“A Yom Kippur Offering!” (Lane)
“A Yom Kippur Offering!”
by Lonnie Lane
“Do I have to send my Atonement Offering to a Jewish person?” asked the woman on the other end of the phone.
Did I hear that correctly? Incredulous, I asked her to explain what she meant by Atonement Offering. I had met this dear woman at a One New Man meeting in my town at one time. She calls on occasion, just to keep in touch, sometimes with questions. This time she had the above question. She began to tell me about a well known Christian TV personality who had told the audience they should send in money as an Atonement Offering for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and that they would receive seven blessings from God for doing so.
I felt two things: I was angry and I wanted to cry. I still feel both. Anger at the manipulation by a Christian leader who would use the holiest day on the Biblical calendar for financial gain, at the expense of unsuspecting but sincere people who want God’s blessings. And I still want to cry that there is evidently so little reverential fear of God in this leader or understanding that Yeshua’s bloody yet holy death paid the full Atonement for the sins of the world, to which nothing need ever be added.
It must have been some powerful words that were used on the program as this sweet lady was ready to borrow the money so she’d be right with God and receive her seven Yom Kippur blessings. Her only question, and the reason she called me, was to ask if maybe she should give the money to a Jewish person instead of to the TV ministry. I’m so glad she called.
I assured her that Yeshua paid the complete and final atonement for all of our sins – past, present and future, and that there is no further atoning that any of us needs to do. None. He did it ALL. And certainly money would not be God’s way of buying forgiveness. That sounds like medieval Catholicism where the people had to buy penance, to pay their way to heaven. The priests, that is to say the church leaders, were of course the recipients of that money for their own purposes, not God’s. It’s the very thing that caused Luther to take a stand for faith. It’s what the Reformation was about – receiving the Atonement by faith and not paying money for salvation or blessings. Yeshua alone purchased for us with His Blood! How dare we even consider that money be a part of His holy act of redemption?
I am reminded of what Peter said to one man named Simon in Acts 8:20: “You thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!” Is this church leader preaching that the gift of God, in this case seven blessings, can be obtained with money?
On this holy Day of Atonement unsaved Jews go through certain rituals, such as fasting, repenting, abstaining from sexual relations and wearing leather shoes, all with the hope of having their names written in the Book of Life for another year. In a ritual called the kaporah, some orthodox Jews also purchase a chicken which is then killed by the rabbi and waved over their heads as some kind of an atonement ritual, hoping to transfer their sins to the chicken. They then give the chicken to a family in need as Tzedakah, that is, charity. [Why you would consider giving someone a supposedly sin-laden chicken as charity is beyond me.] Some choose to just give as charity the cost of the chicken and skip the chicken. But these are empty practices, completely unbiblical and award the “worshipper” no real blessings from God. They are but traditions that, as we know, invalidate the Word of God. (Matthew 15:6)
According to the Word of God, Torah states that the only way Yom Kippur can be accomplished is for the cohen gadol, the high priest, to take the blood of a young bull and enter behind the veil of the Holy of Holies to apply the blood to the Mercy Seat. When Yeshua died, the thick curtain that made the Holy of Holies off limits to any and everyone except the High Priest on Yom Kippur, split in two from the top to the bottom. Our sins no longer separated us from God. Yeshua’s sacrifice was the once (one time) and for all (everyone) atonement that gave access to God to everyone who accepts His atonement as Truth and as valid for the cleansing of their own sins.
This incident confirms again for me that the church must understand what God intended for His people so that they are not deceived. God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hos 4:6a) I’m not sure who is more without knowledge here, the leader or the people who are sending in money thinking this “atonement offering” is of God. Does this not prove that God’s people are capable of being misled when they are without correct knowledge of His Word? This is why learning of the Hebrew roots of our faith is so very important.
I went to this ministry’s website. There’s a large picture of a woman in prayer, Bible clutched to her chest, with the following words written across the page: “Thank you for visiting the Mercy Seat. Honor God with Your Atonement Offering. Click Here to Give!”
I am appalled at the desecration of Yeshua’s atonement and the presumption that this TV personality’s ministry has anything to do with the “Mercy Seat,” let alone taking advantage of the holiest day of the year. And for the purpose of getting people to contribute money.
Hosea 4:6 goes on to say more. I wonder if God might not say to this Christian leader who is violating the sanctity of the Atonement, “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest.” (Hos. 4:6b) I just wonder. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundationk, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.