SPECIAL TOPIC: ATONEMENT

The Hebrew root (BDB 497, KB 493) combines several OT images.

  1. the holiness of God which is offended by human rebellion
  2. the cost of rebellion is death (cf. Ezek. 18:4,20)
  3. the life of a sacrificial animal substituted for the death penalty of sinful human beings
The basic meaning of the root is "to cover" (it can also mean "ransom", cf. Exodus 30:16), which may best be illustrated by the "Day of Atonement" or "Day of Covering" (i.e., Leviticus 16). YHWH dwelt between the wings of the Cherubim on the ark of the covenant. Inside the gold box were the laws given to Moses by YHWH on Mt. Sinai. As the High Priest sprinkled blood on the lid of the ark, it symbolically obscured God's eyes from the Law.
The perfect and eternal blood of the covenant (see the NT book of Hebrews) was the innocent blood of Jesus (cf. John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21).
The NT term "propitiation" also relates to the lid of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. For extra information see the following Special Topics.
  1. SPECIAL TOPIC: ARK OF THE COVENANT (Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-9)
  2. SPECIAL TOPIC: CHERUBIM
  3. SPECIAL TOPIC: MERCY SEAT

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