An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 29 of 270
Redemption without atonement would be as though Moses had led the
children of Israel out of Egypt and then abandoned them in the wilderness.
Atonement put before Redemption in the preaching of the gospel would be as
though Moses had ignored the Passover and erected a tabernacle in Egypt.  He
Who led Israel out from bondage, led them in to His presence, a redeemed and
reconciled people.  Let us consider this great and most wonderful subject
under the following heads.
An examination of the translation 'atonement' in the A.V. of
Romans 5:11.
An examination of the idea expressed by the 'covering' of sin.
An examination of the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew word
The bearing upon the subject of 'type', 'shadow', 'figure' and
Adopting this sequence, let us consider Romans 5:11: 'By Whom we have
now received the atonement'.  The marginal note indicates that the word could
be rendered 'reconciliation' and refers to verse 10.  It is therefore evident
that the A.V. translators were perfectly familiar with the word
'reconciliation', and yet deliberately used the word 'atonement'.  It would
be easy to sweep this rendering aside, but such an attitude would hardly do
justice to the fact that the A.V. is the crown of many earlier translations,
nor would it exhibit that becoming modesty, that would attribute to these
translators at least as much common sense and understanding as we ourselves
possess!  The fact is that the word 'atonement' means 'reconciliation' and
was in common use at the time of the A.V. translation.  It was selected with
deliberate intent, and shows that these translators, rightly or wrongly,
intended the reader to link this one great 'reconciling' sacrifice of Romans
5 with the 'atoning' sacrifices of the Levitical law.  To the translators of
the A.V. the word 'atonement' meant no mere 'covering', it meant the basis of
'reconciliation' -- a fact that even a superficial acquaintance with
Elizabethan English makes clear.  Surely then we must not set aside the
considered testimony of these translators because they used the language of
their own day, or blame them because that language has changed during the
three hundred years since.  Shall we not rather regret that we cannot today
use so homely a word as 'atone' (written at one) to represent concord,
friendship, reconciliation and harmony?
The verb 'to atone', meaning 'to reconcile' or 'to make one' is used by
Shakespeare as follows:
'He desires to make atonement
Between the Duke of Gloster and your brothers'
(Richard IlI, i. 3).
'He and Aufidus can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety' (Coriolanus iv. 6).
'Since we cannot atone you, we shall see
Justice design the victor's chivalry' (Richard II, i. 1).
'I was glad I did atone my countrymen and you'