The Blood of Messiah
In order to better understand this moed and how it pictures the (as yet to be completed) work of Messiah, we should understand the Scriptural meaning of atonement. We recommend this article on atonement from Psalm11918.org as a thorough study on the topic.
As noted previously, the Day of Atonement is for cleansing by blood from the physical impurity that accompanies life, death, and sin. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us:
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13-14)
There are two interesting facts found in this passage.
First, the author of the book of Hebrews affirms the fact that the blood of goats and bulls does sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh... our outer self. He uses that truth to illustrate the greater truth that the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience... our inner self.
Second, the Greek word translated as "conscience" is συνειδησις (suneidesis, Strong's #4893). This word is not limited to mean our "inner sense of what is right and wrong"1. Its full meaning refers to our complete consciousness or the collective sum of our thoughts. Suneidesis comes from Greek words that means "to see together"2 meaning the whole of our thoughts. This sounds very similar to the words of Paul:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
The way we think changes once we become talmidim [disciples] of the Messiah Yeshua. Our minds are actively being renewed each day as we grow in faith and in the knowledge of our Savior and His Word. How much more so will we be changed upon His glorious appearing?
If we consider that Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets) will mark the return of Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:52), what can we expect nine days later? We will be given new bodies, He will cleanse our minds from all impurity, we will be washed spotless to be His Bride clothed in white linen (Revelation 19:7-8).
Consider also the words regarding cleansing that John gave us:
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9)
Paul tells us in Colossians 2 that nobody should act as our judge in regard to food or drink or "in respect to a festival" or a new moon or a Sabbath day. These things are a shadow of "what is to come" [present tense!] and the substance (or the body) belongs to Messiah (Col 2:16-17). If Messiah is casting a shadow that looks like the food laws, the moedim, new moon festivals, and the Sabbath then they are all pointing towards Him and are an outline of Who He is.
Yom Kippur pictures Messiah:
- He is the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) who will bring about atonement and cleansing for His people.
- He is the One Who "stands in readiness" to lead away our uncleanness with the scapegoat, the goat of removal.
- He is the "scapegoat" that will bear our sins and take them away (Hebrews 9:28).
As we celebrate this moed, He is ever present in the words of Scripture, in our minds, and in our hearts.
Next, let's examine the traditions of Yom Kippur.