Wednesday, March 01, 2006interesting thought...
Okay, before anyone goes nuts on me, let me emphasize that I know what most people mean when they say "atonement", so I'm not trying to irritate anyone or change anyone's vocabulary. This post is the result of a very interesting prayer meeting and Bible study I just got back from tonight.
In our study, we observed that the word "atonement" is a purely Old Testament word. It is NOT found in the New Testament. Before anyone calls me on that... DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Actually, there isn't even a Greek word for "atonement". In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word "kaphar" is translated "atonement" in English, and it literally means: to cover. For example:
"And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." (Leviticus 1:4)
And then, interestingly enough, this example:
"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." (Genesis 6:14)
No, I didn't make a mistake. In the verse above "and shalt pitch" is the word "kaphar" which means "to cover", and "with pitch" means "with a covering".
So, the definition of "atonement", in a spiritual realm, is the concept of sin being covered by sacrifice. And while we see this concept all through the Old Testament, that is, of sin being covered, it is absent in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus Christ did NOT die on the Cross of Calvary "to cover" His people sins.
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:5-6)
The Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross TO TAKE AWAY the sin of His people, TO WASH them of all their transgression. Not to cover... rather, to wipe away! That's the teaching of the New Testament. So if we're to be technical, using the word "atonement" to describe the Lord's crosswork probably isn't a good thing.
What do you think?