How To Observe Yom Kippur
Everyone who believers in Messiah Yahwshua should be fasting and praying for forgiveness and cleansing on Yom Kipor. It’s on this day that Yeshua, as our High Priest unto His Father, seeks forgiveness for His Bride, for all her sins of the past year. If the prophetic character of Yom Kipor means anything, it means this. The Apostles, after the Resurrection, held this day in especial reverence as they kept all the holy days at the Temple (Acts 21:20).
Ruti and I fast all day from sundown on the evening before, till dark the following day. No food and no water. It’s an affliction or a humbling of ourselves before God (Lev. 23:27, 29, 32). On a ‘normal fast’ one drinks only water. But it’s actually easier to fast a day without water than with water. This is because the body, once satiated with water, wants food. But if there’s no water than that becomes the point that the body focuses on and food doesn’t seem that important.
As you come up to the fast, you might want to eat ‘light.’ Eat things that day like salad, brown rice, vegetables, soups, fruit and plenty of water. This will help the next day.
Break the fast with water first. Then some watermelon if you can. If not watermelon or something juicy like cantaloupe, perhaps some brothy soup. A bowl and a light sandwich or salad should be enough for the night. Of course, many sit down to a full meal and live to regret it.
It’s really wonderful to have a full 24 hour period to seek our Lord and to be with Him. To pray, to commune with the Master for hours is a privilege indeed. And actually, this is what Yahveh made us for; to fellowship and spend precious quality time with Him. This is a reality of the cup of com-munion. To come to know Him in a greater way and to fall in love with Him all over again.
In this humbling or affliction of going without food and water, symbolically we are ‘dead to self.’ To afflict ourself means not only to forego food and water. It also means to ‘stand’ before Yeshua as ‘dead’ or in humility. Ask Yeshua at the beginning of the fast to lead you; as to what to do, who to pray for, and how to wait upon Him. Here are some conceptual realities of the day that He might lead you to consider:
1 It’s a time to forgive those that have hurt you and have offended you, from your heart. And if you can’t, tell Him so, and ask Him to help you to do so. He will.
2 It’s a time specifically with Yeshua, our Father and the Holy Spirit, and to ask for our sins to be forgiven. We want to be honest with Him about our sins, our failures and our distractions. We have nothing to boast of or to say that we have earned a favorable judgment on our behalf. It’s a total gift from Him. He sacrificed Himself so we could be forgiven, cleansed and glorified. It’s a time to realize God’s total forgiveness and cleansing for the year’s past sins. It’s on this Day that we can come into a greater understanding of divine love and forgiveness.
3 It’s a time to meditate on our death so we can more fully obey Him in this life. This is known as a greater consecration unto Him. It’s a time to re-dedicate and re-consecrate ourselves to our King. As He came to do the Will of the Father, so we too should have the same desire to do His Will.
4 It’s a time to be quiet before Him, waiting upon Him, listening for His Voice. It’s a time to be in His Presence.
5 It’s a time to express our deep gratitude for what He has done for us.
6 It’s a time to praise and to worship Him. And to also read Scripture. Some texts to consider are Lev. 16; 23:26-32; Matt. 26-28 and Rev. 20-22. Even though Matthew deals with the Passover, it shows us our Yeshua and what He went through so we could have Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month of every year, and also on the Day of Judgment.
7 It’s a time to pray for others, both believers and unbelievers.
On this Day we pray especially for ourselves first, that we would come to a deeper experiential understanding of where we are at in Him and Who He is. Ruti and I then turn ourselves to lifting up others, our family members, both believers and unbelievers. As the Lord leads, we pray for each of them and each other.
After that we turn our attention on the Jewish people and pray for them, that Yeshua would remove the veil that blinds them to Him, and that our efforts to bring them to Yeshua would bear much fruit. And also of course, anything that the Spirit wants to do through us, for others in the world. This is not set in concrete but is a flexible guideline that we follow.
- He has called us to follow Him, to be obedient unto death. At the very least, death to self. And for this, we must seek Him continually. Johannes Schneider writes in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament that there are five places in the Synoptic Gospels where it’s recorded that Yeshua tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him.8 We must be ever learning Who our Messiah is that ‘we believe in’ (Mt. 11:28-30; 23:8, etc.). He who lives a lifestyle that doesn’t imply His Death, for the shaping of their practical life, is His enemy (Phil. 3:18).9 Schneider says that,
We must be ready to suffer, even unto death, for the Name of our precious Yeshua. With this heart attitude we will bear much fruit for Him. And when the Day of Judgment comes at the End of Time, we will hear Him say,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master’ (Matt. 25:21).
We are His servants. He has bought us with the price of His life’s Blood (1st Cor. 7:23). We must be about our Messiah’s Business. This is the attitude to have on Yom Kipor, and every day thereafter.