Day of Atonement
Passport Destination No. 6
The Sign of Jonah &
Jesus Our High
God's Plan for Purification
God grants forgiveness to those who repent of their sins.
The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. [...] It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath. Leviticus 23:27-28, 32
The Sign of Jonah
Every year on the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, the book of Jonah is read and the sign is remembered. What sign, you ask? Glad you asked. Of all the miracles Jesus performed, He gave only one miraculous sign that He was sent by God...the sign of Jonah.
Unfortunately, some Christians argue over whether the story of Jonah was fiction or not. What a dangerous argument to have since the burial and resurrection of Yeshua, Jesus, our Messiah is dependant on the account of Jonah being true. To demote Jonah's story to simply metaphoric outright denounces Jesus as the risen LORD.
For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
Jesus talks about Jonah in Luke 11:29-32 verifying that the account is not only true but that it would be the ONLY sign that Yeshua was sent by God. Jonah and Jesus not only shared resurrection after 3 days and 3 nights in common, but their message was also the same...repent or be judged by God on judgment day (Day of Atonement). The only difference was that Jonah witnessed an entire city repent and avoid judgment (Jonah 3:10) whereas Jesus encountered people who refused to repent (Luke 11:32).
Why do you suppose Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh and became upset when the Ninevites repented?
So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Jonah knew that if the Ninevites repented from their evil ways, God would have mercy on them and spare them from judgment. This upset Jonah perhaps because he knew full well that his own people would not so easily repent and escape judgment. Which is harder, for an evil man to acknowledge his sin and repent or for a good man to acknowledge his sin and repent?
It can be hard for us to reconcile justice with mercy, but the LORD carries out both perfectly. It is righteous to desire justice for sin, but once there is true repentance, mercy is enacted and justice is transferred to the cross. Jonah knew the faithful character of God and that He could cancel debts of sin with unmerited forgiveness. His desire for justice became unrighteous the moment he refused the compassion of God through repentance.
Let us pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" and be thankful for the unfailing love of God.
Jesus Our High Priest
And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
Hebrews 8:3, 8.
Jonah served as a prophet to the Ninevites, but he did not have the heart of a priest. Prophets deliver messages from God to the people, but a priest stirs people to repentance and reminds God of His unfailing compassion. The High Priest would only enter the Holy of Holies once a year, on Day of Atonement, to offer an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people as they assemble themselves in repentance. After 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, Yeshua rose and became our High Priest in heaven interceding eternally on our behalf!
While it is good and right to keep a short account and live in repentance daily, Day of Atonement is an annual reminder that we must deny our old sinful self as atonement is made for us by the sacrifice and ministry of Yeshua, Jesus. May Day of Atonement be a physical reminder of the spiritual reality that Yeshua is our High Priest forever and is faithful to forgive if we confess our sins (1 John 1:9).
Now Boarding for Day of Atonement
Attention all family members...Now is the time to get those passports out and look at your Day of Atonement. You will see a list of suggested destination experiences for you and your family to choose from and complete in order to earn your Atonement stamp. Enjoy this journey together and check back here when you are ready to plan your next Biblical holiday destination. Remember to contact your tour guide (me!) if you have any questions along the way.