Tonight at sundown, begins the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. I had to fast until sundown the next day, no water, no brushing your teeth and had to go to synagogue and ask God to forgive me of my sins for the year, (Leviticus 23:26-32). Since there is no longer any Temple to do animal sacrifices since 70 AD Jews have taught that prayers and charity suffice (they wish). In Temple days, this was the day when the High Priest said the name of God aloud ,YHVH, and everyone fell prostrate on the ground. The High Priest after much preparation cast lots for two goats (Leviticus 16:8), one which was killed and its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat of the Ark in the Holy of Holies for as a sin offering for the people (Leviticus 16:15). The other goat had its head laid on by the hands of the High Priest and the sins of the people were put on it and it was led out of town. (Leviticus 16:21-22).
Interestingly enough, this all changed around 30 AD according to the writings of the Jews themselves! The lot for the goat to be sacrificed ceased to come up on the right hand of the High Priest as it always had and the crimson cloth (Isaiah 1:18) that they put outside the Holy of Holies in the Temple and would turn white to show that the sacrifices had worked, did not turn white as it always had before (Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 31:b). The Western light in the Temple would not keep burning as before and the doors of the Temple would no longer open of themselves (Talmud, Yoma 39b).
These things happened around the time of the sacrificial death of Jesus. Duh! And we see in the Book of Hebrews 9:12-27ff, how the blood of Christ now washes us clean once and for all time and doesn't need to be repeated every year. Thus when Christian friends ask me if I fast on Yom Kippur or if they need to, I answer that we longer have to because Christ died once and for all for our sins.
Stephen Yulish PhD
Stephen Yulish PhD