Red

This week I was drawn to colors (or colours for those of you in the British writing). I decided to start with the color RED since it is the first one in the rainbow. I will do my best to follow this through and see what other colors can be found in the Word of God.

Red… what verses are in the Scriptures about the color red. Because of the use of the word “scarlet” there are actually quite a few.

Exodus 27:16 “For the gateway of the courtyard there is to be a screen thirty feet made of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely woven linen. It should be in colors, the work of a weaver. It is to be on four posts in four sockets.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow; even if they are red as crimson, they will be like wool.

Matthew 27:28 They stripped off his clothes and put on him a scarlet robe,

Revelation 12:3 Another sign was seen in heaven there was a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns.

Four very different verses. A Temple linen screen made with scarlet yarn. Sins as scarlet and red as crimson. A scarlet robe worn by our Messiah. A red dragon.

Red is obviously significant in the Word of God. It was used in very significant events.

The Temple of God and how it was put together was significant, even for future prophetic events. How it was put together is significant for things to come. The colors used and the way the pieces were placed. The use of scarlet yarn woven into the screens and linens is a symbol of the robe placed on Jesus when He was being tortured.

Jesus had a “scarlet robe” placed on Him as He was being beaten. His red blood was shed for us. He was clothed in royalty as it happened.

Isaiah, the prophet, shows us that our sins are washed clean. We might be red and covered with blood, but they will all be washed away and we will be clean and white.

The book of Revelation even uses the word red. The great dragon that will come forth is red.

I remember a saying growing up which said,

“Red at night Sailor’s delight. Red in the morning Sailors take warning.”

I have observed this happen many times. I watch the sky and it really is true.

We cover our doorpost with red each Passover as a reminder of HIS blood that covers the mantle of our hearts.

One of my favorite flowers when I was in Israel was the “poppy” that sprouted all throughout the land in Spring. It really is an “anemone” I have been told. It literally springs up everywhere in the Land. We would drive around and get so excited when we saw the first ones coming forth from the ground. Fields would be filled with them. It was stunning. There are some here in Cyprus, but they don’t have the same vibrant color of red.

I asked God one year why this flower was so significant. His Spirit spoke to me and said, “These are my drops of blood that I have left on the Land. I want everyone to know that my SON shed His blood and it is sprinkled everywhere. During Passover and the Spring Harvest everyone can be reminded that I AM Who I say I AM.”

I am so glad God gave us colors. Friends, HE shows us things in so many different ways. Enjoy the COLORS He has given and find HIS teachings in everything you see. God uses HIS creation to show us “great and mighty things which we don’t know.”

Look around today and find the color red. Be THANKFUL for His blood. Be THANKFUL that the RED He has blessed us with brings us freedom and peace. Don’t look at the color red in the same way again. See it as HIS LIFE and the LIFE He gives you.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Victoria Tronina on Unsplash

Freedom

Galatians 5:13-14 For, brothers, you were called to be free. Only do not let that freedom become an excuse for allowing your old nature to have its way. Instead, serve one another in love. For the whole of the Torah is summed up in this one sentence: “Love your neighbor as yourself”;

I Peter 2:16 Submit as people who are free, but not letting your freedom serve as an excuse for evil; rather, submit as God’s slaves.

Being free… What does it really mean?

So much discussion about communism, socialism, greater control coming from the government… We know the world is messy and getting messier. No place is exempt from the control that governments of the WORLD are trying to exercise over people.

People everywhere are wondering if their “right to be free” is going away.

When we believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His Son, our Messiah, we submit to a higher authority. We submit to a GOD Who is in control. HE brings us freedom in the midst of the craziness. HE brings PEACE in the midst of the storm.

When we walk with Him, and want His freedom, we need to submit to His authority. We need to submit to the LOVE that He shares with those around Him. We then serve those around us with that LOVE.

God doesn’t “control us.” Our Father gives us guidelines and lets us choose. We have free will to follow what He has blessed us with, or we can walk away from His commands. We have better blessings when we walk with Him, but He gives us the choice.

The great thing is, God loves us NO MATTER WHAT. God doesn’t like it when we walk away, but when we return He is there WAITING with open arms. This is the FREEDOM we have in HIM!!

The world today is going to do its best to control us and contain us. We are required to submit to the governing authorities, and then walk in HIS freedom in all situations. If the government requires us to do something that directly violates the Word of God, than we follow God. In HIM we find freedom.

In these days of crazy confusion, we should walk with each other and support one another. As we seek HIS Truth in all situations, we care for one another. We don’t succumb to evil, but overcome evil with good.

Some days I feel free and know He gives it to me. Some days I struggle with believing there is freedom, but those days I must SPEAK HIS WORD out loud and claim His Promises.

I encourage you to do the same. We know there is FREEDOM when we worship HIM. We know there is FREEDOM when we share HIS LOVE with those around us. Walk in that freedom today. Find HIS FREEDOM in the midst of the chaos.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

Monarchy vs Modern

Exodus 33:11 Adonai would speak to Moshe face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.

Isaiah 41:8 “But you, Isra’el, my servant; Ya‘akov, whom I have chosen, descendants of Avraham my friend

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is about; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

The Queen… If you have not watched this movie, I highly encourage it. Our family probably has most of the lines memorized since we have watched it so many times. Why do I find it so intriguing?

It shows the transformation of the monarchy from an “establishment” to a more “modern world.” When Princess Diana died, the idea from the monarchy was to “do nothing.” The people did not appreciate this and spoke against what was being decided. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister at the time, brought insight and new ideas to the table and the “establishment” began to realize that “times were changing.”

When Princess Diana entered the scene, she changed how the monarchy was viewed. The quote is that she became “the people’s princess.” She related to the crowds. She brought smiles to faces. She showed love to those she met. The dynamics of the establishment changed.

This was difficult for many within to understand and because of that there was tension. She was often viewed from within as a person who took things too far and caused issues.

How does, or should, these thoughts and ideas impact and challenge us today?

If we look at “religion,” it can be viewed as the monarchy. Most ideas of religion are not personable. They are not relational. Religion is acting out of a “God sits on His throne and directs the world” mentality. This is/was how the monarchy was operating. The Queen was taught to speak and act a certain way. She wasn’t allowed to show emotion. She wasn’t able to interact with too many around her, and when she did so many protocols were placed on her it had to feel forced at times (yes, these would be my observations since I have not actually spoken with her).

Some of these thoughts and ideas are important and key to keep an establishment going. However, along the way we cannot be so “stuck” that movement forward becomes challenged. We need to realize that maybe a change is necessary. Maybe the plan needs a tweak so more people can be reached.

Religion, as we know it, is being shaken to the core. How do we become relational, and yet hold to the TRUTH of the Word is DIFFICULT!!!! How do we move from a “monarchy” to a “modern” idea and KEEP the Truth?

God had always desired for a relationship with His people. We can see this in the verses above.  He didn’t want to be a monarchy sitting on His throne, aloof and away from His creation. Jesus, becoming the Word in flesh, changed the dynamic even more.

Jesus called us His “friends.” He taught relationship and exampled relationship. And yet, Jesus NEVER gave up what God gave to the Children of Israel. The establishment and foundation never went away. Jesus just personalized it.

That, my friends, is what we are called to do. We MUST uphold the established foundation of the Word of God NO MATTER WHAT. BUT, we must NEVER lose sight that we have to “meet the needs of the people” and work with them relationally.

When the Queen realized that she needed to relationally “meet the people” the mood of the country changed. When she stepped out and met them in their grief, the nation united.

Remember that challenge today. People NEED guidelines and a foundation, but it can be done with care and genuine concern for the needs of those we meet. Bring the two together for HIS glory and HIS love. We need to be able to connect His Power and Glory and Majesty with the world we live in. That is how we bring heaven to earth and bring people to a true understanding of God.

Let’s ask ourselves what we need to do to bring the monarchy and modern together for HIS PURPOSES.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David that speaks to our soul. It holds a special meaning for me because Holy Spirit gave it to me one night when I was wrestling for words to share with my mother, who had been in a very serious car accident. I knew God was with her. But, if He wanted her home, I didn’t want to hold on to her. If He wanted her to be with us, I didn’t want her to be released.

As I wrestled that night with the Father asking Him what I should tell her when I saw her, He spoke to me and said, “I am her Shepherd. She is my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. Tell her to listen to Me. Tell her that she knows my voice. If I tell her to fight, she should fight. If I tell her to come home, tell her it’s okay.”

I shared those words with my mom the next day. She was in a coma, and was for many days following. Moments were tense along the way, not knowing if she would make it. However, I had a complete peace that the Father was going to do exactly what HE wanted, because even in her physical state, her spirit could HEAR HIM. Her spirit was LISTENING to HIS voice because He is her Shepherd.

My mother is alive and well today. That day was 16 1/2 years ago. Doctors said she probably wouldn’t walk. She walks. She didn’t think she would travel to Israel 4 years ago, but she did and I was able to take her to places I never dreamed she would see. I released her to the Father because of the words below. HIS WORDS of TRUTH.

Friends, read these words with new understanding. HE is taking care of you. He is watching over you. HE is bringing peace to your soul.

There are two versions below. Both are favorites of mine, even after memorizing it from the NIV. May they be a blessing to you today. May they provide you with a new DEPTH of His love.

Psalm 23 Complete Jewish Bible

(0) A psalm of David:

(1) 

Adonai is my shepherd; I lack nothing.

He has me lie down in grassy pastures,

he leads me by quiet water,

he restores my inner person.

He guides me in right paths

for the sake of his own name.

Even if I pass through death-dark ravines,

I will fear no disaster; for you are with me;

your rod and staff reassure me.

You prepare a table for me,

even as my enemies watch;

you anoint my head with oil

from an overflowing cup.

Goodness and grace will pursue me

every day of my life;

and I will live in the house of Adonai

for years and years to come.

Psalm 23 The Passion Translation Version

David’s poetic praise to God

The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.

I always have more than enough.

He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.

That’s where he restores and revives my life.

He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure

and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness

so that I can bring honor to his name.

Lord, even when your path takes me through

the valley of deepest darkness,

fear will never conquer me, for you already have!

You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.

Your authority is my strength and my peace.

The comfort of your love takes away my fear.

I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

You become my delicious feast

even when my enemies dare to fight.

You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;

you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.

So why would I fear the future?

For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.

Then afterward, when my life is through,

I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

I know this is a chapter we have all read over and over. However, I believe that both of these versions take it a step deeper and really give us an insight into WHO God is for us.

The Complete Jewish Bible does its best to take us to the true understanding of the Hebrew message that was intended because the writers of the Bible were Jewish and had that identity and heritage they lived.

The Passion Translation was recently written and has received critical attention. I appreciate what the author has done with the language. I believe it truly brings a PASSION to the Word of God that can be missing in other translations.

I would not use it as a historical document that understands all the Hebrew idioms and lifestyle, but in the case of Psalm 23, read it. Soak in it. Let it just wash you with HIS LOVE.

So many people are experiencing trauma and fear because of the Covid19 scenario that has affected the world. It has placed many into radical scenarios and situations. This leaves many people in financial situations, depression, and anxiety.

Friends, the words above are what we NEED to hold onto. We need to know deep within us:

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have!

You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.

Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear.

I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

The last line is TRUTH. Speak it. Claim it for yourself. Know that HE is your Shepherd and wants YOU taken care of.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

Life

Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of Adonai. Which of you takes pleasure in living? Who wants a long life to see good things? [If you do,] keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceiving talk; turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it! — Psalm 34:12-15 CJB

Romans 12:1 I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you.

Life… We know God sent His Son so we can have eternal LIFE. Most of you reading this know this and believe this. If you are reading this and are uncertain, I pray that you are able to KNOW His LOVE surrounding you today. I pray that HIS SPIRIT will speak to you and that you will KNOW HIS Peace by believing and taking the step of faith.

The verses above show us what we need to do in order to enjoy His LIFE while we wait for His return.

We must have a fear of Adonai. We must turn from evil and deceiving talk and do GOOD. We must seek peace.

Then, offer yourself. Set yourself apart for God. Be ALIVE and LIVING for Him.

We all desire to have LIFE and LIFE Abundant (John 10:10). The only way to get there is by TRUST and FAITH and listening to Him.

The days we are in are tough. The days we are in cause confusion. The days we are in bring heartache and pain.

We WILL make it through when we follow His teachings and His steps.

Take time to bring HIS Life to you. Seek peace. Give Him worship.

Then we find LIFE.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Time

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to count our days, so that we will become wise.

Esther 4:14 For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different direction; but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a time as this.”

Romans 13:11 Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust.

Time… We all know that time is “ticking.” Time is “short” so many people say. “Take advantage of today” because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

The first verse above does have the word, “time” in it, but it is about “teaching us to count our days.” Time… help us understand TODAY. We want to become wise, so help us know how to COUNT on HIM for ALL that we have.

Romans is clear: ROUSE yourselves from sleep. The final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust. TIME is short. High time to WAKE up.

The last is a very well known verse from the book of Esther. “Who knows whether you didn’t come into your royal position precisely for such a TIME as this.”

How have you prepared for the times we are living in?

Have you counted the days so you can become wise?

Have you understood the “point of history we stand in” so you are able to ROUSE yourself from sleep and be ready for His return?

Do you understand that you are like Esther and in a position of needing to be READY at ALL times so you can share HIS Words with those who need to hear it?

We are definitely in a time of truly needing to seek Him in Spirt and Truth. We are in a time of needing to KNOW Him in deep and intimate ways. If we are not GROUNDED in WHO He is, we won’t be ready to face Him when He does come.

Lord, give us ALL the insight and clarity we need to know the TIMES we are living in. PREPARE our hearts for what you have NEED of us to do. Give us the strength to TRUST you in Spirit and Truth.

Thank you, Father, for being our guide. Thank you, Spirit for lighting the path so we can walk where YOU want us to walk.

Friends, stay the course. LISTEN to HIM and know the signs of the times. Be prepared for ALL He wants you to do.

Time is precious, use it wisely…

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

Play

Play… Usually this is considered a word for children. However, it is a word we should all remember. It is a word that we need to keep in our vocabulary.

Here are a couple of verses that actually have the word “play” in them.

Zechariah 8:5 The city’s open places will also be full of boys and girls playing there.

I Samuel 16:23 So it was that whenever the [evil] spirit from God came over Sha’ul, David would take the lyre and play it, with the result that Sha’ul would find relief and feel better, as the evil spirit left him.

Boys and girls playing. Always a special time. I love it when my children play games, run around outside, experience JOY and share it with others. When children play together well, there is peace.

I’m writing this on the eve of my eldest daughters sixteenth birthday. She will have friends coming. Games will happen. I know there will be laughter. Even though she is 16, there will be a time of “play.”

When play happens, there is usually laughter. Laughter is so good for the soul. Laughter is such a positive help for the spirit.

The second verse may not seem quite so lighthearted, but if we stop to reflect on it a bit, we should realize that “play” in this sense also brings peace.

Music, just like play time, does the spirit good. It brings a calmness to our soul. It should draw us into HIS Presence.

When David played the harp, the Presence of the Lord fell and it calmed Saul.

We need to be conscience of what we put into our hearts and minds. We need to make sure that they are filling us with PEACE. That as we play we don’t become so competitive that we harm our spirits. That as we play we ask HIM to be in the middle of it.

I love that we can play and have HIS Presence with us.

This is such a simple understanding. And yet, just like childlike faith, overlooked.

Take time today to reflect on the last time you “played.” Maybe it was a game, maybe it was an instrument, maybe it was music… when was the last time you stopped and focused on just “being in the moment” and letting HIS Presence surround you.

I am thankful for a friend who helped me in this today. She stopped with me, and prayed with me, and in those moments of just “being” His Presence filled us both.

Last week I spoke about “lifting each others hands.” Today, let’s find a way to “play” together. Let’s get back to being boys and girls “playing in the city’s open places” bringing JOY to those around us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Lift

Lift…

A friend of mine told me the other day that she felt like she was “holding my arms up like Moses and his held up.” Tonight as I was reflecting on this the word “lift” came to my mind.

The first verse I thought of was “lift my eyes to the hills.” Here it is in the Complete Jewish Bible:

Psalm 121:1-4 If I raise my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from Adonai, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — your guardian is not asleep. No, the guardian of Isra’el never slumbers or sleeps.

Exodus 17:12 However, Moshe’s hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other; so that his hands stayed steady until sunset.

I realize that neither of these verses actually have the word “lift” in them, however, the idea is there.

We need to be there for one another. We need friends who will lift our hands up when we are tired. We need to know we have a community who will be there through thick and thin to walk out all kinds of troubles and issues.

Our help comes from Adonai. When we “raise our eyes” we KNOW that He is there for us. We KNOW that he will not let our foot slip.

These are STRONG promises as we walk during these days of uncertainty. These are WORDS from our Creator that we can hold onto and BELIEVE.

I am thankful for these promises too today. I am thankful for friends who “lift my hands.”

Don’t forget those around you. Don’t forget to let them know you care.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Sukkot

The Fall Feast

Feast of Tabernacles

All names for a festival that God established and requires participants to be filled with JOY.

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 says…13 “You are to keep the festival of Sukkot for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing-floor and winepress. 14 Rejoice at your festival — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L’vi’im (Levites), and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. 15 Seven days you are to keep the festival for Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God will choose, because Adonai your God will bless you in all your crops and in all your work, so you are to be full of joy!

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day feast. These seven days are a great time to spend together as a family. It is almost like outdoor camping. Sound fun yet?

If you notice, even the “foreigners” living among them were to celebrate! That means EVERYONE!

I love the last phrase, “so you are to be FULL OF JOY!”

The first idea is to plan a sukkah, which is like a tent or a three-sided structure. It is called a tabernacle or booth. This three-sided “tent” is usually covered with cloth, but if it rains where you live a water-proof material might be a better option.

The inside you can decorate with all kinds of ornaments, paper chains or fruits and vegetables. They can be hand made or you can buy them at the store. It is colorful and should make you happy.

Some people run an electrical cord and have lights inside. You could also use candles or flashlight. There are also battery operated lights that are fun.

This sukkah represents the tents that the Israelites lived in when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. During that time they had to move around to find food and always had to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. They were not able to build a house.

The “roof” of this structure is the most important. It is supposed to be made with palm branches just laying on the top. It is great if you can find large branches to put on top. If not, find something that you can see through. The object is to be able to see the stars through the roof of your sukkah.

Why are you supposed to see the stars? To remind you of how great God is. When you see the night sky through the roof of your tent, you should be reminded of all that God created! He has done great things for His people.

During the seven days of Sukkot you are supposed to eat meals together in this tent. You can choose to play games if you want too. Some people enjoy sleeping in theirs.

The Jewish people carry with them a “lulav.” This is a portion of a date palm, myrtle, willow and an etrog (similar to a lemon). You can Google for pictures. Each one represents a person.

• The lulav (date) has taste but no smell, symbolizing those who study Torah (the Word) but do not possess good deeds.

The hadass (myrtle) has a good smell but no taste, symbolizing those who possess good deeds but do not study Torah.

The aravah (willow) has neither taste nor smell, symbolizing those who lack both Torah and good deeds.

The etrog (citrus lemon) has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds.

God said in Zechariah 14:16 that one day “all nations of the world will one day come up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” This is the one feast that is mentioned as ALL nations will celebrate.

For those who believe in Jesus we know that He came as a baby and lived among the people. We also believe that He is coming again and will take us to the most glorious feast that we have ever eaten.

We can celebrate knowing that our Father has taken care of us and provided for us. He has given us everything. We should remind ourselves all the time of this great love He has for us.

As you spend time as a family in the sukkah – your temporary dwelling – you can look at the stars. You can read about the greatness of God in the Bible. You can be thankful for the house you live in and the food you eat. I think that will bring all of you JOY. 

Feast of Tabernacles begins this year at sundown tonight (Friday the 2nd). I pray you find a way to celebrate HIM during this time of Feasting…

Shabbat Shalom. Chag Semeach Sukkot.

Rose Horton

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash

Yom Kippur

This day is the most holy day the Hebrew/Jewish people celebrate every year. This article will share with you where it is in the Bible and how it is “celebrated” today. Having lived in Israel, I can share with you a personal experience. My prayer is that you understand WHY God established this day, and HOW it should influence your life.

Let us first look at verses from the Bible that show the beginning of when this day began.

Here are verses from Leviticus 16:29-31

“It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. 30 For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins. 31 It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. “This is a permanent regulation.” (CJB)

These verses share with us that this is a day that is a “high” Shabbat. What do I mean by “high?” It means that it is in essence “more holy” than a regular Shabbat. There is something different.

Verse 29 says it is a day to “deny yourselves.” It is a day that no work is done (which is like a Shabbat) for both the citizen and foreigner. The words, “deny yourselves” is what sets this day apart from other Shabbats. It says this twice in these verses. Jews have taken this to mean, “fast.” It has been understood that for 24 hours there is no food or drink. It does not specifically say this in the Word/Torah, but rabbi’s have said that denying food is the ultimate way to “deny” oneself.

Another important piece that sets this day apart from others is that an atonement will be made to purify the people. This sacrifice will make the Hebrews/Jews clean before Adonai. This sacrifice will purify them for the next year.

Also in these verses are the words (twice), this is to be a “permanent regulation.”

Some people might say that this is only one part of the Bible. Only a couple verses. Let us see if we can find other evidence of this day. In Leviticus 23:26-32 it says:

Adonai said to Moshe, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai. 28 You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; 30 and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. 31 You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. 32 It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.” (CJB)

These verses firmly establish what was stated several chapters earlier. It is a reinforcement of the Words already written.

On this day the priests would enter the Holy of Holies with a sacrifice. The first part of Leviticus chapter 16 explains in detail what God expected to have happen on this day. There are TWO goats. One goat was to be slaughtered and established as the sacrifice for ALL the people. This is Leviticus 16:5-19 –

5 “Next, he is to slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, bring its blood inside the curtain and do with its blood as he did with the bull’s blood, sprinkling it on the ark-cover and in front of the ark-cover. 16 He will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleannesses of the people of Isra’el and because of their transgressions — all their sins; and he is to do the same for the tent of meeting which is there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses. 17 No one is to be present in the tent of meeting from the time he enters the Holy Place to make atonement until the time he comes out, having made atonement for himself, for his household and for the entire community of Isra’el. 18 Then he is to go out to the altar that is before Adonai and make atonement for it; he is to take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19 He is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, thus purifying it and setting it apart from the uncleannesses of the people of Isra’el. (CJB)

The other goat had ALL the sins of the people placed on it and then it was sent out into the wilderness.  This goat was called the scapegoat. Leviticus 16:20-22 –

20 “When he has finished atoning for the Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he is to present the live goat. 21 Aharon is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the transgressions, crimes and sins of the people of Isra’el; he is to put them on the head of the goat and then send it away into the desert with a man appointed for the purpose. 22 The goat will bear all their transgressions away to some isolated place, and he is to let the goat go in the desert. (CJB)

As we can see, there are two ways that the sin is cleansed. One is through a slaughter. The other is a sending out into the wilderness.

How does this relate to the New Testament? For those who believe Jesus is the Messiah, we see that Jesus is our Passover Lamb, but we also know that He is the person established as atonement for ALL our transgressions. This day is when we can recognize that God sent Someone to be our atonement. That God sent Someone to be our scapegoat. That Someone is our Messiah.

This day is also the culmination of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish “New Year”). On Rosh Hashana the Jewish people ask God to write their name in the Book of Life. The next 10 days are the “Days of Awe” and they ask those around them for forgiveness of anything they did wrong in the past year. That way, when Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement” arrives, they have taken care of all their wrongs against others. They also ask forgiveness from God Himself so that when Yom Kippur arrives they are clean before God and He will “seal” their verdict for the coming year.

In the modern world, living in Israel, this day is definitely set apart. The whole country shuts down – literally. No one drives on the roads (more on that later), the airport even shuts down. No planes in or out for 24 hours.  There is truly a sense of quietness that enters the Land. It is different than a regular Shabbat. Instead of seeing some cars out on the roads, there are none.

This day is supposed to be where one is inside praying and reflecting, or at the synagogue praying. Since there is no Temple, no sacrifices can be made, so fasting is their affliction and they are “hoping” God will seal their name in the Book of Life. They “hope” that they have done enough mitzvot (good deeds) to secure a place with God.

If one doesn’t drive, how do I know what is, or is not, open?

Here is a personal way that I found out… One of our first Yom Kippur’s in the country we had a young woman who came to get baptized. We decided to invite her up for dinner. Thinking she would spend the night with us, we had our meal knowing that Yom Kippur was entering. After dinner she informs us that she wants to return to her hotel. All of a sudden we are in a dilemma. We told her no one drives. She really wants to go. I decided to take her.

The drive to the hotel was the most interesting I have ever experienced. We had to drive about 7 miles into Tiberias. The first village we went through was absolutely horrific. See, on Yom Kippur – because there are no cars in the streets – everyone heads outside to ride bikes and walk in the streets. These people were out, full force, when we drove through. We had people that were pushing on our vehicle as we drove by. People were yelling at us as we went through the village. It was the most tense situation I have ever been in. Once through that scenario it was not too bad. It was quiet roads until Tiberias, and Tiberias – strangely enough – no one was out.

I dropped the young woman off and returned to the house. I saw a few cars out, and who knows what they were doing. With my hazards on I drove slowly, acting like I was having an emergency. Thankfully, driving through the village on my return, the roads were empty.

Some may ask why I tell this story… As I was driving through the village and the people were “condemning” me for driving, I had to wonder why they were not in their homes spending time with God. Why were they finding time to cause problems for someone in the road, rather than talking with God? I found it strange that this is a day when they are supposed to be asking for forgiveness from God and praying that He would seal them in the Book of Life, and they were throwing accusations at someone else. They had no idea why I was driving, yet they were very angry with me. It seemed like a contradiction.

We are all on a journey. On that journey we need to ask God to show us His ways. He wants us to seek Him in Spirit and Truth. This day of Yom Kippur is a day that needs to be set apart. We should stop and reflect on His Atonement for us. We need to recognize that He has asked us to separate ourselves from others.

This day is not a time for us to judge others, rather a time for our personal reflection. There is something to be said about having a day that we set apart to understand God’s atonement for us. We must understand that God truly wants us to be repentant before Him and that we need to evaluate our lives and ask for forgiveness when He reveals things to us. We should be asking God to show us where we have wronged someone. We should be asking God to forgive us for what we have done that has gone against His Word.

As people who believe Jesus is our Atonement, we are blessed that we do not need to sacrifice or enter the Holy of Holies to have our sins removed.  Jesus took care of that when He died for us. Jesus is our answer. We have a freedom to walk knowing that our sins have been redeemed.

I encourage you to begin understanding the calendar that God gave Moses and the Children of Israel. I encourage you to look for the secrets of His Word that can bring a deeper understanding of who your Creator is. Yom Kippur is one day that was established for this reason.

Yom Kippur this year in 2020 begins Sunday at sundown and is celebrated until sundown Monday evening…

 — Rose Horton

Photo by Anton Mislawsky on Unsplash