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Yom Kippur Fulfilled

God is all about mercy. Yes, He is Love and He is Just; these attributes explain the need for His mercy. God is just and will not tolerate sin. Sin cannot even enter His presence. Because He is just, He must judge sin and when that sin is attached to a human, He must judge that human. There is no other way—God is just.

As much as God is just, God is Love. God desires to have a relationship with human beings. This can be seen, for example, in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:8 ,9 refer to God walking in the Garden in the afternoon air and calling for Adam. God wished to enjoy Adam's company that evening. Sin had created a great chasm between God and man.

Contrary to what some Christians perceive, God mercy is not unique to the New Testament. God's mercy can be seen in this story of the first sin. While pronouncing judgement on Adam, Eve, the serpent and the earth, God provided a blood sacrifice (He killed animals for their skins), He provided clothes for Adam and Eve (He made clothes from the skins), and He removed them from the Garden. The removal from the Garden was merciful because it cut off Adam and Eve's access to the Tree of Life so that they would not have to live forever in the fallen condition. (The All-Merciful One thought of everything.)

God's mercy is given face in  Torah by the institution of Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16: 6-10; 12-16 records this:

And when he hath offered the cattle and prayed for himself and for his own house: He shall make the two buck goats to stand before the Lord in the door of the tabernacle of the testimony. And casting lots upon them both, one to be offered to the Lord, and the other to be the emissary goat: That whose lot fell to be offered to the Lord, he shall offer for sin. But that whose lot was to be the emissary goat, he shall present before the Lord, that he may pour prayers upon him, and let him go into the wilderness... And taking the censer, which he hath filled with the burning coals of the altar, and taking up with his hands the compounded perfume for incense, he shall go in within the veil into the holy place: That when the perfumes are put upon the fire, the cloud and vapour thereof may cover the oracle, which is over the testimony, and he may not die. He shall take also of the blood of the calf, and sprinkle with his finger seven times towards the propitiatory to the east. And when he hath killed the buck goat for the sin of the people, he shall carry in the blood thereof within the veil, as he was commanded to do with the blood of the calf, that he may sprinkle it over against the oracle: And may expiate the sanctuary from the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and from their transgressions, and all their sins. According to this rite shall he do to the tabernacle of the testimony, which is fixed among them in the midst of the filth of their habitation.

Emphasis mine

The rules were simple: afflict yourselves (Leviticus 23:29)—this means fasting and obstaining from pleasures, appear before God at the tabernacle, and present the correct sacrifices. The results were profound: God overlooked Israel's sins of the entire past year. In this way, God could remain in the camp, in the Tabernacle. He could have contact with the people He so dearly loved.

The trouble was, these sacrifices were imperfect. The blood of animals offered by sinful people and borne by a sinful priest (The sacrifice of the cattle was for his sin.) only covered the sin of the people. God could overlook the sin, but He did not forgive it. Temporarily, God's justice had been satisfied by the deaths of the animals, by the application of blood to the Mercy Seat—the top portion of the Ark of the Covenant. Daily, sacrifices had to be offered to allow God to stay among them. Sin and trespass offerings had to be offered each time someone became aware of sin. On the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri) of each year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, had to be observed again. A perfect sacrifice was needed and the imperfect sacrifices were effective because they reminded the All-Merciful One of the Perfect Sacrifice He planned.

This perfect sacrifice came at the perfect time through the Father's Pre-existant Son, Jesus. Carefully, God set the stage by providing Torah and prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus. These prophecies served two purposes: first to tell what would happen before it happened to show it was, in fact, God's plan (Isaiah 43:9-10), and second to show Israel what to expect in Messiah. Details such as birthplace, lineage, and ministry location were given prophectically. Couched in all of this were indications Messiah would experience rejection and death.

Once Messiah came, He was understated. Isaiah prophecied of Him, "... there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness [Heb.: hadar—splender, honor, majesty]: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him:" (Isaiah 53:2) Jesus' teaching was profound. His love was pervasive. His miracles were stunning. Still, He was born in a stable, laid in a manger, raised by a carpenter. The question came, "How could this man be a king?"

However, throughout His life, the death with which He would redeem us was the focal point. At His presentation in the Temple, His Mother was told a sword would pierce her heart. At the Jordon River when He was baptized He was introduced as the "Lamb of God". He told the Phaisees that He had come to bring us life and that abundantly. He described Himself as the Good Shepherd Who would lay down His life for His sheep.

The day arrived. In the Garden of Gethsemene, the Almighty offered His fiat to the Father—"Nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39) He was tried and convicted on His own testimony—"Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed: What further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy."(Matthew 26:64-65) He was led away and crucified. The Creator of Life was dead. The just for the unjust. Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us: that we might be made the justice of God in him. Sin for us... That is, to be a sin offering, a victim for sin.(II Corinthians 5:21)

As Jesus died, the veil in the Temple between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. The chasm between God and man filled with blood and mercy. Through the ages, from Adam to the last human to live, sins were not covered but washed away. God stopped overlooking sin and forgave it. We were no longer just atoned, we are redeemed, bought with the precious blood of Jesus! With Jesus' declaration. "It is finished," the penalty of our sin was paid and we became God's personal property and special possession.

Fulfilling the promise of forgiveness and redemption hidden in the ceremony of Yom Kippur, Jesus blood still flows in the Holy Eucharist. Christ, through the priest serves Christ's Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity under the appearance of bread and wine to His Church. He meets with us individually in the confessional as the priest sits in Persona Christi. Such wonderful gifts of grace demand our total devotion and surrender to Him. How beautiful He is on the Crucifix! How beautiful He is in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar!

O, Most Blessed Sacrament! O Most Holy and Living Eucharist! I give You my life and my soul and my dreams. I am Yours!

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, "I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life"—John 8:12

Jerusalem Time