Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King. God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold.
The city was surrounded by Titus’s army. With no avenue of escape, the inhabitants of Jerusalem cowered behind the city walls. What did their future hold? Brutality and devastation. Rome’s soldiers were known for the savagery they inflicted on those who dared to rebel. Survivors would be dragged away in chains to be displayed as the spoils of war before the jubilant throngs of Rome. The people of Jerusalem knew that it was just a matter of time before all of their fears would be realized.
Why had God withdrawn His hand of protection from His Chosen People, His Holy City, the golden Temple of which His people were so proud? It must have appeared to those living in the City of the Great King that their world was coming to an end!
All of history is His story. As a God of order, He had a larger plan. In 70 A.D., the walls of Jerusalem were breached. The pent-up anger of Titus’ soldiers was released on the Temple itself. Just as Jesus had prophesied, not one stone was left on top of another. Evidence of that destruction lies at the foot of the Temple Mount platform to this very day.
Once a year, the Jewish High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer the blood sacrifice that would cover the sins of both himself and his people for another year. The Temple was going to be destroyed.
Just before Jerusalem’s fall, Judaism’s religious leaders realized what was about to happen. Without the Temple, the priests’ sacrifices for the sins of God’s own Chosen People would no longer be possible. How could their sins be forgiven? That was the question. Spirited out of the city in a coffin, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai fled to Yavneh along with some of his talmidim (disciples). They were going to create a new Jewish religion, one that would operate without the Temple and its sacrifices.
Fast forward. For almost 2,000 years, the new religious system established by Yohanan ben Zakkai and his followers has been in place. Yom Kippur is observed in some way by most of the Jewish people of the world. Sadly, Rabbinic Judaism’s man-made system is wholly inadequate in addressing the problem of sin.
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22)
The Story of the Fall
Many who are reading this right now are not Jewish. You may be asking, “What does this have to do with me?” Everything! Since Adam ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3:1-24), every human born has known the difference between the two. Deep down inside, every member of the human race knows that they are broken by sin. There is nothing that any of us can do to change that fact.
Adam and Eve attempted to address the problem of their own sin in their own way. Because of their shame, they hid themselves from God and sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. How did that work for them? Not so well. In fact, not at all.
Something more was needed. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. God provided a sacrifice for Himself to restore His relationship with the first couple on earth. He killed some of the animals he had made for that purpose, took their skins, and made clothing to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. He did for them what they could not do for themselves. In Jesus Christ, He has done the same for you and me. Praise God!
The mankind’s religious systems are a lot like fig leaves sewn together. They are a man-made attempt to cover our greatest need, the forgiveness of personal sin. Only God can do that! That is why Jesus’ words, spoken during the last week of His life, continue to thunder in the ears of all who will listen.
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34), which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28).
If you are a believer in Jesus, your sins have been covered by the blood shed by our Jewish Savior. With His burial, those sins were removed from the eyes of God. Best of all, with His resurrection, there is no longer any need for fear. Yeshua has conquered Satan and death. To receive forgiveness and eternal life, all you have to do is understand that you are a sinner separated from God and believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
PRAY… for the salvation of Jewish people everywhere.
As Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) comes to an end, please pray that the freely sacrificed blood of the completely sufficient Lamb of God would be applied to the hearts of Jewish people everywhere. Pray that God would use you to explain to the Jewish people you know that the final atonement has already been made, for them. All they have to do is believe and rest in Him.