And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the Lᴏʀᴅ. “It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is quickly approaching. During the last few days, I have been reflecting a lot on my life, my relationship with God, and my walk with God. This is such an amazing season for us, this season of appointed times (mo’adim) that God has given us, in order to reflect, repent and return to Him. This week in particular, this above verse takes on a deeper meaning for me as I prepare myself for Yom Kippur by reflecting upon the work of our Messiah, His amazing sacrifice for me, and for all of us whose trust and hope are in Him.
When God commanded the Children of Israel to observe this Day of Atonement, He told them to “afflict” or “torture” their souls. Most English translations of the Bible translate this as “humble”, but the Hebrew word is actually much stronger! The command to afflict our souls is really a temporary physical sacrifice intended to honor God. As I was reflecting upon these words, however, I was thinking about Messiah Yeshua and the intense affliction He took upon Himself in my place; He chose to lay down His holy, sinless life and suffer intense torture in order that I would have an everlasting relationship with my Creator.
But what does this mean for us, His disciples? Well, if we truly understand His work on the tree (cross), then we will live our lives in a manner worthy of Him, which will bring Him honor rather than continuing to live however we desire. In fact, as Yeshua commanded, the torture of our soul ought to come daily, as we deny our flesh, pick up our own tree (cross) and follow Him. Following Him requires a daily sacrifice of dying to self.
During this season, and for those of us who will join the people of Israel during this time of fasting and praying, let us reflect, repent and have thankful hearts for all He has done for us. Please also join me in praying for all of Israel to recognize Yeshua as the promised Messiah. He completed the work of redemption once and for all!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, September 27, 2017, and reposted with permission.