So we learned that the Day of Atonement will be, at some point, the day in which the Bridegroom arrives, and we — the Bride of Christ — like the five wise virgins (if we are wise, and if our lamps are filled with new oil), will go in to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and receive our white wedding clothes of righteousness, and at the end of that day, the door to heaven will be shut.
So why, when all this joyous activity is going to occur, does the Lord command His people to afflict and humble their souls on that day?
Well, precisely because, at the end of that day, the door to heaven will be shut. No one else will be able to come in to the wedding feast, through the blood of the Passover Lamb, by the grace of God, after that day. From the end of that day forward, anyone hoping to attain to life eternal must do so on the basis of their own righteousness, not the imputed righteousness of the Lamb of God. And we are painfully aware of the success of that endeavor.
So yes, it will be a day of joy for us, but we all know those, in our families, among our acquaintances or co-workers, who, if they do not avail themselves of the finished work of Jesus on the cross, will be shut out of the wedding feast. On the Day of Atonement above all others, we spend the day in mourning, in prayer, and in fasting for them, that perhaps the Lord might have mercy and draw them to Himself.
For the Lord says the same thing in Isaiah:
“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?” Isa 58:5-6
Jesus our Messiah loosened the bonds of wickedness for us; He undid the bands of the yoke, and let us who were oppressed go free. He broke every yoke. Now it is our turn to fast and pray for others, to witness of Him to them, so that others, who do not know Him, can avail themselves of His atonement on this Day of Atonement!