding. It is clear that Paul is addressing a dispute in Rome. While God’s Word and Law cannot be called a “doubtful disputation”, we know that Paul himself walked orderly and according to God’s Law(Act 21:24).

Rom 14:6 is clear – “He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that does not regard the day, he regards it not to the Lord. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, does not eat to the Lord, and gives God thanks”. Some are eating, some are not eating. And some are regarding a particular day above the other. It appears to be a dispute about fasting. some eat. some fast. some fast on a particular day. some eat vegetables only(a kind of fasting like done by Daniel). So what is Paul’s advice? avoid doubtful disputes as there are no laws on fasting. Let people eat or fast so that they do not make other brothers stumble. Be sure of your decision, but do not create disputes on the matter. Making the issue addressed by Paul here, into one about God’s Food Laws does not align with the entirety of Scripture, nor does it support the context of the chapter. We must be careful in jumping to conclusions when reading Paul’s words, and try our best to deconstruct them without giving way to our preconceived notions.

The Day of Atonement, repentance, fasting and the payment for all our Sins

Out of the days commanded as remembrances and prophetic rehearsals by God Almighty, “The Day of Atonement” is considered to be one of the most important. This is the day which is celebrated as a remembrance of the impending judgement, when all of us, from the least to the greatest in this world, will have to appear before the Throne of the King. It is a day in which we draw near with a repentant heart. Let us study this day further and understand the significance of this feast written down in Lev 23.

This study has been broken into 4 sections for your viewing ease. If you already know about any particular section, please feel free to skip through to the section that you are interested in.

1. Introduction to the Feasts/Appointed Times of God
God’s appointed times (also known as feasts) which are written in Lev 23 consist of 7 separate events which are “remembrances of God’s grace in time past” as well as “prophetic shadows of things to come”. Even though these feasts have been branded “Jewish feasts”, it is very clear that these were called “My feasts” and “LORD‘s feasts” by our Heavenly Father (Lev 23:2,4,37).

Contrary to popular belief, Yeshua(the real name of Jesus), His Disciples and even the highly misunderstood Apostle Paul, did not teach or abolish God’s Law. Just as God’s Commandments will stand till Heaven and Earth exists, The “Feasts” or “Appointed Times” of God (which are part of God’s Law), is, and will be in effect in the time to come. Out of the 7 events asked to be remembered, God has fulfilled 3 of these prophetic events in the time of the first coming of Messiah.

I highly recommend that you read the separate studies on Passover, First Fruits, Pentecost & Trumpets (if you have not studied this subject before) from which, Passover, Firstfruits & Pentecost have been already fulfilled in its time and season at the time of the 1st appearance of Messiah Yeshua.

Let us review these Appointed times, their significance and their fulfillment –
1. The Sabbath – Every 7th Day (Lev 23:3) – Remembrance of God as Supreme Creator and the one who will provide us with rest in His Millennial Kingdom

2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – 14th of the 1st Month is Passover / 15th to 21st is the week of U.B. ; The 15th and the 21st are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:5-7) – The deliverance from Egypt through the Blood of a Lamb & the Deliverance from Sin/Death through the Blood of Yeshua who is named Lamb of God (Yeshua died on the day of Passover)

3. First Fruits – The day after the 7th day Sabbath, which is right after Passover (Lev 23:10,11) – The lifting up of the First fruit of all Crops to God & the ressurection of the First fruit of all who will rise again – Yeshua – who was the First to have risen from death (Yeshua rose on the day of First Fruits)

4. Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost – The 50th day counted from First Fruits (Lev 23:15,16) – The day of Thanksgiving for God’s provision for the Harvest and remembrance of giving of the Commandments at Mt.Sinai, as well as The day of remembrance of the giving of the Holy Spirit & the start of the Heavenly harvest of souls collected unto God. – (The Holy Spirit fell on the Disciples on the day of Pentecost)
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From the 3rd Month (when Pentecost is celebrated) until the 7th Month (when the last 3 feasts are celebrated) there is a period of silence, much like the time we are living in – awaiting His 2nd coming  ——————————————————————————————————————————————-
5. Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:24,25) – The day Yeshua will return as the Bridegroom & King to reclaim the Earth and establish His Kingdom for a thousand years

6. Feast of Atonement – 10th day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:27-30)
7. Feast of Tabernacles – 15th to 22nd day of the 7th Month ; 15th & 22 are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:34-36)

2. The “Appointed time” / “Feast” of Atonement
Lev 23:27-32 
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
(Also read Lev 16:29-31 and Num 29:7)

As we see in the above verse, we are to celebrate the day of Atonement on the 10 the day of the 7th Month. Our Heavenly Father also gives us strict directions on how we should celebrate this day. Let’s take a closer look at these details.

A) It is a Sabbath and a Holy Convocation/Assembly
This Feast day is supposed to be a Sabbath where no Monetary work should be done, while it is also called a Holy convocation, meaning assembly, where God’s people should gather together.

B) Afflicting our Souls
What does “you shall afflict you souls” mean? Afflicting the soul of oneself is an expression that means “to fast”. We can see this expression in many places in the Scriptures.
Psa 35:13  But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I afflicted* my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. (*KJV translates “H6031 – ענה – aw-naw’ – Afflict” as “humbled”)
Isa 58:3  Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
Isa 58:5  Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Isa 58:10  And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

The “Soul” is connected to “Appetite”/”food”
Pro 23:2  And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite(H5315 – נפשׁ – nephesh – Soul)
Ecc 6:7  All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite(H5315 – נפשׁ – nephesh – Soul) is not filled.
In both the above instances, the Hebrew word “Nephesh” which means “soul” is translated in the English versions as “Appetite”. This connection can be seen further in the following verses (Psa107:5,9, Pro 27:7, Isa 29:8, 32:6, 58:10). The word Soul does not mean only “Appetite”. But the “Appetite” of the human is a main part of his Soul.

Prayer and Repentance are connected to Fasting
Coming before God Almighty, with repentant hearts has always been connected with fasting, as it is an affliction to ones Soul. (Neh 1:4, 9:1 Dan 9:3, Judg 20:26, Joel 2:12, 1Sam 7:6, 2Ch 20:3, Jon 3:5-8, Jam 4:8,9)

What is an acceptable fast to God Almighty?
One accompanied by charity – Isaiah chapter 58 – This chapter highlights an acceptable fast day in the eyes of our Creator. He says that the fast has to be coupled with righteous action, and that fasting and prayer done while neglecting the poor and hungry will not be accepted.
One accompanied by true repentance – Joel 2:12-14 – It is also seen in the Scriptures, that a fast with true repentance will surely be heard by God.

3. The Atonement Sacrifice
Amongst all the sacrifices and offerings mentioned in the Scriptures, special mention has also been given to the Atonement Sacrifice. Leviticus chapter 16 details these instructions. In it, God mentions that Aaron (and his sons after him) who was named as the priest, would come before Him into the Holy of Holies, with an offering for himself and his family. After this, he should bring 2 goats and cast lots on them to decide on which one was to be sacrificed as a offering and which one was to be led into the wilderness. This goat was called the scapegoat (Azazel), and aaron was to place his hands on this goat confessing all the iniquities of the people Israel and then this goat was led into the wilderness. Not only did God say that this is a statute forever, He also said that “the fast” and “the Sabbath rest” was applicable to all aliens living among the children of Israel.

If we are enforcing the remembrance of this day, why don’t we do the sacrifices and the rituals that are written along with it? There are a few reasons.
1) Only the Aaronic priesthood can do any sacrifices on the earthly temple (Num 16 & 18).
2) Sacrifices can only be done in the tabernacle/temple in Jerusalem (Deut 12:10-13).
3) Yeshua (real name of Jesus) has become a sin offering for us (Heb 9:12,26)

4. The Significance of “The Day of Atonement” to us, as believers in Christ
This Prophetic Feast signifies the day when Our Father in Heaven will atone/make amends/make payment for the sin of His people through the Blood of Messiah. He will act as the Sacrifice that was done on the Day of Atonement for all Israel(Rom 5:11). And the “Scapegoat” which was led into the wilderness with all of the Sins of the people spoken over it, would be “satan” who will be finally bound for a season and then thrown into the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:1-3,7-10).

We should celebrate this day with repentance and fasting, remembering the sacrifice that has already been done and the future day when this payment will be made forever.

Conclusion
The Day of Atonement which is also mentioned as “the fast” in Acts 27:9 by Luke, was not done away by Yeshua or His disciples just as He said “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”. In His first coming, Christ fulfilled the Passover, Firstfruits and Pentecost. In His second coming, He will fulfill the Day of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. In obedience to God’s Commandment, it is only right that we repent of all our sins and fast, showing our Father that we come to Him in all honesty and humbleness. There is nothing that we do, which can cover up our sins. It is only His grace that saves us. Let us remember his Love & Mercy as we proceed to remember His Prophetic Appointment given to us long ago, which we eagerly wait to see fulfilled.