“...In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the Lord.”- Leviticus 16:29-30
Just before sunset on the 29th October 2017, corresponding to the 9th day of the Hebrew month of ‘Tishrei’, Jews the world over will begin a 26 hour fast to usher in ‘Yom Kippur’.
‘Yom Kippur’ is the most important holiday of the Jewish year.
Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish feast, festival or custom will refrain from work, fast and attend ‘shul’ (synagogue) services on this day.
‘Yom Kippur’ means "Day of Atonement". It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year.
Jewish people believe that on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ the destiny of all mankind is recorded by G-D in the “Book of Life”; on ‘Yom Kippur’, the judgment entered in the “Book of Life” is sealed. ‘Yom Kippur’ is, essentially, the last appeal; the last chance to change the judgment; to demonstrate repentance and make amends.
Jewish people believe ‘Yom Kippur’ atones only for sins between man and G-D, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, one must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs committed against them if possible. This must all be done before ‘Yom Kippur’.
‘Yom Kippur’ is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. Jewish people are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on ‘Yom Kippur’. It is a complete 26 hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before ‘Yom Kippur’ and ending after nightfall on the day of ‘Yom Kippur’.
Most of ‘Yom Kippur’ is spent in synagogue in prayer. In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the morning at about 8 am and continue until about 2 pm. Some people then go home for an afternoon nap and return around 4 pm for the afternoon and evening services, which continues until nightfall. However, the Rabbis and learned men will often remain in the synagogue for the entire duration of ‘Yom Kippur’.
In Jerusalem, one will find the ‘Kotel’ (wailing wall) packed with many Jewish people including the Yeshiva (religious college) students, the Ultra Orthodox and even soldiers holding ‘Yom Kippur’ services there.
In the course of ‘Yom Kippur’, five prayer services are held: ‘Ma’ariv’ (evening service), with its solemn ‘Kol Nidrei’ (all vows) prayer, is held on the eve of ‘Yom Kippur’. ‘Yom Kippur’ day begins with ‘Shacharit’ (Morning Prayer). ‘Musaf’ then follows (which includes a detailed account of the ‘Yom Kippur’ Temple service), ‘Minchah’, which includes the reading of the Book of Jonah, and finally the ‘Ne'ilah’ (‘closing of the gates’) service at sunset. The ‘Al Chet’ confession of sins is said eight times during the course of ‘Yom Kippur’.
The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as ‘Ne'ilah’, is a service unique to the day. It is about one hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the ‘Torah’ scrolls are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus one must stand throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this service. This service, sometimes referred to as the ‘closing of the gates’, is the "last chance" to get in a good word before ‘Yom Kippur’ ends.
Then the ‘Ne'illah’ service climaxes in the resounding cry of “Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad” ("Hear O Israel, the LORD is GOD, the LORD is one”). A single, long blast (‘tekiah gedolah’) of the ‘Shofar’ is followed by the proclamation, "Next year in Jerusalem." Then joy erupts in song and dance followed by the festive after-fast meal, making the evening after ‘Yom Kippur’ a ‘Yom Tov’ (festival) in its own right.
Sadly, no amount of prayer, petitioning or penance and no amount of fasting or spending the day in synagogue will grant Jewish people (or any people) forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven.
There is only one way to forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven, and that is through Yeshua and the work of the cross, and we pray that the glorious day will come when “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).
We, at Emet Ministries, pray that the glorious day will come for Jewish people when G-D will remove the veil He has sovereignly placed over their minds and hearts concerning the Messiahship of Yeshua.
Earnestly pray for the Jewish people. Pray for their salvation; pray that the Lord will thrust out workers into the Jewish harvest field; pray for their well being; and pray that the church will rise up and take up its mandate to “provoke the Jewish people to jealousy so that they (the Jewish people) may be saved”.
We, at Emet Ministries publicly stand with the Jewish people and Israel; we will love and comfort them and continue to pray “For the Peace of Jerusalem” – which will happen when the Messiah, who both Jew and Gentile is waiting for, will gloriously return to Jerusalem.
But even more than that, we at Emet Ministries will continue to minister the truth of the Jewish Messiah to the Jewish people – HIS NAME IS YESHUA!
The cry of my heart for all Jewish people is that this year, through Yeshua, may you truly and eternally be inscribed in the “Book of Life”.