Table of Contents
Meaning of Atonement
Atonement in the Old Testament
Day of Atonement
Covenant and Israel
Christ and Atonement
John the Baptist
Nature of Christ's Death
VI. Works Cited
How do we know we are not going to hell? How do we know we are going to heaven? How do we know that Christ dies for us? How do we know that Christ's death saved us from our sins? What is atonement? How do we know Christ is God? How does the Old Testament apply to all this? Hopefully all of these questions will be answered by the end of this paper. II. The meaning of Atonement
One single or all encompassing definition of atonement is difficult or almost impossible to find. John Champion author of the Living Atonement out it this way, "How far it dips down or reaches up, the definition does not stay. Truths thus penned up have a strange fashion of dropping out of sight into the earth or of disappearing into air" (163). This obviously creates a complicated situation when defining atonement. The origin of the word atonement is Anglo-Saxon and was also used in Shakespearean literature in this text the word meant to reconcile (Culpepper 12). Another popular definition is to make amends for an offense or reparation. Culpepper, in Interpreting the Atonement, asserts "In its theological usage, however, the term atonement has acquired another meaning, that is, the means by which reconciliation between God and man is achieved, the cost of reconciliation to God" (12). III. Atonement in the Old Testament
Sacrifice in the Old Testament is much different than it is today. Today if one was to sacrifice something it would involve giving some sort of luxury or daily comfort (Morris 43). In Old Testament times, it was much different, usually involving an animal or some sort. Israel was unlike most societies of the day. It was required that the sacrifice be a pure and innocent life (Culpepper 29). Sacrifice to the Israelites was a method of asking forgiveness or repentance. For example, Culpepper asserts, "Sacrifice offered a means for the sinner to make his approach to the righteous and holy God. Sacrifice was a means of dramatizing the sinner's repentance, of covering his sin, and of providing a means of self surrender to God" (28).
B. Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement sanctified the tabernacle and the altar for an entire year (Grant 96). The priest bathed his entire body. Put on the white linen tunic with white undergarments, sash, and turban instead of the richly ornamented High Priests robe. This was to show the purity of the priest Sacrificed a bull for his sin and the sin of his family Filled a censer with burning coals from the altar and two handfuls of incense and entered into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of God and the mercy seat resided (Morris 69). This was the only time during the year the High Priest could enter this place of God's presence (Hill 38). When he walked in he was to place the incense on the coals and this would form a cloud over the mercy seat. This symbolized the need to shield the priest from the eyes of the Holy God. The priest would exit and get some of the bull's blood and would return and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and then seven times on the grown before the mercy seat. This was to atone or pay for his own sin. Then the priest turned to the two goats and cast lots over them (Morris 70). One was chosen for sacrifice and one was chosen as the scapegoat. A piece of crimson wool was tied to the horns of the scapegoat, and a thread was bound around the goat to be slaughtered. Next, the sacrificial goat would be killed. The blood of the goat would be brought into the Holy of Holies and the same ritual would be performed. This was for the sin of the people. When emerging from...
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