This day is known as Yom Kippur in Hebrew but is also called the Day of Atonement, the Day of Judgment, and the Sabbath of Sabbaths. Yom Kippur falls on the 10th day of Tishri, and it is a High Sabbath, so no work is to be done on this day. Yom Kippur is not like any other feast day because many people observe this day by doing the opposite of feasting and fast from all food and water on this day. The Day of Atonement was the day the High Priest made an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people. Yom Kippur was the only time during the year when the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the innermost chamber of the Temple (or Tabernacle) to make atonement for the sins of all Israel.
This day is typically a time of fasting, cleansing, and reflection. As mentioned, many people fast on this day, but fasting is not explicitly mentioned in the scriptures. We are, however, commanded to “afflict your souls” (Lev. 16:31; 23:27-32; Num. 29-7) and the rabbis have always interpreted this to mean fasting. Since there is no explicit command in Torah that says one must fast on this day, it is up to you as to whether or not you choose to fast on this day. The point of this day is to afflict our souls, so fasting is not done as a way to rebuke ourselves, but rather to help us focus our mind on the occasion. The denial of pleasurable acts (eating, drinking, brushing teeth, bathing, Facebook, Twitter, Etc.) during Yom Kippur is meant to focus on moral purification and cause total dedication to the pursuit of moral character and not bodily comforts. There is no right or wrong way to observe this Holy day, but it is a day of deep reflection and cleansing of sin.
Y’shua died to cover our sins so we could enter the Kingdom in spite of our sin nature. So our debt is covered, but the thing is, we still inadvertently sin, and Yom Kippur is a commanded day, a permanent regulation, to seek forgiveness for those sins! On Yom Kippur, we are to spend the whole day remembering where and how we have wronged YHWH and others, and to seek acceptance of our remorse and ask Him and others to forgive our errors.
This is another huge area where Mainstream Christians have missed out: Because they erroneously believe “Jesus nailed the law to the cross,” they have no clue about the significance of YHWH’s Holy Days. Most have never realized that even though Y’shua died for them, they STILL are guilty of inadvertent sin, and those sins need to be atoned for.
Many believe that the Day of Atonement is a prophetic shadow picture of the future day of judgment after Y’shua returns, when the entire world will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10).
Ideas to Celebrate Yom Kippur
The traditional way of celebrating the Day of Atonement is too fast for twenty-five hours starting at sunset the day before (Hebrew days run from sundown to sundown and not midnight to midnight like our traditional days). Children, the elderly, pregnant women or anyone else that is not able to go without food for twenty-five hours might consider a “Daniel Fast” and only eat vegetables and drink water (Dan. 1:12-15).
Study the scriptures about the Day of Atonement. The Holy of Holies makes for a very interesting study. The high priest was only allowed to enter it once a year, on the Day of Atonement.