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Yom Kippur – insights on atonement from Daniel 9

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From Joel Rosenberg:

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At sundown tonight, we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year.

But how can modern Jews of today receive atonement for our sins, without a Temple in Jerusalem? How can we make sacrifices and receive forgiveness of sins — and thus the right to enter the holiness of heaven and live with the Lord in heaven forever and ever in His holy and perfect world — without being able to sacrifice a perfect lamb at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Lord designated all sacrifices to occur?

Fortunately, the Lord spoke the answer through the Hebrew prophet Daniel hundreds of years before the Second Temple was destroyed.

In Daniel 9:24-26, we learn three critical and fascinating truths:

  • Daniel told us that the Messiah (“Anointed One”) would come at a certain time in history “to atone for wickedness” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness”
  • Daniel also told us that when the Messiah came, he would be “cut off and will have nothing”
  • then Daniel foretold that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed after the Messiah was “cut off” — as Daniel noted, foreign invaders “will come and will destroy the city and the sanctuary”

Think about that for a moment. Daniel told us something extraordinary: the coming Messiah would be “cut off” and bring atonement for our sins, and He would come before the Temple would be destroyed.

In retrospect, that makes sense, right? Why would the Lord take away the Temple unless He was going to provide a new way for atonement, the very “new covenant” He spoke of through the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah?

(for further details, see the article on Joel’s blog)

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