There are various scriptures referencing Yom Hakippurim in the Bible, one of them is in the Book of Revelation 20:11
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
There’s heavenly dynamics we can see in this scripture, which continues in verse 12
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…
When people present themselves before God, he opens books that belong to each one of us, and every single one will have to give account for how he “wrote” the book of his own life.
Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
The book of life is directly connected to Yom Kippur, which Israel commemorates with such reverence each year.
Two books are opened when each person is presented before the Lord: the book that holds the account of the person’s life, and the Book of Life, in which some names are written and some are not.
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Judgment Day will be the day God will have every man ever lived to stand before Him, and be judged based on how he lived his life. The good news is that we have a High Priest — Yeshua, who brought a far superior sacrifice before God, atoning those who believe in Him once and for all!
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
Our redemption is sealed in the blood sacrifice of Yeshua our Messiah, who brought His blood before God and brought us out (atoned). That is why Yeshua told His disciples not to rejoice because demons submit to them, but because their name is written in the Book of Life.
That is the true fulfillment of Yom Hakippurim — Atonement Day, and it shows us the depth of what exactly Yeshua has done for us on the cross.
It’s powerful and beautiful to see that after celebrating the Feast of Trumpets and proclaiming: “The Lord is coming!”, Yeshua will come to take us, His beloved ones, to heaven. Then Judgement Day will start.
Atonement Day is a day of sacrifice, of forgiveness, but it is also a day of judgment when God will have every man stand before Him and give account for what he has done with the life he was given.
Yom Hakippurim in Israel’s modern-day culture
We’ve been talking about the prophetic message of Yom Hakippurim, of its fulfillment, but it’s also important to see its modern-day expression and commemoration in Israel of today.
Israel as a nation takes Yom Kippur very seriously.
Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
In modern times “afflict your souls” was interpreted as fasting and denying oneself of the pleasures of life.
And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.
There’s a problem, however: the temple is no more. There is no way to make atonements the way it was instructed in the Old Testament.
Animal sacrifices are now allowed in Israel, however, in some movements in Rabbinical Judaism, it was accepted to sacrifice a chicken — which was to be a symbol of the blood sacrifice needed to atone for the people.
Most of Israel however has accepted the stance that in the absence of the Temple, prayer is now an acceptable sacrifice and will be received for atonement. So in the days prior to Yom Kippur, there’s a lot of spiritual preparation taking place, with people asking for forgiveness, looking to reconcile, actively seeking to make things right with their fellow man.
We know very well the power of forgiveness, what it does to a man’s heart. It creates a shift in the atmosphere, when so many people are engaging in forgiveness, something is released over the nation during this Holy Day of Atonement. They firmly believe that if you seek forgiveness with all your heart, your name will be written in the Book of Life.
That is why it is custom after the Feast of Trumpets to hear all across Israel people wishing one another: “khatima tova” meaning: “May you receive a favorable seal/record in the Book of Life!”
As a Messianic community in the Land of Israel, we join our nation in prayer. Where the Bible tells us: “afflict your souls”, and the people of Israel have taken this on themselves as fasting, we also join them in their fast. However, we don’t fast for the forgiveness of sins, because we know Yeshua paid the price for our forgiveness and atoned us. But we celebrate the forgiveness we received from Yeshua, the fact that our names are already written in the Book of Life, as well as praying and interceding for the salvation of Israel, standing on God’s eternal promises for His people.
Join the nation of Israel in prayer for salvation, as it takes this holiest day of the year and prays for atonement.
Beit Hallel is a Messianic Jewish congregation in Ashdod, led by pastor Israel Pochtar, serving holocaust survivors and the poor and needy locally and throughout the nation of Israel, while building up the body of Messiah in the promised land of Israel.