Jews, Christians Celebrate Yom Kippur

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Thursday marks Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. It also holds special significance for Christians.

Jews in Israel and around the world are preparing for this holy day, also known as the Day of Atonement.

The way Jews observe Yom Kippur here in Israel is unlike any other nation on earth. By law, television and radio broadcasts are forbidden. The airports are shut down. There's no public transportation. Businesses are closed and virtually no one drives a car.

"When the Day of Atonement comes the atmosphere in Jerusalem changes completely," said Joseph Shulam, founder of Netivyah Ministries.

"Everything is extremely somber and quiet. There is no transportation. Nothing is open and the synagogues are full. People are truly trying to understand their sins," he said.

Yom Kippur is the climax of the 10 Days of Awe, which began with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is marked by repentance and confession.

"I think we would do well to do what the Jewish people do on that day, to take a day aside to just search our hearts before God and let the Holy Spirit really look inside us and not doing our own introspection but being open to His inspection," said Rick Ridings with Nations Standing with Israel.

The Old Testament documents how the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and offered a sacrifice for the sins of the people for the year. The book of Leviticus says ". on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you." (Leviticus 16:30)

Many Christians see a wonderful picture of Jesus on this day and other feasts of the Lord celebrated in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews says, "He entered the most holy place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12)

"They are all pictures of Jesus, Yeshua, in an amazing way and of course a very powerful picture of atonement is that He Himself is our atonement," Ridings said.

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Chris Mitchell

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