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Atonement 6


Atonement in the larger sense deals with a common factor which is sin.

The definition is a making at on which points to a process of bringing those who

are enstranged into a unity(Douglas, 107). It is a theological term which

derives from the Anglo-Saxon. The word atonement appears eighty seven times in

the Old Testament in the RSV Bible(Nelson, 55). According to Strongs Exhaustive

Concordance, which is using the King James Version, appears seventy seven times

in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. In Leviticus, atonement

appears fifty one times, more than any other book of the bible. In Numbers it

appears seventeen times and in Exodus eleven times. The reason why it is used

so much in Leviticus is that during that time period priest were intercessor's

between the people and God. In the New Revised Standard Concordance, atonement

appears eighty seven times. Out of those eighty seven times, eighty one appear

with the word make or made. This would constitute that an atonement in these

uses would cause the person who prepares the atonement to work at making an

atonement. We find that in the New Testament we don't have to work to receive a

pardon from our sins. The whole bible leads up to the cross and everything

after the cross points back to the cross. Christ was the ultimate and final

atonement for us.

In the Old Testament their atonement to God was to always be unblemished

for the sake of perfection (Morris, 147). They believed that the perfect

atonement would set them free from all their sins and thus make them clean in

God's eyes. The Hebrew word for atone is. It is used frequently

for the process of sacrifice. It was thought that a man must make and

atonement to God that was adequate to give to Him to pay for his sin. In

Ezekiel 16:63 atonement is translated to mean "forgive".

Words in the Old Testament are translated from the kpr word group in

Hebrew. The Hebrew word for atonement is Kaphar. This is the main usage of the

word but there are other words that are associated with atonement.

or Kaphar means to cover. The figurative word which is used quite often is to

expiate or condone. Other words associated with Kaphar are to be merciful,

pardon, to pitch, purge(away), and to make reconcile. Or Kaphar

is used for a village that is protected by walls. Or Kopher is also

a cover or village covered. It is also bitumen which was used for a coating and

dyeing colors. Words associated with Kopher are redemption, price, bribe,

camphire, pitch, ransom, satisfaction, village. An interesting side point to

the word Kopher is that it also denotes finger nail polish. Oriental females

make a powder of camphire leaves then made the powder into a paste by use of

water and put in on their finger which gave them a reddish color. The word

camphire comes from the same root as atonement just as a sinner could pray for a

colorful cover for his soul that was ruined by sin. Or Kippur means

expiation but only in the plural. Expiation is found numerous times in the Old

Testament for example in 2 Samuel 21:3, 1 Chronicles 6:49, and 2 Chronicles

29:24. The denominative verb which is to make an atonement, make reconciliation,

or to purge is or Kapar.

There are three parent nouns for atonement and they are Koper, Kippur,

and Kapporet. Koper or means ransom or gift to secure favor. Exodus 30:12 and

Isaiah 43:3 uses ransom and this is parallel to the word redeem. In 1 Samuel

12:3 Koper is used as "bribe". Kapar means to atone by offering a substitute.

This may be better understood if you use ransom with Koper (Harris, 453).

Kippur or is used in the "Day of the Atonement". This was celebrated by a

special sin offering for the whole nation and only the high priest could be

allowed to sacrifice a goat. A second goat was released as an escape goat to

symbolize a total removal of sin.

Kapporet is a noun which means mercy seat. It is used twenty seven

times and always refers to the golden cover of the sacred chest in the inner

shrine of the tabernacle or temple (Harris 453). Kapar or is to cover over

with pitch. The cognate word is used in the Babylonian flood story and

denominative verb is used only once in Genesis 6:14 in waterproofing of the ark.

Atonement is use much more in the Old Testament because all of this was

before Christ suffered for our sins. A lot of the books always kept saying that

He died for our sins and that's true. But He also rose from the dead and they

often times leave that part out. Sacrifices were made to redeem themselves in

the eyes of God before Christ but since he atoned our sins, we no longer must

give sacrifices.

In the New Testament, atonement is found only once according to Strong's

exhaustive concordance and that is in Romans 5:1. In the NRSV it is found twice

in Romans 3:25 and Hebrews 2:17. Translated in Greek it means Katallage or

reconciliation. Reconcile is found two times, reconciled five times,

reconciling one time, and reconciliation four times. In Greek the most common

verb is and the noun. Paul is the only other in the New Testament that uses

the word atonement or reconciliation. The basic meaning of reconciliation is to

make otherwise. The transitive of it is to alter or to give exchange (Kittel,

251). Is to alter by removal, to do away, to liberate, to withdraw,

or to escape. Means to reconcile. Means the exchange effected. Then

the reconciliation, ( for which and are generally use). "It denotes the

result of the diving salvation, i.e. the new molding of the relation in

which the world stands to God, so far as it no longer remains the object of

His wrath(Bullinger, 75).

Reconciled or reconciliation seems to be the main usage in the New

Testament. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, Paul writes "God was in Christ reconciling

the world to himself, no longer holding people's misdeeds against them, and has

entrusted us with the message of reconciliation." Christ was referred to as

reconciling the world to himself. He was atoning the world to himself. He no

longer held our bad deeds against us, our sins where forgiven and that is the

message of reconciliation.

There are two main different ways of using atonement. One is in a human

trying to make an atonement so that he may be forgiven. The other is that we no

longer need to make an atonement because the price has been paid with Jesus

Christ. As said in class by yourself, "words don't have meaning, they have

uses." There are many uses of the word atonement in the Old Testament but that

was before the cross. After the cross there was no need to make an atonement

for ones sins. Without sin, there would be no atonement in the Old Testament.

Sin is the factor that of all atonement's. Sin is the reason for atonement

which is no longer needed because of Christ.

On a personal note, I would like to express how much more this paper

did for me just learning about how to do a word study or learning about

atonement. I was hungry one night so I headed to McDonalds to go eat. I took

my research with me to organize it and work on it. I met this couple with a

five year old daughter. They began asking me what I was working on and why.

What my major was and questions like that. I began to witness to them and they

were so receptive and want to know what I believed and stuff like that. They

did not seem to know a whole lot about the church, they did not even know what

a youth minister was. I felt sorry for their daughter. She probably didn't

have the best home life and they did not seem to care about her a whole lot. I

don't write this to try to get a better grade, I hope it doesn't affect my grade

at all. I just wanted to share with you how this paper was the reason I was

able to witness to a couple and their daughter and to spread happiness into

their lives.


George V. Wigram. The Englishmans Hebrew Concordance. Grand Rapids MI, Baker

Book House, 1980

John R. Kohlenberger III. NRSV Concordance Unabridged. Grand Rapids MI,

Zondervan Publishing House. 1991

Gerhard Kittel. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Vol. I and Vol X.

Grand Rapids, MI/London WM. Eerdmanus Publishing Co. 1964

J.D. Douglas. New Bible Dictionary. Intervarsity Fellowship. 1982

James Strong. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Nashville, TN. Thomas Nelson

Publishers. 1984

R. Laird Harris, Gleason L Archer Jr., Bruce K. Walter. Theological Wordbook

of the Old Testament. Chicago, IL. 1980

Samuel Pri Deaux Tregelles. Hebrew and English Lexicon. Grand Rapids, MI WM B.

Eerdman's Pub. 1949

Colin Brown. The New International Dictionary of the New Testament Theology.

Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1978

J.B. Smith. Greek-English Concordance. Scottsdale, Penn. Herald Press. 1955

Al Novak. Hebrew Honey. New York. Vantage Press. 1965

C.C. Morris. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary Pt. 1. Intervarsity Press. 1980

John W. Ellison. Nelson's Complete Concordance of the RSV Bible. Nashville, TN.

. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 1984

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