Atonement, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917)

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The biblical use and meaning of the word must be sharply distinguished from its use in theology. In theology it is a term which covers the whole sacrificial and redemptive work of Christ. In the O.T. atonement is the English word used to translate the Hebrew words which mean “cover,” “coverings,” or “to cover.” Atonement (at-one-ment) is, therefore, not a translation of the Hebrew, but a purely theologic concept. The Levitical offerings “covered” the sins of Israel until, and in anticipation of the Cross, but did not “take away” Hebrews 10:4 those sins. These were the “sins done aforetime” (“covered” meantime by the Levitical sacrifices), which God “passed over” Romans 3:25 for which “passing over” God's righteousness was never vindicated until, in the Cross, Jesus Christ was “set forth a propitiation.” See “Propitiation,” (See Scofield “Romans 3:25”) . It was the Cross, not the Levitical sacrifices which made “at-one-ment.” The O.T. sacrifices enabled God to go on with a guilty people because they typified the Cross. To the offerer they were the confession of his desert of death, and the expression of his faith; to God they were the "shadows" Hebrews 10:1 of which Christ was the reality.
atonement (See Scofield “Exodus 29:33”) .


Heb. kaphar, “to cover.” The English word “atonement” (at-one-ment) is not a translation of the Heb. kaphar, but a translator’s interpretation. According to Scripture the legal sacrifice “covered” the offerer’s sin and secured the divine forgiveness; according to the translators it made God and the sinner at- one. But the O.T. sacrifices did not at-one the sinner and God. “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. The Israelite’s offering implied confession of sin and of its due desert, death; and God “covered” (passed over,” Romans 3:25 his sin, in anticipation of Christ's sacrifice, which did, finally, “put away” the sins “done aforetime in the forbearance of God.” ; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:15. (See Scofield “Romans 3:25). The word “atonement” does not occur in the N.T.; Romans 5:11 meaning reconciliation, and so rendered in the R.V.

See "Sacrifice," Genesis 4:4, and refs. (See Scofield "Genesis 4:4")

(See Scofield "Leviticus 16:5")

Leviticus 16:5 “And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.”

The two goats. The offering of the high priest for himself has no anti-type in Christ Hebrews 7:26,27. The typical interest centres upon the two goats and the high priest. Typically

(1) all is done by the high priest Hebrews 1:3 “by Himself”), the people only bring the sacrifice ; Matthew 26:47; 27:24,25.

(2) The goat slain (Jehovah's lot) is that aspect of Christ’s work which vindicates the holiness and righteousness of God as expressed in the law Romans 3:24-26 and is expiatory.

(3) The living goat typifies that aspect of Christ's work which puts away our sins from before God Hebrews 9:26; Romans 8:33,34.

(4) The high priest entering the holiest, typifies Christ entering “heaven itself” with “His own blood” for us Hebrews 9:11,12. His blood makes that to be a “throne of grace,” and “mercy seat” which else must have been a throne of judgment.

(5) For us, the priests of the New Covenant, there is what Israel never had, a rent veil Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 10:19,20. So that, for worship and blessing, we enter, in virtue of His blood, where He is, into the holiest ; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22. The atonement of Christ, as interpreted by the O.T. sacrificial types, has these necessary elements:

(1) It is substitutionary--the offering takes the offerer’s place in death.

(2) The law is not evaded but honored--every sacrificial death was an execution of the sentence of the law.

(3) The sinlessness of Him who bore our sins is expressed in every animal sacrifice--it must be without blemish.

(4) The effect of the atoning work of Christ is typified

a) in the promises, “it shall be forgiven him”; and (b) in the peace-offering, the expression of fellowship--the highest privilege of the saint. (See Scofield "Exodus 29:33")

Leviticus 16:6

And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the , which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

Hebrews 9:15

And for this cause he is the of the new testament, that by means of death, for the of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of inheritance.

Romans 5:11

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the .

Genesis 4:4

And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had unto Abel and to his offering:

Hebrews 7:26-27

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, from sinners, and made than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up , first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

Hebrews 1:3

Who being the of his glory, and the of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Matthew 27:24-25

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

T25 hen answered all the people, and said, His be on us, and on our children.

Romans 3:24-26

24 Being freely by his grace through the that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the of him which believeth in Jesus.

Hebrews 9:26

For then must he often have suffered since the of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Romans 8:33-34

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s ? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh for us.

Hebrews 9:11-12

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect , not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained redemption for us.

Matthew 27:51

And, behold, the of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Hebrews 10:19-20

19 Having therefore, brethren, to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20 By a way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our .

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our ; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain , and find to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near with a in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an , and our bodies washed with .

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