Bible Question:

I have seen teachings about the Day of Atonement and preachers on TV asking for “Day of Atonement Sacrifices.” In the Old Testament they had to give a sacrifice but that was because Jesus had not been sacrificed for us yet. Now that we have Jesus (He is the sacrificial Lamb), do we still need the Day of Atonement? Besides giving an offering, should I submit a financial offering to the televangelist? In doing so, the promises they say will be met if I do. I read about them in Joel 2:23-32, and the promises here do not seem to say they will be kept if I present a sacrificial offering on the Day of Atonement. Were these preachers manipulating the Word of God for money? How do the promises in Joel connect with the Day of Atonement?

Bible Answer:

The first part of this response will respond to your question about the Day of Atonement and the second part will explore Joel 2:23-32.

Observance of the Day of Atonement

Hebrews 8-9 teaches us that the Mosaic sacrifices, the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies, and the Old Testament regulations of divine worship are no longer required. The Old Testament sacrificial system was called the Mosaic system. The book of Hebrews calls it the First Covenant. Before reading further you may be interested in three studies called “The Shadow Is Replaced,” “Picture of Jesus” and “Escape By His Blood.” They discuss the meaning of Heb. 8-9. These chapters teach that Jesus Christ replaced the First Covenant with the New Covenant. Here is a summary statement,

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place . . . But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption . . . For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant . . . (NASB) Heb. 8:13 – Heb. 9:2, 11-12, 15

As a result we are no longer required to observe the various Old Testament feasts such as the Day of Atonement. Listen to the apostle Paul,

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (NASB) Col. 2:16-17

The message is simple. We are no longer obligated to observe the Old Testament form of religious worship. That includes the observance of the Day of Atonement.

Offerings to Televangelists

Joel 2:23-32 is a prophetic passage. The first part of Joel 2:23-32 refers to God’s promise of a blessing on the nation of Israel.

So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; then My people will never be put to shame. (NASB) Joel 2:23-26

The reference to the early and later rain is not about God offering us money. It was God’s promise of blessing on the nation of Israel to take care of their crops and trees. Some claim that this passage teaches that God will bless a person if they give money to their ministry or some other ministry. Unfortunately, the passage does not teach that. It is a promise to the Jewish nation and not to Gentiles. God has promised to bless those who give to Him, but this passage does not teach that.

The next part of the Joel passage refers to the end times of the world starting with the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21).

Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other; and My people will never be put to shame. It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (NASB) Joel 2:27-32

The last part of the passage occurs at the return of Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12).

Conclusion:

The promises of Joel do not directly connect to the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement was celebrated before Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with celebrating it today as long as one uses it as a ceremonial remembrance of what Jesus did for us. Communion is also a remembrance of Jesus’ death and return to life. Joel 2 is a prophecy about the end of the world.

Reference Links:

The Shadow Is Replaced
Picture of Jesus
Escape By His Blood
Tithing or Giving?
How To Study The Bible
Why do the sacrifices return in Ezekiel's temple?