Hello to all you bad-breath, caffeine headache, grumbling stomach, short-tempered faithful followers of Torah out there.
I am going to borrow a sermon… from myself. The following message is one that I had delivered many years ago when acting as the (temporary) Rabbi for the Messianic synagogue I used to attend in Northeast Philadelphia.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
There is an undeniable relationship between Yom Kippur and Passover, and together they provide total atonement which allows us to have life everlasting.
Yeshua is the Lamb of God, often referred to as the Pesach Lamb. His death was the atonement for our sins, but it wasn’t just as the Passover lamb that he accomplished this. In Exodus, when we read about the Passover lamb, we see clearly that the lamb’s blood was not a sin atonement- it was a covering (a “Kippur”) for us, which identified us as God’s people and protected us from the Angel of Death.
The blood of the Passover Lamb ensured life for the people of God. Despite the fact that Yeshua’s sacrificial death as the atonement for our sins did occur at Passover, it is actually the fulfillment of what the Yom Kippur goats do.
The two Yom Kippur goats (one is killed and the other one is released) are the blood that provides for our atonement (Lev. 16:9-10). The scapegoat had the sins of all the people transferred to it before being released into the desert, or as the Bible tells us, to Azazel.
Let’s take a second here to answer the age-old question: Who is “Azazel?
The Talmud interprets this word to mean a steep mountain, and for many years the scapegoat was thrown off a steep mountain in order to fulfil this command.
Another interpretation, this one from the Book of Enoch, says that Azazel is a fallen angel. Of course, it is unthinkable that God would tell us to sacrifice a goat to a god-like satyr in the desert.
Now, according to Rabbi Hertz, who was once the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire and edited the 1965 edition of the Soncino Press Chumash, Azazel is a rare Hebrew noun that means “dismissal” or “entire removal”. I believe this is the most reasonable and best fitting definition because the transference of the sins of Israel by the Cohen HaGadol onto the goat released into the desert symbolized the total removal of sin from us.
You know, I’ve always wondered: Why do we need two goats? We transfer our sins onto both, then we kill one which is the sin sacrifice (because sin can only be forgiven by the shedding of innocent blood), so why do we have to release one alive into the desert if our sins have already been forgiven?
Well, I believe the answer is that the goat released into the desert represents our T’Shuvah– it shows our willingness to let go of our sinful desires and remove them totally from our lives. That is why all the people are present when the goat is released because we all are giving up our sinful ways and desires.
Atonement comes from three things:
1. Recognizing and taking responsibility for our sins.
2. Our desire and willingness to do T’Shuvah and remove sin from our lives.
3. Asking forgiveness from God once we have done the first two things.
Yeshua’s death as the atonement for our sin represents the Yom Kippur goats. As the released scapegoat, he took upon himself all our sins, carrying them forever to a place we would never see them again- not just into the desert but beyond the grave. He also was the sacrificial goat, the one whose blood atoned for our sins and made it possible for God to forgive us.
His death as the Pesach lamb made it possible for us to commune with God, ensuring our lives, just as the blood over the doors did in Egypt.
Yeshua is the Pesach Lamb of God and Yom Kippur scapegoat for the world. When he said he was the beginning and the end he didn’t mean some sort of timeline: he is the beginning of our eternal life, and he is the end of our sin.
Yeshua’s sacrificial death demonstrates to us that Passover and Yom Kippur, although two separate things in reality, are spiritually one thing: the Passover blood represents protection from death and the Yom Kippur blood is our forgiveness from sin. Together these two things provide our salvation, both being accomplished by Yeshua. In the Acharit haYamim (End Times), when Yeshua returns and we are all gathered up into the clouds with him, then will the ultimate fulfillment of both of these festivals be realized.
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That’s it for now, so l’hitraot… and may you have an easy fast!