This year, the annual Holy Day known as the Day of Atonement begins at sunset on Friday, October 7. Most of the world thinks of this day as Yom Kippur—a “Jewish” observance consisting of a total fast from food and drink. However, a very “little flock” of true Christians keep this festival, which God intended for all His people and which Jesus Christ and the Apostles taught by their very own example.
Some modern “scholars” like to say that Paul and others, through what they sometimes call “progressive revelation,” moved the early Church away from observing the Day of Atonement and the other annual Holy Days found in Leviticus 23. The truth, however, is that Paul and the other Apostles all kept the biblical Holy Days, and taught Christians to do the same (Acts 18:21).
Remember that the New Testament Church itself was established on the annual Holy Day known as Pentecost. Scripture also documents plainly that Christ kept the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:8).
The example is clear. Original Christianity—which we in the Living Church of God are striving to restore fully in our lives day by day—kept the weekly and the annual Sabbaths.
In Acts 27:9, the Day of Atonement is referred to as the “Fast”—because it was observed by fasting in order to humble oneself before God. So, should Christians in this day and age keep the Day of Atonement? Yes, we should! On the Day of Atonement, Christians humble themselves before God, remembering the awesome sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose blood atoned for our sins. The Hebrew word for Atonement, kapar, literally means “to cover over.” Our death penalty has been paid for us, and our sins have been buried, or “covered over.”
The Day of Atonement also looks forward to the time when the whole world will have the same opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation. That future time, which we call “Tomorrow’s World,” will see the establishment of the Kingdom of God, under the rulership of the King of kings, Jesus of Nazareth, which will encompass all the earth. The Day of Atonement also signifies the time when the god of this world, Satan the devil (Ephesians 2:2) will be expelled and restrained for a thousand years. It is a supremely important and meaningful day for Christians.
Each and every one of us needs forgiveness, because we all have sinned. We as Christians need to deeply examine our lives. Christ and the Apostles commanded everyone to repent and believe the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The King of that Kingdom—Jesus Christ—shed His very own blood to make possible our forgiveness and our entrance into His Kingdom.
On the Day of Atonement, let us consider all that the day pictures—in regard to our individual lives now, and to our future in Tomorrow’s World, when true peace will be established and the world will finally be “at one” with God.