Sunday, September 23, 2012

Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week Jews around the world will be celebrating the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar - Yom Kippur (יום כפור) or the Day of Atonement. Yesterday at the Temple on Mount Zion Conference Bill Hamblin gave a presentation entitled "Jacob and the Israelite Day of Atonement" which can be viewed here. It was a fascinating lecture wherein he argued that the sermon given by Jacob in 2 Nephi 6-10 was given at the temple on the Day of Atonement. Professor Hamblin made his point by showing that there are a number of themes contained in Jacob's sermon that are common with the Day of Atonement.

The following is a summary of the themes that Dr. Hamblin presented:
  • New Year
  • The Temple
  • The High Priest
  • Pilgrimage
  • Creation narrative
  • Prophecy
  • Israel blessed by the High Priest
  • Covenant
  • God judges Israel
  • Atonement
  • Expulsion of Satan/Azazel
  • Water cleansing
  • Robes/investiture
  • Mercy
  • Reading law
  • Memorial
  • Way, gate, gatekeeper
  • Revelation of ineffable name
  • Removal of robes
  • Confession
  • Fast/feast
  • Drink offering
  • Holy of Holies
  • Hymn
It is interesting to note that most, if not all, of these themes can also be found in our modern endowment ceremony. I believe that the endowment ceremony can be understood to be a Day of Atonement experience with the participant acting in the capacity of the High Priest.

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