This Friday night at sundown is one of the most significant days of the year, Yom Kippur. It was the only day of the year the high priest was permitted to enter the Holiest Place in the Beit Hamikdash. Vayikra 16 details the Azazel goat that was to be “presented to YHWH alive to be used for making atonement over it by sending it away into the desert.”
In Vayikra 23:31 YHWH himself declares that participating in Yom Kippur is a permanent regulation for all generations, no matter where they are living. This reason alone is enough to celebrate Yom Kippur but it is also mentioned several times in the Renewed Covenant. Rabbi Shaul used Yom Kippur to explain the significance of our atonement through Yeshua in Romans 3:23. Many scholars believe that Yeshua’s reading of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:16-22 happened on Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a day of “humbling your soul.” Though other fasts are mentioned in the Scriptures, this is the only specific day of the year that YHWH requires His people to fast. Yeshua pointedly mentions in Mattiyahu 6:16 that He expects His followers to fast. So for 24 hours –sundown Friday night to sundown at the end of Shabbat—we consume no food or beverages, including water.
An all day fast is the perfect excuse to make a lovely meal to enjoy before sundown on Friday. You will also want to plan ahead what you will eat when you break the fast at dark on Saturday. Traditionally wine and challah bread and other sweet things are included in both the pre Yom Kippur dinner and in the breaking of the fast, but Scripture gives no instructions on this so decide for yourself what you would like to eat. Have food prepared in advance to break the fast with—your energy will be low from not eating all day and you won’t feel like cooking come nightfall.
We are instructed to have a holy convocation on Yom Kippur and a tradition is to wear white clothing to your congregational service.
Scriptures to be read on Yom Kippur include:
The Book of Yonah
Please share if you have a special Scripture you like to read or a favorite prayer or Yom Kippur tradition below!