Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
Your Bible Version is the KJV
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Printable Page
 
 
The Blue Letter Bible
Sponsors
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
 [?]

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval
x
Search KJV

Let's Connect
x
Daily Devotionals
x

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans
x

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Propitiation

Dictionaries :: Propitiation

Choose a new font size and typeface
Easton's Bible Dictionary

Propitiation:

that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to execise his love towards sinners.

In Rom 3:25 and Hbr 9:5 (A.V., "mercy-seat") the Greek word hilasterion is used. It is the word employed by the LXX. translators in Exd 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth, which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant (Exd 25:21; 30:6). This Greek word (hilasterion) came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also propitation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation.

In 1Jo 2:2; 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used (hilasmos). Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covered it, by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Hbr 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the A.V. is more correctly in the R.V. "make propitiation.")

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Propitiation:

pro-pish-i-a'-shun:

1. Terms and Meaning:

The word is Latin and brings into its English use the atmosphere of heathen rites for winning the favor, or averting the anger, of the gods. In the Old Testament it represents a number of Hebrew words-ten, including derivatives-which are sufficiently discussed under ATONEMENT (which see), of which propitiation is one aspect. It represents in Septuagint the Greek stems hilask- (hile-), and katallag-, with derivatives; in the New Testament only the latter, and is rarely used. Propitiation needs to be studied in connection with reconciliation, which is used frequently in some of the most strategic sentences of the New Testament, especially in the newer versions In Heb 2:17, the English Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version have both changed "reconciliation" of the King James Version to "propitiation," to make it correspond with the Old Testament use in connection with the sacrifice on the DAY OF ATONEMENT (which see). Lu 18:13 ("God, be thou merciful (margin "be propitiated") to me the sinner" (the American Standard Revised Version margin)); Heb 8:12 (quoted from the Septuagint); and Mt 16:22 (an idiomatic asseveration like English "mercy on us") will help in getting at the usage in the New Testament. In Septuagint hilasterion is the term for the "mercy-seat" or "lid of the ark" of the covenant which was sprinkled with blood on the Day of Atonement. It is employed in exactly this sense in Heb 9:5, where later versions have in the margin "the propitiatory."

Elsewhere in the New Testament this form is found only in Ro 3:25, and it is here that difficulty and difference are found extensively in interpreting. Greek fathers generally and prominent modern scholars understand Paul here to say that God appointed Christ Jesus to be the "mercy-seat" for sinners. The reference, while primarily to the Jewish ceremonial in tabernacle and temple, would not depend upon this reference for its comprehension, for the idea was general in religious thought, that some place and means had to be provided for securing friendly meeting with the Deity, offended by man's sin. In Hebrews particularly, as elsewhere generally, Jesus Christ is presented as priest and sacrifice. Many modern writers (compare Sanday and Headlam), therefore, object that to make Him the "mercy-seat" here complicates the figure still further, and so would understand hilasterion as "expiatory sacrifice." While this is not impossible, it is better to take the word in the usual sense of "mercy-seat." It is not necessary to complicate the illustration by bringing in the idea of priest at all here, since Paul does not do so; mercy-seat and sacrifice are both in Christ. hilasmos, is found in the New Testament only in 1 Joh 2:2; 4:10. Here the idea is active grace, or mercy, or friendliness. The teaching corresponds exactly with that in Romans. "Jesus Christ the righteous" is our "Advocate (margin "Helper") with the Father," because He is active mercy concerning (peri) our sins and those of the whole world. Or (Ro 4:10), God "loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for (active mercy concerning) our sins." This last passage is parallel with Ro 3:25, the one dealing with the abstract theory, and so Christ is set forward as a "mercy-seat," the other dealing with experience of grace, and so Christ is the mercy of God in concrete expression.

2. Theological Implication:

The basal idea in Hebrew terms is that of covering what is offensive, so restoring friendship, or causing to be kindly disposed. The Greek terms lack the physical reference to covering but introduce the idea of friendliness where antagonism would be natural; hence, graciousness. Naturally, therefore, the idea of expiation entered into the concept. It is especially to be noted that all provisions for this friendly relation as between God and offending man find their initiation and provision in God and are under His direction, but involve the active response of man. All heathen and unworthy conceptions are removed from the Christian notion of propitiation by the fact that God Himself proposed, or "set forth," Christ as the "mercy-seat," and that this is the supreme expression of ultimate love. God had all the while been merciful, friendly, "passing over" man's sins with no apparently adequate, or just, ground for doing so. Now in the blood of Christ sin is condemned and expiated, and God is able to establish and maintain His character for righteousness, while He continues and extends His dealing in gracious love with sinners who exercise faith in Jesus. The propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving harshness. Compare also as to reconciliation, as in Ro 5:1-11; 2Co 5:18 ff.

LITERATURE.

Besides the comms., the literature is the same as for ATONEMENT, to recent works on which add Stalker, The Atonement; Workman, At Onement, or Reconciliation with God; Moberly, in Foundations, Christian Belief in Terms of Modern Thought.

Written by William Owen Carver

See JOHANNINE THEOLOGY

King James Dictionary

Propitiation: Covering; Atoning Sacrifice.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the PROPITIATION for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
A-1 Verb Strong's Number: g2433 Greek: hilaskomai

Propitiation:

was used amongst the Greeks with the significance "to make the gods propitious, to appease, propitiate," inasmuch as their good will was not conceived as their natural attitude, but something to be earned first. This use of the word is foreign to the Greek Bible, with respect to God, whether in the Sept. or in the NT. It is never used of any act whereby man brings God into a favorable attitude or gracious disposition. It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins.

Thus in Luk 18:13 it signifies "to be propitious" or "merciful to" (with the person as the object of the verb), and in Hbr 2:17 "to expiate, to make propitiation for" (the object of the verb being sins); here the RV, "to make propitiation" is an important correction of the AV, "to make reconciliation." Through the "propitiation" sacrifice of Christ, he who believes upon Him is by God's own act delivered from justly deserved wrath, and comes under the covenant of grace. Never is God said to be reconciled, a fact itself indicative that the enmity exists on man's part alone, and that it is man who needs to be reconciled to God, and not God to man. God is always the same and, since He is Himself immutable, His relative attitude does change towards those who change. He can act differently towards those who come to Him by faith, and solely on the ground of the "propitiatory" sacrifice of Christ, not because He has changed, but because He ever acts according to His unchanging righteousness.

The expiatory work of the Cross is therefore the means whereby the barrier which sin interposes between God and man is broken down. By the giving up of His sinless life sacrificially, Christ annuls the power of sin to separate between God and the believer.

In the OT the Hebrew verb kaphar is connected with kopher, "a covering" (see MERCY-SEAT), and is used in connection with the burnt offering, e.g., Lev 1:4; 14:20; 16:24, the guilt offering e.g., Lev 5:16,18, the sin offering, e.g., Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, the sin offering and burnt offering together, e.g., Lev 5:10; 9:7, the meal offering and peace offering, e.g., Eze 45:15, 17, as well as in other respects. It is used of the ram offered at the consecration of the high priest, Exd 29:33, and of the blood which God gave upon the altar to make "propitiation" for the souls of the people, and that because "the life of the flesh is in the blood," Lev 17:11, and "it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life" (RV). Man has forfeited his life on account of sin and God has provided the one and only way whereby eternal life could be bestowed, namely, by the voluntary laying down of His life by His Son, under Divine retribution. Of this the former sacrifices appointed by God were foreshadowings.

B-1 Noun Strong's Number: g2435 Greek: hilasterion

Propitiation:

akin to A, is regarded as the neuter of an adjective signifying "propitiatory." In the Sept. it is used adjectivelly in connection with epithema, "a cover," in Exd 25:17; 37:6, of the lid of the ark (see MERCY-SEAT), but it is used as a noun (without epithema), of locality, in Exd 25:18-22; 31:7; 35:12; 37:7, 8, 9; Lev 16:2, 13-15; Num 7:89, and this is its use in Hbr 9:5.

Elsewhere in the NT it occurs in Rom 3:25, where it is used of Christ Himself; the RV text and punctuation in this verse are important: "whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by His blood." The phrase "by His blood" is to be taken in immediate connection with "propitiation." Christ, through His expiatory death, is the Personal means by whom God shows the mercy of His justifying grace to the sinner who believes. His "blood" stands for the voluntary giving up of His life, by the shedding of His blood in expiatory sacrifice, under Divine judgment righteously due to us as sinners, faith being the sole condition on man's part.

Note: "By metonymy, 'blood' is sometimes put for 'death,' inasmuch as, blood being essential to life, Lev 17:11, when the blood is shed life is given up, that is, death takes place. The fundamental principle on which God deals with sinners is expressed in the words 'apart from shedding of blood,' i.e., unless a death takes place, 'there is no remission' of sins, Hbr 9:22.

"But whereas the essential of the type lay in the fact that blood was shed, the essential of the antitype lies in this, that the blood shed was that of Christ. Hence, in connection with Jewish sacrifices, 'the blood' is mentioned without reference to the victim from which it flowed, but in connection with the great antitypical sacrifice of the NT the words 'the blood' never stand alone; the One Who shed the blood is invariably specified, for it is the Person that gives value to the work; the saving efficacy of the Death depends entirely upon the fact that He Who died was the Son of God." *
[* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, p. 168.]

B-2 Noun Strong's Number: g2434 Greek: hilasmos

Propitiation:

akin to hileos ("merciful, propitious"), signifies "an expiation, a means whereby sin is covered and remitted." It is used in the NT of Christ Himself as "the propitiation," in 1Jo 2:2; 4:10, signifying that He Himself, through the expiatory sacrifice of His Death, is the Personal means by whom God shows mercy to the sinner who believes on Christ as the One thus provided. In the former passage He is described as "the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." The italicized addition in the AV, "the sins of," gives a wrong interpretation. What is indicated is that provision is made for the whole world, so that no one is, by Divine predetermination, excluded from the scope of God's mercy; the efficacy of the "propitiation," however, is made actual for those who believe. In 1Jo 4:10, the fact that God "sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins," is shown to be the great expression of God's love toward man, and the reason why Christians should love one another. In the Sept., Lev 25:9; Num 5:8; 1Ch 28:20; Psa 130:4; Eze 44:27; Amo 8:14.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.