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Updated on May 14, 2008


Meaning reconciliation, was associated with sacrificial offerings to remove the effects of sin, and in the New Testament, refers specifically to the reconciliation between God and humanity, effected by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament atonement refers to the process God established whereby humans could make an offering to God to restore fellowship with Him. Such offerings, including both live and dead animals, incense, and money, were required to remove the bad effects of human sin.

The only fast day stipulated in the Mosaic law was the annual day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), observed on the tenth day of Tishri (September - October) at the conclusion of ten days of penitence. The day of 'Atonemant' was the only day of the year that the priest entered the Holy of Holies to make sin offerings for himself, his family, and the "assembly of Israel." After making these offerings, the nation's sins were symbolically laid on the scapegoat "Azazel" that was released into the wilderness to die.

Most Old Testament scripture, concerning atonement, refers to humans offering sacrifices to God for their wrongdoing. But there are several references of God making atonement. In Psalm 78:38, the Hebrew for "atoned for" is used where the KJV translates "forgave" as is also true in Deuteronomy 21:8.

The New Testament rarely uses a word for atonement. The most common Greek word used is katallasso, usually translated "to reconcile," and the corresponding noun, katallage, meaning "reconciliation." The basic meaning is to establish friendship. This is used in human relationships in I Corinthians 7:11, referring to the restoration of relationship between an estranged husband and wife.

Though atonement is focused in the cross, the New Testament makes clear that Christ's death is the climax of His perfect obedience. He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Phil. 2:8 Divine love is not sentimental or merely emotional. It is a righteous love which blazes out against all that opposes God's will. God is love (I John 4:8), God is a consuming fire (Hebrew 12:29).

Thus, the cross is simultaneously a manifestation of God's will to save, and of His wrath against sin.


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    • profile image

      Wehzo 9 years ago

      Thank you Rob, for your gracious comment. I do my best to uncover truth where ever it leads. Praise be to God.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 9 years ago from Midwest USA

      Another well-written and truth-filled hub. Your concise manner of teaching is refreshing and welcome. Blessings.

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      wehzo 9 years ago

      Hi LdsNana-AskMormon,

      As always I welcome your insightful comments. Like Iron sharpens Iron, so does man sharpen man, or in many cases, woman. I thought it was time I came out of obscurity (my picture). I like your new picture too. Is that your daughter?

    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 9 years ago from Southern California

      Hi Wehzo -

      I believe that the 'cross' is the symbol for the covenant, which was fulfilled in the atonement process, and fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ and the blood "of" the cross. The ultimate evidence - the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

      This Resurrection seals the Power of the Atonement for all mankind. Through the Atonement, man is reconciled unto God the Father. Jesus Christ overcame death and hell through the His Atonement and Resurrection.

      Without the final manifestation and reality of the covenant - The Resurrection... the work of the the Atonement or reconciliation would have been for naught.

      It was the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, which made Him the only righteous and acceptable offering to God - thus fulfilling the Covenant.

      He was the sinless sacrificial offering upon the Cross (symbolizing the covenant) whom God did accept, as witnessed by the most glorious words ever uttered...

      "It is finished"

      Thank you for another beautiful Hub.



      P.S. I love your new picture. Just the glowing smile, that I would expect to see - from you:-)