What Is Atonement?

My reading this morning was in Leviticus. I don’t always receive such a clear message from the Lord as I did this morning so I thought I’d share it. The first part of Leviticus is all about atonement. Atonement is the act of sacrificing blood to pay for sin. It’s actually very simple, our God, the God of the Universe, the Creator of all there is, He requires blood to pay for sin. Don’t ask me why, it’s His Law, His world, His rules. That’s just the way it is, right?

So, these rules go all the way back in the Book of Genesis, to the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. Abel brought an “Acceptable” sacrifice to the Lord (Gen. 4) – it was a “Blood” sacrifice, where Cain brought some fruits and vegetables, i.e., products of the ground, rather than blood, so his sacrifice was not found “Acceptable” by the Lord. God held him responsible, so Cain got depressed. He knew (apparently, or should have known) the rules about what was acceptable for sacrifice. So, after that, he decided to take it out on his brother Abel by killing him. Sin was “Crouching at his door” waiting to devour him (as it says in the New Testament).

If the idea of sacrifice goes all the way back in human history, then what is implied in the rest of the Bible is that there is a lot of “Counterfeit Religion” going on. The rest of the Old (and New) Testament is filled with stories of various cultures and peoples who made sacrifices to idols and worshiped them by bringing them sacrifices (meat). That was the main point the Lord gave me this morning is that these “Cults” that worship idols and offer them sacrifices are counterfeiting the real worship of the one true God. People are so easily misled and satan uses the misdirection of “Sacrifice” to trick folks into believing they are doing something “Acceptable” to their god.

You have to remember that the plan of our enemy is to destroy us! Since this is true, the production of counterfeit religion is the simplest way to get folks to think they are doing right things while in reality they are just piling on their load of sin and guilt by worshiping what should not be worshiped. The idea of atonement is carried on in the New Testament with Jesus’ sacrifice of His own blood on the Cross at Calvary. All of the atoning sacrifices in the Old Testament were temporary, and Jesus made the once for all sacrifice to end those sacrifices and provide a permanent way for us to be restored to proper relationship with God the Father (Heb. 7 & 9).

Since His sacrifice ends all the old system of making blood sacrifices, any other system that is carried on in these times is even further corruption of the rituals that were established at the beginning of human history. We no longer need blood sacrifices if we look to Jesus and believe and obey (follow) Him. This is the real lesson of atonement from our Bible (the whole Bible) and one which God gave us as both an object lesson, as well as a lesson in love. He loved us enough to die for us, we should not corrupt that gift with any kind of worship of any other idol or sacrifice to any other god.



2 thoughts on “What Is Atonement?

  1. I don’t know if the reason why Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted by God was because it didn’t contain blood, or if it was for a different reason. There are other passages in the Bible (Leviticus 2) where God does accept offerings of fruit, vegetables, grain or drinks and considers them to be a pleasing aroma. I think you could be right, but there could be other reasons why Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted. It could be that his heart wasn’t in the right place, or perhaps he didn’t offer the best of his first fruits as God demands.

    I do agree with your points about atonement, as well as cults and their sacrifices. Praise God that he did love us enough to sacrifice his son for our sin.

  2. Praise God indeed! Praise Him that He saw fit to save us from the pit of hell. Salvation is truly the most remarkable thing about my life these days.

    The “Cain debate” as to why Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted, probably could be for many reasons. The one we teach is that he _should_ have known the requirements for an acceptable sacrifice. We usually refer to blood as being an acceptable sacrifice to atone for our sins, but you’re right, it wasn’t necessarily that kind of offering.

    Here’s a great analysis at (where else) “Answers In Genesis”:


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