Observing Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Observing Yom Kippur—Day of Atonement

“Afflict the soul” we are told in Leviticus 20:26 to observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement—O.K., how do I do that?

Maybe this just means a food fast from sundown to sundown.
If it does, the scripture could easily have said so, but, no, it says afflict. And it doesn’t say the flesh, which a food fast would affect, it says the soul. So, there must be more here than I have understood.

First, I’ll consider the word soul. This word has generally been accepted to mean mind, will and emotions. Obviously, we’re talking something more encompassing than flesh.

Now, let’s briefly consider the word afflict. This word is translated from the Hebrew word anah (עכה). Strong’s and other sources say the root word means to defile, as in to humble.

Now, it seems we’re getting somewhere. If I afflict my mind, will and emotions I’m going to do some serious checking on where I stand in the humility department of those areas.

As a starting point, it may just be me, but my pride factor comes up right away for review. Within the last ten days I experienced the Feast of Trumpets where I re embraced the giving of the Ten Commandments from Mt Sinai. The first of those commandments seems like the best place to start: you shall have no other god’s before Me.

Where, over this last year, have I elevated my mind, will and emotions?
Where have I been willing to take the credit? Could I possibly be raising myself up in pride as a god? Just how quickly and humbly do I admit Father’s hand in my activities of the last year?

After plowing that ground, I can continue down the commandment list: idols, vain speaking, Sabbath etc. I can give Holy Spirit a chance to “judge” the level of defilement and lack of humility of my soul—my mind, will and emotions—in the keeping or failure to keep the Commandments. Of course, Yeshu’s “amplified teaching” will guide my listening and measuring.

What a wonderful and wise provision of the Lord to give an opportunity for an annual assessment of the condition of my mind, will and emotions. Yom Kippur is not a big public celebration. It is a time to pull apart for a highly personal, introspective, intentional intimacy with Father. It is not a time of condemnation, but of rejoicing at the provision for confession, repentance and forgiveness we have through Messiah Yeshua.

To just let the day go by concentrating on not eating and waiting for sundown would be such a loss. Having embraced and reaffirmed the Ten Commandments at Yom Teruah (Trumpets) just a few days earlier, now on Yom Kippur I can “seal the deal” and really look forward to the fun and celebration of Sukkot (Booths) as a meaningful time of thanksgiving. A celebration of knowing I’m living in freedom, delivered from the bondage and confinement of my soul life.


(Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement is observed on the tenth day of the seventh biblical month. This month has been given the name of Tishri. In 2018 on the Gregorian calendar used in the US it is Wednesday, September 19, but beginning at sundown on the 18th.)

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