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What is the Biblical Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur about? Part 1

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in Hebrew)is a biblical Holy Day that has enormous significance for us as believers today. Many believers (Christian and otherwise) have overlooked or are not even aware of what this day is about and how it relates to the sacrifice of Yahshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) and His redemption for us all. All throughout the scriptures the importance of redemption of mankind through our saviour and redeemer is the main focus, and the Holy Day of Atonement was a prelude to the fulfillment of the coming of that redeemer. These Feast Days and Holy Days of the Bible are the blueprint for the plan of salvation for all mankind. Celebrating these days enters us into a blessing that we would not ordinarily be privy to. The Israelites were the first to be introduced to this Holy Day. Let's look in the scriptures to learn more:

 Leviticus 23:26-29

(26) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 

(27)  Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement [Yom Kippur]: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 

(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. 

(29)  For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 

Let's now take a look at the Hebrew word Kippur and the meaning of that word to get a little more insight.




From H3722; expiation (only in plural): - atonement.

Day Of Atonement-- Dictionary Definitions

Webster's Dictionary

Expiation-obligation of the offended person to punish the crime is canceled; atonement; satisfaction.

Atonement-ATO'NEMENT, n.

1. Agreement; concord; reconciliation, after enmity or controversy. 

2. Expiation; satisfaction or reparation made by giving an equivalent for an injury, or by doing or suffering that which is received in satisfaction for an offense or injury; 

One of the things required for all on this day was to afflict one's soul. The word used for afflict in Hebrew is: "Anah" Let's explore the meaning:




Brown Driver Brigss Hebrew Definition:


 to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down

  to be put down, become low






Strong's Concordance Definition

A primitive root (possibly rather identical with H6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively (in various applications)... abase self, afflict (-ion, self)... chasten self, deal hardly with,...  humble (self),  ., submit self, weaken,  

Day of Atonement--Afflicting One's Soul

To take this even further let us look at the word in Hebrew used for "Soul"




BDB Definition:

1) soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

As we look at the definitions of "nefesh" we see in more detail the things associated with the soul: appetite, desire, passion etc.

Let's look at some of the scriptures that translate the Hebrew word "nephesh" as appetite:

Proverbs 23:2  

"And put a knife to your throat, if you be a man given to (nefesh) appetite." 

Psalm 107:9  

For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. 

Proverbs 27:7  

The full soul loaths an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 

Isaiah 56:11  

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,[satisfy their soul].. 


We have just seen examples in scripture as to how the Hebrew word "nefesh" relates to physical appetite and hunger. 

How, you may ask do I afflict my soul? Let's once again look to the scriptures for the answer.

Ezra 8:21  

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 

Psa 35:13

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 

Day Of Atonement--What Does Fasting Do And Why Is It Important?

Fasting (going without food and water)is what is done to afflict our physical appetite (soul). Fasting is done from sunset to sunset on the Day of Atonement. Prayer and seeking Yahweh's face is also an essential part of the Day of Atonement. We must acknowledge and reflect on the sins, and shortcomings in our walk with Yahweh and receive His forgiveness. This day affords us the opportunity to concentrate on worship and communion with Him without our fleshly appetites distracting us. When we deny the flesh and we are in the right attitude and frame of mind, we can be more in tune with the things of Yahweh's Spirit and our prayers can be much more effective.

  Isaiah 58 (Read Whole chapter) gives us instruction on the type of fast that our Creator and Maker acknowledges. The instruction and admonishment He is giving to Israel shows us The type of fasting He acknowledges and prayers He answers.

 Isaiah 58:1-10,13,14  

(1)The LORD says, "Shout as loud as you can! Tell my people Israel about their sins! 

(2)  They worship me every day, claiming that they are eager to know my ways and obey my laws. They say they want me to give them just laws and that they take pleasure in worshiping me." 

(3)  The people ask, "Why should we fast if the LORD never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?" The LORD says to them, "The truth is that at the same time you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. 

(4)  Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers? 

(5)  When you fast, you make yourselves suffer; you bow your heads low like a blade of grass and spread out sackcloth and ashes to lie on. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that? 

(6)  "The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. 

(7)  Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. 

Isa 58:8  "Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. 

(9)  When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond. "If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; 

(10)  if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. 

(13)  The LORD says, "If you treat the Sabbath as sacred and do not pursue your own interests on that day; if you value my holy day and honor it by not traveling, working, or talking idly on that day, 

(14)  then you will find the joy that comes from serving me.

(Taken from the Good News Bible)

 If we are guilty of doing these things mentioned in Isaiah 58 or any other sins, now is the time to acknowledge it and ask for forgiveness and repent (Change our way), and He is faithful to forgive us. This is the true spirit of the Day of Atonement.

Fasting on Day Of Atonement affords us the opportunity to concentrate on worship and communion with our Creator without our fleshly appetites distracting us.

Psalm 86:5

 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. 

Psalm 103:2,3,10-12

  (2)Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 

(3)  Who forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases; 

(10)  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 

(11)  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 

(12)  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

When we fast on the Day of Atonement  we are denying the flesh and when we are in the right attitude and frame of mind, we can be more in tune with the things of the Spirit making our prayers much more effective.

Rom 8:5-14

  (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 

(6)  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 

(7)  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 

(8)  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 

(9)  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 

(10)  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 

(11)  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 

(12)  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 

(13)  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 

(14)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 

Col 3:1,2,5 

(1) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

(2)  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 

(5)  Therefore put to death your earthward inclinations--fornication, impurity, sensual passion, unholy desire, and all greed, for that is a form of idolatry.

Taken from (1912 Weymouth New Testament)

Day Of Atonement--In Conclusion 

As we reflect on our actions during the year this day should help us realize that we cannot have the true righteousness of Yahweh

(Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;)

without His help--the help of His Holy Spirit dwelling in us. 

(Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.)

Now would be a good time to ask for more of the indwelling of His Spirit and if you do not have it, to ask Yahweh to give it to you.

To prepare yourself for Part 2 of this series I encourage you to read Leviticus 16:1-30.

 What is the significance of this Day as it relates to Yahweh's Kingdom and His plan of salvation? How does this day relate to the sacrifice of Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)?

These questions and more will be answered in future articles (on this web site) covering the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur.

To Be Continued

Contributing Author: Ahveekhy Ben BinahYah

Day of Atonement to Home Page

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