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Nothing to Contribute

Updated: Sep 21, 2023


Guest Contributor Seth Postell

"You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God"

This exact sentence in Hebrew ("you shall not do any work") is only found 7 times in the entire Hebrew Bible (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 16:29; 23:3; 23:28 & 31; Numbers 29:7; Jeremiah 17:22), 6 of which are in the Torah. Of these 6 occurrences, 4 of them are commands related specifically to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29; 23:28, 31; Numbers 29:7). Its first occurrence is in Exodus 12:16, instructions concerning the Feast of Passover.

I find it both interesting, and incredibly encouraging that on two of the most redemptively significant days on our calendar, Passover and the Day of Atonement, God commanded the people of Israel not to do any work whatsoever. We have absolutely nothing to contribute to our redemption from the slavery of sin (Passover), and nothing to contribute to our atonement (Day of Atonement) as God's people. We are commanded not to work because these are exclusively the works of God, and to him alone belongs all the glory!

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen" (Galatians 1:3-5).

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