Sin [[➝ sin]] destroys the relationship between God and people, and atonement is the means by which a reconciliation is effected. In the OT, sacrifices and offerings [[➝ offering, sin]] are prescribed and were well developed in the post-exilic period with a view to removing the barrier caused by sin which cut a person off from God's favour. Sacrifices were appointed by a merciful God for the restoration of fellowship which an individual by his own personal act was incapable of achieving. In the time of the Maccabees [[➝ Maccabees, books of]] animal sacrifices were thought to be supplemented by the atoning value of suffering. In the stories of Maccabean martyrs their sufferings are held to be an atonement not only for the sufferers but also for others. So the youngest of the seven brothers appeals to God that through him and his brothers the wrath of the Almighty which has fallen on the nation may be brought to an end (2 Macc. 7:38).
In the NT atonement is connected with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and he may have understood his coming death in atonement terms (Mark 10:45). In Paul's letter to the Romans the source of God's mercy in reconciling mankind was Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25) and in the letter to the Hebrews the notion of sacrifice is employed; the defilement of sin is cleansed by the blood of a sinless victim. The blood of Christ's obedient and offered life is sprinkled on our sinful consciences so that we can then draw near to God with a similar obedience.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • ATONEMENT — (Heb. כִּפִֻּרים, kippurim, from the verb כפר). The English word atonement ( at one ment ) significantly conveys the underlying Judaic concept of atonement, i.e., reconciliation with God. Both the Bible and rabbinical theology reflect the belief… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Atonement — A*tone ment, n. 1. (Literally, a setting at one.) Reconciliation; restoration of friendly relations; agreement; concord. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] By whom we have now received the atonement. Rom. v. 11. [1913 Webster] He desires to make atonement… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atonement — ► NOUN 1) amends for a wrong or injury. 2) (the Atonement) Christian Theology the reconciliation of God and mankind through the death of Jesus Christ …   English terms dictionary

  • atonement — [ə tōn′mənt] n. 1. the act of atoning 2. satisfaction given for wrongdoing, injury, etc.; amends; expiation 3. Obs. agreement or reconciliation the Atonement Christian Theol. the redeeming of humanity and its reconciliation with God through the… …   English World dictionary

  • atonement — index compensation, expiation, reparation (indemnification), restitution, retribution, trover Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • atonement — Satisfaction or reparation of a wrong or injury; to make up for errors or deficiencies. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • atonement — 1510s, condition of being at one (with others), from ATONE (Cf. atone) + MENT (Cf. ment). Meaning reconciliation (especially of sinners with God) is from 1520s; that of propitiation of an offended party is from 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • atonement — expiation (see under EXPIATE) Analogous words: compensating or compensation, offsetting (see corresponding verbs at COMPENSATE): conciliation, propitiation, appeasement (see corresponding verbs at PACIFY): *reparation, amends …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • atonement — [n] compensation amends, expiation, indemnification, payment, penance, propitiation, recompense, redemption, redress, reparation, restitution, satisfaction; concepts 126,337 …   New thesaurus

  • Atonement — The atonement is a doctrine found within both Christianity and Judaism. It describes how sin can be forgiven by God. In Judaism, Atonement is said to be the process of forgiving or pardoning a transgression. This was originally accomplished… …   Wikipedia

  • atonement — /euh tohn meuhnt/, n. 1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends. 2. (sometimes cap.) Theol. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.… …   Universalium

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