Isaac and Yom Kippur

“Yom Kippur shall be a holy convocation to you . . .  .”

On this day the shofar is sounded, a sober reminder of the ram that was caught in the thicket and slaughtered instead of Isaac. It was Isaac who inquired of his father Abraham, when ascending the mount shouldering the wood for the offering: “Where is the sheep offering?”

Abraham’s response may fairly be translated, “God will provide Himself a lamb offering.” This curious response, coupled with Abraham’s prior direction to his servants saying, “wait here [at the bottom of the mount] and “we will worship and we will return to you,” gave a hint of what actually was to transpire. Apparently, Abraham, though intending to sacrifice his son as instructed by God, possessed the faith to believe that God would raise his son, Isaac, from the dead.

Isaac was not raised from the dead; rather, he was spared from sacrifice in the first place, spared to carry out the Messianic lineage that would eventually produce Yeshua, our savior. Yeshua’s sacrifice mirrors in some small part the sacrifice of ram in the passage, as He substitutes Himself to take the punishment of our sins. But he also does what Isaac did not—dying and being raised from the dead. Abraham says, “God will provide Himself a lamb offering,” and in fact, God did provide Himself, such that that He so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, Yeshua, the Lamb of God, as the substitutionary offering. In a sense we are all Isaac, who were spared by God’s atoning sacrifice.

Therefore, we have the utmost confidence that we will be sealed in the Book of Life, clothed in righteousness by Yeshua’s selfless sacrifice. Yom Kippur may become a solemn holiday wherein we reflect on the nature of our sins, plead with God for forgiveness, and give thanks for our security in Messiah Yeshua.

This article was written by MJTI CFO Rabbi Elliot Klayman. For more by Rabbi Klayman, read his article Yeshua: The Sukkah of God, his poem “This Rosh Hashanah Day of Old,” or his thoughts on whether COVID-19 is a sign of the end times.

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