Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement begins tonight at sunset and runs through Monday night at sunset.
“…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
It is a day of repentance, of washing clean in the blood of Jesus, of remembering and thanking the Lord for the grace He has given us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our pastor is teaching a series right now on offenses; taking offense, and getting free from the burden of offenses. There is a lot in it of repentance and reconciliation, and it has been a very timely message for us, falling right at Yom Kippur.
Before the Messiah came, Yom Kippur was the single day of the year the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of Israel. I think it was since the time of the second Temple, that the high priest would be tied around the waist with a scarlet rope, so that if he suddenly died within the veil, he could be drawn out again without anyone else having to go behind the veil. The scarlet rope represented the sins of Israel. After making atonement for their sins with the blood of bulls and goats, the rope would miraculously turn white. It was a symbol that God accepted the sacrifice and forgave their sins.
When Jesus died on the cross, at Passover in the spring, the veil which divided the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple, was torn in two from top to bottom. I imagine that by the time the Day of Atonement rolled around in the fall, they had replaced the veil. But that year, the scarlet rope did not turn white. Nor did it ever turn white again, until the Temple was destroyed in 70 ad. And of course, there is no high priest in Israel anymore to make atonement for the sins of the people. Our final High Priest, Jesus, has made atonement once and for all time, with His own blood, and blood never need be shed again to satisfy a holy God! Have a happy holiday.