The sacrifice of the lamb provided atonement for sins. Atonement is a key doctrine in the Bible. It is a key message of the Gospel. Any preaching of a gospel that excludes or diminishes this critical concept makes it a false gospel.
“And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement [kippur]. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement [kapar] for it” (Ex. 29:36, NKJV). In the Jewish calendar, there is called, Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. “Atonement” is from the Hebrew plural noun, kippur, from where the verb, kapar, is derived. It is “the condition which results when one makes amends, a satisfactory reparation” (Ex. 29:36; Num. 5:8). (Baker, gen. ed., The Complete Word Study Old Testament, 2327) To make amends is expiation. To satisfy by reparation or payment is propitiation. Both are 2 sides of the same coin called, atonement.
The words, expiation and propitiation, are now an “endangered species.” Some Bible translations no longer use it in Rom. 3:25, 1 John 2:2 and 4:10. Seldom do you hear Pastors teach about it today. But they are key words explaining the key concept of atonement. When you make amends with God (expiate), and when you satisfy God’s demands against sin (propitiate), then you make atonement.
How does one make amends with God for sin? In the Old Testament, it is by a bloody offering or sacrifice. God commanded the Levite priest to sprinkle the blood of a bull on the altar as a ransom price for the sins of the people (Ex. 29:36). The bloody sacrifice of the bull had a dual meaning and purpose. It meant kapar, or expiation—to cover for the sin of the people. It also signified kapar, or propitiation—to appease the wrath of God against sin. (The Greek equivalent of kapar is hilasmos, “propitiation” in 1 John 2:2; 4:10.) Expiation is to the offense of sin, while propitiation is to the One offended by it.
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