The Blood Atonement of Jesus Christ

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL, April 8, 2001 by Albert Harmon

Matt 26:28

"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.


  1. Hebrew Word
    1. First used in Gen 6:14 "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. NKJV
      1. Thus we get the idea to cover.
      2. The blood of atonement was meant to be a covering for sin in the Old Testament until the Messiah would come and take away sin.
    2. Was the focal point of the sacrificial system.
      1. Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.' NKJV
      2. Ex 24:8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words." NKJV
      3. It was necessary for even things.
      4. Lev 8:15 and Moses killed it. Then he took the blood, and put some on the horns of the altar all around with his finger, and purified the altar. And he poured the blood at the base of the altar, and consecrated it, to make atonement for it. NKJV
    3. The Day of Atonement
      1. Lev 16:6 "Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD's lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. NKJV
      2. Lev 16:11 "And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. NKJV
      3. Lev 16:15 "Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. NKJV
    4. The Mercy Seat
      1. Ex 25:17 You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. NKJV
      2. The word used OT:3727 kapporeth (kap-po'-reth); from OT:3722; a lid (used only of the cover of the sacred Ark):
      3. The NIV translates the word this way in Ex 25:17 "Make an atonement cover of pure gold--two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. NIV
      4. Paul uses the same Greek word and it is translated two different ways.
        1. Heb 9:5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. NKJV
        2. Rom 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, NKJV
    5. Then there was the ransom money
      1. Ex 30:11 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 12 "When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. 13 This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD. 14 Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money NKJV
      2. Matt 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." NKJV
    6. The word also meant to appease or to reconcile.
      1. Gen 32:20 and also say, 'Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us.' " For he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me." NKJV
      2. In the case of Saul's sons they were given over to death to appease the Gibeonites. 2 Sam 21:3 Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?" NKJV
      3. By the blood of Jesus Christ the justice of God was satisfied and His wrath against us because of our sin was appeased.
      4. Paul uses this word to speak of the work of Jesus Christ.
        1. NT:2643 katallage (kat-al-lag-ay'); from NT:2644; exchange (figuratively, adjustment), i.e. restoration to (the divine) favor: KJV - atonement, reconciliation (-ing).
        2. Rom 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. NKJV
        3. 2 Cor 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
  2. The New Testament verse that comes closest to the Old Testament meaning is found in 1 John 4:10
    1. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. NKJV
    2. This blood is the covering for our sins.
    3. It is what brings us reconciliation.


The expression "to make atonement" is frequent in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, but rare in the rest of the Bible. The basic idea, however, is widespread. The need for it arises from the fact that man is a sinner, a truth made plain throughout Scripture but infrequent outside the Bible.

In the OT sin is dealt with by the offering of sacrifice.

Thus the burnt offering will be accepted "to make atonement" (Lev. 1:4), as also the sin offering and the guilt offering (Lev. 4:20; 7:7) and especially the sacrifices on the day of atonement (Lev. 16). Of course, sacrifice is ineffective if offered in the wrong spirit. To sin "with a high hand" (Num. 15:30), i.e., proudly and presumptuously, is to place oneself outside the sphere of God's forgiveness. The prophets have many denunciations of the offering of sacrifice as the expression of a repentant and trustful heart is to find atonement. Atonement is sometimes made by means other than the sacrifices, such as the payment of money (Exod. 30:12-16) or the offering of life (II Sam. 21:3-6). In such cases to make atonement means "to avert punishment, especially the divine anger, by the payment of a koper, a ransom,' which may be of money or which may be of life" (L. Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, 166). Throughout the OT sin is serious; it will be punished unless atonement is sought in the way God has provided.

This truth is repeated and enlarged upon in the NT. There it is made clear that all men are sinners (Rom. 3:23) and that hell awaits them (Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). But it is just as clear that God wills to bring salvation and that he has brought it in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son. The love of God is the mainspring (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). We are not to think of a loving Son as wringing salvation from a just but stern Father. It is the will of the Father that men be saved, and salvation is accomplished, not with a wave of the hand, so to speak, but by what God has done in Christ: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (II Cor. 5:19), a reconciliation brought about by the death of Christ (Rom. 5:10). The NT emphasizes his death, and it is no accident that the cross has come to be accepted as the symbol of the Christian faith or that words like "crux" and "crucial" have come to have the significance that they possess. The cross is absolutely central to salvation as the NT sees it. This is distinctive of Christianity. Other religions have their martyrs, but the death of Jesus was not that of a martyr. It was that of a Savior. His death saves men from their sins. Christ took their place and died their death (Mark 10:45; II Cor. 5:21), the culmination of a ministry in which he consistently made himself one with sinners.

The NT does not put forward a theory of atonement, but there are several indications of the principle on which atonement is effected. Thus sacrifice must be offered, not the sacrifice of animals, which cannot avail for men (Heb. 10:4), but the perfect sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 9:26; 10:5-10). Christ paid sin's due penalty (Rom. 3:25-26; 6:23; Gal. 3:13). He redeemed us (Eph. 1:7), paying the price that sets us free (I Cor. 6:20; Gal. 5:1). He made a new covenant (Heb. 9:15). He won the victory (I Cor. 15:55-57). He effected the propitiation that turns away the warth of God (Rom. 3:25), made the reconciliation that turns enemies into friends (Eph. 2:16). His love and his patient endurance of suffering set an example (I Pet. 2:21); we are to take up our cross (Luke 9:23). Salvation is many-sided. But however it is viewed, Christ has taken our place, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Our part is simply to respond in repentance, faith, and selfless living. L. MORRIS


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at