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Yom Kippur and fasting

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According to the biblical calendar, Yom Kippur begins this Sunday, Sept. 19 in the evening and lasts until Monday, Sept. 20 in the evening.

Yom Kippur is one of the seven festivals commanded by God to keep (Leviticus 23).

Whereas the other six festivals involve feasting, this is the one festival throughout the year that we are to humble ourselves.

The Yom Kippur command to "humble" or "deny" ourselves given in Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27 is interpreted in the scriptures as a day of fasting. Zechariah 7:5 and 8:19 indicate that this holy day in the seventh month (Yom Kippur) involves fasting (there are other fast days mentioned as well, but this is the only one that God requires us to observe).

What is Yom Kippur and why should we fast?

Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement."

In ancient Israel, the priest would enter the Holy of Holies only once per year on this day and make atonement before the LORD for all of the community.

The book of Hebrews speaks of Yeshua as our eternal high priest who makes atonement for us for all of eternity past, present, and future.

Although Yeshua died as our Passover Lamb in the spring, his death fulfills the atoning sacrifice of Yom Kippur.

Does this mean that since Yeshua has already died that observance of Yom Kippur is now defunct?

No. Since Yeshua’s sacrifice of himself on our behalf covers all sins ever committed past, present, and future, then observance of Yom Kippur remains just as applicable now as it was then.

Consider, for example, Matthew 9:14-15. Fasting is a sign of mourning.

We must repent of our sins and follow Yeshua in order for Yeshua’s atonement to cover us (i.e. accept the salvation he offers).

The Pharisees ask him why he and his disciples do not fast, and he answers that the guests of the bridegroom do not mourn while he is with them.

However, "the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast," indicating that observance of fasting during Yom Kippur will resume after he ascends to the heavens.

We then see that the Apostle Paul is observing the Fast by the mention of it in Acts 27:9, long after Yeshua’s death and resurrection.

Isaiah 58:6-7 describes a godly day of fasting as one of selflessness.

Consider donating the food you would otherwise eat on Monday to your local food bank. North Ellis County Outreach is located at 404 S Highway 342, Red Oak, TX 75154.


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