‘On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work. You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a sweet aroma: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish.’ - Numbers 29:7-8
At sundown today, the Jewish people will end the High Holy Days, which concludes the Ten Days of Repentance, and enter into Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is when God will make His final judgment upon the people for the year. He will decide whether their names will be entered into the Book of Life for another year.
Yom Kippur is a very solemn holiday for the Jewish people. It is judgment day. The verse says, You shall afflict your souls; …” which means, “to oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down.” They are humbled because they do not know if they have made up for their sins. They do not know if their repentance was sufficient. They are humbled before the Lord, hoping their good deeds will outnumber their sins, because they can no longer offer the animal sacrifices for their sins.
It is important to recognize; even the animal sacrifices made by the high priest for atonement was only a temporary covering—temporal atonement. It all had to be done every year. A new blood sacrifice was made every year for the sins of Israel.
When we look at the meaning of Yom Kippur and the holiness of God, we realize our great need for atonement, for we are great sinners!
To deny the necessity of atonement is to deny the existence of a real moral order.
~J. Gresham Machen~
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