Today I want to explore a topic I believe is quite misunderstood by the church.
I am talking about the concept of “atonement“.
In my last post, I expounded on this concept by analyzing the Hebrew word KIPPUR from which we get the English word “atonement“.
Biblically speaking, the word “atonement” means to pay a ransom to rescue a person from God’s wrath.
It is a substitute to appease a HOLY God when nothing else will do.
This idea was NOT just prevalent in ancient Israel, it existed in other ancient cultures as well.
Now why is the concept of atonement so important for us believers to understand?
It is so important because this notion is present from beginning to end throughout the Scriptures.
Take a look at the following verse from the Book of Proverbs:
“The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.”
This is interesting.
This verse literally states that God will take the lives of the wicked people (meaning the unbelievers) in order that the righteous may live.
Understand that this is not righteous men taking matters into their own hands by slaughtering the wicked on their own.
No, this is about the Lord Himself leveling judgement upon the wicked in whatever manner He deems appropriate.
Over the past couple of years as we have walked through the Torah, if there is any one thing I have tried to continually impress upon you, it is the idea that there is not one of principle of Torah that has been changed or done away with.
And the primary role that ransom plays as the only way to satisfy God’s justice is one of those unchangeable and forever immutable principles.
It is NOT some ancient divine protocol that has been done away with.
Recall this key verse from Leviticus:
“For the life of a creature is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement
for yourselves on the altar;
it is the blood that
makes atonement for one’s life.”
Could not anything be clearer?
It is the Lord’s very nature that if one of His Creation is unjustly killed, the spilled blood of the person or creature that was killed must be accounted for.
God is incapable of ignoring unjustly spilled blood.
Every drop will be accounted for.
“The LORD said,
“What have you done? Listen!
Your brother’s blood cries out
to me from the ground.”
What I’m getting at is that in the Levitical sacrificial system, we are shown the principle that one of God’s creatures must always pay for the death of another of His creatures.
The sacrificial system clearly reflects this principle.
We are shown over and over again that when somebody sins, his transgression must be paid for by an innocent party if he is to be forgiven.
That is why in the sacrificial system, an innocent animal is slaughtered for what the Scripture terms unintentional sins.
And for high-handed intentional sins such as murder or adultery, the sinner pays for his transgression with his very own life.
God’s HOLINESS is so pure that He cannot let even one sin slide without His Holiness being compromised.
This is also the reason why after even killing an animal for food, it is forbidden to drink its blood.
The blood of the animal must be returned to God as a ransom payment for it being killed by a human.