Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement
Join us on Wednesday, September 19th at 10:00 AM as we gather for the Lord's Sabbath of solemn rest and to continue the day of inflicting and humbling our souls.
Leviticus 16:29 (NASB Strong's) “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; 30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
At Shema, our goal is to embrace the whole Word without removing from it or adding to it, including traditions such as wearing white, having joyful singing, dancing or rejoicing at any time on the day of Yom Kippur. While these may have beautiful meanings and seemingly justifiable support, they are not scriptural. Colossians 2 says,
16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (NASB)
Put simply, these two passages state that the fesitvals, new moons and Sabbath days are shadows of Messiah Yeshua, and are far from "mere," which is not in the original text. One of the ways He has given us to know Him better is to walk in and embrace His holy days, for they are pictures of Him. When we add symbols, meanings and traditions, as beautiful or meaningful as they may be, we blur the shadow and alter the picture of who Yeshua is.
Leviticus 23 says,
27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. 28 You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29 If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath.” (NASB)
Because God said that we are to humble our souls on this day, celebrating would be an absolute contradiction of God's word. Any kind of theology or teaching that promotes celebrating or rejoicing on this day is contrary to God's command to humble our souls. While we have great reason to celebrate all that Yeshua has done for us, it is not to be done on this day. We are commanded to humble our souls from "evening until evening," and is a perpetual statute. We trust that when the Lord wants us to celebrate, He will tell us, and He has. There are many appointed times that He has commanded us to celebrate jubilantly!
The Word does not tell us what color clothes to wear on Yom Kippur. The Lord commands us to "humble your souls." While we are not told what this means, even a cursory look shows themes, such as, torn clothes, sackcloth, ashes, weeping, fasting, praying, mourning, suffering, and seeking the Lord, all seem contrary to the picture we have of someone wearing white. We encourage you to follow the leading of His Spirit as to what to wear, be it black, white, blue or even sackcloth and ashes. We will have sackcloth and ashes available for those who are led to wear them.
On Yom Kippur, the coffee machines will be turned off and we will not have our usual oneg. We'll spend much of our time in quiet intimacy seeking the Lord's heart, asking Him to show us where we have missed the mark, asking for forgiveness, resolving to change our thinking and praying for our unsaved loved ones. As part of humbling our souls, we will observe a fast from sunset on erev Yom Kippur (Tue) until sunset on Yom Kippur (Wed). Although we will not have children's ministry this day, we encourage all families to attend, including those with children of all ages. The Israelite's in the wilderness didn't have to find childcare and neither do you! Come and bring the whole clan. You are welcome in this place.