Yom Kippur

The Mo’edim: Yom Kippur

When learning about applying the whole Word of Yah, one of the first topics of interest always becomes the mo’edim, YHWH’s appointed days, holy days or holidays if you will. These are the days our Creator gave us to celebrate Him, and to prophetically learn about what our Messiah did and still must do.

Many have looked at these days as just for the Yahudim. Plus we know these were given to all who chose to follow YHWH, including Gentiles.

Numbers 15:15-16

The community is to have the same laws for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before (YHWH) Yahuah: The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.’”

Some might be more familiar with this mo’ed as the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur is a mo’ed, or an appointed day, but it is not a feast day. There are three feast days according to the Torah. All feast days are mo’edim, but not all mo’edim are feast days.

Leviticus 23 is the Torah hot spot for our Creator’s holidays…so it makes sense to start there.

Leviticus 23:23-24

And Yahuah spoke to Moses, saying, “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to Yahuah. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before Yahuah your Yah. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”

Some quick points:

  • We are not to work on Yom Kippur because it is a day of atonement.
  • It is a permanent regulation.
  • It is to be obeyed no matter where we live.
  • It is to be a Shabbat of complete rest.
  • We are to deny ourselves.
  • It is to be a complete day, from sunset to sunset.

It is also found in Numbers 29 related to the sacrifices:

Numbers 29:1-6

On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to Yahuah, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are without blemish. And their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs: also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

It should be noted that Yom Kippur is a permanent statute, contrary to any suggestion that Yom Kippur no longer applies today.

Leviticus 23:31

It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

It is exactly ten days from the start Yom Teruah. As mentioned in the Yom Teruah teaching, Yom Teruah appears to begin a call to repentance, or teshuva, and it appears to culminate and lead into the purpose of Yom Kippur.

According to many tradition, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. The reason for this is because the purpose of the existence of man is to turn back to His Creator and follow His instructions, (Ecclesiastes 12:13) thus Yom Kippur is the appointed day that highlights Yah’s purpose for man.

In the Torah, Yom Kippur is actually written in the plural as Yom Ha-Kippurim. Perhaps the reason for this is because atonement is facilitated through the Levitical priesthood on Earth, but Yahusha became our High Priest and satisfied atonement on our behalf in the Heavenly tabernacle, thus demonstrating the plurality.

Kippurim has no literal equivalent in English. The root word, “kafar”, is related to cleansing. “Kafar” likely derives from the word “kofer” which means “ransom.” This is parallel to the word “redeem.” (Psalm 49:7). The closest English word in meaning may be “reconciliation.”

In English, it became the word atonement to incorporate the aspect of reconciliation, but more specifically, being at one with Yah.

The offering to YHWH on this day included an offering made by fire. Fire sacrifices were often for sins. For example, Numbers Chapter 15 verses 27-31 says if an individual sins unintentionally, he is to offer a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. The priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven - no matter whether he is a citizen of Israel or a foreigner living with them.

Yom Kippur is the only time the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and call upon the name of YHWH to offer blood sacrifices for the sins of the people. This is a “life for a life” principle that is the foundation of the sacrificial system and marked the great day of intercession made by the High Priest of Israel.

The great majority of usages in the TANAKH concern “making an atonement” by the priestly ritual of sprinkling of sacrificial blood to remove sin or defilement.


The life blood of the sacrificial animal was required in exchange for the life blood of the worshipper (the symbolic expression of innocent life given for guilty life). This symbolism is further clarified by the action of the worshipper in placing his hands on the head of the sacrifice and confessing his sins over the animal (Leviticus 16:21; 1:4; 4:4, etc.) which was then killed or sent out as a scapegoat.

On Yom Kippur, the High Priest would bring a bull and two goats as a special offering, and the bull would be sacrificed to purge the temple for the defilements caused by the misdeeds of the priests and their households (Leviticus 16:6).


The blood of the bull would be sprinkled inside the veil of the Holy of Holies, upon the cover of the Ark of the Covenant.

Lots would be drawn to select one of two goats to be a sin offering on behalf of the people. The High Priest would lay both hands upon the head of the second goat while confessing all of the sins of the people. This goat was then driven away into the wilderness, carrying on it “all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited (Leviticus 16:22).

So, Yom Teruah appears to start the alarm or call to repentance, and Yom Kippur provides the means for reconciliation or atonement with Him.

Messiah Yahusha became our High Priest who offered atonement for our sins by offering His own blood in the Holy of Holies made without hands.

“There is no atonement without blood.”

Yahusha offered up His own body to be the perfect sacrifice for sins. By his shed blood we are given complete atonement before YHWH.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of Yah.

The Levitical system of animal sacrifice, including the elaborate Yom Kippur ritual, was meant to foreshadow the sacrifice of Yahusha as the means of our reconciliation with our Creator.

This is actually what the whole Book of Hebrews is about.

Hebrews 9:23-28

"It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a manmade sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in Yah's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year [on Yom Kippur] with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared ONCE FOR ALL at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him".

It is about how Yahusha became our High Priest, and He fulfills Yom Kippur in the heavenlies on our behalf.

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