OPINION: The 'Day of Atonement' (Yom Kippur) and coronavirus pandemic


Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. This year's Day of Atonement began at sunset Sunday evening, Sept. 27, and continued until nightfall on Monday evening, Sept. 28. The Jews and the Samaritans observe the Day of Atonement.

Atonement is the concept of a person taking action to correct previous wrongdoing on their part, either by direct action to undo the consequences of that act or some other expression of feelings of remorse. (Wilkipedia) Repentance is sincere regret or remorse for wrongdoing. So, it seems that the "emotion" of repentance must precede the "action" of atonement. Christians believe that Jesus' death on the cross, as God's lamb, was the final action in God's plan for our salvation - the final atonement needful for the remission of our sins - that He performed for us to receive the adoption of His Holy Spirit as He promised His people (see Ezekiel 36:27: "I will put My spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments to do them" as one reference to the Old Testament promise). Also, another is Zechariah 4:6; "So He answered and said to me: 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.'" Ezekiel 37: 14 is another promise of God's Holy Spirit dwelling and reigning in our lives. Jesus said this in John 16:13:

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."

Christians must never forget that Jesus the Christ came as an Israelite who followed the traditions and religion of the Jewish people. God's revelation of Himself to Israel is recorded in our Bible. These people were chosen to reveal to other nations and peoples that there is a God who exists as "I am." God acted upon the repentance of His people, Israel. And, Jesus came as God's action upon the repentance of His people, and all who believed in His existence, His Son, Jesus, the Christ, would become His spiritually adopted children through the power of His Holy Spirit. The Christian community must not forget that "repent" is the first word of the gospel, not "come join my church." Let me suggest that you read the book "Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel" by Richard Owen Roberts.

It is my belief as a Christian woman that this COVID-19 virus is an international announcement to all peoples and particularly to those of us who are Christians that the "I am that I am," who we call "God" and Father, is still the Creator of this universe, and He will give His glory to no other "existence" except His own. He is the true owner of the universe. Isaiah 45:5-7 (NKJV): "I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things." Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." Consider the two things we must wear during this pandemic: masks and gloves. Psalm 24:3-4: "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully." The masks are for two reasons. They protect us from what comes in our mouths that could harm us physically and stop the lies we may speak from within that will defile others and ourselves. We must remember to check the contents of our hearts before we speak what is on our minds and in our hearts. The gloves have a two-fold purpose as well. Make sure that we clean our hands so that what we do with our hands does not defile our own or another's mind, body or character. The last verses of this Psalm (verses 8 and 10) say: "Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."

Five of the seven churches in the biblical book of Revelation had to repent. We, as Christians, must come before the throne of God daily with "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" because of sins of omission and commission. We must love God with our whole hearts and love each other as we love ourselves. Love is a God-given emotion. He loves us because He made us and blew His breath in us. The first action that a newborn baby must do to live on this planet is B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Not only must human beings breathe, but other animals, plants and other life here on earth must do so also. I could go further, but I will stop here and declare that the people of this city, this nation and this world must give an account for what we do while we are still breathing here on this planet.

Therefore, as we remember "The Day of Atonement" in 2020, let us as Christians remember our history. Pray that all peoples and nations around this world will wake up from their sleep, heed the warnings from our God that he is the creator of all things including this virus and "Repent before God, believe Jesus and preach in Jesus' name for the remission of their sins for the kingdom of God is at hand!"