The word atonement means to cleanse, cover, reconcile, forgive, and pardon (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries #H3722 and #G2643).
Our sins must be atoned for with blood in order for us to have a relationship with God.
and Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
In the Old Testament God established animal sacrifices to atone for sin.
God killed animals when Adam and Eve sinned.
Genesis 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
After Adam and Eve sinned, God killed 2 animals and made coats to clothe them. It can be inferred here that these 2 animals were also sacrificed to cover their sin, because throughout the rest of the Old Testament animals were sacrificed to cover sin, even before the Law.
Cain and Abel’s offerings were for sin.
Genesis 4:3-5 “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
Cain and Abel’s offerings were meant to be sin offerings, (not tithe offerings as my Dad taught me), because Hebrews 11:4 says they were sacrifices and Able had witness that he was righteous because of his proper sacrifice.
Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
A person is never said to be righteous because they give their tithes. A person is only said to be righteous if they have atoned for their sins through a sacrifice, and it must be a proper blood sacrifice. Vegetables are not accepted.
Job made burnt offerings for his sons possible sins.
Job 1:5 “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
Under the Law of Moses God established a Day of Atonement once a year.
Leviticus 23:26 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.”
Exodus 30:10 “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.“
Once every year the High Priest of Israel would kill a lamb and take its blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of that lamb onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant to atone for the sins of the whole nation of Israel.
Today we receive Atonement through the Blood of Jesus.
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Hebrews 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”
We no longer have to keep all those strict rules of the Day of Atonement and sacrifice animals to receive atonement for our sins (which did not give full atonement because the sins were only covered not washed away and a new sacrifice had to be made every year). We have been set free from that part of the Law, and we now have full atonement through Jesus Christ. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can atone for our sins. God will not accept anything else, not even good works, keeping the law, going to church, or baptism.
Rom 5:8-11 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
To learn how you can receive atonement for your sins through Jesus Christ please read the page “How To Get To Heaven.”