The Appointed Times of YHVH—the Day of Atonement and the Messiah. Part I
We studied in the last article The Appointed Times of YHVH— Day of Atonement that when the children of Israel made the golden calf, they attempted to depict El in a tangible way using the symbol of an ox, which for them was the most natural way to refer to their Elohim, thus violating not the first commandment in the Covenant, “I am YHVH Your Elohim… You shall not have other elohim against My face”, but the second commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness…”
The children of Israel idolized Elohim because they were so scared of the grandeur of His presence on Mount Sinai that they chose not to continue to listen to and said to Mosheh “You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die” (Exo 20:19). Had they chosen just to continue to listen to what YHVH commanded Mosheh, they would have heard the warning in Exo_20:23 , “You do not make besides Me gods of silver, and you do not make gods of gold for yourselves”, and would not have sinned.
We also studied that YHVH had considered the golden calf an unintentional sin and not a deliberate violation of the Covenant. Nevertheless, the violation of the Second Commandment of the Covenant was a grievous sin against YHVH and a punishment followed, but also a means of redemption. Israel was atoned on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, by Mosheh’s supplication. On that day YHVH renewed His Covenant with the nation as Mosheh brought the new tablets of stone.
For more information as to why the Covenant was renewed, the reader may refer to the article “Why did Moses Have to Break the Tablets of the Covenant of YHVH?“
Yet another renewal had to take place, that with the new generation at Mount Nebo. At the renewal of the Covenant at Mount Nebo with the new generation that was born in the desert, Mosheh made his point explicit, namely that the sin of their fathers was the idolatry with the golden calf:
And Yehovah commanded me at that time to teach you laws and judgements, for you to do them in the land which you pass over to possess. Therefore, diligently guard yourselves, for you saw no form when Yehovah spoke to you at Horev out of the midst of the fire, lest you should do corruptly and shall make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure – the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the heavens, the likeness of any that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; (Deu 4:14-18)
Let us recall that Israel was turned back to the desert because of another sin the nation committed against their Savior, but for more on this, refer to another article titled “What Was the Sin of the Ten Spies?”
On the tenth day of the seventh month that became the Day of Atonement, YHVH forgave His children because Mosheh sank to his knees in supplication in His presence begging for mercy for his people.
When Moshe returned from the mountain with the new tablets of stone and announced to his people that YHVH had forgiven them, the people rejoiced because they received assurance that He would lead them into the Promised Land. Thus, on the tenth day of the seventh month which later would become known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the days of reconciliation ended. Thus, the Day of Atonement became a day of rejoice, but YHVH also commanded that on that day the people were to afflict their souls with humility and fast. This is how this appointed time of YHVH, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, was instituted.
Therefore, the significance of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is that on that particular day YHVH made atonement for Israel, to cleanse, to clean His children from all their sins which they committed with the golden calf.
From the whole story that spanned from Shavuot to the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, we learn that YHVH is just—if there is a crime against Him, punishment will follow and justice will be served.
But YHVH is also merciful, loving, and forgiving. Justice will be served but mercy will follow. But the mercy will follow, if there is repentance. And because He is just and loving, a means of redemption is provided for us. So, this most set-apart day of the year was called the Day of Atonement for the sole reason that Mosheh atoned for their sin (see Exo 32:30).
Mosheh acted as a mediator between his people and YHVH. We should recall that Mosheh told his people to await for a prophet like him and everything this prophet would tell them, they should do. That prophet would be the new mediator between Israel and YHVH.
Let us again recall the words of Apostle Shaul which he wrote in Gal_3:19:
Why, then, the Torah?
It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. And it was ordained through messengers in the hand of a mediator.
Who is this Seed to whom the promise was made and when was this promise made, but the Seed foretold from the beginning of the world? Let us recall that after the adversary deceived the woman with the forbidden fruit, Elohim made a prophetic statement:
And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel. (Gen 3:15)
This prophetic declaration of Elohim that He would do away with sin in a very particular way would involved a righteous man, the Seed of a righteous woman. At that moment by His omniscience, the Creator of the universe already devised the plan for the redemption of man and His creation.
Apostle Yochanan (John) brings a new dimension of YHVH’s redemption plan, as he wrote in Joh_3:16,
For Elohim so loved the world, that He gave His only brought-forth Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.
Yes, the Seed should come to whom the promise was made is the Messiah, the anointed One of YHVH, whom YHVH gave for redemption of His children. To believe in the redemptive work of the Messiah faith is required. The faith that Mosheh required from the Israelites was to await for a prophet like him. And everything this prophet would tell them, they should do. And they were awaiting until He came and when He came, they asked Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
And indeed, the Yehudim were expecting the Messiah in the time frame when He did come the first time. The Apostolic writings supply undoubtedly evidence to support this claim. We read,
And as the parents brought in the child Yeshua, to do for Him according to the usual practice of the Torah, then he (Shimon) took Him up in his arms and blessed Elohim and said, “Now let Your servant go in peace, O Master, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples, a light for the unveiling of the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel. (Luk 2:27-32)
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming, the One who is called Anointed. When that One comes, He shall announce to us all.” Yeshua said to her, “I who am speaking to you am He.” (Joh 4:25-26)
Then the men, having seen the sign that Yeshua did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is coming to the world.” Then Yeshua, knowing that they were about to come and seize Him, that they might make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain, alone by Himself. (Joh 6:14-15)
In a book titled Pesikta, cited in the treatise Abkath Rokhel and reprinted in Hulsii Theologia Judaica, p. 309, the Sages express their faith in the redemptive work of the Messiah invoking the Day of Atonement. We read from Zohar, 2:212a:
When Elohim created the world, He stretched out His hand under the throne of His kavod, and brought forth the being of the Messiah. He said to him: ‘Will you heal and redeem My sons after 6000 years?’ He answered him, ‘I will.’ Then Elohim said to him: ‘Will you then also bear the punishment in order to blot out their sins, as it is written, “But he bore our diseases” (Isa 53:4). And the Messiah answered Him; ‘I will joyfully bear them.’
And also, Rabbi Chaim Vital, a disciple of Rabbi Itzchak Luria, says in Midrash Talpiyot 58a on Moshiach’s new Torah:
Moshiach will rise up to Heaven just as Moses ascended to the firmament, and will thereafter return and be completely revealed, for all to see.
This reference to the ascending of Mosheh to receive the renewed Covenant of YHVH is not coincidental. The Rabbis knew very well that Mosheh ascended twice up to the mountain to receive the tablets of the Covenant of YHVH: the first time to receive the Covenant (in the article Israel’s Whoring in Egypt, the present author expressed his view that the Covenant reconciled the people with YHVH for their rebellion in Egypt) and then the second time, the Renewed Covenant (which reconciled Israel with YHVH for the golden calf). But between them Mosheh ascended for another forty days and forty nights to beg for mercy for his people.
So, when Rabbi Chaim Vital said that Moshiach will rise up to Heaven just as Moses ascended and will return and be completely revealed, he could not have possibly ignored what he already knew, namely that Mosheh returned to his people two times with an intermediate stay with YHVH when he supplicated YHVH’s mercy. Or, Mosheh was on the mountain with YHVH three times forty days each.
By the same token, as Mosheh went twice up to the mountain to receive the tablets of the Covenant, so would the Messiah do, because all that came upon our fathers in the wilderness came as examples and a warning to us. As Mosheh returned on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, to bring reconciliation of the people and YHVH, so we may expect that the Messiah will reconcile the nation of Israel on the Day of Atonement, too.
Yeshua the Messiah came the first time to restore the Covenant between YHVH and His people and bring reconciliation with the Creator through repentance. And He will come a second time that through Him the Renewal of the Covenant will be completed as planned to be in the last days, as it is written,
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; forasmuch as they broke My covenant, although I was a lord over them, saith the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people; (Jer 31:31-33 JPS)
Therefore, we see that the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the tenth day of the seventh month, was the day of the reconciliation for the golden calf sin. When the Messiah comes, teach the Sages, He will bring atonement for His people, the Final Redemption (Heb. geula).
We read in Midrash Tanchuma a parable that alludes to the atonement of the Messiah,
A maid’s child once dirtied the royal palace. Said the king: “Let his mother come and clean up her child’s filth.” By the same token, G-d says: “Let the Heifer atone for the deed of the Calf.”
What is the implication for us today?
The Apostle Shaul (Paul) instructed us that what Israel experienced in the wilderness during the Exodus came upon them as an example. And that was given to us as a warning, on whom the ends of the ages have come, so that he who thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall (1Co_10:11-12).
Yeshua Himself warned us also as to whether He would find faith on the earth at His return, Luk_18:7-8, Mat_24:24. As we retell the Exodus story every year, we should note that it took seven days for YHVH to take Israel out of Egypt, but forty years to take Egypt out of Israel.
However, Israel is not to be judged presumptuously; rather, we are to examine ourselves carefully whether we will do any better when our time in the wilderness comes when we will be called to leave Babylon.
This article is a part of series of articles dedicated to the Appointed Times of YHVH and how His Messiah Yeshua has fulfilled them. For the rest of the set-apart days of the Creator, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.