Today is the 10th day of the 7th month in the Biblical Hebrew calendar. It is the holiest day in the Jewish year; it is the Sabbath of Sabbaths, and today is, in fact, also the Sabbath day. This day is called the Day of Atonements (Yom Ha-Kippurim; Yom Kippur) You can read its significance in chapters 16 and 23 of Leviticus in the Torah.
The streets of Beer Sheva are full of children laughing and playing in the streets, as cars are not being driven on the roads. Synagogues of full of people seeking God’s forgiveness of their sins, with the hope that He would grant them another year of life. The Book of Jonah is read in the synagogues on this most holy day: the very sign which Messiah Yeshua gave to His people who are still rejecting Him for who He is — that of Jonah — has sovereignly been placed into the liturgy of this most sacred day for the Jewish people to read!
What is striking about YHVH God’s requirements for this day on behalf of the children of Israel is that the nation should afflict its soul. The nation is made up of individuals, each one of whom is called to afflict his/her soul. There is no specific commandment to fast from eating: fasting in itself does not afflict one’s soul; but if one’s soul is afflicted, he will not want to eat.
The Biblical record in the Old and the New Testaments does not really give us an account of Israel observing the Day of Atonements. Even in the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8, there is the account of the people observing the first day of the seventh month — the Memorial of the Blowing of Shofars/Trumpets — and then the celebration of Booths, which begins on the evening of the 14th of the month (the 15th day). Yom Kippur is skipped over in the account.
Looking ahead, we read in Zechariah chapter 12 that that day is coming when all Israel — the full remnant which remains from all the tribes — who will look on Him — on Jesus/Yeshua — whom we have pierced. And then there will be a great travail of soul within each Israeli as part of a national/corporate reality. When Israel finally sees and accepts her sin against the Father and the Son — the very One who has preserved them, and who gave up His life for them that their sins would be forgiven and removed — there will be a great affliction of soul, and God will dwell in the midst of His people.
For the Christian — those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ — has your soul been afflicted for the sins of the Church against the truth of Jesus? When we read the assessment of the Lord Jesus Himself concerning His churches in chapters 2 and 3 of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and His call to each person within the churches to hear what the Spirit is saying, have you ever experienced an affliction of your soul for your own part in that? Have we ever been broken to the point of weeping for our own sinfulness, not merely over some sins we may be committing?
Rom 7:12 For indeed the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
Rom 7:13 Then has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But sin, that it might appear to be sin, working death in me by that which is good; in order that sin might become exceedingly sinful by the commandment.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.
Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I do not desire, I consent to the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 But now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find.
Rom 7:19 For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do.
Rom 7:20 But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law: when I will to do the right, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man;
Rom 7:23 but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?!
Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.