Non Messianic Jews believe that in Heaven, books recording the deeds of mankind were opened 10 days ago on Rosh Hashanah for an annual review of man’s behavior.
Since they all know they have not been perfect angels all year, they have those 10 days to “get right with God.”
These 10 days are called the Days of Awe where each man’s destiny hangs in the balance. So he asks God for His forgiveness, and forgiveness from his friends and family for the sins he’s committed in the past year.
A greeting among Jews during the 10 Days of Awe is, “LeShanah Tovah Tikateivu” (May your name be written in the Book).
Yom Kippur, is on the 10th day of Tishrei, the day in which, according to Jewish tradition, God’s judgment is rendered, the books are closed, and their fate is sealed for another year.
Yom Kippur is considered to be the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Why? Because it was the only day of the year when the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the nation of Israel.
But does all of this still apply to us today?
Leviticus 16 discusses the ceremony centering on the sacrifices of two goats. One goat called chatat was slain as a blood sacrifice to symbolically cover the sins of Israel.
The other goat was called the azazel or scapegoat which was brought before the priest. The priest would lay his hands on the head of the goat to confess the sins of the people.
But instead of slaying the azazel at that point, that goat was taken out into the wilderness and pushed off a cliff so it would die. By doing so the sins of the people would die with the goat.
An interesting part of this story which is recorded in the Talmud (Tractate Yoma 39:b) is that before the goat was led out into the wilderness it had a red ribbon tied onto its horn, which was also attached to the temple gate. When that goat was released and taken out into the wilderness the ribbon was cut so that part of it stayed on the temple gate and the other part went with the goat.
When the goat died, the ribbon on the temple gate always turned white, a sign from God that the people’s sins were forgiven.
However, one year the ribbon did not turn white, and from that year on it never turned white again. So what happened?
That first year, which was the last year that the red ribbon turned white, was the very same year that Yeshua sacrificed Himself for us.
The point… Yeshua was the final sacrifice that God Himself made for us, using his own perfect and sinless son to forgive all of our sins.
We find that blood is what God has chosen to use to forgive our sins in Leviticus 17:11:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
Yom Kippur is an example given to our Jewish people that by the slaying of an innocent lamb, God is using it as a substitute for killing us.
Instead he now lays our sins upon the head of His own perfect Son and His substitutionary death atones for us. What a concept!
But let’s take a little bunny trail here and talk about why, as Messianic Jews we still fast on Yom Kippur and take the day off from work.
Adonai said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny (oni) yourselves, (Hebrew word here is “oni” which means to fast) …You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations… —Leviticus 23:26-32
Does this still apply to us today?
I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah… Matthew 5:18
So how does all of this relate to us now?
It’s easy to see the Lord in the role of our Azazel, our scapegoat, His shed blood and death having purchased our pardon forever.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him (Yeshua), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the execution stake. Col. 1:19-20
God can only accept into Heaven those who have asked for forgiveness and have accepted Yeshua as their atonement for their sins.
But you may believe you are doing OK so you don’t need to ask God for His forgiveness. In fact you might even believe you are a “good” person, especially when you compare yourself to others. Our Scriptures give us God’s measuring stick. So let’s see how you will stand up in God’s courtroom when you die.
The 10 Commandments – (NOT suggestions) 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. – Is God #1 in your life? 2. Thou shalt not make any graven image. 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord God in vain. – Ever blasphemed? 4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. – Ever worked on the Sabbath? 5. Honor thy father and thy mother. – Ever been disobedient or disrespectful to your parents?
How did you do on just the first 5?
Throughout this message, God is talking to you right here and right now. If you are honest with yourself, you have broken some of these laws of God. So by God’s standards will you be innocent or guilty when He judges you?
Does this concern you? If so…
Remember that Yeshua said these words to you…“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. “There is no judgment awaiting those who trust Him. But those who do not trust Him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God”.
But if you are sitting here tonight and were raised like I was, a Conservative Jew, you have been taught that you can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus. We Jews believe in ONE God!
Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad
“Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4
Let’s look elsewhere in our Torah where the sentence structure is identical to Deuteronomy 6:4 and the word “echad” is used. When God is referring to two becoming “united” or “one” in marriage He uses the word “echad”.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one (echad) flesh. –Genesis 2:24
In Hebrew, this would read “basar echad” (literally “flesh united as one”) and so echad is the word used to describe a union of several. There is another word for “one” in the Hebrew language, and it is “yachid”. It denotes a singular one.
If God had wanted to say that He was a singular one, He would have said “Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Yachid”… but He didn’t. Instead, God told us that He is “echad” – a unity of several as one.
Additionally in the Torah, in Genesis 1:26…
Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness.
Genesis 3:22 the Lord God said,
“The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”
“Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they will not understand each other.”
So whenever we talk about Yeshua (Jesus) and the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit), we are speaking about God only we are naming parts of His being. Similar to when someone talks about your soul and your body.
Oh, and one more thing, nobody has ever raised themselves from being dead after 3 days. If Yeshua didn’t really do this then you can be sure that book after book would’ve been written on how it didn’t happen by the people who were actually there. The fact that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the other rabbis in charge remained quiet about it just highlights the obvious – something happened that they couldn’t explain, nor wished to document. My point is that Yeshua was not only a “good teacher” but He is also the Son of God just as He said. As written in the New Covenant:
I atoned for you by My special favor when you believed. And you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from Me. Salvation is not a reward for the good things you have done, so you cannot boast about it.
For all have sinned, all fall short of My glorious standard. Yet now I, in My gracious kindness, declare you not guilty. I have done this through Messiah, who has freed you by taking away your sin.
If you say you have no sin, you are only fooling yourself and are refusing to accept the truth. But if you confess your sin to Me, I am faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from every wrong.
And I showed My great love for you by sending Messiah to die for you while you were still a sinner. And since you have been made right in My sight by the blood of Messiah, He will certainly save you from My judgment.
Messiah suffered when He died for your sin once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners that He might bring you safely home to Me. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life by the Spirit.
For My Son told you that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to Me except through Him. I atoned for you, not because of the good things you have done, but because of My mercy. I washed away your sin and gave you a new life through the Holy Spirit.
For you no longer live, but Messiah lives in you. So live your life in this earthly body by trusting My Son, who loved you and gave Himself for you.
For the wages of sin is death, but My free gift is eternal life through Messiah Yeshua your Lord.
For there is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for you to call on to atone for you.
For if you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and believe in your heart that I raised Him from the dead, you will be atoned. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with Me, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are atoned for.
For I have reserved a priceless inheritance for you, my child. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. Now you are no longer a slave, but My own child. And since you are My child, everything I have belongs to you.
So I implore you to obtain your atonement, but in God’s way. Say this prayer out loud and REALLY get right with God:
God… I know that I have sinned by breaking your commandments. I recognize that I have and sinned, and today, right now, I want to get right with You. I ask You to forgive my sins, I repent, and I commit my life into Your hands.
I accept Your Son, Messiah Yeshua, into my heart and life. I believe He rose from the dead as my permanent atonement for sin. Make me into the kind of person that You want me to be. Strengthen me and guide me with Your righteous right hand to live for You day by day.
Father, I recognize my need for your anointing (power) to live this new life. Please fill me with your Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). By faith, I receive Him right now. Thank you God for my salvation and Your Ruach haKodesh, which will empower me.
You are welcome into my life!