Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, starts at sunset tonight. This is our favorite of the Jewish holidays. Tonight everything will shut down in Israel - no traffic, no stores open, no radio or TV. It is a day totally given over to fasting for 25 hours and praying. The Jews will ask for forgiveness of sins they have committed in the past year and for the ones they will inadvertently commit in the coming year. We love that a day is devoted to God and whether one is secular or religious you know what this day is for. Remember when Sunday's honored God in the USA?
It is our great joy to reflect on Jesus who made atonement for us on the cross by paying the sin price for our sins. And what better place to be than here in the Garden, near the spot!
In Jesus day the High Priest would make sacrifice for himself and go into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat or in that day the foundation stone because the Ark of the Covenant had not been there since Jeremiah's day.
The High Priest would then come back out and draw by lottery the fate of two goats, one for God and one scapegoat. The goat for God was slain and the blood sprinkled in the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people. He then came out, laid hands on the scapegoat, recited sins of the people over this goat and the goat was led away into the wilderness. It is said that a scarlet rope was tied to the temple door and when the scapegoat was gone to the wilderness, it turned white which showed that God accepted the sacrifice. However Rabbis state that the cord no longer turned white starting 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. You do the math!