“The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai. You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people.“-Leviticus 23:27-30
On the day of YOM KIPPUR, we are commanded to “AFFLICT ourselves“.
Other translations say we are to “DENY ourselves“.
I think the latter rendering is more accurate because this is not a call to physically harm ourselves.
We are NOT to slash our body with knives or have nails driven through our hands, or have a crown of thorns forcibly placed on our heads until the blood starts dripping as they do in some cultures.
The primary idea being communicated here is to deny oneself those everyday comforts we are accustomed to.
In terms of practical implementation, this normally translates into refraining from food or fasting.
And what are we told are the consequences if we don’t do this?
The person who refuses to afflict himself shall be cut-off (KARET) from his people, just as the one who does any work on the Sabbath shall also likewise be cut off!
Man, that’ severe!
Recall from the book of Exodus and other passages in the Bible that the main purpose for YOM KIPPUR was to “purify the sanctuary“.
In this context, it means purifying the “tabernacle” but later it will be applied to the “temple“.
This is interesting and again illustrates the tremendous gap that exists between man and the Lord.
Here’s the thing.
The physical place where God dwelled among men would gradually become impure and dirty due to its nearness to IMPERFECT and SINFUL men.
Even physical contact by the priests would also eventually dirty the tabernacle.
Hence, it was the purpose of the YOM KIPPUR rituals to purify it all, so that God would be able to continue dwelling there.
Now let’s fast forward approximately 2000 years to our day and age.
What do the apostolic scriptures tell us?
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
-1 Corinthians 3:16
Does this not say that believers today have literally (NOT symbolically) become the sanctuary of God?
Does this not imply that the Spirit of God currently dwelling in every believer purifies us and makes us CLEAN?
Unfortunately, of course, our bodies have not been perfected as we still get old and die.
And we still are tempted and do sin.
It is not until our resurrection when Yeshua returns, that these corrupted and stained shells we are currently dwelling in will be replaced with pure ones that will be utterly incapable of being defiled.
In other words, just as the High Priest purified the temple on YOM KIPPUR, so will our sanctuary (our bodies) be purified on that Great and Terrible Day.
I don’t know about you but I’m starting to get goosebumps just thinking about this.