The Atonement

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" Hosea 4:6

A study from the Word of God about the working out of His gracious plan of salvation for everyone through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.



In the beginning God

God is before all things. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus Christ is the Word, the living Word.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. Jesus is the image of the Father expressed in human terms. He is the out-raying of the divine.

We see that God is before all things. He is when no creation exists at all. He is not created; he is self-existent. We see also that Jesus Christ is with God, is in God - is God.

God is a spirit; He has revealed Himself to us as a triunity, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. Man created in the image and likeness of God is spirit, soul and body, a triunity.

God is the creator of all things. He spoke the present visible creation into existence by the agency of His words.

Since God is Spirit, the Spirit is present before all visible reality. The laws that govern the working of His power and therefore control our visible universe supersede and control those of the visible creation.

God created all things. His power is creative, and since He makes or forms what is visible out of that which is invisible, He also manipulates. God's power is therefore both creative and manipulative. In other words, our Father God, can both create and control all reality.

Create: To make something potential or real out of nothing.

Manipulate: To organize or collect into cohesive form something which already exists in another form.

Spirit is before visible was. The Spirit exists first. Spiritual laws supersede and overrule physical laws.

Spirit beings such as angels are able to manipulate and control spiritual and visible reality. Lucifer was once an angel of light. This being has knowledge and ability in the realm of the spirit and could therefore exercise certain permitted control over the visible creation.

Sin and Death

In the writings of the prophet Isaiah we see the archangel Lucifer falling from Heaven and the presence of God. What was the sin that so corrupted this being that he and those angels which supported him were cast out of heaven? "I will!" He said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God". He believed he was so beautiful and so capable of leadership he could take the place of Almighty God. When he saw this was not possible he came to earth to take dominion over God's most awesome creation, Man, and the earth man ruled. If Adam could be seduced and overcome, the earth and the race for which it was created would be his.

To accomplish this Lucifer used the tricks of reason he still uses to this day. He plants the idea in the minds of man that there is more than what God has already given him, that God's provision is some how lacking. He said, "Has God said?" and "you shall not surely die". This prompts man in his arrogance and folly to say "I will".

Eve answered the serpent with the instruction of God to her husband. You shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Eve then did something man still does today; she added to God's word. She said, "neither shall you touch it," something God did not say. This is a prime example of man trying in his own ability to go farther than God says and do even more and be better than God asks. This is self effort, self righteousness, self deception - self destruction. As the apostle Paul tells us, they are without excuse who question or try to improve on God's word because what may be known of Him has been made clear from the beginning. Only by faith can we understand the things of God or please Him.

Through one man, Adam, Sin entered into the world. As a result of Adam's high treason, the authority of man was given to Lucifer. Mankind took on the nature of the evil one and spiritual death became the product of every soul born after that time. The spirit of natural man produces death and will inevitably sin and die. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

In the beginning, Adam was the ruler of this world and his spirit produced life. He could not be sick and could not be defeated. He did not know how to die. He had constant communion with God and access to all the knowledge of God Himself that pertained to running the earth. He had intelligence and understanding to name every plant and animal. He had spirit knowledge available as his normal way of knowing.

When man sinned, he died spiritually, that is his spirit no longer produced life. Cut off from God and being unavailable to the counsel of the Spirit, man now had only his five fleshly senses to rely upon for knowledge; he began to forget the knowledge God had given him. Cut off from life, death became his inevitable end. The earth that once cooperated with him now became his enemy. The curse put all creation under the penalty of death and the control of Sin. Not only would man die physically, his soul and spirit would also die, eternally separated from God! See "Spirit, Soul and Body" on this site.)

To begin the long process of redemption, God made the first blood sacrifice, life for life. Blood for Sin became the only way. He killed two innocent animals and made coverings for the man and his wife. This was the first picture of the atonement.

Old Covenant

Mankind became so corrupted God was forced to destroy all but a remnant with a great flood. God knew man could never survive in his present state so He cut a covenant with man. He made this everlasting covenant with a man named Abram, a direct descendent of Adam.

God promised Abram a son by his wife when she was too old to conceive. This birth would be truly miraculous. This child would be born of a free woman according to promise. He would be the forerunner of the One who would come much later, the Christ who would take away the sins of the world. God changed Abram's name to Abraham, meaning father of nations. In his seed (Christ) all nations would be blessed.

This One would be the cornerstone of the faith, the Lord our Redeemer, Himself the child of promise, the Seed of Abraham. All those who would become partakers of His Spirit would also be of the Seed of Abraham, children of promise, children of God!


Under this first covenant, the people were like minor children, unable to manage their own affairs even though they would some day be owners of the whole family fortune. They needed an overseer, a keeper. This overseer was given to them in the form of the Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments and hundreds of ordinances of worship and daily life. The purpose of the Law was to teach these children how to live in the household of their Father, God. Seven festivals were given to be enacted throughout the year. These festivals, or appointments with God, were pictures of the plan of salvation for everyone to see and understand; nothing was left to chance.

The first festival is Passover. It honors and recalls how God gave them the blood of the lamb that acted as a covering for their sinfulness and protected them from cursing and judgment delivering them from the power and ownership of the evil one. It protected them then just as the Blood of the Lamb protects us today if we stand in faith.

The Law contained instructions and, like every blood covenant, had blessings attached for compliance and dire curses for breaking it. Two choices were offered, life and death, blessing and cursing. God speaks through time saying to all people, "Choose Life.'

Beginnings Reference List

A. Creation
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word
Hebrews 1:1-4 Through Whom also He made the worlds
Ephesians 3:9 created all things through Jesus Christ
Revelation 4:11 for His pleasure
John 4:24 God is Spirit
Genesis 1:26,27 man in our image 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Genesis 1:28 have dominion.

B. Sin
Isaiah 14:12-15 I will
Genesis 3:1-7 Has God said?
Romans 1:18-22 they are without excuse.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand
Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please Him.
Romans 5:12 through one man sin entered
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned

C. Death
Genesis 2:16,17 you shall surely die
Genesis 3:21 the Lord God made tunics of skin
Romans 5:12-14 and death through sin

D. Promises (Old Covenant)
Genesis 15 The Lord cut a covenant
Genesis 17:7 an everlasting covenant
Genesis 17:19 Sarah shall bear a son Isaac
Isaiah 28:16 cornerstone
Isaiah 43:14 the Lord your Redeemer
Isaiah 44:6-8 His Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts
Galatians 3:16 "And to your Seed," who is Christ
Galatians 4:28, 29 children of promise

E. Law
Leviticus 17:11 blood makes atonement
Deuteronomy 16 Passover
Exodus 20:1 The Ten Commandments
Deuteronomy 28 Blessings and curses of the Law
Deuteronomy 30:19 Therefore choose Life.

II. Atonement


The Lord Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

So there can be no reasonable doubt, God gave exacting instructions about the lamb and how it was to be sacrificed. He showed an exact picture in the original Passover of the crucified Lamb. This picture is specific even to the month of the year, day of the week and time of day!

The Passover lamb was selected on the tenth day of the month Abib (March-April) of the Jewish calendar. It must be young but mature, without spot or blemish. It was examined for four days for any flaw. On the 14th day of Abib, "between the evenings" at the ninth hour (3 PM), it was sacrificed. Its blood was applied to the entrance of the place where the lamb would be eaten. This and this alone protected the inhabitants from the curse.

When the time of the Passover festival was four days away, Jesus entered the temple compound in Jerusalem where He taught the people and was examined and tested by the scribes and Pharisees to see whether they could find any fault in Him. Four days later on Wednesday/Thursday, the 14th of Abib, He was crucified. At the ninth hour He committed His spirit to His Heavenly Father saying "It is finished" and died for our sins. At this very moment in the temple the chief priest sacrificed the Passover lamb pronouncing the words "It is finished". The sacrifice was complete.

Under the old covenant the sins of the people were covered not taken away. For the believer in the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah, sins are not just covered they are completely washed away!

The apostle Paul tells us that if One died for all then all died. Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree. Jesus became a curse in our place and descended into the lower parts of the earth to effect our redemption remaining there three days and nights .

As Israel left Egypt, which is a picture of the evil world, they took a three day journey. They left on Thursday/Friday the 15th day of Abib after midnight traveling to Sukkoth to collect Joseph's bones from his grave in the land of idols. Joseph is a picture of Jesus. Jesus was buried in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea. Arimathea means "high place or hill" the place where idols were worshipped in that day.

For three nights and days Israel traveled through the place of torment and death. They were in confusion, apparently trapped between slavery and destruction. They wanted to go back to the life of slavery rather than face the uncertainty of freedom in the promises of God. They are a picture of the flesh that must die so the spirit can be free to follow the Savior.


The people of Israel found themselves literally between the devil and the sea. There the Lord God opened a way through the water for them. As they passed through the water, they left forever their old life in the land of evil. They emerged from the water as Pharaoh, the picture of the Evil One, hastened in pursuit to take them back. As the evil one entered the water he was overwhelmed and drowned, with all his host! The people were free, forever free! Evil had been destroyed and no longer had power over them! They came out of the water on the morning of Sunday, the 17th of Abib! This is the same day Jesus arose from the dead to live forever more! He was victorious over Lucifer and all his host taking captivity captive and making an open show of their defeat. Jesus now has all authority in heaven and earth and holds the keys to death and Hades.

Every one who believes in the sacrifice of the Christ for his or her personal sinfulness dies in Christ and is raised together with Him. His greeting to us now is "Peace to you". Jesus has made Peace between God and his beloved creation. His question to Mary at the tomb was "Why are you weeping?" This is the time to rejoice. Jesus has overcome the world, sin and death. All who are alive in Him are free, forgiven and justified. We can now have a personal relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ! The Father sees us in Christ as if we ourselves had never sinned; we are as righteous as God Himself in Christ Jesus. (See "Relationship" on this site.)

New Covenant

At the Passover (seder) meal Jesus showed His disciples the true meaning of Passover and how they should celebrate the new covenant. He broke the matzoth representing His body and blessed the wine representing His blood saying, "This is the new covenant in My blood." He did this while he was still alive, before His body and blood and Life were available to believers.

Since the fall of man, God has promised to restore the world to a condition like the Garden of Eden. The 'basar' or good news of the kingdom of Heaven was preached from the very beginning. The Law, the Prophets and the writings of the Bible all tell of the promised return of God's creation to a state like that of Gan Eden.

When Jesus preached about the kingdom of Heaven the people understood He was speaking of the restoration of the Presence of God to every believer and the radiance of His glory upon every one of His people. He told the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father. He said they would receive power after the Holy Spirit was sent upon them. This is after He had appeared to them in the upper room and breathed on them saying " receive ye the Holy Spirit". Receiving the Holy Spirit at the new birth is not the same as being filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit. (See "The Holy Spirit" study on this site.)

On Pentecost, as at Sinai they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind, the wind of the Holy Spirit. Tongues as of fire separated and alighted upon each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as He gave them utterance. They prophesied, telling of the wonderful works of God. Then, empowered by the Spirit, Peter preached the first sermon of the new covenant Church to those who stood by. As a result, three thousand people believed on the Son of God and were born of His spirit becoming the first fruits of the new kehilat or congregation of the people of God. (See "Why Be Born Again?" on this site.)

Law of the Spirit of Life

Life in Christ is governed by spiritual laws just as the visible universe is governed by natural laws. This law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set the believer free from the law of sin and death. The things which ruled sinful humanity, sickness, poverty and death, no longer have authority over those who are in Christ Jesus.

We can look forward with all expectation to the promise of the Father of new life, new heavens and a new earth. We know we will reign with Christ in His kingdom as His beloved bride!

Note: To properly understand the relationship between the Jews the Gentiles and the Church of God see "Keys to Understanding the Scriptures" on this site.

Atonement Reference List

A. Sacrifice
1 Corinthians 5:7 our Passover Lamb
Exodus 12 Passover, lamb, 10th day, 14th day, ninth hour
Psalm 22:1 My God, My God Matthew 27:46
Psalm 22:16 pierced Matthew 27:35
Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments Matthew 27:35
Psalm 118:22 chief cornerstone Matthew 21:42
Isaiah 52:13--53:12 Crucifixion described
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh Hebrews 1:1-4
Matthew 26:26-30 Passover meal
Luke 23:46 Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit Psalm 31:5
John 19:30 "It is finished"
Galatians 3:13 Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 If one died for all, then all died made sin for us
Ephesians 4:8-10 ascended descended

B. Resurrection
Exodus 13&14 Three days, Joseph's bones, through the waters, evil dies
Matthew 28:9.10 Rejoice!
Mark 16:6 He is risen!
John 20:14-16 Woman, why are you weeping?
Luke 24:36-49 Peace to you flesh and bones
Acts 13:33 He has raised up Jesus again
Romans 4:25 raised because of our justification
Revelation 1:17,18 alive forever more

C. Promises (New Covenant)
1 Corinthians 11:25 the new covenant in My blood..
Luke 24:49 the promise of the Father Joel 2:15
Acts 1:4 wait for the promise
Acts 2:33 promise of the Holy Ghost
Acts 26:6 promise of God
Romans 10:9,10 you shall be saved
Colossians 3:4 Christ our life
2 Timothy 1:1 promise of life in Christ

D. Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus
Romans 8:2,4 Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus
Romans 6:7 freed from sin
Ephesians 2:8-10 by grace are you saved through faith
1 John 5:20 the true God and eternal life
Jude 21 looking for eternal life.
2 Peter 3:13 new heavens and a new earth

III. In Christ

New Creation

Jesus told Nicodemus "unless a man is born again (or from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God".

How is this accomplished? By grace, through faith. Whose faith? The faith of Christ and the individual. This is because salvation requires the yielding of the individual spirit to God to be replaced with a completely new spirit alive with the life of Christ Jesus himself. Such an exchange can only be effectuated by the individual whose life is thus exchanged. God is no respecter of persons, He will not violate man's will even to save him.

When we are accepted in the beloved we are made to share the same life as Jesus when He was raised from among the dead. We become a new creation, something which never existed before that moment. We are created in Christ Jesus, and are partakers of the divine nature. As He is, so are we in this world! (See "Salvation Studies" on this site.)

Life in Christ Jesus

By grace, that is unmerited favor, God has saved us through faith in Christ Jesus. Mankind never has and never will merit in any way the attention and love of God. God is Love. His mercy and salvation are a result of His grace alone. We never can and never will deserve His favor. Jesus, however, lived a perfect, sinless life. When He was raised from the dead it was because He did deserve the grace and mercy of God. He died innocently and was raised because He had justified us with His sacrifice. Now, in Him, as part of Him, we can partake of His inheritance. We are deserving of divine love and grace, but ONLY in Christ Jesus because of who He is and what He has done. (See "Law or Grace?" on this site.)

Authority of the Believer

In Christ we have abundant life, health, prosperity and peace. Our old life is hid with Christ in God and the life we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. We are Abraham's Seed and heirs according to all that is promised in Christ Jesus. Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are ambassadors of God offering reconciliation to a dying world.

Jesus said "All authority is given to Me in Heaven and on earth" . We are one with Him and in Him we too are to exercise His authority over the forces of the enemy. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. (See "Foundation Studies" on this site.)


In Christ we come boldly to the throne of grace, having unlimited access to the Father. Because we contain and demonstrate the Word of God, signs follow us because they follow the Word. We look forward to the restitution of all things. There is now NO condemnation for us because we are complete in Him. We now walk in Him by faith and not by sight. We walk after the manner of the Spirit and not according to the carnal mind (soul, self). The fruit of the Spirit is the normal product of our new nature. We live full of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility and self control.

In Christ Reference List

A. A New Creation
John 3:3 Except a man be born again
John 3:7 Marvel not
2 Corinthians 5:17 in Christ is a new creation
Galatians 5:17 a new creation
Ephesians 2:10 created in Christ Jesus
2 Peter 1:4 partakers of the divine nature

B. Life in Christ
John 20:22 receive ye the Holy Spirit
John 20:31 ye might have life
Romans 5:10 saved by His life
Romans 5:17 shall reign in life
Romans 5:21 grace reigns through righteousness
Romans 6:23 eternal life through Jesus the Christ
Romans 8:11 shall also quicken your mortal bodies
Colossians 3:3 Your life is hid with Christ in God
Galatians 3:29 Abraham's Seed; heirs
Ephesians 1:3-14 In Him
Ephesians 2:14 our Peace
Ephesians 5:18 be filled with the Spirit
Philippians 3:20 citizenship in Heaven

C. Authority of the Believer
Mark 16:14-20 signs follow
Hebrews 4:16 come boldly to the throne
Ephesians 2:18 we have access to the Father
2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons of our warfare are not carnal

D. Restoration
Acts 3:21 the restitution of all things
Romans 8:1 no condemnation
Colossians 2:9,10 you are complete in Him

E. Walking in the Spirit
Colossians 2:6,7 walk in Him
Colossians 2:11-23 Carnal vs. Spirit life
Galatians 5:22,23 Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians all speak of our walk in Christ.

Acts 20:32 I Commend you to His Word

Check List for Readers

Have you ever made a personal, one to one commitment of your life to God? Not through some ceremony but directly and personally between you and the Heavenly Father. If not do so now. (Go to "Why Be Born Again?")

Have you exercised your faith for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit? This gift is for every believer and is the anointing for power in ministry and daily life.

All believers need to grow in the Word and ways of the Lord. When you discover areas of your life that do not conform to the promises of scripture don't be discouraged, find mature believers to help you and pray with you. None of us has arrived, but we are on the way!

Read and reread Romans, Hebrews, Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians. In these letters Paul teaches how we are to see ourselves and how we are to walk in our Lord Jesus Christ. I commend you to His Word.