Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Oct 5, 2022 | Uncategorized

 A Reflection on Yom Kippur  

There is one day in Jerusalem when time seems to stand still. No vehicles move on the roads; the airport, stores and restaurants all shut down, and the usually bustling and packed city is quiet. If you were to walk with our students down the empty streets beside the great stone walls of the Old City and the Tower of David, you would be struck by the hush over this day, set aside to reflect on sin and forgiveness, to reconcile with others and with God. This is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, regarded as the holiest of all Hebrew biblical days (Leviticus 23:26-29).

We learn together from the symbols and commands for this day from God, the Master Storyteller, who powerfully reveals His character and our redemption through Yeshua.

The High Priest & The Mercy Seat 

Yom Kippur was the only day of the year to enter the Holy of Holies— the most sacred chamber of the Temple that kept the Ark of the Covenant— and only by the High Priest, whose primary role was intercession, a constant prayer on behalf of the people.

Behind the veil, inside the Most Holy Place, was the Ark of the Covenant (containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments) and the “Mercy Seat” (where the Glory of the Lord resided). The Hebrew name for the Mercy Seat is ‘Kaporet’ {כפורת} (‘covering’) from the root ‘K-P-R’ {כ-פ-ר} (‘to cover‘). On the mercy seat the blood of sacrifice was sprinkled by the High Priest— the blood literally covering and atoning for sin.

The Mercy Seat was a place of reconciliation between God and His people through the forgiveness of sins. And the Mercy Seat was above the tablets of the law. The message of these two symbols is profound, communicating that God is a god whose character is fully both truth and grace, both justice and mercy. Indeed, as the disciple, James communicated at a much later date, “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

We know that the one who became our atonement through sacrifice is Yeshua (Jesus), the Great High Priest (Romans 3:25). He is our covering and our shield, mercy triumphant over judgment. 

As we work together to translate and share the whole of God’s redemption story with the whole world, let’s also reflect and worship together through this beautiful Hebrew song, Rachamim Avakesh— I Ask for Mercy. 

I ask for mercy
I come to lift a prayer
On behalf of my people
My heart is as water within me
I lift my voice to the Living God who sees me
A prayer for mercy in my mouth
Mercy, I ask, for your name’s sake  

For Your name’s sake, mercy, I ask 

Thank you for sharing the Word,

The Whole Word Institute team  The Whole Word for the Whole World

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