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ElderDad's picture

No Atonement

Rabbi Ansel,

Thank you for your lesson on the Atonement. You are very correct that what the Gentile church usually calls the Atonement cannot possibly be Atonement from the Old Testament standpoint. (These church folks usually mean forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, or some such term, without thinking thoroughly of which aspect of salvation they mean.) Atonement is covering, as you have pointed out. Atonement covered sin prior to the death of the Messiah, so that God could look at his people. This Atonement was accomplished through the shedding of the blood of animals. As the author of the epistle to the Hebrews pointed out, this Atonement covering by the blood of animals could not pay the price for the penalty for sin -- death. However, as the writers after the death and resurrection of the Messiah pointed out repeatedly, the covered sins were uncovered and placed upon the Messiah, who paid the death penalty for the sins. Thus, what the Messsiah provided was the exact opposite of Atonement. I have read books on the Atonement purporting that Jesus provided the Atonement sacrifice, and it is interesting how long-winded writers can be without ever defining the word Atonement. A much better discussion of this subject is the work by John B. Champion, MORE THAN ATONEMENT, 1927, The Evangelical Press. It's on the CCEL wanted list, and hopefully will get scanned and posted in the not-too-distant future. If you can find it somewhere, be sure to grab it and read it.

Dave S.
Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
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