Most Jewish people understand that repentance is the path that leads to forgiveness of sin, and during this season Jewish people are particularly mindful of this possibility. Yet, the Bible never tells us that repentance alone leads to forgiveness, as the Lord determined that blood must be shed for the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 17:11). The Day of Atonement is a prophetic portrait of the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus the Messiah for the sins of both Jews and Gentiles. The sacrificial system and Levitical priesthood of the First and Second Temples pointed to the sacrifice of God’s Son, as on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would slip behind the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and offer the blood of the sacrifice to make atonement for sins.
Most Jewish people around the world cease from all work on Yom Kippur. In Israel, it is the only day of the year when even the international airport in Tel Aviv becomes still and quiet. Most of the nation abstains from eating, driving, commerce and social media. Entire families choose to pray at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Temple once stood, to beg God for His mercy.
Even the most sincere Jewish person still needs to discover that forgiveness of sin is a gift that God grants when one accepts Jesus the Messiah who made atonement on our behalf through His perfect life and sacrificial death. He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, fulfilling the Festival of Yom Kippur.