6 occurrences in 6 dictionaries

Reference: Atonement


The satisfaction offered to divine justice for the sins of mankind by the death of Jesus Christ; by virtue of which all true penitents believing in Christ are reconciled to God, are freed from the penalty of their sins, and entitled to eternal life. The atonement by Jesus Christ is the great distinguishing peculiarity of the gospel, and is presented in a great variety of terms and illustrations in both the Old Testament and the New. See REDEMPTION, SACRIFICES. The English word atonement originally denoted the reconciliation of parties previously at variance. It is used in the Old Testament to translate a Hebrew word which means a covering; implying that by a Divine propitiation the sinner is covered from the just anger of God. This is actually effected by the death of Christ; while the ceremonial offerings of the Jewish church only secured from impending temporal judgments, and typified the blood of Jesus Christ which "cleanseth us from all sin."


This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New Testament except in Ro 5:11, where in the Revised Version the word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of frequent occurrence.

The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows from the death of Christ.

But the word is also used to denote that by which this reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for his offences (Ex 32:30; Le 4:26; 5:16; Nu 6:11), and, as regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his behalf.

By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word "satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement." Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God. Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now consistent with his justice to manifest his love to transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about. Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so that consistently with the other attributes of his character his love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.), and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to guilty men (Joh 3:16; Ro 3:24-25; Eph 1:7; 1Jo 1:9; 4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved, there is no other way than this which God has devised and carried out (Ex 34:7; Jos 24:19; Ps 5:4; 7:11; Na 1:2,6; Ro 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is enough for us to know.

See Verses Found in Dictionary


(See RECONCILIATION.) Literally, the being at one, after having been at variance. Tyndale explains "One Mediator" (1Ti 2:5): "at one maker between God and man." To made atonement is to give or do that whereby alienation ceases and reconciliation ensues. "Reconciliation" is the equivalent term given for the same Hebrew word, kopher, in Da 9:24; Le 8:15; Eze 45:15. In the New Testament KJV once only "atonement" is used (Ro 5:11): "by whom (Christ) we have received the atonement" (katallage), where the reconciliation or atonement must be on God's part toward us, for it could not well be said, "We have received the reconciliation on our part toward Him."

Elsewhere the same Greek is translated "reconciliation" (2Co 5:18-19). A kindred term expressing a different aspect of the same truth is "propitiation" (hilasmos) (1Jo 2:2), the verb of which is in Heb 2:17 translated "to make reconciliation." Also "ransom," or payment for redeeming a captive (Job 33:24), kopher, "an atonement," Mt 20:28. Heb 9:12; Christ, "having obtained eternal redemption for us" (lutrosis, the deliverance bought for us by His bloodshedding, the price: 1Pe 1:18).

The verb kipper 'al, "to cover upon," expresses the removing utterly out of sight the guilt of person or thing by a ransom, satisfaction, or substituted victim. The use of the word and the noun kopher, throughout the Old Testament, proves that, as applied to the atonement or reconciliation between God and man, it implies not merely what is man's part in finding acceptance with God, but, in the first instance, what God's justice required on His part, and what His love provided, to justify His entering into reconciliation with man. In Le 1:4; 4:26; 5:1,16'>16-18,16; 17:11, the truth is established that the guilt is transferred from the sinful upon the innocent substitute, in order to make amends to violated justice, and to cover (atone: kipper' al) or put out of sight the guilt (compare Mic 7:19 end), and to save the sinner from the wages of sin which is death.

On the great day of atonement the high priest made "atonement for the sanctuary, the tabernacle, and the altar" also, as well as for the priests and all the people; but it was the people's sin that defiled the places so as to make them unfit for the presence of the Holy One. Unless the atonement was made the soul "bore its iniquity," i.e. was under the penalty of death. The exceptions of atonement made with fine flour by one not able to afford the animal sacrifice (Le 5:11), and by Aaron with incense on a sudden emergency (Nu 16:47), confirm the rule. The blood was the medium of atonement, because it had the life or soul (nephesh) in it. The soul of the offered victim atoned for the soul of the sinful offerer.

The guiltless blood was given by God to be shed to atone for the forfeited blood of the guilty. The innocent victim pays the penalty of the offerer's sin, death (Ro 6:23). This atonement was merely typical in the Old Testament sacrifices; real in the one only New Testament sacrifice, Christ Jesus. Kaphar and kopher is in Ge 6:14, "Thou shalt pitch the ark with pitch," the instrument of covering the saved from the destroying flood outside, as Jesus' blood interposes between believers and the flood of wrath that swallows up the lost. Jacob uses the same verb (Ge 32:20), "I will appease Esau with the present," i.e., cover out of sight or turn away his wrath.

The "mercy-seat" whereat God meets man (being reconciled through the blood there sprinkled, and so man can meet God) is called kapporeth, i.e. flee lid of the ark, covering the law inside, which is fulfilled in Messiah who is called by the corresponding Greek term, hilasterion, "the propitiatory" or mercy-seat, "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiatory through faith in His blood" (Ro 3:23). God Himself made a coat (singular in Heb.) of skin, and clothed Adam and his wife (Ge 3:21). The animal cannot have been slain for food, for animal food was not permitted to man until after the flood (Ge 9:3); nor for clothing, for the fleece would afford that, without the needless killing of the animal. It must have been for sacrifice, the institution of which is presumed in the preference given to Abel's sacrifice, above Cain's offering of firstfruits, in Genesis 4.

Typically; God taught that the clothing for the soul must, be from the Victim whom God's love provided to cover our guilt forever out of sight (Psalms 32:D (not kaphar, but kasah) (Ro 4:17; Isa 61:10), the same Hebrew (labash) as in Ge 3:21, "clothed." The universal prevalence of propitiatory sacrifices over the pagan world implies a primitive revelation of the need of expiatory atonement, and of the inefficacy of repentance alone to remove guilt. This is the more remarkable in Hindostan, where it is considered criminal to take away the life of any animal. God's righteous character and government interposed a barrier to sinful man's pardon and reception into favor. The sinner's mere desire for these blessings does not remove the barrier out of the way. Something needed to be done for him, not by him.

It was for God, against whom man sinned, to appoint the means for removing the barrier. The sinless Jesus' sacrifice for, and instead of, us sinners was the mean so appointed. The sinner has simply by faith to embrace the means. And as the means, the vicarious atonement by Christ, is of God, it must be efficacious for salvation. Not that Jesus' death induced God to love us; but because God loved us He gave Jesus to reconcile the claims of justice and mercy, "that God might be just and at the same time the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (Ro 3:26; 2Co 5:18-21). Jesus is, it is true, not said in Scripture to reconcile God to the sinner, because the reconciliation in the first instance emanated from God Himself. God reconciled us to Himself, i.e. restored us to His favor, by satisfying the claims of justice against us.

Christ's atonement makes a change, not in God's character as if God's love was produced by it, but in our position judicially considered in the eye of the divine law. Christ's sacrifice was the provision of God's love, not its moving cause (Ro 8:32). Christ's blood was the ransom paid at the expense of God Himself, to reconcile the exercise of mercy and justice, not as separate, but as the eternally harmonious attributes in the same God. God reconciles the world unto Himself, in the first instance, by satisfying His own just enmity against sin (Ps 7:11; Isa 12:1, compare 1Sa 29:4; "reconcile himself unto his master," not remove his own anger against his master, but his master's anger against him). Men's reconciliation to God by laying aside their enmity is the after consequence of their believing that He has laid aside His judicial enmity against their sin.

Penal and vicarious satisfaction for our guilt to God's law by Christ's sacrificial death is taught Mt 20:28; "the Son of man came to give His life a ransom for (anti) many" (anti implies vicarious satisfaction in Mt 5:28; Mr 10:45). 1Ti 2:6; "who gave Himself a ransom for (antilutron, an equivalent payment in substitution for) all." Eph 5:25; 1Pe 2:24; 3:15; "the Just for the unjust ... suffered for us." Joh 1:29; "the Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the world." 1Co 5:7; 1Pe 1:19; Joh 10:15; Ro 4:25; "He was delivered on account of (dia) our offenses, and raised again for the sake of (dia) our justification." (Re 1:5; Heb 9:13-14.) Conscience feels instinctively the penal claims of violated divine justice, and can only find peace when by faith it has realized that those claims have been fully met by our sacrificed substitute (Heb 9:9; 10:1-2,22; 1Pe 3:21).

The conscience reflects the law and will of God, though that law condemns the man. Opponents of the doctrine of vicarious atonement say, "it exhibits God as less willing to forgive than His creatures are bound to be;" but man's justice, which is the faint reflex of God's, binds the judge, however lamenting the painful duty, to sentence the criminal to death as a satisfaction to outraged law. Also, "as taking delight in executing vengeance on sin, or yielding to the extremity of suffering what He withheld on considerations of mercy." But the c

See Verses Found in Dictionary


The word 'atonement' (at-onement), in English, denotes the making to be at one, or reconciling, of persons who have been at variance. In OT usage it signifies that by which sin is 'covered' or 'expiated,' or the wrath of God averted. Thus, in English Version, of the Levitical sacrifices (Le 1:4; 4:21,26,31,35 etc.), of the half-shekel of ransom-money (Ex 30:15-16), of the intercession of Moses (Ex 32:30), of the zeal of Phinehas (Nu 25:13), etc. In the NT the word occurs once in AV as tr of the Gr. word katallag

See Verses Found in Dictionary


The word 'atonement' occurs but once in the N.T. and there it should be 'reconciliation,' and the verb in the preceding sentence is so translated: "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life . . . . through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation," ????????? Ro 5:10-11. On the other hand, in Heb 2:17 the A.V. has "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people:" here it is propitiation,' ?????????. If the word atonement is not found in the N.T., atonement in its true meaning is spoken of continually, as 'ransom;' 'bearing our sins in his own body on the tree;' 'Christ our passover is sacrificed for us;' 'Christ . . . . being made a curse for us;' 'He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust;' and, to use the language of faith, 'with his stripes we are healed;' 'He was delivered for our offences;' 'He was manifested to take away our sins.'

In the O.T. we have the word 'atonement' continually, but 'propitiation' not at all; 'expiation' twice in the margin, Nu 35:33; Isa 47:11. But the same word, kaphar, though generally translated by 'make atonement,' is employed for 'purging' and occasionally for 'cleansing,' 'reconciling,' 'purifying.' The word kaphar is literally 'to cover,' with various prepositions with it; the ordinary one is 'up' or 'upon.' Hence in 'atoned for him ' or 'his sin:' he or his sin is covered up: atonement is made for him or for his sin. Atonement was made upon the horns of the altar: the force is 'atonement for.' With the altar of incense atonement was not made upon it, but for it; so for the holy place, and for or about Aaron and his house: the preposition is al.

The same is used with the two goats. The sins were seen on the sinless goat, and expiation was made in respect of those sins. The how is not said here, but it is by the two goats making really one, because the object was to show that the sins were really laid upon it (that is, on Christ), and the sins carried away out of sight, and never to be found. If we can get our ideas, as taught of God as to the truth, into the train of Jewish thought, there is no difficulty in the al. In either case the difficulty arises from the fact that in English for presents the interested person to the mind; on is merely the place where it was done, as on an altar; whereas the al refers to the clearing away by the kaphar what was upon the thing al which the atoning rite was performed. Clearly the goat was not the person interested, nor was it merely done upon it as the place. It was that on which the sins lay, and they must be cleared and done away. The expiation referred to them as thus laid on the goat. As has been said, the how is not stated here, but the all-important fact defined that they were all carried away from Israel and from before God. The needed blood or life was presented to God in the other, which did really put them away; but did much more, and that aspect is attached to them there. This double aspect of the atoning work is of the deepest importance and interest, the presenting of the blood to God on the mercy seat, and the bearing away the sins. The word kaphar, to make atonement, occurs in Ex 29:1; 30:1; 32:1; Le 1:1; 4:1; 12:1; 14:1; 19:1; 23:1; Nu 5:1; 6:1; 8:1; 15:1; 16:1; 25:1; 28:1; 29:1; 31:1; 2Sa 21:3; 1Ch 6:49; 2Ch 29:24; Ne 10:33.

A short notice of some other Hebrew words may help. We have nasa, 'to lift up,' and so to forgive, to lift up the sins away in the mind of the person offended, or to show favour in lifting up the countenance of the favoured person. Ps 4:6. We have also kasah, 'to cover,' as in Ps. 32: 1, where sin is 'covered': sometimes used with al, as in Pr 10:12, "love covereth all sins," forgives: they are out of sight and mind. The person is looked at with love, and not the faults with offence.

But in such words there is not the idea of expiation, the side of the offender is contemplated, and he is looked at in grace, whatever the cause: it may be needed atonement, or simply, as in Proverbs, gracious kindness. We have also salach, 'pardon or forgiveness.' Thus it is used as the effect of kaphar, as in Le 4:20. But kaphar has always a distinct and important idea connected with it. It views the sin as toward God, and is ransom, when not used literally for sums of money; and kapporeth is the mercy seat. And though it involves forgiveness, purging from sin, it has always God in view, not merely that the sinner is relieved or forgiven: there is expiation and propitiation in it. And this is involved in the idea of purging sin, or making the purging of sin (??????????, ????????????, ??????? ??????); it is in God's sight as that by which He is offended, and what He rejects and judges.

There was a piaculum, 'an expiatory sacrifice,' something satisfying for the individual involved in guilt, or what was offensive to God, what He could not tolerate from His very nature. This with the heathen, who attached human passions or demon-revenge to their gods, was of course perverted to meet those ideas. They deprecated the vengeance of a probably angry and self-vengeful being. But God has a nature which is offended by sin. It is a holy, not of course a passionate, one; but the majesty of holiness must be maintained. Sin ought not to be treated with indifference, and God's love provides the ransom. It is God's Lamb who undertakes and accomplishes the work. The perfect love of God and His righteousness, the moral order of the universe and of our souls through faith, is maintained by the work of the cross. Through the perfect love not only of God, the giver, but of Him, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, propitiation is made, expiation for sin, its aspect being toward God, while the effect applies to us in cleansing and justifying, though it goes much farther.

Expiation is more the satisfaction itself which is made, the piaculum, what takes the wrath, and is devoted, made the curse, and so substituted for the offender, so that he goes free. And here the noun kopher comes to let light in on the inquiry. It is translated 'ransom, satisfaction,' and in 1Sa 12:3 a 'bribe.' So in Ex 21:30 a kopher (translated 'sum of money') is laid upon a man to save his life where his ox had killed his neighbour; but in Nu 35:31 no kopher was to be taken for the life of a murderer; for (ver. 33) the land cannot be cleansed, kaphar, but by the blood of the man that shed blood as a murderer. This clearly shows what the force of kopher and of kaphar is. A satisfaction is offered suited to the eye and mind of him who is displeased and who judges; and through this there is purgation of the offence, cleansing, forgiveness, and favour, according to him who takes cognisance of the evil.

A word may be added as to the comparison made between the two birds, Le 14:4-7, and the two goats, Le 16:7-10. The object of the birds was the cleansing of the leper; it was application to the defiled man, not the kopher, ransom, presented to God. It could not have been done but on the ground of the blood-shedding and satisfaction, but the immediate action was the purifying: hence there was water as well as blood. One bird was slain over running water in an earthen vessel, and the live bird and other objects dipped in it, and the man was then sprinkled, and the living bird let loose far from death, though once identified with it, and was free. The Spirit, in the power of the word, makes the death of Christ available in the power of His resurrection. There was no laying sins on the bird let free, as on the goat: it was identified with the slain one, and then let go. The living water in the earthen vessel is doubtless the power of the Spirit and word in human nature, characterising the form of the truth, though death and the blood must come in, and all nature, its pomp and vanity, be merged in it. The leper is cleansed and then can worship. This is not the atonement itself towards God, though founded on it, as marked by the death of the bird. It is the cleansing of man in death to the flesh, but in the power of resurrection known in Christ who once died to sin.

So also

See Verses Found in Dictionary


ATONEMENT, the satisfaction offered to divine justice by the death of Christ for the sins of mankind, by virtue of which all true penitents who believe in Christ are personally reconciled to God, are freed from the penalty of their sins, and entitled to eternal life. The atonement for sin made by the death of Christ, is represented in the Christian system as the means by which mankind may be delivered from the awful catastrophe of eternal death; from judicial inflictions of the displeasure of a Governor, whose authority has been contemned, and whose will has been resisted, which shall know no mitigation in their degree, nor bound to their duration.

This end it professes to accomplish by means which, with respect to the Supreme Governor himself, preserve his character from mistake, and maintain the authority of his government; and with respect to man, give him the strongest possible reason for hope, and render more favourable the condition of his earthly probation. These are considerations which so manifestly show, from its own internal constitution, the superlative importance and excellence of Christianity, that it would be exceedingly criminal to overlook them.

How sin may be forgiven without leading to such misconceptions of the divine character as would encourage disobedience, and thereby weaken the influence of the divine government, must be considered as a problem of very difficult solution. A government which admitted no forgiveness, would sink the guilty to despair; a government which never punishes offence, is a contradiction,

See Verses Found in Dictionary