The day of Atonement is the most important day to the Israelites. On this day it is commanded to be kept on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is ten days after Yom Teruah. Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" which just means a day to set aside to "afflict (awnaw) the soul." What does it mean to "AFFLICT (awnaw) THE SOUL?" Leviticus 16:29-30; Leviticus 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11.
Afflict in the Hebrew concordence is #H6031 awnaw, which means: abase self, chasten self, gentleness, humble self, submit self.
Let's see what Isaiah 58:3-8 says:
‘Why have we FASTED,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we AFFLICTED (awnaw) our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Yahuah?
Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
1.to loose the bands of wickedness
2. to undo the heavy burdens
3. to let the oppressed go free
4. That ye break every yoke?
5. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry
6. that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him;
and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of Yahuah shall be thy rereward.
"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; THAT THOU APPEAR NOT UNTO MEN TO FAST, BUT UNTO THY FATHER WHICH IS IN SECRET: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:16-18
WHY WE KEEP THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?
There are two reasons why we keep The Day of Atonement. According to The Book of Jubilees, Malak (angel) told Moses that Jacob mourned for Joseph for one year and for this reason it is ordained for the children of Israel that they should AFFLICT THEMSELVES, and it reads:
"And he mourned for Joseph one year, and did not cease, for he said 'Let me go down to the grave mourning for my son'. For this reason it is ordained for the children of Israel that they should afflict themselves on the tenth of the seventh month -on the day that the news which made him weep for Joseph came to Jacob his father- that they should make atonement for themselves thereon with a young goat on the tenth of the seventh month, once a year, FOR THEIR SINS; for they had grieved the affection of their father regarding Joseph his son. And this day has been ordained that they should grieve thereon for their sins, and for all their transgressions and for all their errors, so that they might cleanse themselves on that day once a year." Jubilees 34:17-19
The other reason is because, when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai a second time with the replacement set of tablets containing the Law. He had broken the first set when he returned the first time to discover the children of Israel worshipping a golden calf, rather than The Creator, who brought them out of the land of Egypt/Mizraim.
Moses pleaded with The Creator on the behalf of the children of Israel. When Moses was absence for the second time to replace the set of tablets, the nation fasted from sunrise to sunset. Upon returning, Moses found the nation truly repentant and announced that YHWH had forgiven them. He decreed that the tenth day of seventh month would REMAIN a day of atonement for all generations. Exo. 32:1-33
After the sin of the golden calf, the Israelites wandered the desert, with the understanding that actions taken every Yom Kippur helped ensure their atonement for their sins. Leviticus 16:29-31
The Day of Atonement kept in the New Testament (Holy Day)
In Acts 27:9 the disciples (Nazarenes) kept the Day of Atonement, here called ‘the Fast’ because it is observed by fasting. Also, when read in the Greek translation, the original word that is in Acts 27:9 is ‘νηστεία.’ The strong’s Greek number for this word is #3521 and the word means ‘nésteia’ which means ‘fasting, the Day of Atonement.’
"Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives." Acts 27:9-10
Only the high priest was to conduct the service on the Day of Atonement, only he could enter the Most Holy Place behind the veil to stand before The Creator. Having made a sacrifice for himself and for the people, he then brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it seven times on the mercy seat, the throne of The Creator Leviticus 16:14-15. Two goats are brought before the High Priest, one is sacrificed, and the other is released into the wilderness Lev. 16:20, as the sins of Israel are atoned for. The goat bears the sins of Israel into the wilderness as the high priest lays his hands on the goat confessing the sins of Israel, this act of the goat would only be kept when we return back to the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but until then it is kept today by doing no work, atoning for your sins, fasting and attending a holy convocation Leviticus 16:29-30; Leviticus 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11.
On this day you are to fast by refraining from eating and drinking (even water). This restriction can be lifted on this day if it is a threat to one's life or health. People with other conditions such as illnesses should either consult their physicians or Moreh. This would consist of a 24 hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending at sunset on the day of Yom Kippur.
Sukkot is the third holy day of the three major holy days (Deut. 16:16, 1 Kings 8:2) It is the time when we are commanded to dwelling in booths (Lev. 23:42).