The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, is considered the holiest day in Judaism. It is observed by some Christians as well even though this practice is incompatible with Christianity because of Jesus’ atonement.
The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur as it is known today, required the Temple and the High Priesthood of Aaron in order to be observed properly. However, since 70 A.D. the Temple does not exist, nor does the genealogical records of the priesthood. But this should not matter to Christians as Jesus is High Priest of a greater priesthood that does not need the Temple building nor the blood of sacrificial animals. He entered the true holy place and obtained for us forgiveness through His sacrifice for us:
Heb.9:11-12: 11 But Christ came as a High Priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. -CAB
Jesus obtained eternal redemption for His people. By keeping the Day of Atonement Christians are denying not only the authority of Jesus’ priesthood, but His entrance into the true holy place by His blood and the redemption He accomplished for us as sufficient. These Christians are ignorantly returning to the shadow and not focusing on the reality giving glory to Judaism in place of Christ:
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the seven-fold Spirit who is before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and who washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and He made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – CAB
Why are Christians giving glory to the Jewish Priesthood that can no longer exists after Jesus has become our sole mediator and our High Priest? It is a contradiction to profess Christ as the only way of salvation but then keep old feast days and observances that pointed to Him and that He with His authority as the son of God, the Messiah, our King and High Priest fulfilled as they pointed to Him. Glory to Christ should be given everyday of the year, but especially during Holy Week or Easter as this was/is the Christian Day of Atonement as described below by early Church father Origen:
Once a year the high priest, leaving the people outside, entered that place where no one except the high priest might enter. In it was the mercy-seat, and above the mercy-seat the cherubim, as well as the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense.
Let me turn to my true high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. In our human nature he spent the whole year in the company of the people, the year that he spoke of when he said: He sent me to bring good news to the poor, to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of forgiveness. Notice how once in that year, on the day of atonement, he enters into the holy of holies. Having fulfilled God’s plan, he passes through the heavens and enters into the presence of the Father to make him turn in mercy to the human race and to pray for all who believe in him.
John the apostle, knowing of the atonement that Christ makes to the Father for all men, says this:
Little children, I say these things so that you may not sin. But if we have sinned we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the just one. He is the atonement for our sins in his blood, through faith (IJn 2:1-2).We have then a day of atonement that remains until the world comes to an end.
God’s word tells us:
The high priest shall put incense on the fire in the sight of the Lord. The smoke of the incense shall cover the mercy-seat above the tokens of the covenant, so that he may not die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull-calf and sprinkle it with his finger over the mercy-seat toward the east (Leviticus 16).
God taught the people of the old covenant how to celebrate the ritual offered to him in atonement for the sins of men. But you have come to Christ, the true high priest. Through his blood he has made God turn to you in mercy and has reconciled you with the Father. You must not think simply of ordinary blood but you must learn to recognize instead the blood of the Word. Listen to him as he tells you: This is my blood, which will be shed for you for the forgiveness of sins (Mat 26:28). – Origen, Atonement and the True High Priest, Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church By James Stuart Bell
We cannot close this without pointing out that Peter was rebuked by Paul for living as a gentile but then acting as a Jew around the Jews:
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before certain men came from James, he would eat together with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and began to separate himself, fearing those of the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they did not act rightly with respect to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in Gentile fashion and not in Jewish fashion, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law; because no flesh shall be justified by the works of the law. – CAB
Why are so many modern Christians professing Judaism and living as Jews when the purpose of the Day of Atonement was for the Hebrews to seek justification and redemption for their sins during the previous year. As Christians our only means of justification and redemption is through Jesus alone. So to all the Christians who are keeping the Day of Atonement today, are you fasting and living as a Jew today because Jesus is not enough for you? Because if He is, you have no reason to keep a day that was long ago fulfilled in Jesus’ death and resurrection.