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  • EASTON'S BIBLE DICTIONARY,
    BIBLICAL TERMS: ASCENSION - ATONEMENT

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    0331 \ Ascension \ -

    See CHRIST T0000818.

    0332 \ Asenath \ -

    an Egyptian name, meaning "gift of the sun-god", daughter of Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, wife of Joseph (Gen. 41:45). She was the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim (50-52; 46:20).

    0333 \ Ash \ -

    (Heb. o'ren, "tremulous"), mentioned only Isa. 44:14 (R.V., "fir tree"). It is rendered "pine tree" both in the LXX. and Vulgate versions. There is a tree called by the Arabs _aran_, found still in the valleys of Arabia Petraea, whose leaf resembles that of the mountain ash. This may be the tree meant. Our ash tree is not known in Syria.

    0334 \ Ashdod \ -

    stronghold, a Philistine city (Josh. 15:47), about midway between Gaza and Joppa, and 3 miles from the Mediterranean. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Dagon (1 Sam. 5:5). It belonged to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:47), but it never came into their actual possession. It was an important city, as it stood on the highroad from Egypt to Palestine, and hence was strongly fortified (2 Chr. 26:6; Isa. 20:1). Uzziah took it, but fifty years after his death it was taken by the Assyrians (B.C. 758). According to Sargon's record, it was captured by him in B.C. 711. The only reference to it in the New Testament, where it is called Azotus, is in the account of Philip's return from Gaza (Acts 8:40). It is now called Eshdud.

    0335 \ Ashdoth-pisgah \ -

    (Deut. 3:17; Josh. 12:3; 13:20) in Authorized Version, but in Revised Version translated "slopes of Pisgah." In Deut. 4:49 it is translated in the Authorized Version "springs of Pisgah." The name Ashdoth is translated "springs" in the Authorized Version, but "slopes" in the Revised Version, of Josh. 10:40 and 12:8. It has been identified with the springs under Mount Nebo, now called 'Ayun Musa.

    0336 \ Asher \ -

    happy, Jacob's eigth son; his mother was Zilpah, Leah's handmaid (Gen. 30:13). Of the tribe founded by him nothing is recorded beyond its holding a place in the list of the tribes (35:26; 46:17; Ex. 1:4, etc.) It increased in numbers twenty-nine percent, during the thirty-eight years' wanderings. The place of this tribe during the march through the desert was between Dan and Naphtali (Num. 2:27). The boundaries of the inheritance given to it, which contained some of the richest soil in Palestine, and the names of its towns, are recorded in Josh. 19:24-31; Judg. 1:31, 32. Asher and Simeon were the only tribes west of the Jordan which furnished no hero or judge for the nation. Anna the prophetess was of this tribe (Luke 2:36).

    0337 \ Asherah \ -

    and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of "grove" and "groves" of the Authorized Version. This was the name of a sensual Canaanitish goddess Astarte, the feminine of the Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the ground. Such religious symbols ("groves") are frequently alluded to in Scripture (Ex. 34:13; Judg. 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings 16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; "the graven image of Asherah," R.V.). (See GROVE T0001556 [1].).

    0338 \ Ashes \ -

    The ashes of a red heifer burned entire (Num. 19:5) when sprinkled on the unclean made them ceremonially clean (Heb. 9:13).

    To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence and humiliation (2 Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jer. 6:26, etc.).

    To feed on ashes (Isa. 44:20), means to seek that which will prove to be vain and unsatisfactory, and hence it denotes the unsatisfactory nature of idol-worship. (Comp. Hos. 12:1).

    0339 \ Ashkelon \ -

    =Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines (Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT T0001137) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.

    0340 \ Ashkenaz \ -

    one of the three sons of Gomer (Gen. 10:3), and founder of one of the tribes of the Japhetic race. They are mentioned in connection with Minni and Ararat, and hence their original seat must have been in Armenia (Jer. 51:27), probably near the Black Sea, which, from their founder, was first called Axenus, and afterwards the Euxine.

    0341 \ Ashpenaz \ -

    the master of the eunuchs of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1:3), the "Rabsaris" of the court. His position was similar to that of the Kislar-aga of the modern Turkish sultans.

    0342 \ Ashtaroth \ -

    a city of Bashan, in the kingdom of Og (Deut. 1:4; Josh. 12:4; 13:12; 9:10). It was in the half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh. 13:12), and as a Levitical city was given to the Gershonites (1 Chr. 6:71). Uzzia, one of David's valiant men (1 Chr. 11:44), is named as of this city. It is identified with Tell Ashterah, in the Hauran, and is noticed on monuments B.C. 1700-1500. The name Beesh-terah (Josh. 21:27) is a contraction for Beth-eshterah, i.e., "the house of Ashtaroth."

    0343 \ Ashteroth Karnaim \ -

    Ashteroth of the two horns, the abode of the Rephaim (Gen. 14:5). It may be identified with Ashtaroth preceding; called "Karnaim", i.e., the "two-horned" (the crescent moon). The Samaritan version renders the word by "Sunamein," the present es-Sunamein, 28 miles south of Damascus.

    0344 \ Ashtoreth \ -

    the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male deity (Judg. 10:6; 1 Sam. 7:4; 12:10). These names often occur in the plural (Ashtaroth, Baalim), probably as indicating either different statues or different modifications of the deities. This deity is spoken of as Ashtoreth of the Zidonians. She was the Ishtar of the Accadians and the Astarte of the Greeks (Jer. 44:17; 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13). There was a temple of this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Sam. 31:10). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte. Solomon introduced the worship of this idol (1 Kings 11:33). Jezebel's 400 priests were probably employed in its service (1 Kings 18:19). It was called the "queen of heaven" (Jer. 44:25).

    0345 \ Ashurites \ -

    mentioned among those over whom Ish-bosheth was made king (2 Sam. 2:9).

    0346 \ Asia \ -

    is used to denote Proconsular Asia, a Roman province which embraced the western parts of Asia Minor, and of which Ephesus was the capital, in Acts 2:9; 6:9; 16:6; 19:10,22; 20:4, 16, 18, etc., and probably Asia Minor in Acts 19:26, 27; 21:27; 24:18; 27:2. Proconsular Asia contained the seven churches of the Apocalypse (Rev. 1:11). The "chiefs of Asia" (Acts 19:31) were certain wealthy citizens who were annually elected to preside over the games and religious festivals of the several cities to which they belonged. Some of these "Asiarchs" were Paul's friends.

    0347 \ Asnapper \ -

    probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the Greeks), styled the "great and noble" (Ezra 4:10), was the son and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was "luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets, numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of Assyria.

    Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost, and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over Western Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)

    0348 \ Asp \ -

    (Heb. pethen), Deut. 32:33; Job 20:14, 16; Isa. 11:8. It was probably the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje), which was very poisonous (Rom. 3:13; Gr. aspis). The Egyptians worshipped it as the _uraeus_, and it was found in the desert and in the fields. The peace and security of Messiah's reign is represented by the figure of a child playing on the hole of the asp. (See ADDER T0000085.)

    0349 \ Ass \ -

    frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named from its slowness (Gen. 12:16; 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3). (2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of Western Asia, so called from its red color. Issachar is compared to a strong ass (Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deut. 22:10). (3.) The ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; 12:14. It is rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; 49:11. (Comp. Job 11:12; Isa. 30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew the cud (Lev. 11:26. Comp. 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Gen. 12:16; 30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their spirit and their attachment to their master (Isa. 1:3). They are frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham (Gen. 22:3), Balaam (Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number (Judg. 12:14), Zipporah (Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam. 25:30), etc. Zechariah (9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt," etc. (Matt. 21:5, R.V.).

    Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in Hebrew _'arod_, mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its swiftness; and (2) that called _pe're_, the wild ass of Asia (Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild ass (Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass among men").

    0350 \ Asshur \ -

    second son of Shem (Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17). He went from the land of Shinar and built Nineveh, etc. (Gen. 10:11,12). He probably gave his name to Assyria, which is the usual translation of the word, although the form Asshur is sometimes retained (Num. 24:22, 24; Ezek. 27:23, etc.). In Gen. 2:14 "Assyria" ought to be "Asshur," which was the original capital of Assyria, a city represented by the mounds of Kalah Sherghat, on the west bank of the Tigris. This city was founded by Bel-kap-kapu about B.C. 1700. At a later date the capital was shifted to Ninua, or Nineveh, now Koyunjik, on the eastern bank of the river. (See CALAH T0000688; NINEVEH T0002735.)

    0351 \ Assos \ -

    a sea-port town of Proconsular Asia, in the district of Mysia, on the north shore of the Gulf of Adramyttium. Paul came hither on foot along the Roman road from Troas (Acts 20:13, 14), a distance of 20 miles. It was about 30 miles distant from Troas by sea. The island of Lesbos lay opposite it, about 7 miles distant.

    0352 \ Assurance \ -

    The resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:31) is the "assurance" (Gr. pistis, generally rendered "faith") or pledge God has given that his revelation is true and worthy of acceptance. The "full assurance [Gr. plerophoria, 'full bearing'] of faith" (Heb. 10:22) is a fulness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt. The "full assurance of understanding" (Col. 2:2) is an entire unwavering conviction of the truth of the declarations of Scripture, a joyful steadfastness on the part of any one of conviction that he has grasped the very truth. The "full assurance of hope" (Heb. 6:11) is a sure and well-grounded expectation of eternal glory (2 Tim. 4:7, 8). This assurance of hope is the assurance of a man's own particular salvation.

    This infallible assurance, which believers may attain unto as to their own personal salvation, is founded on the truth of the promises (Heb. 6:18), on the inward evidence of Christian graces, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:16). That such a certainty may be attained appears from the testimony of Scripture (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14), from the command to seek after it (Heb. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10), and from the fact that it has been attained (2 Tim. 1:12; 4:7, 8; 1 John 2:3; 4:16).

    This full assurance is not of the essence of saving faith. It is the result of faith, and posterior to it in the order of nature, and so frequently also in the order of time. True believers may be destitute of it. Trust itself is something different from the evidence that we do trust. Believers, moreover, are exhorted to go on to something beyond what they at present have when they are exhorted to seek the grace of full assurance (Heb. 10:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). The attainment of this grace is a duty, and is to be diligently sought.

    "Genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and abiding peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to God; and these from the very laws of our being to greater buoyancy, strength, and cheerfulness in the practice of obedience in every department of duty."

    This assurance may in various ways be shaken, diminished, and intermitted, but the principle out of which it springs can never be lost. (See FAITH T0001302.)

    0353 \ Assyria \ -

    the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the original capital of the country, was originally a colony from Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military people, the "Romans of the East."

    Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon.

    About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740) Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a yearly tribute.

    In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings 15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favor of Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C. 705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37; Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor, who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).

    Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians, under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum (3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2 Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586) how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation. (See NINEVEH T0002735; BABYLON T0000409.)

    0354 \ Astrologer \ -

    (Dan. 1:20; 2:2, 10, 27, etc.) Heb. 'ashshaph', an enchanter, one who professes to divine future events by the appearance of the stars. This science flourished among the Chaldeans. It was positively forbidden to the Jews (Deut. 4:19; 18:10; Isa. 47:13).

    0355 \ Astronomy \ -

    The Hebrews were devout students of the wonders of the starry firmanent (Amos 5:8; Ps. 19). In the Book of Job, which is the oldest book of the Bible in all probability, the constellations are distinguished and named. Mention is made of the "morning star" (Rev. 2:28; comp. Isa. 14:12), the "seven stars" and "Pleiades,"Orion,"Arcturus," the "Great Bear" (Amos 5:8; Job 9:9; 38:31), "the crooked serpent," Draco (Job 26:13), the Dioscuri, or Gemini, "Castor and Pollux" (Acts 28:11). The stars were called "the host of heaven" (Isa. 40:26; Jer. 33:22).

    The oldest divisions of time were mainly based on the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the "ordinances of heaven" (Gen. 1:14-18; Job 38:33; Jer. 31:35; 33:25). Such observations led to the division of the year into months and the mapping out of the appearances of the stars into twelve portions, which received from the Greeks the name of the "zodiac." The word "Mazzaroth" (Job 38:32) means, as the margin notes, "the twelve signs" of the zodiac. Astronomical observations were also necessary among the Jews in order to the fixing of the proper time for sacred ceremonies, the "new moons," the "passover," etc. Many allusions are found to the display of God's wisdom and power as seen in the starry heavens (Ps. 8; 19:1-6; Isa. 51:6, etc.)

    0356 \ Asuppim \ -

    (1 Chr. 26:15, 17, Authorized Version; but in Revised Version, "storehouse"), properly the house of stores for the priests. In Neh. 12:25 the Authorized Version has "thresholds," marg. "treasuries" or "assemblies;" Revised Version, "storehouses."

    0357 \ Atad \ -

    buckthorn, a place where Joseph and his brethren, when on their way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob, made for seven days a "great and very sore lamentation." On this account the Canaanites called it "Abel-mizraim" (Gen. 50:10, 11). It was probably near Hebron. The word is rendered "bramble" in Judg. 9:14, 15, and "thorns" in Ps. 58:9.

    0358 \ Ataroth \ -

    crowns. (1.) A city east of Jordan, not far from Gilead (Num. 32:3).

    (2.) A town on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (Josh. 16:2, 7), called also Ataroth-adar (16:5). Now ed-Da'rieh.

    (3.) "Ataroth, the house of Joab" (1 Chr. 2:54), a town of Judah inhabited by the descendants of Caleb.

    0359 \ Ater \ -

    shut; lame. (1.) Ezra 2:16. (2.) Neh. 10:17. (3.) Ezra 2:42.

    0360 \ Athaliah \ -

    whom God afflicts. (1.) The daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and the wife of Jehoram, king of Judah (2 Kings 8:18), who "walked in the ways of the house of Ahab" (2 Chr. 21:6), called "daughter" of Omri (2 Kings 8:26). On the death of her husband and of her son Ahaziah, she resolved to seat herself on the vacant throne. She slew all Ahaziah's children except Joash, the youngest (2 Kings 11:1,2). After a reign of six years she was put to death in an insurrection (2 Kings 11:20; 2 Chr. 21:6; 22:10-12; 23:15), stirred up among the people in connection with Josiah's being crowned as king.

    (2.) Ezra 8:7. (3.) 1 Chr. 8:26.

    0361 \ Athens \ -

    the capital of Attica, the most celebrated city of the ancient world, the seat of Greek literature and art during the golden period of Grecian history. Its inhabitants were fond of novelty (Acts 17:21), and were remarkable for their zeal in the worship of the gods. It was a sarcastic saying of the Roman satirist that it was "easier to find a god at Athens than a man."

    On his second missionary journey Paul visited this city (Acts 17:15; comp. 1 Thess. 3:1), and delivered in the Areopagus his famous speech (17:22-31). The altar of which Paul there speaks as dedicated "to the [properly "an"] unknown God" (23) was probably one of several which bore the same inscription. It is supposed that they originated in the practice of letting loose a flock of sheep and goats in the streets of Athens on the occasion of a plague, and of offering them up in sacrifice, at the spot where they lay down, "to the god concerned."

    0362 \ Atonement \ -

    This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New Testament except in Rom. 5:11, where in the Revised Version the word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of frequent occurrence.

    The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows from the death of Christ.

    But the word is also used to denote that by which this reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for his offences (Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; 5:16; Num. 6:11), and, as regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his behalf.

    By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word "satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement." Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God. Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now consistent with his justice to manifest his love to transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about. Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so that consistently with the other attributes of his character his love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.), and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to guilty men (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24, 25; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9; 4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved, there is no other way than this which God has devised and carried out (Ex. 34:7; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 5:4; 7:11; Nahum 1:2, 6; Rom. 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is enough for us to know.

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