Atonement – The doctrine of Atonement is rooted in the Old Testament and is the foundation in Christian teaching for reconciliation between God and Man. Atonement, as found in the Old Testament Scriptures, is derived from the Hebrew word kaphar, (kaw-far’) (OT:3722 Strong’s number definition) primarily meaning to “cover”.
The doctrine of Atonement can only be understood in context of other doctrinal teachings of the Scripture and are listed as follows: The doctrine of God, Man, Sin and Salvation:
1.) God – The Scriptures teach that God is holy and therefore must separate himself from all that is morally unclean or unholy. The Scriptures demonstrate that God is Omnipresent, but at the same time the Scriptures speak of God having dwelling places throughout history and in eternity. See: Revelation 4:8, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Psalm 139:7-10, Jeremiah 23:23-24, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Psalm 123:1, Numbers 5:3, Exodus 25:1-9, Acts 17:24, and Ephesians 3:17. Because of this paradox the doctrine of man and of sin must be understood to comprehend the need for the doctrine of Atonement.
2.) Man – The Scriptures teach that man was created, by God, perfect and without fault, and God dwelt and walked with man having a close fellowship. (See: Genesis 2:4-9)
3.) Sin – The Scriptures also teach that man through his own will sinned against God and became less than perfect; therefore, creating a break and a rift in the relationship between God and man. Because of God’s Holy nature, sin forced God to break the fellowship and closeness with man, while at the same time putting man under the penalty of eternal death. See: Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3. Atonement is required because of these three doctrines. If man is to be reconciled back to fellowship with God and is to be saved from spiritual death and God’s judgment, then atonement for sin is required. This leads us to the fourth doctrine listed, the doctrine of salvation.
4.) Salvation – The salvation process, as related to the doctrine of Atonement, begins with God’s plan and was implemented through the Abrahamic covenant revealed to man personally by God through His chosen leaders and prophets, then recorded in His Holy Scriptures (The Bible). Today we read of God’s plan starting in Leviticus chapter 16, giving man a temporary atonement for his sins. God’s plan was the action of covering man’s sin with the blood of animal scarifies and was foreshadowing God’s permanent plan through the life, death, burial and resurrection of His son: Jesus Christ. This action sealed the New Covenant. (See: Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 4:20)
In Jeremiah 31:30-34 God reveals a new convent by which man can receive permanent atonement for sin through Jesus Christ the son of God. As foreshadowed, Jesus acting as high priest, perfect and holy, sacrificed Himself through the shedding of His blood and becomes man’s permanent atonement for man’s sin. Thus, through the actions of Christ, our sin is covered by his blood, providing reconciliation to God through Himself. (See Romans 3:25; Acts 10:43; Hebrews 9:22 and Hebrews 10:18.)