Articles & Papers

I have had the opportunity to produce many articles and papers on various topics, as welll as chapters in books. I hope these can be helpful, and I would kindly request that if you chose to FREELY duplicate and distribute them, you wouldn't change their contents and would give proper credit. I can always be contacted if you need further information for different types of publishing.

Yom Kippur: Atonement and Forgiveness

Yom Kippur: Atonement and Forgiveness

Yom Kippur: Atonement and Forgiveness

The perpetual cycle of the Jewish “Holy Convocations” (Lev 23:3) includes one

yearly appointed time, which according to Jewish tradition, has become the most holy

day of the year. Yom Kippur is Hebrew for the “Day of Atonement.” It is observed on the

tenth of the month of Tishrei, trailing Rosh Hashanah or Head of the Year, and separated

each year by the Yomim Nora’im or “Ten Days of Awe.” Yom Kippur is a fast, not a


The observances of Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Awe, and Yom Kippur are

closely related; however, only Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:23-25) and Yom Kippur

(Lev. 23:26-32) are part of God’s Levitical calendar. The observance “Ten Days of Awe”

was added by the rabbis to facilitate the transition from repentance to forgiveness.

This article will examine these observances from three perspectives: biblical,

rabbinic, and prophetic or messianic. The approach is to always take Jewish tradition into

account, but only in light of biblical truth.

The Holy God of the universe has always desired for the Jewish people to be holy.

The word “holy” comes from the Hebrew kadosh” which means “set apart.” God gave

the Jewish people the Law of Moses to set them apart. Yet even then, in His infinite

wisdom and unconditional love for us, He incorporated Yom Kippur, the singular Jewish

holy day when His grace is best displayed.

Knowing too well that the children of Israel couldn’t remain holy, God set aside

one day of the year when all Israel would come together and wait with nearly unbearable

anticipation for the High Priest to perform the sacrificial duties for atonement.

As Leviticus 16, tells us with colorful detail, only once a year was the High Priest

allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the very heart of the Jewish Temple. First the High

Priest would have to atone for himself by providing both a sin and a burnt offering

(Lev. 16:3). After offering sacrifices to the Lord for himself and the other priests, He

would be ready to make an offering for the atonement of all of Israel (Lev 16:5-7).

The blood of the sacrificed animals was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat (the cover

closing the Ark of the Covenant) located in the Holy of Holies. Blood sacrifice was a key

factor because blood was and is a symbol of life (Lev 17:11).

The animals to be used for the atonement of the whole congregation were two

male goats. One goat was slaughtered and its blood applied on the other goat, known as

Azazel (meaning uncertain). Azazel or the “scapegoat” was then escorted to the outskirts

of town, into the wilderness. Tradition tells us, the scapegoat was kicked off a cliff to its

certain death, taking with it all the sins of Israel to be remembered no more.

The picture was one of atonement and forgiveness by God’s grace through the

shedding of blood, and this picture hasn’t changed.

As a matter of fact, since God gave Israel the Mosaic Law, the forgiveness of sin

has always required a blood sacrifice for which the children of Israel needed the Temple.

In 70 A.D., the Temple was destroyed, leaving our people with a dilemma: “ With no

Temple, how was Israel to perform sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin?”

Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, a first-century rabbi (student of Rabbi Hillel)

convened with other contemporary rabbis and finally decided to “adapt” the Judaism of

the day to a new Judaism without a temple. Pharisaic Judaism became Rabbinic Judaism

and to this day teaches that in lieu of a sacrifice, Jewish people are now called to do

tefilah (prayer), teshuvah (repentance), and tzedakah (charity). Thus Yom Kippur today

only carries the meaning of its biblical counterpart, but much of its original practices

have been swept under the carpet of convenient modern re-structuring.

Nevertheless, in some Jewish communities around the world, we can still witness

a ritual known as Kapparot on Yom Kippur. A live chicken is waved in circles over one’s

head as he/she recites a special prayer acknowledging the chicken as his or her

substitutionary atonement.

The truth is that 2000 years ago, one came to be our Azazel. Yeshua (Jesus) came

to carry our sins on His shoulders (Rom. 5:8, 8:3) and be our sacrifice. Today Jews who

have put their trust in Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection no longer need a temple

because they no longer need a sacrifice. The price has been paid once and for all as a free

gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9).

In Leviticus 23, God tells us three times that Yom Kippur requires the “humbling

of the soul” (vv. 27, 29, 32), which explains why Jewish people fast on that day, although

that would be considered a humbling or affliction of the body.

The future will bring both spiritual and physical afflictions with the advent of

Israel’s final atonement in the End Times. This affliction of the body as prophecied in

Zechariah 13:9 will bring about the affliction of the soul, when all Israel (Rom. 11:26)

will mourn and call on Yeshua at the end of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:10),

saying in one accord: “Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai” or “Blessed is He Who comes in

the Name of the Lord” (Luke 13:35).

A perfect God gave us a perfect program as delineated by the Fall holidays in His

Holy calendar. Rosh Hashanah prepares us for repentance; Yom Kippur reminds us of our

atonement, now in Yeshu; and, finally, Sukkot invites us to dwell or “tabernacle” with



God’s promise for Israel’s future

Zech. 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.


While it can be argued from the Tenach that we, the Jewish people have suffered much at the hands of many people groups throughout our history, it can equally be argued that God will never forsake Israel and our people (Jeremiah 35:35-37).

One of the most beautiful event in God’s program for mankind is the restoration of Israel in the last days. Many prophets speak powerfully of the day when Israel will be restored to the Land and know God personally (Zechariah 12-14, Ezekiel 36-37, Jeremiah 16).

But this day is contingent upon a reconciliation that has yet to take place between the Jewish people and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This recognition of the one “whom they have pierced” found in Zechariah 12:10 is the sine qua non for the Messiah of Israel to come and establish the Kingdom of God.

All of Zechariah chapter 12 speaks of the L-rd delivering Israel. The first deliverance will be from her physical enemies (Zechariah 12:1-9) and the second one will be a spiritual deliverance from the bondage of sin (Zech 12:10-13:9)

Looking closely at Zechariah 12:10, we see how God will deal with His chosen people, the ones that Zechariah called earlier “The Apple of God’s Eye” (Zech 2:8)

God Pours out His Spirit on the Jewish People

God has been speaking in Zechariah 12:1-9, so it is contextually relevant to see him as the narrator for the rest of the chapter. It is God who will pour out His Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. God promises to pour out on the Jewish people, the Spirit of grace and of supplication. The same Spirit of God who imparted wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of the L-rd in Isaiah 11:2 or Joel 2:28-29, will impart His grace upon Israel in Zechariah 12:10

Israel Calls on the Pierced One

As a direct result of God pouring out His Spirit of grace and supplication on Israel, they ­–the Jewish people– will look on Me whom they have pierced. Amongst a few of our sages, Rashi (1040-1105) in his commentary of this passage of the Bible sees Jewish people mourning because the Gentile nations pierced and killed some of them. This appears to be quite a grammatical stretch, especially in light of many Rabbis pre and post Rashi, such as Rabbi Abraham ben Ezra (1088-1176), Rabbi Dan Isaac Ben Yehuda (1437-1508), who saw the pierced one as King Messiah, the son of Joseph. Even the Talmud in tractate sukkah 52a, sees the pieced one as the Messiah.

The picture seems to come more and more into focus as we see God pouring his Spirit on Israel to call upon the One whom they have pieced. As we have already seen, the pierced one is the same as the narrator, that is God Himself. Was Messiah supposed to be God but yet a man? Much of the Bible seems to indicate that Messiah would be God in the flesh (Isaiah 7:14I, 9:6-7, Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:5-6). To be sure, we must clarify that God lowered himself to become a man and die for the sins of the world. Man never did and never will become God.

The word Hebrew word dakaru translated pierced means “pierced to death” or “to thrust through”. Lest we would be accused of being equivocal, the meaning is quite clear and is also within the context of other prophetic passages such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12. The Messiah would be pierced or crucified.

So When Will God Restore Israel?

The next question that one might pose is: “When will this restoration take place?”

If indeed the pierced one is Yeshua of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah who gave His life for Jews and Gentiles alike over 2000 years ago, then the promise from the God of Israel still stands and will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Yeshua. Zechariah 12 speaks of the end times before Messiah comes back to establish the Kingdom of God.

Yeshua Himself said to Israel in Matthew 23:37-39:

37 “ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

38 “Behold,  your house is being left to you  desolate!

39 “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘ BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”

What a glorious day it will be when all Israel will look to Him and say Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-rd”.

Then All Israel will be reunited with her God through Yeshua the Messiah who died, rose again, for the sins of the world and who is coming back soon.
























































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