Our gracious Heavenly Father gave us a holy day in which we are cleansed of our sins. Leviticus 16:29 “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:” Verse 30: “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.”
In the seventh month (Ethanim, read 1st Kings 8:2) on the tenth day we are commanded to afflict our souls to reconcile with our God. In the book of Isaiah we are taught the meaning of afflicting our souls in the Day of Atonement. Isaiah 58:5 “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?” The way our Lord has chosen for us to afflict our souls, is by fasting in this holy day.
This is the only day that is required by the law for our people to fast. Therefore this day was also known as the “The Fast”. In which we read our beloved Apostle Paul keeping this day long after the death of Christ. Acts 27:9 “Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous [the seventh month which is in the fall season], because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,”
According to the Bible fasting is abstaining from food and drinking. Therefore on the Day of Atonement we are not to eat or drink anything from even until even. Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink ...” During fasting nothing is to enter the mouth not even to taste. Jonah 3:5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast…” Verse 7: “And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:”
In the past the high priest atoned by the blood of bulls. Please read, Leviticus 16:11,15,17. He also ALONE offered for the congregation of Israel the blood of goats. 2nd Chronicles 29:23 “And they brought forth the he goats for the sin offering before the king and the congregation; and they laid their hands upon them:” Verse 24: “And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.” This verse shows us that the Hebrew word for atonement is the same as reconciliation. By the blood offered we were justified. However without truly repenting from the conscience and changing; the sins remain. Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
But now we are reconciled by the blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Verse 11: “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” The death of Christ is not intended to be without purpose like those past sacrifices that were given. As the Apostle Paul stated, the Messiah (Christ) is the atonement to remove our sins through repentance. Hebrews 9:13 “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:” Verse 14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The same thing is said of Christ in prophecy, that as an atonement he will provide us the opportunity to repent and teach us how not to continue in our sins. Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation [atonement] for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Verse 26: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:...” This prophecy clearly explained that the Messiah (Christ) would be the atonement for our iniquities. It explained that his death was not for himself, meaning he did not die for his own sins but for the iniquity of his people. Like the high priest of ancient times that offered the blood alone for the people, Christ offered himself once to make an end of our sins and bring in righteousness. See, Isaiah 53:5-11.
Hence this day is established to teach us how to repent and fight against desires of the flesh (sin). Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Verse 7: “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Verse 8: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.”
Leviticus 23:26 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,” Verse 27: “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation [gathering] unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls [fast], and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” The sacrifices was the ONLY part that was changed in accordance to scripture; in which the people had no participation.
Remember that it was stated above in the word of God that it is a Sabbath of rest; no work of any kind (buying, selling, cooking, etc..) is to be done in this day. Leviticus 23:28 “And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.” As any other Sabbath, the day of atonement is very important to keep.
Leviticus 23:29 “For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.” All souls in the congregation are required to keep the fast. See, Joel 2:15-16. The person that refuses to fast is the same as a person that rejects repentance; forsaking their own mercy. Therefore their soul will be cut off (destroyed). Leviticus 23:30 “And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.” To avoid being destroyed in the second coming of Christ we must keep the Sabbaths. Leviticus 23:31 “Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” Verse 32: “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even [night], from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.”
Therefore as believers of Christ we must keep this Sabbath holy by fasting and praying for the forgiveness of our sins. This day was ordained to be kept for ever. James 2:24 “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” We pray and hope the Lord guide you to do his good will and pleasure. Shalam (Peace)!