Change Region:United Kingdom

Devotions

Bible Teachings and Reflections

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Yom Kippur

Day of Atonement - Sweeping out the House

The Day of Atonement in early Autumn is considered by the Jewish people to be their holiest day of the year. In the days of the tabernacle and the temple, it was a day of rest for all people except the High Priest who had the job of ritually cleansing God’s house of all the defiling sins of the people of Israel so that God could live amongst His people for another year.

Since the destruction of the last temple by the Romans in 70AD, however, the focus of the Church gradually shifted towards a future where we live with God in heaven rather than Him living with us on earth. The significance of the Day of Atonement as a day for cleaning out God’s earthly home has therefore largely been lost to the Church and consigned to the past as just a relic of history.
 
The truth of the Bible, however, is that it has always been God’s plan to dwell with His people on earth. This is the way the story begins with God dwelling in Eden and it is the way it ends with God dwelling in the new earth. One of the main themes of the Bible, therefore, and indeed of Israel herself, is the theme of God preparing a people and a place for Him to dwell on the earth. And rather than this theme being ended by Jesus, it will actually be fulfilled by Him. 
 
For the Day of Atonement is one of three Autumn feasts, the first being the Feast of Trumpets ten days beforehand. This will be fulfilled when Jesus descends ‘with the trumpet call of God’, such that all believers will be ‘caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air’ (1 Thess 4:16-17). Few Christians contest that Jesus will return for His Church, but the contention arises in what happens next: does He then take all believers up to heaven or does He continue down to the earth?
 
The Day of Atonement answers that question. He returns to earth. And not just anywhere on earth but, as the prophet Zechariah foresaw, ‘on that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem’ (Zech 14:4). And just as Jesus descended this same mount on a donkey and headed straight to clean out His Father’s house, so He will head by white horse to the house which Paul describes in 2 Thess 2:1-4 will be in even greater need of cleansing this time. But cleansed it will be, and even the original scapegoat for Israel’s sins will finally be banished from the earth (compare Lev 16:2-22 to Rev 20:1-3).
 
But why cleanse God’s house? So that He can move in, of course! And that is the glorious day foreseen by the Feast of Tabernacles: ‘And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped’ (Zech 14:9).
 
May you experience the closeness of His tabernacling presence during this holiday season and pray that all in Israel would experience the same. 
 
Paul Parkhouse - ICEJ UK Development Director
 

 


 


Root and Fruit - Testimony from Envision 2017
 
Back in January this year, I was blessed to attend the annual pastors and leaders conference in Jerusalem. While on the conference trip to Shiloh, I was praying at the site where the Ark rested when I saw a root on the ground. I picked it up and felt God say I should take it back home. My hope and prayer before going to Israel was that I would be able to be a blessing to that nation in some way, but also that I would be able to bring something of a powerful spiritual nature back to the UK.
 
I wasn't exactly sure how God was going to use it, but when I got back I knew I was to show people the root and share the story of how it came to be in my possession. I received some quizzical looks when I took it out the following Sunday during the sermon, but I explained that I was just being obedient to what God had said and that I was also honouring Israel.
 
Towards the end of the sermon, I started to pray for the Holy Spirit to come and for anyone who wanted to receive a touch from the Holy Spirit to come forward. I said I believed God had sent me back with something and I was to pray for anyone that wanted to receive what He had for them. 
 
Most of the congregation started to come forward. I wasn't sure what to do with the root, so I just gave it to one of the first people I prayed for and then people spontaneously started passing it round to others. It was a very powerful time, but it was the young people who were especially impacted. Nearly the entire youth group came forward for prayer and started gathering in circles to pray for each other, which was a first. A number of them started speaking in tongues for the first time. After praying for everyone, the young people then gathered round to pray for me. As they started to pray, one of them went out in the Spirit and she has been speaking powerfully and prophetically every since. She's 14.
 
A week later, I was preaching at our Student weekend. There were about 70 of them. I did the same thing: shared the story about the root and asked for anyone that wanted me to pray for them to come forward. They all did. In the end, they started to pray for each other - it was amazing to watch. The 14 year old
​ ​
from the previous week was with us and I couldn't hold her back! The meeting had gone on for some time and I tried to close it, without much success. But when I thought I finally had and went to sit down, 
​she
 picked up the mic and started spontaneously preaching! It was quite a night and they haven't stopped talking about it since.  
 
One thing I have done while talking about the root is reminding people that, when they were born again, they were grafted into a different family tree. The roots of their family line are now found in Israel and go back to Jesus, David, Abraham, etc. What a family to belong to; what a heritage! So I tell them to boast now about your 'great uncle' Paul, and your 'great great great grandfather' Moses. With that heritage behind us, how can we fail? 
 
Lift your eyes and see...
 
More feedback:
 
As a conference and experience, Envision is quite exceptional in the scope that it incorporates and covers. To be with both Jewish and Arab believers who reside in the land, and to be alongside believers from across the globe, is truly inspirational.
 
Aside from the ministry in the conference context, the various outside visits are of huge value in garnering a greater understanding and feel for the nation and what it faces. 
 
I thoroughly recommend 'Envision' conference as a place of great connection and understanding of the land of Israel. 
 
I am challenged to re-think my theolgy regarding Israel, the Kingdom and the Chirch.  This is part of an on-going journey I have been on for at least two years.
 
I will seek to influence pastors with this message of the Kingdom and solidarity to Israel.

What spoke to me was the land, the people, the social/political backdrop, things like the BDS, the Holocaust… it’s like this trip has lit up my thinking in colour. 

I feel like God has just sharpened my sword it and cleaned it up, ready for me to go back into the fight again.

 

Please encourage your Pastors and Leaders to consider attending ENVISION 2020  If you are a church leader we would be delighted to hear from you if you are thinking about going to Israel.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this: