The Christian Yom Kippur
Of course, the newspaper article did not describe the chicken as a sacrifice. That would probably be too politically incorrect. Instead, the event was described as a ritual that involved waving the beheaded bird over the participants in the ceremony. It was loosely insinuated that the bird acted as a sort of atonement for past sins.
My curiosity got the best of me. I whipped out my New Bible Encyclopedia from Tyndale to find that Yom Kippur is the Hebrew name for the most solemn of Biblical holidays described in the Old Testament scriptures, the Day of Atonement. And its solemnity is for good reason. The day is spent remembering past sins, which were then figuratively transferred to the scapegoat in ancient times, and presumably to the chicken in this modern twist. (Apparently another modern angle has been added, in that the beheaded chickens are sometimes donated to feed the poor.)
Intrigued as I was about modern observances of real Biblical holidays, I immediately felt sympathy for those who have not yet realized who Jesus was and is, and what he came to do. I feel such joy and thankfulness in knowing that my sins have been tossed into the depths of the sea, never to be held against me again. The prophets in ancient times could only look forward with anticipation to the forgiveness that we believers in the Lord Jesus Christ experience every day:
- Micah 7:18-19 - Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Isaiah 53:2-6 - He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (NIV)
- 1 Peter 3:20-22 - …once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (NKJV)
Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)
- Hebrews 9:24-26 - For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. (NIV)
- 1 Peter 1:18-19 - For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV)
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