Enter His Presence, You're Completely Covered!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 9:24-28 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Yom Kippur, which literally means Day of Coverings, can be a day of deep reflection on what the Lord has done for us. As Yeshua (Jesus) died on the cross 2000 years ago, the Gospel describes how the veil in the Temple was torn in two. This profound spiritual event reveals that the Lord gave all whose sins are covered by His blood access to the Holy of Holies, as He had become our High Priest in addition to being, Himself, the perfect sacrifice for sin.

Although the Temple was not finally destroyed until 70 AD, Orthodox Judiasm recounts in the Talmud that, beginning in 30 AD, God no longer accepted the animal sacrifices commanded in the Torah for the Day of Atonement, [Tract Yoma 39b]. Throughout the ages, while the Temple stood, the High Priest would cast lots for the two goats which were to be offered as sacrifices on Yom Kippur. One lot was for the goat to be sacrificed on the altar, for YHVH — and the other, called "Azazel", the goat cast out into the wilderness for the removal of sins [Leviticus 16:7-10].

Traditionally, as the Priest cast the lot, finding it in his right hand was a good omen, indicating that God had accepted the sacrifice. However, if the High Priest drew it in his left hand, this indicated the Lord's displeasure and even rejection of the sacrifice. For the 40 years after the sacrifice of Yeshua, the Talmud records that the lot was taken in the left hand of the High Priest. The same result for 40 years, a lot cast into the left hand, carries a statistical probability of 1 in 1,099,511,627,776 — or one in a trillion chance! There were also other significant miraculous signs described in this tract, that something of major significance had taken place related to the most critical sacrifice in the Temple order. It is clear to both Jews and Messianic believers that God was saying something important to the Jewish people in 30AD; something important enough to be recorded in the Talmud and something which demanded an explanation.

We believe that the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, 40 years after the sacrifice of Yeshua, followed a period of testimony and testing for the Jewish people concerning the fact that the sacrificial system had been consummated by Yeshua's death on the cross. 40 is a typical number of testing throughout the Bible. While animal sacrifices continued to be offered in the Temple while it stood, and many believing Jews continued to participate in them, it was clear that something new and definitive had opened the way for all people to enter the Holiest place and to know the Lord intimately and personally. Without intending to, the Talmud offers historical support for the significance and reality of the events in 30 AD which consummated the sacrificial system given in the Torah; i.e. the death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, who died for the sins of the whole world.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

Embrace the Paradox and Rejoice!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Last Friday night and Saturday, Jews throughout the world solemnly “afflicted” their souls during Yom Kippur. However, most kids in Israel look at Yom Kippur as “ride your bikes in the streets day!” You see, Yom Kippur in Israel is the one day when TV and radio stations are completely shut down and the streets are almost completely void of vehicles of any kind. Ironically, some of the only fully operational locations in Israel on Yom Kippur are the hospital emergency rooms – since kids who finally have no restraints on their bikes, skateboards, and roller skates tend to take risks they wouldn't normally take – it's Yom Kippur – they have the streets to themselves!

These two "sides" of Yom Kippur in Israel reflect our experience as believers. Our identification with Yeshua (Jesus) promises a certain degree of affliction in our lives, that we share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Yet we are also like children who can revel in and enjoy the freedom that His sacrifice has brought us into. This is the paradox of our life of faith, and something we can embrace fully by the grace of God.

Knowing and following Yeshua is a life of suffering and great joy, even revelry. Which ever side of the "fence" you're on at the moment, you can be thankful that, because your sins are forgiven, the end of the matter will be better than the beginning. So, count it all joy when you meet with trials….and rejoice in the Lord always…forgiveness of sins is your passport to Eternal Life.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

Take Us Into the Holy of Holies!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 9:11-12 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Most Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is upon us. Beginning tomorrow evening, Yom Kippur marks the holiest of all holy days on the Hebrew calendar. It is the anniversary of the fall of man and it is the climax of the time of Teshuvah (repentance). Starting tonight night and into Saturday, all around the world, the religious will fast from food and water and read prayers in the synagogue, as will the majority of traditional Jews.

Atonement means "covering". On this day, according to the Scriptures, the High Priest would slay a goat and sprinkle its blood on the Ark of the Covenant so that the sins of the people might be cleansed and they could have favor in the sight of God. This act was clearly a foreshadowing of the covering that would come when Messiah would die for our sins, our perfect and innocent Lamb.

Today, there are no more sacrifices and no more Temple. Yet the religious are convinced that their sins will be atoned for by doing their best to keep the law and doing good works. Sadly, there is only one recipe for true atonement — trusting in the One of whom was prophesied long, long ago — Yeshua haMashiach, Jesus the Messiah. His blood has covered over all of us who believe so that our sins might be washed away, that we might have favor in the sight of God and that we might have our names inscribed in the Lamb's Book of Life.

Let's take some time to repent and get right with the Lord, ourselves — allow the Lord to reveal our sins, both known and unknown. Perhaps God will call you to fast and pray along with us for Israel as well. We look forward to the wonderful day when ALL Israel shall be saved!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

The Lord Himself Provided!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Genesis 22:7-13 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. Then he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and placed the wood in order, and he bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And He said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me. Then Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

One of the major themes of Rosh Hashana is called Akedat Yitzchak, which means the Binding of Isaac. According to Jewish tradition, God told Abraham that the ram's horn – otherwise known as a shofar – should be blown on Rosh Hashana to remind people of the sacrifice that God provided Himself when Abraham was about to offer Isaac on Mount Moriah. It's abundantly clear that this event in the life of Abraham and Isaac foreshadowed God the Father's offering of His Son, providing Yeshua (Jesus) as a sacrifice for all men.

As we now are in the midst of the "Days of Awe" – traditionally, a time of repentance between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur – let us take the time to examine ourselves, turning from sin again, toward our loving Creator, as we celebrate the fact that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Through His perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Yeshua, God's forgiveness is eternal and His love, everlasting.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

We're in the midst of Awesome Days!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur are ten days. These days are known as "Yamim Noraim", "the Days of Awe" — or also translated, the "Awesome days". In Judaism it has been long believed that these days seal your fate for the upcoming year — and also allude to your final destiny, concerning whether your name continues to be written in the Book of Life. Throughout the ages, Jewish people spend the Days of Awe in great reverence — aware of the holiness and judgment of YHVH; so repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness and a general heightening of moral conduct are emphasized. After the holiday, for many, it's back to life as usual.

But we ought to realize…there are nine verses in the Bible, Old and New Testament, which clearly state that we will be judged and rewarded for our works. (The final one is Revelation 22:12). Salvation is by grace through faith; and all who believe have their names written in the Book of Life.[Eph 2:5], but our rewards will be determined solely by what we have done. One day, when this life is over, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah (Christ). Once we breathe our last breath we will never again be able to prepare for eternity! These are our days of awe; not just once a year, but every single day of our life. Our everyday deeds on earth will determine our destinies in eternity.

Each of our days — these Awesome days –should be held in awe and used to the fullest. Use them wisely! Get right with God, every morning; tie up the loose ends, forgive others their offenses, be filled with His Spirit, and walk in love. You won't need to fear the Days of Awe, but instead look forward to a rich reward in God's Eternity– yes, in fact we are… truly we're living in the Days of Awe!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Yom Kippur