that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to execise his love towards sinners.
In Ro 3:25; Heb 9:5 (A.V., "mercy-seat") the Greek word hilasterion is used. It is the word employed by the LXX. translators in Ex 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth, which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:21; 30:6). This Greek word (hilasterion) came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also propitation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation.
In 1Jo 2:2; 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used (hilasmos). Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covered it, by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Comp. Heb 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the A.V. is more correctly in the R.V. "make propitiation.")
Ro 3:25, hilastrion, "the propitiatory" or mercy seat, the bloodsprinkled lid of the ark, the meeting place between God and His people represented by the priest (1Jo 2:2; 4:10).HIlasmos, abstract for concrete noun. He is all that is needed for propitiation in behalf of our sins, the propitiatory sacrifice provided by the Father's love removing the estrangement, appearing God's righteous wrath against the sinner. A father may be offended with a son, yet all the while love him. It answers in Septuagint to Hebrew kaphar, kippurim to effect an atonement or reconciliation with God (Nu 5:8; Heb 2:17), "to make reconciliation for ... sins," literally, to expiate the sins, eeilaskesteeai. Ps 32:1, "blessed is he whose sin is covered." (See ATONEMENT; RECONCILIATION.)
The idea of propitiation is borrowed from the sacrificial ritual of the OT, and the term is used in the English Version of the NT in three instances (Ro 3:25; 1Jo 2:2; 4:10) of Christ as offering the sacrifice for sin which renders God propitious, or merciful, to the sinner. In the first of these passages the word is strictly 'propitiatory' (answering to the OT 'mercy-seat'), and Revised Version margin renders 'whom God set forth to be propitiatory,' without, however, essential change of meaning. In the two Johannine passages the noun is directly applied to Christ: 'He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world' (1Jo 2:2); 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins' (1Jo 4:10). In one other passage. Heb 2:17, the RV renders 'to make propitiation for the sins of the people,' instead of, as in AV, 'to make reconciliation.'
1. In the OT.
The word ??????? is from the verb 'to be propitious.' Propitiation represents in scripture that aspect of the death of Christ in which has been vindicated the holy and righteous character of God, and in virtue of which He is enabled to be propitious, or merciful, to the whole world. 1Jo 2:2; 4:10. A kindred word (the verb) occurs in Heb 2:17, where, instead of 'to make reconciliation,' should be read "to make 'propitiation' for the sins of the people." In '/Romans/3/25/type/goodspeed'>Ro 3:25, 'propitiation' (??????????) should be 'mercy seat,' as the same word is, and must be, translated in Heb 9:5. See ATONEMENT.
PROPITIATION. To propitiate is to appease, to atone, to turn away the wrath of an offended person. In the case before us, the wrath turned away is the wrath of God; the person making the propitiation is Christ; the propitiating offering or sacrifice is his blood. All this is expressed in most explicit terms in the following passages: "And he is the propitiation for our sins," 1Jo 2:2. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," 1Jo 4:10. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood," Ro 3:25. The word used in the two former passages is ???????; in the last ??????????. Both are from the verb ??????, so often used by Greek writers to express the action of a person who, in some appointed way, turned away the wrath of a deity; and therefore cannot bear the sense which Socinus would put upon it,