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I would have to say that Yom Kippur should be known by all Christians as the most important Jewish holiday (to me, anyway). Once a year at the factory I used to work at, making wooden musical instrument cases, that one Persian Jewish coworker asked our Christian boss to have off. I always assumed he was using it for fasting and prayer (humbling himself). Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the 10th day of the 7th month, the most solemn holy day of ancient Israel when once a year the high priest made atonement for all the sins of the people of Israel (Lev 16:11-19); the Old Testament ritual is interpreted by the author of Hebrews as a type of the atoning work of Christ (Heb 9:11-12) In this, the ordinances about the Day of Atonement (Lev 16), and about the significance of the blood (Lev 17--see esp. Lev 17:11 as was mentioned by Tim in another ebible question), constitute a natural and excellent conclusion. “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD.” - Leviticus 23:27 Yom Kippur is the most sacred day for the Jewish people. It is observed by a 24-hour fast begins just before sundown (when the Jewish day begins) and lasts until the following sundown. The day finds its start in the Sinai desert. After Moses came down from the mountain to find the people had made an idol of a golden calf, he supplicated to God to pardon the people of this terrible sin. On Yom Kippur, Moses brought the second set of tablets down from the mountain, representing ‘a clean slate’ and a day of forgiveness for God’s people (Exodus 20). While another year of life is granted on Rosh Hashana, the verdict is ‘sealed’ on Yom Kippur.
The observance of Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") by Israel was commanded by God in Leviticus 16 following Israel's exodus from Egypt. It was to be observed annually, and involved several different actions and rituals, even specifying the types of garments that the priests who were conducting the observance were to wear. The purpose of the observance was to make atonement for Israel's sins, so that God could forgive them. Its rituals incorporated the principle that the forgiveness of sins required the shedding of blood through the sacrifice of various animals. It also involved the placing of the guilt for Israel's sins on a goat through the action of the high priest laying his hands on it, after which the goat was released (that is, allowed to "escape") to wander (and presumably die) in the wilderness, from which the English word "scapegoat" is derived. The observance was a foreshadowing of the manner in which Christ would later atone for the sins of humanity through His undeserved suffering and death.
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