Month 7:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5941:186 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 29 September 2017
Yom haKippurim 2017
Finally Getting to Grips as a Body
A. MORNING SERVICE
Chag sameach Yom haKippurim and Shabbat Shalom kol beit Yisra'el and Mishpachah. Welcome to the assembly of the sixth annual feast of Yahweh which is different from all the others inasmuch as it spans two half-days - from sunset on the 9th day to sunset on the 10th day of the seventh month . It's also different from all the others because it is the only festival mandated by Yahweh to be accompanied by fasting.
Three of the Atonements
Finally, we must remember that the Day of Atonements has nothing to do with Yah'shua's (Jesus') atonement for our personal sins. That is what the spring feast of Pesach (Passover) is all about. The autumn (fall) feasts are all corporate or communal moedim (appointments) and the atonements (plural) the forgiveness and cleansing of the:
Why We are Here Today
- 1. Qohen Gadol (High Priest) and Cohenim (Priests);
- 2. The Qodesh (Holy, Set-apart) Mishkan (Sanctuary, Tabernacle) with its altar; and
- 3. The whole people or nation of Israel 
The goal of Yom haKippurim is likewise threefold. We are here for three reasons, all of them accomplishable through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) alone:
Lifting the Fog
- 1. To make peace with Yahweh
- 2. To make peace with other people relative to Yahweh; and
- 3. To make peace with yourself relative to Yahweh and other people.
Today is about metaphorically-speaking 'cleansing the air' or 'lifting the fog' caused by sinning, not just personally but as a community, through making teshuvah (repentance) because of sins committed over the past year since the last Yom haKippurim. It's about forgiving and being forgiven. It's about letting go and not clinging to grievances, real or imagined.
One day in the future, hopefully in not too many years' time, Yahweh will settle the scores on behalf of Himself and on behalf of His people. He executes vengeance on His and our enemies. We don't. We are to forgive others and so be forgiven by Him (Mt.6:12; Lk.11:4). So were a motto ever to be invented for Yom haKippurim, then I think Errol Müller's should be adopted: The best way to get even is to forget .
When the Last Yom haKippurim Comes
However, all that said, this is not something one can do casually or flippantly. In the Divine Calendar, on the last Yom haKippurim, this is the time of execution of judgment against all wickedness, which means not only the demonic hosts encouraging and pushing mankind to sin, but those men and women who yield to their enticing and driving. If repentance has not been made by the time this day arrives on the final Yom haKippurim, IT IS TOO LATE TO EVER REPENT AND OBTAIN FORGIVENESS AGAIN. On the one hand, this is the most wonderful day in the world (for those who are acquitted of sin-doing) but on the other it is the most terrible (for those who have forever lost the opportunity to turn around). That is why this is a most serious day indeed.
Is It Really That Serious Today?
'OK', you might say, 'I get it when you say the last Yom haKippurim is a mightily serious day, but today isn't that final Yom haKippurim. So why take it so seriously?' Because, whilst this is not the Final Judgment, is most certainly is a Day of Judgment. And given the world system has trained men and women to deny responsibility for sin, and therefore guilt and judgment, unlike the olden days when emet (truth) and accountability were instilled into people, these things are hard to find in a day of rampant self-entitlement and self-absorption. In case we have in any degree been numbed by the secular (read satanic) propaganda which greets our ears and eyes every day in conversation, in the media and wherever we may happen to be, we need to be reconditioned into seriously thinking about these things and responding to that near-dead thing called conscience.
Corporately Bringing to Remembrance
Under the Old Covenant there were all sorts of rituals attached to this festival in order to point the dull-spirited to the reality lying behind the divine demands attached to this moed (appointment). It is all too easy to become dull of spirit and that dullness comes about when we don't own up to sin, confess it and seek its cleansing through the spilled blood of Messiah which we remember at Pesach (Passover) for our personal sins but which we are commanded to bring to remembrance corporately as families, congregations and indeed (wherever that is possible) larger chunks of the Body of Messiah (Christ).
That's quite a thing we are commanded to do, and to devote 24 hours to solely concentrating on doing it. We fast - stop eating and drinking - for 24 hours (from sunset to sunset, commencing with a period of darkness to remind us that it is darkness we are to grapple with) because we need focussed time to deal with such things.
Involving Others in Our Sins
Most of our sinning actually involves others whether we plan to or not - the wrong we do them and indeed half (some argue 60 per cent) of the Ten Commandments concerns Yahweh's strict instructions in how we are to treat others. The first half are strictly between us and Yahweh but the others are most definitely involve the Body Messianic:
Bigger Bodies of Souls
- 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Yahweh;
- 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image;
- 3. Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Elohim (God) in vain;
- 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it qadosh (holy, set-apart);
- 5. Honour thy father and thy mother;
- 6. Thou shalt not kill;
- 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery;
- 8. Thou shalt not steal;
- 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour;
- 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, wife, servants, animals, or anything else.
If we are innocent of violations of any of these mitzvot (commandments), which remember are but summaries of all the rest, then we are OK. But what about our family? Is our family as a whole doing any of these things? If so, our family is in trouble. What about our local congregation? Is it, as a spiritual family, doing any of these things? What of our denomination? What of Christendom or Messiandom as a whole? What of our nation - our country? What of the whole world as a family of mankind? Is there guilt at any level? If there is - and we know there is - then there has to be JUDGMENT if it is not repented of by sunset this evening.
The Divine Council and Judgments
Each year our families, congregations, denominations, Christian/Messianic religion, nation and planet, in most cases, sin more and more, and each year consciences get dulled when punishment or judgment is not apparently forthcoming. Yes, it hits families, congregations, denominations, Christendom, nations and the planet as a whole from time to time. It's going on more or less continually. But at this time of the year - at the conclusion of this day - instructions are issued by Yahweh to the Divine Council to execute judgments over the days, weeks and months ahead. And sometimes the judgments are severe enough to make the dull-of-heart sit up and wonder if maybe they have played some part in the state of affairs around them.
So this is not a passive day by any means. The decisions we make do have an impact. We can choose to repent and do things better or we can continue slipping down the slippery slope. And we must, obviously, start with ourselves individually, for though this is a day of corporate repentance, that cannot start until individuals themselves decide that they bear some of the responsibility. This means we must stop seeking for scapegoats - others to blame when we are responsible - which is why a scapegoat figured prominently in the ritual of this day under the Old Covenant.
Stirring Up Everything
To "afflict our souls" is much more than fasting - it means admitting that we were wrong when we sinned so that we can square up. And that surely is a soul-affliction! Starting by depriving our flesh of food is merely the aid to the bigger process of stirring up the whole soul - body, mind, heart and spirit - into action.
The Opening Acknowledgement
We start by acknowledging this reality:
The Perfect Ones
"...if we walk in the light, as [Yahweh] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus), his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the emet (truth) is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives" (1 John 1:7-10, NIV).
There are, unfortunately, those who twist the words of John elsewhere and claim that they have stopped sinning altogether. Oh, were it true! Such people not infrequently claim that they have no need of external instruction because their channel to Heaven is 100 per cent open, 24/7, so they are, to all intents and purpose (in their futile imagination) in heaven already. But it is not true which is why we still have this moed (appointment) with Yahweh every year. Only conceit and spiritual blindness would ever lead anyone to believe that they have stopped sinning altogether.
This is not to say that we are, because of this reality, to diminish the importance of sin and say to ourselves (as so many alas do), 'Oh, I am a sinner, I cannot help sinning, and since there is nothing I can do about it, I need not expend such an effort discipling myself into doing anything concrete about it. Christ died for my sins so I can just apply for a clean bill of spiritual health in prayer and it's done until I sin again...which, of course, I cannot help myself over.'
What's dangerous about this attitude is that it is a half-truth. Paul expresses his frustration at sinning against his will but he nowhere grants the right to anyone to become a libertine because they will be forgiven anyway thanks to Yahweh's limitless grace (Rom.7:14ff.). I don't know how many heresies have been birthed out of such dark thinking.
Leaving Sin's Breeding Grounds
The point is this. We are supposed to be in a working relationship with Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus) that actually enables us to be done with habitual sins. But, as a rule, these don't just vanish at a whim. We have to knuckle down to bring the habit to an end. Yes, to be sure, there may be relapses, which though we should never be casual about, are better than the habit itself. Life is a long process of learning and growing until we're called home. Forgive and be forgiven daily and move with a determination not to go back to old sin breeding grounds.
Personal discipline lies at the centre of the New Testament witness. "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you" (John 5:14, NKJV), Yah'shua (Jesus) said to the lame man He had recently healed. "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11, NKJV), said Yah'shua (Jesus) to the woman caught in the sin of adultery whom He forgave.
Adultery, the Communal Affair
Not committing adultery is one of the Ten Commandments. Adultery is a communal affair. When it's committed, it brutally tears at the heart of the wronged spouse, and if it leads to family fracture, it tears at the hearts of children too, leading to a whole string of multiplied and spread sins and issues.
Far Reaching Effects
Some sins may be between us and Yahweh alone, but most, I suggest, impact those around us in some way or another too. Adultery, like all sexual sins, curses the land and therefore the whole nation. Sin has far reaching effects which is why so many of them have to be dealt with on a communal level. That is what Yom haKippurim was given for - to remind us that accountability isn't only personal.
Up to the National Level
When nations willingly embrace sin, and then more and more of it, the whole nation suffers, both under the burden of the sin as well as the inevitable punishment for sin which Elohim (God) must execute because He represents Universal Justice and Ahavah (Love). Leaving criminals unpunished simply endangers the community. Leaving willfully unrepentent sinners to run amock endangers the family and local assembly as well.
Look at the destruction an alcoholic can cause and how the sin of alcoholism if left undealt with can be transmitted to one generation after another. So at Yom Kippur were're also learning to deal with generational sins, to break them once and for all.
The Spirit is Willing...
One of the reasons the Torah (Law) has not be cancelled (as most Christians entertain a contrary hope against it) is to remind us of discipline. Why do you think Yah'shua (Jesus) taught:
Remembering Our Identity
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38, NKJV).
We all too easily forget our identity in Messiah and instead return to living out a fallen identity in the flesh nature. Part of the discipline is to train our minds into instantly responding to the lies of the flesh with two things:
The Price of Reverting to the Fleshy Identity
- 1. Instructing our inner being on how we have a Messiah identity through our emunah (faith) in Yah'shua (Jesus) and in His atoning work; and
- 2. Reminding our inner being what the evidence of walking in that identity actually consists of, through a rehearsal of the mitzvot (commandments).
If we're committing adultery, or stealing, or not observing the sabbath, and so on, it is a reminder that we have reverted back to a fleshy identity. And once you revert in part, you will before long revert more and more. That is why you need to be self-disciplined. That is why you need to say 'No!' to yourself, remind yourself of the guardrails in your life, what your obligations and covenants are, and what a soul walking in Messiah actually looks like. If you are coveting - eagerly desiring, lusting after - your neighbour's latest E-class Mercedes Benz or gorgeous villa on the French Riviera to the point of being envious or jealous, you know you have a problem to deal with and that you must take the initiative in correcting it. Your falling in love with either will make you a pain to be around and steal your shalom (peace).
Yah'shua (Jesus) speaks to our conscience, to that 'secret place' in our hearts, to make sure that its throne is actually occupied by Him. That's what He seeks to do today. He wants us to respond affirmatively, stop proscratinating, stop resisting the Ruach (Spirit) and clean up our act. Now's the time to do it. I pray the remaining hours will be a time of continuing introspection and repentance. Until the afternoon assembly... Amen.
 Unlike all the other moedim (appointments) which are from sunrise to sunrise. For the explanation, see Repentance and War in Messianic Israel
 See Applying the Five Atonements in Earnest
 Errol Müller, The Mystical Rites of Our Creator (White Stone Communications, Lake Worth, FL: 1999), The Holy Days p.91
B. LATE AFTERNOON SERVICE
The Concluding Neilah Prayers
O Yahweh, Elohim of our fathers! Let our prayers come before You, through Yah'shua our Deliverer, and do not hide Yourself from our supplication. What shall we say to You who dwell on High? You know all things, both hidden and revealed. You search our hearts and thoughts. Nothing is hidden from Your sight. We are not so arrogant nor hardened to say, 'We are righteous and have not sinned.' For truly we have sinned. We have turned away from the good mitzvot (commandments) You have given us. You are righteous and true in all Your ways, but we have done evil in Your sight. Thank You, our Heavenly Father, and Elohim of our fathers, that You forgive all our sins, pardon all our iniquities, sanctify the altar of our heart, bless and sanctify the quodesh (holy, set-apart) places in our homes and assemblies, sanctify your leaders in Messianic Israel, both the husband-fathers and the cohenim (priests), and grant atonement for all our transgressions through the blood of Yah'shua the Messiah.
For it is written: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". 'Return O Israel to Yahweh-Elohim, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to Yahweh. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips."'
We repent for the sin we committed in Your sight by:
For the sin we committed in Your sight knowingly, and for the sin we committed unknowingly. For all these, O Elohim of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement in Yah'shua the Messiah.
- sinning wilfully, and for the sin we committed in ignorance.
- slander, and for the sin of lashon hara or gossip.
- neglecting our responsibilities, and for the sin of selfishness.
- indulging evil thoughts, and for the sin of lust.
- being lukewarm, and for the sin of not loving You with all our hearts and souls.
- not hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and for the sin of not being poor in spirit.
- not being merciful, and for the sin of withholding when we could have given.
- speaking foolish words, and for the sin of not controlling our tongues.
- not loving our neighbours, and for the sin of not blessing our enemies.
- not turning the other cheek, and for the sin of practising our righteousness before men.
- being proud, and for the sin of lack of zeal.
For the sin we committed in Your sight by:
For all these, O Elohim of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement in Yah'shua the Messiah as your people Israel. Amen.
- not walking as Yah'shua walked, and for the sin of not being filled with Your Ruach.
- loving the world, and for the sin of loving the things in the world.
- putting other things before You, and for the sin of idolatry.
- not praying at all times, and for the sin of not being thankful.
- not being quick to forgive, and for the sin of holding resentments.
- not going the second mile, and for the sin of impatience.
- not doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, and for the sin of greed.
- being anxious about the things of this life, and for the sin of not trusting You to provide for all of our needs.
- setting our minds on the things below, and for the sin of not setting our minds on things above.
(Final blowing of the ram's horn)
I hereby declare Yom haKippurim at an end, in Yah'shua's Name. Amen!