Atonement in the larger sense deals with a common factor which is sin.
The definition is a making at on which points to a process of bringing those who
are enstranged into a unity(Douglas, 107). It is a theological term which
derives from the Anglo-Saxon. The word atonement appears eighty seven times in
the Old Testament in the RSV Bible(Nelson, 55). According to Strongs Exhaustive
Concordance, which is using the King James Version, appears seventy seven times
in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. In Leviticus, atonement
appears fifty one times, more than any other book of the bible. In Numbers it
appears seventeen times and in Exodus eleven times. The reason why it is used
so much in Leviticus is that during that time period priest were intercessor\'s
between the people and God. In the New Revised Standard Concordance, atonement
appears eighty seven times. Out of those eighty seven times, eighty one appear
with the word make or made. This would constitute that an atonement in these
uses would cause the person who prepares the atonement to work at making an
atonement. We find that in the New Testament we don\'t have to work to receive a
pardon from our sins. The whole bible leads up to the cross and everything
after the cross points back to the cross. Christ was the ultimate and final
atonement for us.
In the Old Testament their atonement to God was to always be unblemished
for the sake of perfection (Morris, 147). They believed that the perfect
atonement would set them free from all their sins and thus make them clean in
God\'s eyes. The Hebrew word for atone is. It is used frequently
for the process of sacrifice. It was thought that a man must make and
atonement to God that was adequate to give to Him to pay for his sin. In
Ezekiel 16:63 atonement is translated to mean "forgive".
Words in the Old Testament are translated from the kpr word group in
Hebrew. The Hebrew word for atonement is Kaphar. This is the main usage of the
word but there are other words that are associated with atonement.
or Kaphar means to cover. The figurative word which is used quite often is to
expiate or condone. Other words associated with Kaphar are to be merciful,
pardon, to pitch, purge(away), and to make reconcile. Or Kaphar
is used for a village that is protected by walls. Or Kopher is also
a cover or village covered. It is also bitumen which was used for a coating and
dyeing colors. Words associated with Kopher are redemption, price, bribe,
camphire, pitch, ransom, satisfaction, village. An interesting side point to
the word Kopher is that it also denotes finger nail polish. Oriental females
make a powder of camphire leaves then made the powder into a paste by use of
water and put in on their finger which gave them a reddish color. The word
camphire comes from the same root as atonement just as a sinner could pray for a
colorful cover for his soul that was ruined by sin. Or Kippur means
expiation but only in the plural. Expiation is found numerous times in the Old
Testament for example in 2 Samuel 21:3, 1 Chronicles 6:49, and 2 Chronicles
29:24. The denominative verb which is to make an atonement, make reconciliation,
or to purge is or Kapar.
There are three parent nouns for atonement and they are Koper, Kippur,
and Kapporet. Koper or means ransom or gift to secure favor. Exodus 30:12 and
Isaiah 43:3 uses ransom and this is parallel to the word redeem. In 1 Samuel
12:3 Koper is used as "bribe". Kapar means to atone by offering a substitute.
This may be better understood if you use ransom with Koper (Harris, 453).
Kippur or is used in the "Day of the Atonement". This was celebrated by a
special sin offering for the whole nation and only the high priest could be
allowed to sacrifice a goat. A second goat was released as an escape goat to
symbolize a total removal of sin.
Kapporet is a noun which means mercy seat. It is used twenty seven
times and always refers to the golden cover of the sacred chest in the inner
shrine of the tabernacle or temple (Harris 453). Kapar or is to cover over
with pitch. The cognate word is used in the Babylonian flood story and
denominative verb is used only once in Genesis 6:14 in waterproofing of the ark.
Atonement is use much more in the Old Testament because all of this was
before Christ suffered for