Among the teachings of the Christian church there is none considered of greater importance than that of the atonement, for it is generally understood to mean the plan by which sinners may be saved from sin and its consequences. The doctrine has not however been presented in a way that can be easily or clearly comprehended, one reason for this no doubt being that the word rendered "atonement" in the New Testament is confused with the one in the Old Testament which has received the same interpretation, though the words thus similarly translated do not in any way correspond with each other.

The word "atonement" in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament means "covering," or "to make a cover," which implied apparently the confession of unfitness and unworthiness of everything material and sinful, and the covering up hiding, that is, the putting out of sight and laying aside, of everything of that nature, and the honoring of only the pure, holy, and spiritual. Gradually this developed into a sense of offering sacrifices to cover up sin and procure pardon by appeasing the wrath of an angry God.

The only instance in which the word "atonement" occurs in the authorized version of the New Testament is in the fifth chapter of Romans, where we read, "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." In the original the word means reconciliation, and it is thus translated in a number of other passages. For instance, in the second epistle to the Corinthians, where Paul speaks of the "word of reconciliation" and the "ministry of reconciliation," and exhorts, "We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God," the same Greek word is used as that which is translated "atonement" in the epistle to the Romans.

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Standing with David
December 4, 1915

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