Yom Kippur: Repentance That Leads to Salvation
2 Corinthians 7:10
Should believers observe Yom Kippur?
Followers of Jesus the Messiah can confidently look forward to eternal life, because our names are written in the Book of Life. Unlike Jewish people who can only hope on this day that their names are written in the Book of Life, if their prayers of repentance have been enough.
When Jesus died, the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was ripped in two, symbolically breaking a barrier between us as sinful human beings and the holy presence of God (Matthew 27:51). Previously, only the High Priest had access to this room, and he only entered it once a year on Yom Kippur to make atonement for the people of Israel.
Jesus’ death gives believers access to God, because He entered into the heavenly Holy of Holies to offer His blood for our redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12). Unlike the Israelites’ annual sacrifices on Yom Kippur, Jesus’ one sacrifice continues to provide atonement to this day. Yom Kippur, for followers of Jesus, reminds us of the certainty of our redemption through the blood of our Messiah and High Priest, Jesus.
Yom Kippur brings into focus for us the incredible gift we have been given in the atoning work of Jesus. So, while this somber day reminds us of the penalty of our sin; it also reinforces the importance of holiness in our spiritual lives. Our sin wounds us and others too, therefore it grieves God. Yet, despite the gravity of sin’s consequences, we can have the assurance that our repentance is accepted by God because Jesus has made atonement for us. And so, the solemness of the day not only challenges us but becomes a day of deep and abiding joy in Jesus, who has borne our sins and paid the price for us.
What is the Prophetic Significance of Yom Kippur?
When the prophet Isaiah wrote “all we like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 5:6), he may have known that he was speaking about the coming Messiah, but did he see Jesus the sinless Lamb of God who would fulfill the Yom Kippur sacrifice? We can see Him in Isaiah’s words. Yom Kippur allows us, both Jew and Gentile, to see how God has fulfilled His Word in the person of Yeshua.
The prophet Zechariah speaks of a day when the nation of Israel will recognise her Messiah and “they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son” (Zech. 12:10). When Israel recognises her Messiah, as Paul declares, “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26).
So, Yom Kippur provides us with a wonderful opportunity for believers to pray for the redemption of the Jewish people. It enables us to rejoice and be grateful for our salvation, as we anticipate the salvation of God’s chosen people.